Just a home owner, have enjoyed reading many posts on this site. Would like some professional opinions on work I had done on my unit today.
Here's the scenario: Home purchased in last year w/ 5 ton heat pump (~13 yrs old, b/u electric heat) quit blowing cold air this past Friday. Called home warranty co., they send out a local technician. Tech states low refrigerant, and refills. When asked how many pounds needed to be added, he says, "Quite a few." He says they don't normally leak test on first visit, but it was "real low." When questioned again about quantity of added refrigerant, he says, "Well, we don't really measure in pounds, there's a mathematical formula for figuring up how much we use." At then says, "How much does this unit hold?" He looks at decal on side of unit and says "16 pounds! Wow! I think I probably added 8-9 pounds." I knew how much the unit held from seeing the decal before. He takes out a small "sniffer" and uses it around the coils of the outside unit, and says the whole unit (inside/out) will need to be replaced because it is leaking.
Now, the warranty specifies it's all covered for a fixed fee, no big deal. Here's what I am curious about:
1) Is it difficult to determine how much refrigerant was added? I realize he needed to know capacity first, I just thought he would be able to tell (or would want to keep track for billing the warranty co.) of how much was added.
2) Is using a sniffer device the "best" or "professional" way to assess leakage? Would testing pressure/vacuum be more precise?"
I realize on these warranty jobs, reimbursement might be slim, so they try to keep their expenses to a minimum. My guess is the warranty co. will send another local hvac co. out for a second opinion before agreeing to shell out ~$Removed Pricing. It would be nice to get a new unit for next to nothing, but I just want the proper correction, whether it's repair or replace. This leads me to my final question:
3) What questions do I need to ask if repair is determined the proper route? What if replacement is authorized?
It's not that I don't trust anybody, but I do live by the "Buyer Beware" belief. I've read some really good posts on this site about doing the right thing, and I believe most people live by that rule. I want to make sure I know the right questions to ask. I look forward to hearing from you all.