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  1. #1

    R410A oil... Did my installer screw up?

    Hi Guys,

    I've been reading here for a while, but this is my first thread

    I recently had a Trane 2.5 ton split system (R410a) installed and now I am concerned I will have problems down the road due to mistakes the installer made.

    Problems started about 1 month after the unit was installed. While near the air handler, I noticed oil on the insulation surrounding the low pressure line. I called the installer, and we found a joint the installer brazed had cracked on the bottom and was leaking. I would say we lost several ounces of oil, based on how much we cleaned up using paper towels.

    The installer then used the compressor to pump the refrigerant back into the storage tank in the outside unit. He then rebrazed the failed joint near the air handler. After I inspected his connection, I caught up with him outside and he said he was ready to turn the unit back on. I asked if he was going to pump down the system and he said he didn't need to because he purged a bunch of refrigerant (I know this is not legal). He then added 2 lbs of R410a and declared the job complete.

    My questions:

    1) How much oil do you think I have left? Is this going to cause premature compressor failure?
    2) Unless it's inside the unit, I don't think I have a dryer inline with the refrigerant. Is this an issue?
    3) What would you do in this scenaro?


    Thanks in advanced for your help. I'm trying to determine if I should be worried.... Also, FYI this job was done by one of the major south Florida HVAC companies, not a small fly-by-night operation. I'm a little suprised, especially with the refridgerant purge.

  2. #2
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    technically not a good job,but i wouldn't worry too much about the line drier or the purge. the oil should have been added, but there again it would have to be most of the systems oil lost to cause a problem. trane systems are over engineered, so you should be okay. i would call them back and speak to a service manager about your concerns. tell him you would like the charge pulled and the drier replaced(oil can be added during this process). the good news is you have good oil return to your compressor.
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  3. #3
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    A poor job on the repair.

    4 ounces,(even just an ounce or 2) of oil, can look like a lot more then it is.
    No way to know how much came out, without a major amount of time spent, removing the compressor, and dumping all the oil out of it. And also blowing out the lines and indoor coil and then measuring how much oil that is. And then subtracting from factory listed charge.

    Few companies will do this.
    It should have been vacuumed.
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  4. #4
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    Sounds like a "hack".

    Did he use a nitrogen purge during the brazing? He should have also brazed in a new filter/drier. After it was brazed he should have performed a leak test and then run the vacuum pump until the non condensates were boiled off. (ie <500 microns).

    At that point he could charge the system and check it out.

  5. #5
    Thanks guys. Like you mentioned I can't know how much oil I lost or how much is left. I am worried that additional servce (by this company) might cause more harm than good.

    Does you know roughly how much oil the unit starts off with?

    davefr - As far as I know, he did not use a nitrogen purge when he did the brazing. He def did not change the filter/dryer (I'm not even sure where it is)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver96Firebrd View Post
    davefr - As far as I know, he did not use a nitrogen purge when he did the brazing. He def did not change the filter/dryer (I'm not even sure where it is)
    This video was very popular here a couple months ago. It shows what happens when you braze without nitrogen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uP-eb8Zz08

    This crap could clog up your metering valve. In addition the non condensates that he failed to vacuum out could also freeze up and block the refrigerant metering system.

    I'd probably contact the owner of the company and complain about illegal venting, no filter/drier, no nitrogen purge and no evacuation of the refrigerant lines.

    As a minimum get them to recovery the refrigerant, add the filter/drier, evacuate the system and charge it up.

    I don't know how much oil loss is acceptable. (an ounce or two doesn't sound like a problem)

  7. #7
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    when using 410a and you find a leak you have to pull all of the refig.out for the system and rechager the system again if that was not done get ready to buy a new compressor so find a new hvac guy

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamoption1 View Post
    when using 410a and you find a leak you have to pull all of the refig.out for the system and rechager the system again if that was not done get ready to buy a new compressor so find a new hvac guy

    why do you have to pull it all out?

    and what the hell is recharger?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamoption1 View Post
    when using 410a and you find a leak you have to pull all of the refig.out for the system and rechager the system again if that was not done get ready to buy a new compressor so find a new hvac guy
    No you don't.

    You can top off R410A, the same as r22.

    From EPAtest.com:

    10. # If you have a leak from an R-410A system, does the entire charge have to be replaced, or can the system be topped off?
    Since R-410A acts very much like a single component refrigerant, any change in composition due to a leak is minimal. The system can be topped off, without removing the entire charge. There is no practical limit to the number of times a unit can be topped-off or the refrigerant recovered from a unit. However, we do recommend that all leaks be repaired before topping a system off. Excessive superheat is an indication of low charge, and the possibility of a leak in the system should be considered.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    No you don't.

    You can top off R410A, the same as r22.

    From EPAtest.com:

    10. # If you have a leak from an R-410A system, does the entire charge have to be replaced, or can the system be topped off?
    Since R-410A acts very much like a single component refrigerant, any change in composition due to a leak is minimal. The system can be topped off, without removing the entire charge. There is no practical limit to the number of times a unit can be topped-off or the refrigerant recovered from a unit. However, we do recommend that all leaks be repaired before topping a system off. Excessive superheat is an indication of low charge, and the possibility of a leak in the system should be considered.





    thanks a whole bunch....


    i was waitin for the newbie to answer that one.

  11. #11
    Well first off you got a lazy tech at best and most likely uneducated on proper service techniques. Nitro pruge is the best way to re-braze.. he should've done that.. a few ounces will not harm the system( although it should be replaced if it's possible to determine how much was lost..) Venting the gas well that's just dumb and wrong (legally).. The top off of r-410A is fine, BUT not like r-22 as r-410a is a blend. My personal approach is if more than 50% of the charge is gone I pull it at out and recharge the whole system with new gas...( Hope your tech had the jug of 410a upside down when he charged.. The filter drier should be changed any time a system is opened, especially with r-410a ans it is extremely hygroscopic... The vaccum having not been done in no way assures you the system is leak free. So start praying, you may have some compressor problems

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by t527ed View Post
    thanks a whole bunch....

    i was waitin for the newbie to answer that one.


    Next time. Tell me before I answer.
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  13. #13
    Thanks again guys for the replies.

    Based on the demonstrated level of competence I have seen from these guys, I think my plan is to leave it alone and see how it all unfolds. I am worried that it will be difficult to convince these guys they need to replace all R410a and oil as well as the filter/dryer (and do a good job!) The good news is the unit has a 10yr warranty, so if there is moisture or a lack of oil, I would expect it to fail well before 10 years of year round use (South Florida). If that happens, these guys will be installing a new compressor and I'll have to pay extra attention to make sure it's done right.

    But you guys are right, aside from warranty work, I think I am done with this company!

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