I noticed my 13 year old Lennox heat pump cooling less this summer despite my regular maintenance (filters, cleaning of both coils, etc). I asked a local HVAC firm (highly recommended by my coworkers) to come over and see it. The added 2 lbs of R22 and diagnosed evaporator leak (I paid the service charge $$$). I was left with estimates for new system or new air handler. Both $$$$. They declined to repair the coil leak nor they told me how fast the leak is.
I bought a freon leak detector on ebay ($$) and found 2 slow leaks near TXV (took a while to find it and no bubbles with regular soap). See arrows and circles on the images.
Is this something reparable, or do I really need the $$$$ new unit?
How do I convince HVAC contractor to repair rather than replace? Everyone seem to only replace things these days.
I'm concerned that the new units are full of parts made in China and not as reliable as old ones. Case in point: I replaced only 2 contactors and one capacitor in 2 Lennox heat pumps in 13 years, the brand new contactor (made in china) failed after only 6 months (coil burned and shorted)!
I know that the new units are more efficient, but its only $230 difference a year for me according to my calculation.