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  1. #1
    I have a Trane residential unit that is about 2 years old. Two of the copper tubes in the heat pump had been in contact, rubbing together. Over time, they abraded each other until a small leak started.

    I want to silver solder the leak but not sure if I have to evacuate the system first. Can't think of any other way to repair except replace the section of copper tubing, which definitely requires evacuation. I would like to avoid that if possible.

    Want to try to do it myself to avoid $550 charge the serviceman is quoting. Seems high for such a simple repair. Wasn't sure if the freon is flamable.

    Can I solder without evacuating coolant? Any other suggestions for repairs?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Fort Worth, TX
    The pro's price reflects refrigerant recovery and expertise to repair the leak, evacuate the system, and restore the charge to the proper level. Oh yeah, and nitrogen.

    By your words, if you proceed as you are, that x amount of dollars the pro wants to charge will by comparison become chump change.

    Put away your tools and have the pro return to your home.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.

    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Above is a search for information on phosgene gas. Please educate yourself on this, then call a qualified professional to do the job correctly and safely. Your life and health is not worth the money saved by doing it yourself.

    Also, I'm not trying to be rude here, but you may want to read a site's rules (no DIY) before posting.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Price is not that bad get a couple more quotes if you feel uncomfortable about it, but please don't try it yourself it could be very dangerous, were are you located?
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    San Luis Obispo County, CA
    By law, you can not attempt this repair. There is a $27,500.00 fine for a non EPA certified person to do anything that could possibly allow refrigerant to escape into the atmosphere. There is also a $10,000.00 bounty for turning in violaters. And oh yes, they do prosecute homeowners.

    So like was said earlier... Where do you live? I could use the money.

    Your tech has to do a lot more than just solder up the leak. He has to recover any refrigerant still in the system.

    He has to repair the leak, and the best way would be to replace the sections of tubing that have worn. Even if they aren't leaking, the wall thickness has been reduced by friction.

    The filter dryer should be replaced

    System should be pressurized with nitrogen and inspected for any other leaks.

    Finally the proper charge should be installed and the system tested.

    When he is done, you will have had an envirnmentally friendly repair done, the system should be back to standards, and you will have a warranty on the repair.

    Plus, you won't be appearing in Federal court.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Tampa, Florida
    The failure occured INSIDE the heat pump? Might be a warranty claim there, in which case you'd pay little to none of the cost depending on what sort of warranty your equipment has.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    The ffreon becomes toxic when exposed to a flame, so yes it must be recovered first.

    Silver solder to patch a hole isn't a good choice.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Jacksonville, FL.

    All of the above &....

    it's really, really difficult (if not impossible) to plug a hole with silver solder while there's still pressure in the system.

    Phosgene gas could also make the experience unpleasant.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Not to mention the carbon and acid that will be formed in the system from the high heat of brazing or soldering with refrigerant in the line. If you do it yourself without recovering the refrigerant you will be buying a new system in the very near future Call around a few more places and get some more quotes, but the price doesn't sound unreasonable to me, especially if they charge the unit with virgin refrigerant. Good luck in your quest, but please for your own safety and the safety of the sytem don't do it yourself.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Richmond, Virginia
    Don't forget to get the entire system into a 500 micron holding vacuum before weighing in the new refrigerant. Refrigerant leak repair.. $XXX.XX Knowing your system has been professionally repaired and operating at peak performance? Priceless.
    There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action....Mark Twain

  11. #11
    Wow......this exact same thing happened to one of my heat pumps, a 1.5 ton unit about 4 years ago. We had noticed that the system had quit cooling and was freezing up. HVAC tech came out, started putting R-22 in it and inside the outside unit, you could hear the leak. Traced it down to one of the small capillary tubes that had vibrated and rubbed up against the one right next to it. Couldn't evacuate the system like you're supposed to, was leaking out faster than you could hook up recovery equipment.

    Let the pressure drop, he soldered the hole in the tube, pressure checked the system and re-filled with R-22, cranked her back up and she's still working today with no troubles...Guess I was lucky from the sounds of it. And it didn't cost me $500. Service Call, $75.00, R-22, $10.00. Working AC Priceless.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    There is a simple way to do the repair and how to go about it we just can't tell you step by step on how to do it, if you call in a tech I don't think it will cost you as much as you said, but if you fool around with and not know what your doing it could cost you alot..
    Might want to think about it before trying to fix it yourself.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Originally posted by georgiaho

    he soldered the hole in the tube, pressure checked the system and re-filled with R-22, cranked her back up and she's still working today with no troubles...Guess I was lucky from the sounds of it. And it didn't cost me $500. Service Call, $75.00, R-22, $10.00. Working AC Priceless.

    did he pull a vacuum? if not there is moisture in your system which will cause premature failure. it might not be today but it will be one day in the future.

    could you provide the name of the repairman. i need some cheap r-22.

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