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  1. #1
    We had a hot week a couple weeks back and at some point my mom noticed the a/c wasn't working very well anymore. She made the call for service on their 14 year old Bryant, they said they would come out the next week. Turns out it was a bad fan motor in the condenser. My dad replaced that himself to get it working again. Since they already had the appointment they decided to keep it, even though the system was working, and use it to get a check up.

    Here's the scary part. I asked my mom what the tech said about their system. She said they told her it was low on charge and they had to add freon. I asked my mom "where did it go"? These guys apparently convinced my parents that over time the freon leaks out through "pores" in the metal. I said b.s., if you're low on charge it went somewhere, you have a leak and the leak needs to be fixed.

    One more thing they said that scared me was that the system was "25% low on charge". They must have vacuumed the system down and weighed it right? I doubt it. You can't know how much volume a given system has and then derive a percentage can you? Aren't they all going to be different due to line set sizes and lengths? And if it was really 25% low on charge, wouldn't that have caused other problems like coil freeze ups, as well as possibly slugged the compressor?

    I couldn't convince my parents they recieved poor service. They think it is normal for charge to just disappear over time even though I told them it a system is done right it should never need freon to be added.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Clayton,NC
    Posts
    407
    Well since the system was cooling fine until the fan went and was fine again after it was fixed I dont think this was a blow and go. I think it was not low on freon and probably has no leak. This was a Bill and Go call.The owner probably feels they can make an easy 20-30 bucks per call by "topping" off the freon on those type of calls.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,755
    You may be right or you may be wrong. Point is is your parents are happy. Why are you trying to make them unhappy?

    Communication is a funny thing. It is very possible that the tech attempted to explain to them in terms fitting to a non-tech person that systems do get or have pores in them that leak. Most old systems do. Most systems have little leaks around service valves, old and cracked joints, etc. The time spent trying to find a very small leak is too costly to the customer until that leak become bigger and tracable.

    Maybe the tech was wrong...but your parents are still happy and cool, I hope. I would not make a federal case out of this just to be right. But it does certainly give you reason to watch the system and overlook any further service if that would make you satisified.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  4. #4

    They may have recieved bad/poor service, BUT...

    ...there are several things you seem NOT to be familiar with.

    #1 Metal and braze joints do have pores. Whether they are large enough to cause problems is a different point.

    #2 Depending on the size of leak, it 'may or may not' be cost effective to fix and repair the leak. (although, I do prefer to find/repair them)

    #3 '25% low...' That can be an easy... What is the total system charge? Then if they weighed the amount (like they should have). They could easily figure out what percentage that is of the total charge. They would first have to make sure 'everything else' with the system is correct.

    #4 Line set lengths normally change the charge by oz NOT lbs.

    #5 'Low on charge causing problems...' Would all depend on conditions and run times.

    #6 'Low on charge cause slugging...' No possible way. Do you know what slugging means???

    #7 'I told them it a system is done right it should never need freon to be added...' I think this is the only thing you should assume to be correct in your post!
    (although a couple of oz in a system in 18-20 years can be achieved due to hose connecting/disconnecting)

  5. #5
    That's why I posted, to see what you opinions are. So it doesn't seem to be a big deal. I just thought 25% seemed like a lot to lose and not hurt anything.

    I'm not an hvac person, just something I'm interested in learning about even though I never plan to actually work on any equipment. I always thought when you ran low on charge you risked a coil freeze up, then you would get liquid back to the compressor and that was called slugging since you can't compress a liquid.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,755
    Maybe this will help you in your desire to understand all the possibilities.

    The condenser fan motor was bad which meant the head pressure went very high. Any leak of any size in the high side of the system would now become bigger as the increased pressure would drive out more refrigerant then would happen during normal head pressure with a properly operating condensor fan motor. Or the increased head pressure worked against the walls of the old and very thin copper and created a small leak.

    So when the tech got there he found that problem which would most likely not have been the main problem previous to the failed condensor fan motor hence no coil freezing or major loss of cooling previous to this event.

    Everything in these systems are dynamic. One failure can cause other problems in the system. When the head pressure went up the amp draw from the compressor increased which could now have set up a furture failure at the marginal contactor points or a failure at any loose wiring terminals anywhere within the system on the line voltage side.

    Or the compressor, old and loose, is now on the way out due to that extra load on the bearing, electrical winding, run capacitor, compressor terminals, etc, etc.

    So don't be surprised if a new problem arrives from this call which may show up in the next weeks or, especially, when the temperatures are the hottest and the system is under the heaviest load.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  7. #7
    That's very true, I didn't think of the head pressure magnifying any leaks that might have been there, or having even created new ones. At least now it makes sense to me, which is why I posted. Thanks!

    [Edited by dave and julie on 06-22-2005 at 03:45 PM]

  8. #8
    Now go tell your parents that you learned something today and that the company servicing the equipment could have very well been on the up and up.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,933
    Also, over time and especially after an adverse condition such as the condenser fan not operating, the system can simply change as to its function with the amount of refrigerant that is in it.

    There are many reasons for refrigerant to be low. Because weighing in of refrigerant requires that all components be perfectly matched, exact length of refrigerant lines be known and all mechanical components be operating within manufacturers specifications, I much prefer all systems be checked by superheat and subcooling.

    In other words, there could be exactly the proper amount of refrigerant in a system that the manufacturer originally required and the system charge could be off due to reasons not calculated by the manufacturer.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Richmond, Virginia
    Posts
    4,264
    Your parents 14 year old Bryant system has likely reached/or may very well be approaching it's normal life expectancy. Would you have felt better if they had coaxed your parents into spending several hundred dollars to repair a leak in this dinosaur? Sounds like they were looking out for your parents best interests to me.

    Doing this day in and day out increases a sharp technician's awareness on when to suggest investing in expensive repairs and when to take a wait and see attitude. The same rules don't always apply to each and every system. Glad to hear the system is back on line.
    There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action....Mark Twain

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,875
    No size of unit or line set info means we don't know how much charge it should have.(25% sounds alot, but not out of the ordinary).

    maybe it was 10% low and the tech stretched the truth(bad on him).

    Maybe it wasn't low at all(no way we can tell).

    Just check in with your parents once in awhile to make sure everything is ok.

    We all hope they weren't taken advantage of.

    Congrats on being children concerned about their parents welfare.

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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Gold Coast of Connecticut
    Posts
    4,578
    I have seen refrigerant blow out of schrader valves,when a condenser fan motoe goes bad.
    Aire Serv of SW Connecticut- Gas heat, dual fuel and central a/c systems installed and serviced

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Houston,Tx.
    Posts
    15,915
    My parents were a victim of a blow and go

    I was a victim of that 31 years ago and it's been costing me ever since.
    __________________________________________________ _______________________
    “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards". - Vernon Law

    "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart". - Unknown

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