Hello! I am a homeowner with a really tough problem involving a 3 1/2 year old Goodman/Janitrol system that nobody seems to know how to fix. I'm heading into my second month with no A/C here in the Wash. DC area, so your opinions and feedback about this situation would be greatly appreciated.
I'll try be as brief as possible:
On June 1 I turned on my A/C for the first time this season. After a few hours I noticed the house got warmer because I closed all the windows only to discover that the A/C was running but not cooling. To make a long story short I found out that the evaporator coil has sprung a leak so the system lost all it's freon. I had a friend who was visiting from SC help me find the leak using Nitrogen. (My friend owns a Electrical Contracting Co. and has now started doing some A/C repair work so he had some A/C repair tools with him in his truck). It was very easy to find: the leak was in one of the six capillary tubes in front of the coil and we found the leak because it was sitting in the condensate water bubbling away. At first we thought it could just be brazed but I was later told (by local A/C service companies) that doing so would diminish the coil's cooling capacity. Since the system has a 5 yr. warrantee on parts it was suggested that I might as well get the coil replaced.
After several weeks of misery I finally found a local A/C company here who was willing to get a replacement coil from Goodman under my warrantee. I paid for the labor to have the coil put in, and thought that I would soon have A/C again. No such luck...
After the coil was put in the service tech proceeded to purge the system. (He also added a line drier which seemed like a prudent thing to do). After nearly an hour the vacuum pump still had not been able to get below 1000 microns and in fact the pressure started to go back up! The tech. replace the pump's oil but at the end of the day he said he would just have to come back with a new pump and more oil. He did recharge the system with freon but when I ran the A/C for nearly 12 hours the house only cooled to 79 deg. over night.
The next day we started again to try to pump down the system, (after reclaiming the freon of course). Again after an hour of pumping the system still would not drop below 1050 micron. He put nitrogen on the system and pumped it up to at least 150 psig to look for possibly another leak but found none. The technician was also continuously changing out his pump oil. I asked he why he was doing that and he said it was because the oil was being contaminated with moisture; he said it was easy to see since the oil starts off as a light golden color and then turns a milky white color once it's contaminated. The oil being contaminated is also the reason why the pressure starts to go back up after a while.
Well we did this for nearly five hours. The tech. pumped up the system twice with Nitrogen, and went through nearly 2 gal of pump oil, but we were never able to get below 970 microns. Before you ask, yes we checked the pump's lines for leaks, and several other places by closing the valves on the manifold, and the vacuum went down to under 100 microns. But while pumping on the whole system we could never get below 1000 microns apparently because there is a lot of moisture in the system.
The technician eventually gave up trying to pump down the system and just recharged it. The A/C does seem to work a little better than before but after just a few hours the coolant gas return hovers in the mid 60 deg. F. range (it's supposed to be in the mid to low 50 deg. F range I was told). Even worse, after about three or four hours the compressor starts to make a very loud hum that is significantly different than it's usual operating sound, and finally the compressor/condenser trips my 40A circuit breaker. I have not run the system since.
The company that "fixed" my system says that I have water in my compressor and/or condenser but that they can't get it out so they say that I need to replace the entire unit. Unfortunately they won't go to Goodman to get a new unit under my warrantee so I'm stuck now with no A/C and a labor bill that accomplished nothing. I called Goodman customer service and they say its up to the repair company to work with Goodman to diagnose what to do next. This is now just adding insult to injury.
The bottom line is this: It seems fairly obvious that when the coil leaked out all its freon the system then pulled in the water that the capillary tube was sitting in (stupid design) which then contaminated my condenser and probably my compressor. This water contamination is probably significant which might explain why the system can't be pumped down, and also why the compressor makes a lot of noise and eventually overloads the circuit because its struggling to compress water vapor and not freon.
So what can I do about this? Can the water contamination be removed or do I have to replace the condenser and compressor? Is there now water contamination everywhere in the system including the new evaporator coil so the whole bleeping system is now shot? Even if I have to buy a new compressor and condenser, would it be worth it to put more money into this Goodman/Janitrash system, or just get a whole new system from Carrier or Lenox?
Thank you very much for reading this sad story, and thanks in advance for your help!!