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  1. #1
    We own a brand new house and our central air is covered by a two year warranty. It seems, however, that we have a refrigerant leak and we are being told by the HVAC contractor that we are responsible for paying to have it repaired ourseleves because the leak may have been caused by a drywall nail puncturing the line in our basement ceiling. (The drywall was not installed by the builder - we had our basement finished by another contractor.)

    My first question is, how likely is it that a drywall nail is causing the leak? Has anyone heard of this before?

    My second questioin is, how likely is it that the line was leaking on its own and it has nothing to do with a drywall nail?

    My last question is, I have a picture of the ceiling from before the drywall was installed. What should I be looking for in terms of a "line". There is a silver hose that runs along the joist in one picture, but it looks as if it is placed to high for a drywall nail to be able to reach it. I am wondering if this is the line?

    Thank you,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Line sets are copper with the large line insulated,usually black insulation. Copper lines will last for many many years if left undisturbed. Yes I have heard of drywall nails pucturing a line.

    How did they find the leak in the wall? How did they come to that conclusion?

  3. #3
    Hello, Thanks for your response!

    They have not come to that as a final conclusion yet - they have definitely determined there is a leak through pressure testing and they are now isolating the different areas that they can access and testing those with pressure.

    Basically, they are telling us that if they do not find a leak in the isolated areas, we are responsible for paying to get the leak fixed AND we must pay for the testing they have done so far.

    But they will be returning tomorrow with the final diagnosis and I am trying to educate myself as much as possible between now and then.

    But what I don't understand is that if they do determine the leak exsists in the area behind our drywall, how do they know for sure that we caused it? I would think that there is still a possibility that it was faulty when they installed it, so I am expecting that to be a major argument I will have to defend if they do find the leak is behind drywall.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    In a van by the river
    If the line behind the drywall is punctured from a nail or screw then the company youused to finish the basement should pay, if the leak is at a fitting i.e elbow that they brazed then they should cover it. More than likely there will not be a fitting behind the drywalled ceiling but you never know. Good luck
    ## + years in the field never made you a know-it-all This industry is far more diverse than you are

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    copper tubing does not go bad all by itself. It should be obivous once the leak is found, what caused it. The contracter that put up the drywall should be liable, thats what they carry insurance for!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Vancouver Canada
    You are going to have to bite the bullet and open up the drywall in order to see where the leak is. If it is a nail, well so be it. If it is leaking at a joint it is their responsobility. Either way in order for the air to work you will need to fix the leak.
    "Go big or Go Home"

  7. #7
    Well, unfortunately, rumor has it that the drywall contractor is in jail. So I don't know that we will have much luck getting him to pay if it is indeed a nail that punctured the tubing. We will end up with the bill, I'm sure.

    I am looking at my picture again, and it looks like there is a black line that runs up beside the steel i-beam, and if it is fastened to the inside of the i-beam, it would probably make it hard to puncture with a drywall nail.

    I guess we will wait until tomorrow to see what the final conclusion is and go from there.

    I do appreciate all the replies. I'll let you know what happens.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    copper tubing that hasnt been damaged in some way will not leak. It will leak at a joint and it will leak if a nail has been driven into it. If it had no leaks before the drywall was put up and it leaks now , they punched a hole in it

    rumor has it that the drywall contractor is in jail.
    who referred him to do your work?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    If in fact the leak is behind the drywall, somewhere.

    I'd suggest you have a new line set run, rather than opening up all the finished walls looking for the problem.

    Sounds like your gonna pay anyways and it would be cheaper just replacing the line set.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Eastern PA
    If the leak is in a horizontal run of tubing over a ceiling there will eventually be an oil stain in that spot.

    I have had drywallers miss the stud that the tubing is attached to and run a nail into the tubing. It is a pain to find if there is no evident oil stain.

    Before tearing into your walls and ceiling have the HVAC contractor isolate the lines and indoor coil at the service valve, remove the indoor coil, seal off the tubing and evacuate each line from the service valves. If a line is leaking it will be evident with this testing.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV

  11. #11
    So, they arrived this morning and found that both the coil and the line behind the wall lost pressure last night. Looks like there are multiple leaks.

    We actually don't know that the damage occured after the drywall went in... our basement was finished in November and we had not used the AC before that - the house was only finished a month prior.

    So at this point there is no way we are allowing them to tell us that one default is on them and the other is on us. The builder is Lennar and the HVAC contractor will have to just pick up the whole bill at this point or settle it with Lennar somehow.

  12. #12
    Sorry - I meant, one "defect" not "default".

    To answer the question about the contractor that did the drywall - he was the framing foreman for the framing company that was subcontracted by the builder. We had known him quite well through the building of our home and he had finished three other basements in our neighborhood before ours. His current situation has to do with personal issues. We always found that his work was always top notch as was his work ethic. But I think he's fallen on some rough times right now.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Zelienople, Pa
    The only way you're going to know what happened is to open up the walls.
    No way around that! Sorry...
    How tall are you Private???!!!!

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