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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    23

    Does our coil have a leak?

    We purchased a house in 2010. The A/C was working fine, but during day time in hot summer, the upstairs unit can't keep the upstairs below 80 while the downstairs unit can keep the downstairs at 78 degree without any issue. The upstairs was too hot (80 degree) even though it can keep the house at 78 at night time or when there is no sun light outside. So we called in a A/C technician and he checked out everything and he said that the attic is too hot. He recommended the install of the attic fan. But I asked around and my neighbor said that the house has good ventilation and enough insulation. Anyway, I did not do any further action due to some family issues.

    Today, I brought a A/C tech from the company who installed the A/C originally. First, he said that everything seems to be working fine because the A/C was able to reach 79/80 degree as he changed the thermostat; it was 12:10 p.m. and outside temp was about 91-92. And he went outside and checked the freon level. He said that both of the units are low on freeon. And most likely, the evaporator coils are leaking. I asked him if there is any possibility that something else is wrong. But he does not see any leak and wants to open up the coil, but I asked him not to do it yet. In the past, one guy opened up the coil and created the leak because he sprung the coil. I wanted to be more careful before I allowed him to do anything he wanted. And the guy wanted the extra money to do the leak detection. If he is sure about the problem, I would like to save the money to pay for the coils...

    Anyway, after he recharged the Freon, the upstairs unit can keep the house around 77/78. That is good news. the Freon was low for some reason. He quoted me $$$$ for the replacement of the coils. I am glad that this is not ventilation issue, but I may have to do something to address the freon issue.

    1. Both of the units are a little over 5 years old. Warranty has expired for both of the units. But how can both of the units have leaks at the same time. If one unit has leak and other other does not have a leak, I would believe it.

    2. Last year, the best temperature it was able to keep was 80 degree in hot summer day. This year, it can do the same thing. But at night, the cool air comes from both of the units. If there was a leak, why does the A/C show the same performance this year?

    3. Is there a way I can check the leak of the coils without opening up the unit? I know that there is a detector. I can purchase it, but can I put that it on the return vent and have the same result? The coil has a tube coming out. It has a huge gab. If I stick it in the detector into it...can I detect the leak?

    4. Is there any possibility that Freon was low from the beginning of this house? A/C seems to be working fine except it could not cool the house during hot days (94 or higher) outside.

    I want to give more thoughts on this issue before I commit myself to any big purchases. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    568
    Quote Originally Posted by glee314 View Post
    We purchased a house in 2010. The A/C was working fine, but during day time in hot summer, the upstairs unit can't keep the upstairs below 80 while the downstairs unit can keep the downstairs at 78 degree without any issue. The upstairs was too hot (80 degree) even though it can keep the house at 78 at night time or when there is no sun light outside. So we called in a A/C technician and he checked out everything and he said that the attic is too hot. He recommended the install of the attic fan. But I asked around and my neighbor said that the house has good ventilation and enough insulation. Anyway, I did not do any further action due to some family issues.

    Today, I brought a A/C tech from the company who installed the A/C originally. First, he said that everything seems to be working fine because the A/C was able to reach 79/80 degree as he changed the thermostat; it was 12:10 p.m. and outside temp was about 91-92. And he went outside and checked the freon level. He said that both of the units are low on freeon. And most likely, the evaporator coils are leaking. I asked him if there is any possibility that something else is wrong. But he does not see any leak and wants to open up the coil, but I asked him not to do it yet. In the past, one guy opened up the coil and created the leak because he sprung the coil. I wanted to be more careful before I allowed him to do anything he wanted. And the guy wanted the extra money to do the leak detection. If he is sure about the problem, I would like to save the money to pay for the coils...

    Anyway, after he recharged the Freon, the upstairs unit can keep the house around 77/78. That is good news. the Freon was low for some reason. He quoted me $$$$ for the replacement of the coils. I am glad that this is not ventilation issue, but I may have to do something to address the freon issue.

    1. Both of the units are a little over 5 years old. Warranty has expired for both of the units. But how can both of the units have leaks at the same time. If one unit has leak and other other does not have a leak, I would believe it.

    2. Last year, the best temperature it was able to keep was 80 degree in hot summer day. This year, it can do the same thing. But at night, the cool air comes from both of the units. If there was a leak, why does the A/C show the same performance this year?

    3. Is there a way I can check the leak of the coils without opening up the unit? I know that there is a detector. I can purchase it, but can I put that it on the return vent and have the same result? The coil has a tube coming out. It has a huge gab. If I stick it in the detector into it...can I detect the leak?

    4. Is there any possibility that Freon was low from the beginning of this house? A/C seems to be working fine except it could not cool the house during hot days (94 or higher) outside.

    I want to give more thoughts on this issue before I commit myself to any big purchases. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
    anything is possible, you really need a tech with exp. and someone you're confident to properly ck. out your units, sometimes a tech has to give a h/o bad news.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    sfv california
    Posts
    99
    Quote Originally Posted by glee314 View Post
    We purchased a house in 2010. The A/C was working fine, but during day time in hot summer, the upstairs unit can't keep the upstairs below 80 while the downstairs unit can keep the downstairs at 78 degree without any issue. The upstairs was too hot (80 degree) even though it can keep the house at 78 at night time or when there is no sun light outside. So we called in a A/C technician and he checked out everything and he said that the attic is too hot. He recommended the install of the attic fan. But I asked around and my neighbor said that the house has good ventilation and enough insulation. Anyway, I did not do any further action due to some family issues.

    Today, I brought a A/C tech from the company who installed the A/C originally. First, he said that everything seems to be working fine because the A/C was able to reach 79/80 degree as he changed the thermostat; it was 12:10 p.m. and outside temp was about 91-92. And he went outside and checked the freon level. He said that both of the units are low on freeon. And most likely, the evaporator coils are leaking. I asked him if there is any possibility that something else is wrong. But he does not see any leak and wants to open up the coil, but I asked him not to do it yet. In the past, one guy opened up the coil and created the leak because he sprung the coil. I wanted to be more careful before I allowed him to do anything he wanted. And the guy wanted the extra money to do the leak detection. If he is sure about the problem, I would like to save the money to pay for the coils...

    Anyway, after he recharged the Freon, the upstairs unit can keep the house around 77/78. That is good news. the Freon was low for some reason. He quoted me $$$$ for the replacement of the coils. I am glad that this is not ventilation issue, but I may have to do something to address the freon issue.

    1. Both of the units are a little over 5 years old. Warranty has expired for both of the units. But how can both of the units have leaks at the same time. If one unit has leak and other other does not have a leak, I would believe it.

    2. Last year, the best temperature it was able to keep was 80 degree in hot summer day. This year, it can do the same thing. But at night, the cool air comes from both of the units. If there was a leak, why does the A/C show the same performance this year?

    3. Is there a way I can check the leak of the coils without opening up the unit? I know that there is a detector. I can purchase it, but can I put that it on the return vent and have the same result? The coil has a tube coming out. It has a huge gab. If I stick it in the detector into it...can I detect the leak?

    4. Is there any possibility that Freon was low from the beginning of this house? A/C seems to be working fine except it could not cool the house during hot days (94 or higher) outside.

    I want to give more thoughts on this issue before I commit myself to any big purchases. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
    why use the same guys tha tinstalled these "leaky coils" in the first place? its not there fault if manufactuers parts leak for sure but many systems are under charged from the get go. u need paperwork stating all ur operating temps and pressures outdoor ambient, subcooling if txv is used, superheat and temperature difference, then get a planned maintenance agreement with a reputable company. if system is working fine now great but document its history and then make an informed decision when more trouble arises

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    23
    jrpsimivalley,

    Do you mean that there is a possibility that the units were under charged, right?

    Now, the system units are working fine. It spits a little cooler air. I am kind of thinking to wait until next year to see if Freon gets low again. if Freon leak happens, there is definitely a leak. Then, I can get it fixed next year. what do you think?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    114
    I would axe your neighbor what you should do, since he is an expert.
    Bob O. 84,Pa.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    2,701
    Quote Originally Posted by glee314 View Post
    We purchased a house in 2010. The A/C was working fine, but during day time in hot summer, the upstairs unit can't keep the upstairs below 80 while the downstairs unit can keep the downstairs at 78 degree without any issue. The upstairs was too hot (80 degree) even though it can keep the house at 78 at night time or when there is no sun light outside. So we called in a A/C technician and he checked out everything and he said that the attic is too hot. He recommended the install of the attic fan. But I asked around and my neighbor said that the house has good ventilation and enough insulation. Anyway, I did not do any further action due to some family issues.

    Today, I brought a A/C tech from the company who installed the A/C originally. First, he said that everything seems to be working fine because the A/C was able to reach 79/80 degree as he changed the thermostat; it was 12:10 p.m. and outside temp was about 91-92. And he went outside and checked the freon level. He said that both of the units are low on freeon. And most likely, the evaporator coils are leaking. I asked him if there is any possibility that something else is wrong. But he does not see any leak and wants to open up the coil, but I asked him not to do it yet. In the past, one guy opened up the coil and created the leak because he sprung the coil. I wanted to be more careful before I allowed him to do anything he wanted. And the guy wanted the extra money to do the leak detection. If he is sure about the problem, I would like to save the money to pay for the coils...

    Finding the leak site is important. I don't know what sprung the coil means but a tech needs to access the equipment to determine what's wrong....like taking your car to a mechanic and telling him not to open the hood. Right now you don't know where a leak is.

    Anyway, after he recharged the Freon, the upstairs unit can keep the house around 77/78. That is good news. the Freon was low for some reason. He quoted me $$$$ for the replacement of the coils. I am glad that this is not ventilation issue, but I may have to do something to address the freon issue.

    1. Both of the units are a little over 5 years old. Warranty has expired for both of the units. But how can both of the units have leaks at the same time. If one unit has leak and other other does not have a leak, I would believe it.

    Leaks can happen anytime, I had a customer with 3 system in his house, found leaks on 2 of the systems...it was pretty obvious since he was a service agreement customer and I check his systems every year

    2. Last year, the best temperature it was able to keep was 80 degree in hot summer day. This year, it can do the same thing. But at night, the cool air comes from both of the units. If there was a leak, why does the A/C show the same performance this year?

    3. Is there a way I can check the leak of the coils without opening up the unit? I know that there is a detector. I can purchase it, but can I put that it on the return vent and have the same result? The coil has a tube coming out. It has a huge gab. If I stick it in the detector into it...can I detect the leak? See above. No..find the leak...Like I said above...do you take your car to a mechanic and not let him open the hood?

    4. Is there any possibility that Freon was low from the beginning of this house? A/C seems to be working fine except it could not cool the house during hot days (94 or higher) outside. Possible, but we would know for sure if you let the tech actually find the leak

    I want to give more thoughts on this issue before I commit myself to any big purchases. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.
    Comments above in red.
    It's not the Brand with the fewest repairs-It's all in the install!!! Attention to detail and using the best materials!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    203
    Get a leak check if you have leaks get them fixed, running the unit low on refrigerant can cause damage to the compressor it's the refrigerant that cools the winding of the compressor.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    2,701
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthTex View Post
    Get a leak check if you have leaks get them fixed, running the unit low on refrigerant can cause damage to the compressor it's the refrigerant that cools the winding of the compressor.
    It's not the Brand with the fewest repairs-It's all in the install!!! Attention to detail and using the best materials!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    2,862
    Indoor coil leaks have become rampant in our business in the last 5 years or so. Of course there's no way to be sure without seeing the leak or doing a leak test but its a common assumption of a lot of techs including myself when a system is low on gas that's five years old. It sounds like the last guy was on target but you didn't want to pay the extra cost for him to verify it with a leak test. There's really is no clear answer because it all comes down to cost & comfort & that's impossible to know from here. If the unit was never charged properly from the start then you made a great decision, if its leaking badly you'll find out soon enough & if its a slow leak then you may have the same problem next year or so. How much it effects your light bill or shortens the life of your compressor is another unknown factor to consider. I don't see anything wrong with the "wait & see" approach as long as you're aware that sometimes you win & sometimes you lose.
    Gary
    -----------
    http://www.oceanhvac.com
    An engineer designs what he would never work on.
    A technician works on what he would never design.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    23
    in 2010, the guy from a reputable A/C company said that there is nothing wrong with the system. He checked the Freon level and other things like Freon level. He concluded that the attic temperature may be really hot and recommended to install an attic fan. In 2010, the A/C had the same problem. It seemed to be running fine and had a hart time only when the outside temperature reached 95 or higher in a sunny day. At that time, the parts were under warranty.

    This time, I called in a different guy from the company who installed the system. He found out that Freon level is low. But he concluded that there is a leak. I understand why he concluded that, but he also should told me about the possibility that Freon level is low from the beginning. In our neighborhood, they replaced Carrier evaporator coils for a lot of homes because the copper coils were faulty. I was told that manufacturers paid for that. But our coil is not Carrier; Superior coils. It is not part of the problem.

    Gathering all the replies here, my coils don't have any leak or it may have a really tiny leaks. Of course, they may get bigger, but at this moment, they seem like small ones. Seems like it can hold ...actually, Puron....for a long time.....Otherwise, the A/C would not have been able to keep the house at 80 degree for the last two years.

    The cost of replacing the coils is about 1/3 of replacing the entire A/C units. And even though I replace the coils, it does not mean that I would not have leaks within five years. The bulk of the cost of replacing the coils is labor, not parts. Usually, labor is 1 year warranty. For whatever reason, if the new coils fail after one year warranty, I end up paying pretty much the same amount of money to replace the coils again.

    Considering the coils fail every five years, it is cheaper to recharge the coils every spring. Of course, it assumes that the coil leaks are tiny and they don't get bigger. And I already paid for the recharge of the Puron. At least, I can wait until next year or, I have enough time to shop for the parts/labors for the replace of the coils.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,804
    Leaks happen every day for a multitude of reasons and not always in the indoor coil. That said, I would let it ride until next season, if you experience the same problem, call the same company that charged it this year. If it's low, have him find the leak(s). Changing the A coil(s) without actually identifying the actual leak would be foolish.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Mt Pleasant SC
    Posts
    2
    We all know freon is a commodity so get it fixed and put the freon in early - prices seem to always rise

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    North East Ohio
    Posts
    742
    Quote Originally Posted by heaterman View Post
    Leaks happen every day for a multitude of reasons and not always in the indoor coil. That said, I would let it ride until next season, if you experience the same problem, call the same company that charged it this year. If it's low, have him find the leak(s). Changing the A coil(s) without actually identifying the actual leak would be foolish.

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