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  1. #1
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    How slow is my R-22 leak? Dangerous?

    Iíve written before about my system not cooling like it used to. AC running all day and barely keeping up even tho last year a tech said my charge was fine. Been going on for a couple of years now at least.

    Today saw a tech at my neighbor recharging And called him over bc I was sure it had to be a charge problem. He said I was low about 2-3 pounds. I take R-22. Filled it up but mentioned system was running inefficient and I know it needs changing soon. Much much cooler now. Not freezing but better.

    Question is I know I must have a slow leak to have been low but considering Iíve maybe recharged once in 10 years if that (canít remember now) and it was only about 2-3 pounds down in a 3 ton system with an average pipe run from compressor to unit,
    A) how slow is this leak? If it was significant wouldnít it all have been gone by now?
    B) does a fully recharged system leak faster in the beginning since thereís more internal pressure?
    C) assuming the leak is inside probably evap coils how dangerous is R-22 leaking into house at the rate I mentioned. I guess in other words I want to know if itís possible 2-3 pounds worth would leak into house within a few days and leave the rest in the system bc of lower pressure. If Iím not being clear in my questions please let me know and Iíll clarify. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    How fast is it leaking? How long is a while?

    How do you know that the leak hasn't gotten worse? How much has the compressor been damaged while running low on refrigerant and not having proper oil return?
    Bob Boan


    ​You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.

  3. #3
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    Well Iím not really sure if anything except for a few years now my AC has gotten less efficient and struggles to cool the house especially during the day. At night the air out of the vents is definitely cooler than during the day hours. This recharge has definitely made a significant difference but I do feel like 10 years ago when I first had this compressor replaced my house would get much colder much quicker. Again he put in about 3 pounds he said. If I ever recharged this for whatever reason it wouldíve been at least 5-6 years ago. So either in 10 years or 5-6 years I lost about 3 pounds of r22. And it hasnít been cooling well for years so it mustíve started a while ago. I guess from what youíre saying leaks can get worse so is it possible that I lost 3 pounds over a few years but might lose that same three much quicker now? Also if the leak were big wouldnít I have lost all refrigerant by now?

  4. #4
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    There could be any of several other things that would cause the system to operate less efficiently than it should. Low on refrigerant charge is only one.

  5. #5
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    How dangerous

    They banned itís production and import.

    Time to look at replacement options.

  6. #6
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    It is difficult to quantify a leak without knowing its vital signs at previous points and comparing it to now. It could be a day, week, month or year until the charge loss will be noticable.
    I am unaware of any studies that indicate refrigerant leakage is dangerous in the home.

    Time will tell. I would put some stimulus money away for the system replacement fund which sounds like it a near event

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  8. #7
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    Definately hard on the wallet. Not only is r22 expensive but the performance/efficiency degrades as it begins the loss process. It could have developed other leaks.

  9. #8
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    R-22 is not toxic. The only condition under which it is dangerous is if so much leaks that it displaces the air needed for breathing. Residential systems don't contain enough refrigerant to pose a threat in a house. That usually only happens in a sealed mechanical room of a commercial facility. I know of no instances that it has happened in a residence.
    AOP Rules: Rules For Equipment Owners.

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fliks View Post
    Definately hard on the wallet. Not only is r22 expensive but the performance/efficiency degrades as it begins the loss process. It could have developed other leaks.
    That system has probably reached it life expectancies anyway 15 years.
    Replace it.

  11. #10
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    Ok thank you for your responses. Monetarily I can always figure it out whether to keep it going another year or replace but I was just concerned about possible leakage into the house as I didnít want it to be a carbon monoxide type situation. On a side note the guy who charged the system said a month ago they were giving units away. He was doing them at almost half price. Crazy.
    Just one more thing and donít jump down my throat if itís a horrible idea but assuming I canít change AC unit for at least a year, I know there are places I can purchase R-22 canisters for a decent price. Would it be a good idea to pick one up knowing theyíre going extinct and DEFINTELY have a tech come and charge it when needed? I would never do that myself.

  12. #11
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    It's illegal for someone to sell it to you if you don't have an EPA certification.

    Personally, I would not put in refrigerant that I didn't sell. That would be like someone buying a dozen roses at the grocery store and going to the florist and asking them to put them in a nice floral arrangement for a couple of bucks.
    Bob Boan


    ​You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.

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