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Thread: I'm not Proud to do this...but customer could not afford new system or coil.

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Core_d View Post
    I had a carrier Evap coil like that. 15 ton air handler four to five rows deep. First time I got there it was practically dry and put in three sticks of leak stop and charged it up. Anyway it didn’t work and it was very easy to find with the H 10. Could not make bubbles. I was picking up the leak around the tube sheets but figured it may have been in the middle of a tube and was traveling under the nickel coating.

    I wasn’t so much concerned about the cost of the coil for the customers sake but was more concerned about the wait time. Carrier did not have the coil sitting on a shelf and would not have one until they did a factory run something like four months out and it was cool in a office along with some warehouse space


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I have been known to (shamelessly) bypass leaking sections of condenser coils.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

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  3. #22
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    I've done that a handful of times. Do what you gotta do to save the day.


    Quote Originally Posted by shellkamp View Post
    I have been known to (shamelessly) bypass leaking sections of condenser coils.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

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  5. #23
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    UV dye is my best friend, it shows you everything, of course, next to using bubbles...I never get an argument from clients..

  6. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unlimited1 View Post
    UV dye is my best friend, it shows you everything, of course, next to using bubbles...I never get an argument from clients..
    Dye is for guys that can't find leaks...If you can't find a leak, you haven't spent enough time looking.
    Officially, Down for the count

    YOU HAVE TO GET OFF YOUR ASS TO GET ON YOUR FEET

    I know enough to know, I don't know enough
    Why is it that those who complain the most contribute the least?
    MONEY CAN'T BUY HAPPINESS. POVERTY CAN'T BUY ANYTHING

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  8. #25
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    You mean wasting time????? the UV dye confirms the leak and the sale is instant! I have gone behind many others after they "repaired the leak" to find out there was another one...

  9. #26
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    I was working for a company one time and got sent out to do the PM's on a gang of modestly large RTU's. I found one slightly low on charge and topped it off. Realizing how unlikely it was that someone had stolen the missing refrigerant, after the PM work on all the units was done, I went looking for the leak. I found it at a tube sheet - pretty seriously bubbling.

    I ran into some senior management person down in the building, said that I had found a leak - would he authorize that unit's repair attempt. He verified with me exactly which unit it was, got my best guess as to whether or not I could do it, and then gave the OK.

    "You don't have to call your office - I'll take care of it son."

    So I get out my best young-hot-dog bag-of-tricks, suck all the refrigerant into other units until their HP is maxed and manage to save most of it, before surgically dissecting the tube sheet and tubes. Sil Phos the leaks, and suck the refrigerant back from the other units. Before the end of the day I am proudly done.

    Later I find that others in my company had been charging this unit every few weeks - 'to keep them going' - while the custom replacement coil was being fabricated. The quote was maybe $25K. My boss had sold the job by convincing the customer that there was no other option - a leak like that is impossible to repair. My Boss was Not Happy when he got the news that the customer was cancelling the PO. <g>

    To his credit that management guy said if I got fired he would cancel the entire contract with my boss's company. He and I were friends for years after that - and he sent me A Ton of work when I started my own company.

    PHM
    -----------


    Quote Originally Posted by BBeerme View Post
    Couple of weeks ago I saw a refer leak on a condenser coil on an Intellipak, oil running down from midway in the coil. Got that building maybe a year ago. My first time there doing a PM. I do a quote for three hours just to determine if it was repairable.

    That may sound like a lot of time to some, just to determine if it was repairable, but it's probably a few grand to replace that coil. And you've got travel time, time to check in and out with tenant, packing equipment to and from the roof, then doing all of the paperwork.

    As it turned out, it took the full three hours.

    Now keep in mind, I learned early on how important a leak check and repair is, and I got very good at it. And I almost never condemn a piece of equipment, repairs are cheaper and last a long time when done properly.

    So, on this unit, verified a current leak with my H-10. But for the life of me, couldn't locate it with the soap bubbles. For those of that don't know what Intellipak is, the condenser coil is in the order of something like 6' x 8' feet and three or four tube passes deep.

    Anyway, the coil was repaired in that same spot by the previous contractor, so fins already cut/ripped away.

    Just couldn't pin point the leak, had to be on an inner pass that I couldn't get my mirror to. So, if I can't get my mirror to it, no way the torch is going in there.

    Then it took me almost an hour just to do the paper work. Why? Because I couldn't figure out how to get the old coil out, and the new coil in. Well, that's not entirely correct, taking things apart is easy. But how to get it back together? And how many men?

    I've replaced a few of those before, but this one was different. I eventually figured it out. Instead of going up through the top like the others, there's just a few screws, and it slides out the side. It'll be a bit tricky with the crane, but definitely doable.

    Put a note in the write up that if I'm not on that job, the man hours [and other potential problems] would go way over the quote.

    Bottom line, if I could have repaired that coil, I would have. We as a company would have made less, but as a service to the customer, it would have been the right thing to do. And as a side note, I absolutely know when I make a diagnoses like that, if they call for a second opinion, I am 100% covered.
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of Thinking

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  11. #27
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Unlimited1 View Post
    UV dye is my best friend, it shows you everything, of course, next to using bubbles...I never get an argument from clients..
    I would use the uv dye alot when I was new in the field. But later on and after a few messy dye situations I stopped using the dye. Now just my leak detector and big blue. If system last until end of summer after a refill then I will do isolation tests as that's the most guarantee way in finding a leak ; especially a stubborn one.
    wHen I diE I hOpe gOd haS mErcy oN my SiNful LifE

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  13. #28
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    UV Dye

    I am a huge fan of low loss hoses and fittings along with 4 port manifolds Been using them for years..I keep my LL “dye” hose separate. I also use the microfiber rags with gloves. I connect my dye hose to the manifold and open the 4th port. I inject the amount needed into the hose then close the 4th port(large vacuum port). With hoses connected. I crack the low side then shut it. I then pre purge the dye hose quickly at the manifold with the microfiber. Now I’m ready to add a small amount of refrigerant behind the dye.

    I have had those incidents with dye as well with regular hoses. One time a high side regular hose blew on me because of an internal failure. All I remember hearing was a loud pop. That was not a good day.

    I will tell you this....if anyone has ever worked on a multi level daikin pancake AH, 4 way ceiling cassette or mini split wall mount head unit. There is no such thing as just 1 leak...there are many “pinholes” in these things.

    Even a regular A coil I have seen multiple pinholes in. I have been able to see the “spray” of UV behind the coil where it’s not possible to remove it for inspection..

    I have found multiple pin holes in the Tempstar CU not 1 not 2 but 3 of them because of the bad batch copper inside the fins for the 410a units..The reports was always no leak found at the evap....

    Weld joints at the line set? Yep! Over cooked king valves ? Yep!

    I even found a leak coming out of a 3 phase electrical pin on a compressor that was only 6 months old..the UV dye in the oil was coming slowly down the front

    New hoshizaki Ice Machine with remote condenser? Yep! The pinhole was at a factory weld at the copper into the female brass connector

    All found by using the UV dye! And found under 15 minutes. In the commercial Division, especially when things get busy. You do not have that time to scan for leaks..I deal with clients that are very demanding. Nothing feels better than taking a photo or multiple pictures as proof to them.

    Picture being on call and it’s very late on a Friday a call comes in, where another “tech” just finished a leak search and repair that morning. It cools a District Managers Office! You don’t tell them I’ll be there tomorrow. The other tech who “fixed”!it is not responding to calls..it very common to pressure test with nitrogen, this was not done. Nor was a micron gauge used...How do I know? UV dye was still at 2 other spider cap tubes caused by a rub through 2” away from the repair...apparently when it got moved to fix the 1 repair it became a much larger leak.

    So now I’m out till 2am writing up paperwork using “politically correct “ terminology for justified “company” losses.

    Maybe a few here will understand exactly what I wrote and experienced it. 5 hours of sleep is no fun when on call..
    Last edited by Unlimited1; 04-03-2020 at 02:00 AM. Reason: Better component descriptions

  14. #29
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    with larger thick coils, If I can't get to the leak deep in the tube sheet, I will identify which tube is leaking, then cut it at each end, and bypass that tube.

    most recent one was a large air cooled chiller.....they couldn't afford to be down, and didn't want to replace the entire coil.

    I get asked a lot if something is possible. I tell my customers: "With enough time and money, ANYTHING is possible! How far do you want to go!?"


    as far as the OP, I see nothing wrong with that repair. If I feel I'm capable of repairing something like that, I couldn't sleep at night selling that person a new unit.

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  16. #30
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    I remember back in the dark ages when I was in my youth I found an air handler in a closet with a leaky coil, old early 80's Trane unit. The only way to get to the coil was to remove the unit. The boss and I went out, pulled the unit and took it back to the shop. I pulled the coil and submerged it in water locating over a half dozen leaks. I repaired all the leaks located and retested, no leaks. I put the unit back together and we went back and installed it, charged the system and all was good . . . for about 6 months. We get a call, high electric bill. I find the system low on refrigerant, multiple leaks, different places from before, on the same coil that was repaired. After that if I would find a single large leak it would get repaired, multiple leaks and it was a new coil.

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  18. #31
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    I'm not Proud to do this...but customer could not afford new system or coil.

    Hate to rain on every ones parade but, given the condition of the evap coil there is a fair chance that it will start leaking before the “repair” you made will “pay for itsself” in the customers eyes.

    This sets you up for a 6pm friday or saturday call to a disgruntled, entitled customer. In there eyes your “cheap” fix was very expensive repair and any warm fuzzy feeling you may have gotten by saving them a buck will quickly be converted to grief. You could lose a customer over it or be forced into a Free repair.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  19. #32
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    Only time will tell.

  20. #33
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    This reminds me of another situation I ran into that one should watch for.

    Again, back in the dark ages, we bid on a gas/electric for a control room/building that was going in a NG pumping station. This was a small building, maybe 20 x 25 with a lot of electronic/computer equipment in it that the engineer spec'ed at 5 ton. We installed the 5 ton and duct system. The unit ran for a year and a half then had a cooing issue. I found it low on refrigerant with leaks on the slab evap. The boss contacted the manufacturer and got a warranty coil. It was replaced and 2 years later, same deal. The manufacturer supplied another new coil, this third coil was solid copper, tubes, fins, tube sheet, 100% copper. A year later it leaked. The next one was back to a standard coil. 2 years later I was back again looking at another leak. This time I was the boss and looked beyond the leak and talked to them about the operation of the unit.

    It turned out the unit seldom ran on heat and even on a 100° day it ran only about half the time. I called in the utility and had them run a commercial load calc which resulted in what I expected the unit was too big, 3 ton would do just fine. I gave the customer a quote for replacing the unit and once it was done did not have to replace a coil on that unit again. Some years later they changed requirement on service companies and I couldn't justify the cost/reward ratio so I don't know how long it ran, but for sure it was over 10 years.

    That job taught me size matters and there are a multitude of reasons for leaks to develop. Some times fixing the leak is not enough, you also have to fix the cause of the leak.

  21. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Core_d View Post
    Hate to rain on every ones parade but, given the condition of the evap coil there is a fair chance that it will start leaking before the “repair” you made will “pay for itsself” in the customers eyes.

    This sets you up for a 6pm friday or saturday call to a disgruntled, entitled customer. In there eyes your “cheap” fix was very expensive repair and any warm fuzzy feeling you may have gotten by saving them a buck will quickly be converted to grief. You could lose a customer over it or be forced into a Free repair.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    this is why it is important to chose your customers.
    Sent from the van with the a/c on.

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  23. #35
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    I don't think I have ever seen a rusty coil tube sheet be the cause or source of refrigerant leaks.
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

  24. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBeerme View Post
    I don't think I have ever seen a rusty coil tube sheet be the cause or source of refrigerant leaks.
    Really? Probably 90% of the leaks i see are just that. Especially on the bottom of the sheet where it sits in the pan.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  25. #37
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    I've done more condenser end sheet leaks then evaporators.
    Probably due to the proximity of the compressor and vibration.

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  27. #38
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    Yeah, but what role does the rust play?

    The vast majority of leaks I have seen at the tube sheet have little or no rust.


    Quote Originally Posted by Core_d View Post
    Really? Probably 90% of the leaks i see are just that. Especially on the bottom of the sheet where it sits in the pan.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I do a triple evac with nitro to remove non condensables.

  28. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTP99 View Post
    I've done more condenser end sheet leaks then evaporators.
    Probably due to the proximity of the compressor and vibration.
    I've noticed a pattern, specifically on Trane condensing units that the "corrosion" on the return bends happens to appear almost exclusively near the holes in the side of the cabinet that I assume would be used to screw hail guards into.

    So I've always figured that what's really occurring is particles in the air are being sucked through the holes when the unit is running and acting as an abrasive against the copper.

    Those return bends are made with paper thin copper as it is, so if you hit it with the torch too aggressively it will burn up as well.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

  29. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by BBeerme View Post
    Yeah, but what role does the rust play?

    The vast majority of leaks I have seen at the tube sheet have little or no rust.
    The only role I can see rust playing is when the tube sheet rusts out around the tubing it no longer fits tight so it would have a greater tendency to vibrate against each other rather than move together. But that is just a SWAG.

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