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Thread: Waterfurnace Freon Leak

  1. #1
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    Waterfurnace Freon Leak

    Waterfurnace Series 5, 5T unit, <18 months old, open loop. I got an E3 low pressure lock out warning on Friday. Could not diagnose it myself, so I had the installer send a technician - two showed up today. They quickly determined that the system had no (zero) freon. They recharged the system and checked for an hour with leak detection paste and a sniffer, and could not identify the leak location. The unit was cooling within specs, so they buttoned it up and said that we should wait to see if the problem happens again. Knowing that freon leaks do not repair themselves, I refused to sign their work order and instead wrote a note on it that the "repair was not completed".

    Is this an acceptable approach to this situation, to recharge an obviously leaking system just to see if it leaks out again? If its a pinhole, then it could take months, and then I'm paying for another service call and more freon. They were thorough in looking for the leak, but obviously not thorough enough because its definitely there. Interested in suggestions for course of action.

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  3. #2
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    Flat system would mean a large recent leak or a nonfunctional unit for some time. How was its performance recently?

  4. #3
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    The low pressure lock out started five days ago. Before that, the unit was cooling wonderfully. Its working well now since they recharged it, but I expect the freon to leak - no telling how long it will take for the lock out to happen again.

    I've had geothermal for 30 years. My former Hydroheat units lasted 28 years. My new 3T and 5T Waterfurnace units have been a headache. Interested in suggestions on how to deal with the contractor, and recommended steps that I should expect him to take.

  5. #4
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    Leak detection paste!? What manner of magic is this?
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  7. #5
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    That's what I call it. No magic. Nu-Calgon Fluorescent Gas Leak Detector - bubbles when there's a leak, works the same as dish soap solution.

    Still interested in replies on whether the contractor took the appropriate steps in this situation.

  8. #6
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    You could have a leak in the coaxial (where the refrigerant and water exchange heat). Also known as a heat exchanger.
    Can someone please explain to me -
    Why is there never enough time to do it right the first time, but plenty of time to do it twice?


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  10. #7
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    I thought about a leak in the heat exchanger, but its encased in foam. They checked the connections to the heat exchanger, but how do you diagnose a leak in the exchanger itself?

  11. #8
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    Disconnect & drain the water side. Electronic leak test & vacuum hold test to confirm waterside tight.

    Remove foam and test for external leak.

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  13. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by irunmiles View Post
    That's what I call it. No magic. Nu-Calgon Fluorescent Gas Leak Detector - bubbles when there's a leak, works the same as dish soap solution.

    Still interested in replies on whether the contractor took the appropriate steps in this situation.
    That’s DYE. Not paste.
    *********
    https://www.hvac20.com/ High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization https://www.myhomecomfort.org/


    Site member map HERE!

  14. #10
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    No they did not. You don’t recharge and walk away from a system that was found flat. And tell the customer to call if it happens again. It will happen again.
    I havent failed. Ive just found 10,000 ways that wont work. - Thomas Edison

    Its not whether you get knocked down, its whether you get up. - Vince Lombardi

    "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics" - Homer Simpson

    Local 486 Instructor & Service Technician

  15. #11
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    Nobody stole the refrigerant. Assuming reasonable leaking-detection competence - if they can't find the leak either the valves where they attach their gauge hoses are leaking or the refrigerant is leaking into the water.

    PHM
    ---------


    Quote Originally Posted by irunmiles View Post
    Waterfurnace Series 5, 5T unit, <18 months old, open loop. I got an E3 low pressure lock out warning on Friday. Could not diagnose it myself, so I had the installer send a technician - two showed up today. They quickly determined that the system had no (zero) freon. They recharged the system and checked for an hour with leak detection paste and a sniffer, and could not identify the leak location. The unit was cooling within specs, so they buttoned it up and said that we should wait to see if the problem happens again. Knowing that freon leaks do not repair themselves, I refused to sign their work order and instead wrote a note on it that the "repair was not completed".

    Is this an acceptable approach to this situation, to recharge an obviously leaking system just to see if it leaks out again? If its a pinhole, then it could take months, and then I'm paying for another service call and more freon. They were thorough in looking for the leak, but obviously not thorough enough because its definitely there. Interested in suggestions for course of action.
    PHM
    --------
    The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of Thinking

  16. #12
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    With a "open loop" system have you checked the water chemistry ?

  17. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTP99 View Post
    With a "open loop" system have you checked the water chemistry ?
    Should have cu/ni heat-exchanger on open loop, not cu.

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