A/C Leak Repair

I had my central air recharged because it wasnt cooling and the tech. said it was low on refrig. He said maybe it had a slow leak and to monitor it and see what happens. I did, and the leak and it lasted one day. My question is, what's usually invloved in searching for a leak and generally speaking, is it expensive ? I was hoping this wouldn;t cost a smalll fortune.........
Thanks,
Colt
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If it lasted on day, it's either a loud hole in the evaporator or a small high side leak. Personally, I 'd look at the condensing unit.
If it's in the outside (condensing) unit, it may not be repairable, depending on the unit. (Some of the stuff out there has aluminum coils.)

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Replied :

copper tubing where it screws into evaporator. Maybe that's a possible thing to check.... the unit is 12 years old ..
I hope I dont need a new one anytine soon.... I have no idea what a new unit installed, cost...... i use oil fired furnace for heat...
Colt

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That's a good place to start too.
Those there "AreoQuip" connectors suck!!!
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First get a real tech. If he did not find that kind of a leak, he owns you a total refund in my opinion. I wonder if he has a license to do the work?
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Joseph E. Meehan

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Barring physical damage, (like running into the condenser with a car, ladder, piece of lumber, whatever) refrigerant leaks are USUALLY at points of connection.
The first thing to check is the Schraeder valves. These are in the 1/4" flare connections that the service gauge manifold connects to. If the service tech was paying attention he should have already noticed it if it were there, but it's still worth a look. Then check the point at which the refrigerant lines connect to the evaporator coil. You'll have to skin back the insulation on the suction line to get a good look. Generally, wherever the leak is you'll see refrigerant oil, or a dirty area where the oil has leaked and then had dirt/dust stick to it.
Even when a unit has lost most of its refrigeration effect, there is usually still some refrigerant left. Try using a soap bubble mixture on all of these points. A leak big enough to lose most of the charge in a day is a BIG leak, but there stiil may be enough residual R-22 to bubble.
Once the leak is located and repaired, the unit gets put on a vacuum pump to evacuate it of non-condensibles, then re-charged.
If the leak is within the equipment, it's time to start weighing option. occasionally the compressor itself can leak. Aluminum coils can be repaired, using a special filler metal, but a lot of techs wouldn't bother, and would rather sell you a new condensing unit, and you might be better off going that route, anyway.
Hope that helps, Kent
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the back wherer the copper tube goes through the steel sheet. That particular peice of tube has no jionts in it, as it simply is a bent piece of copper. All the joints are on the front of the coil.

I make sure theres access valves have caps on them with good rubber gaskets.

Don't you want to install a filter/dryer?

I've tried using the 'special filler metal' and it don't work. The times I tried it, it created leaks at other places.
So, where'd you get your license and experience, Kent?
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First, dont have that hack back, as all he did was take your money. Did he tell you how many pounds of R22 he put in? Did he have this little thing called a SCALE with him? Good units are not cheap, and hacks normally wont buy one. I use a $450 CPS unit... If not, he has no idea how many pounds he put in the unit..NONE!
Note to ANYONE reading this..pay NO TECH for refrigerant unless hes taken a scale with him..PERIOD.
Second..if he put in refrigerant, and didnt look for a leak, kick his ass out and ask for a refund...those units dont loose refrigerant unless there is a leak, and as large as that one is obviously, he could have found it, in minutes probably...IF he owns a leak detector.
Whats involved? On one that large, not alot. Pull the sniffer out and look. Find, and repair. Depending on the leak, it CAN be expensive, and thats going to depend on whats leaking and where.
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What is that scale that you are referring to?
i

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Sits under the freon jug, and weighs the ammount of freon added.
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It is a scale designed for the single purpose of weighing in a charge of refrigerant.
16oz is a pound, and it normally will weigh in half oz increments.
The two I use the most, are shown on this page http://www.cpsproducts.com/scales.htm
I keep a CC100 for general service work, and use a CC800 when installing, or settting back up a unit that has lost its charge, or had to be fully recovered.
If they dont use something similar to this, then they have NO WAY of determining the amount put in...unless, they have a hanging scale and weigh the jug of refrigerant BEFORE and AFTER the work is done, and personally, I dont trust anyone that does not take the scales with him, that way, you, as a homeowner and consumer, can actually see the amount going in. Simple matter of turning the scale on, placing the refrigerant jug on the platform, with hoses and manifold in place, waiting a few moments for the liquid in the jug to settle down and stop sloshing, and zero the scale out. Someone that has provisions to hang his manifold in a location that will not disturb the scales, or influence the readings on the scale will do so, and after the scale is zeroed out, meaning, reading 0.00 even if the jug weighs 38lbs currently, you start charging. As the weight of the jug becomes less, the scale will register the amount and thus, at the end of the charging process, the tech, and the homeowner if they want to see the reading, can know EXACTLY down to the half oz how much refrigerant was used.
If no scale, no way to know. Period.
I heard one guy tell a homeowner one time, while on a call at a complex of townhomes, that a scale was not needed since R22 would flow X amount of weight every so many seconds... Total BUNK. We then, HAD to get involved and I asked him to prove it, using either of my two scales, and a new vaccummed out recovery jug.. The customer of his, after he declined, got his refrigerant for free.. I hear hes looking for a new job, as his boss, and I get along great and he wasnt too happy to hear about that situation.

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Hi Ignoramus17654, hope you are having a nice day
On 07-Aug-03 At About 11:03:57, Ignoramus17654 wrote to All Subject: Re: A/C Leak Repair
I> What is that scale that you are referring to?
A refrigerant weigh scale, it measures the amount of refrigerant you put into a system.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
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COLT STEELE wrote

Did he check for leaks at all? If not, don't have him back!!!
>I did, and the leak and it lasted one day. My question is,

Leak testing can be done with an electronic leak detector, an older style halide leak detector and/or soap type liquid which will bubble when over a leak.
It can take a significant amount of time ($$$) to locate a *small* leak but if a charge leaked out in one day, it's got to be a pretty big leak like Heatman said which shouldn't take near as long to isolate.
As Kent said, leaks at joints (welded, flair nut type or compression) and access points (shraeder valves) would be among the first areas to check. But looking for a physical hole in the condenser coil (like from a mischievous kid poking a hole in it) might be the very first since as Heatman said it would likely be in the hide side of the refrigeration system for it to leak out that fast.
JMO
Dan O. - Appliance411.com http://ng.Appliance411.com/?ref411=air+conditioner
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Hi Dan, hope you are having a nice day
On 04-Aug-03 At About 05:17:22, Dan O. wrote to All Subject: Re: A/C Leak Repair
DO> But looking for a physical hole in the condenser coil DO> (like from a mischievous kid poking a hole in it)
I went on a call once where a neighborhood kid took an ice pick to a condenser. his parents had to buy a new condenser coil as he had poked several holes in it
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