A/C Needs Fixing

My A/C is in need of repair. The first repair guy I called wouldn't touch it. Said it was too old that fixing (the slow leak presumably) would cost me as much as a new A/C. Then he hit me with the sales pitch!! Can't they just top these things up with more R-12? Or replace the coolant with something else? Currently the A/C blows about 10 degrees F cooler than the room temperature, not quite cold enough when the heat starts going up up up. Do I believe the repair guy or get a second opinion?
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It is not legal just to top up a unit. The leak must be stopped. Yes, it can cost as much to repair as it does for a new one.
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The best alternative is to have the leak found and repaired.
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Alan Smithee wrote:

No, they are not allowed to just top it off. If someone offers to do so, you know one thing about them, they are not worried about breaking the law, and I'll be they are equally unconcerned about treating your fairly.
--
Joseph Meehan

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Hi Joseph, hope you are having a nice day
On 28-Jun-05 At About 15:15:21, Joseph Meehan wrote to All Subject: Re: A/C Needs Fixing
JM> Alan Smithee wrote: >> My A/C is in need of repair. The first repair guy I called wouldn't >> touch it. Said it was too old that fixing (the slow leak presumably) >> would cost me as much as a new A/C. Then he hit me with the sales >> pitch!! Can't they just top these things up with more R-12? Or >> replace the coolant with something else? Currently the A/C blows >> about 10 degrees F cooler than the room temperature, not quite cold >> enough when the heat starts going up up up. Do I believe the repair >> guy or get a second opinion?
JM> No, they are not allowed to just top it off. If someone offers to JM> do so, you know one thing about them, they are not worried about JM> breaking the law, and I'll be they are equally unconcerned about JM> treating your fairly.
Wrong again Mr. Meehan. anything under 50 pounds can be topped off but I would still fix the leak.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
... "Things don't bug you if you don't think about them." -- Calvin
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Joseph,
If the unit holds less than 50 pounds of refrigerant, IT IS LEGAL to add refrigerant to a leaking system. Re-read the Federal Register, all 84 pages of it. Or read the 5 page summary. Both will tell you the rule against topping off applies to systems with 50 pounds or over and a 35% annual leak. Smaller systems can have freon added as long as it is not leaking so bad it goes SSSSSSSSSSSS!
Stretch
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Both will tell you the

Not exactly, it depends on the type of system. The EPA Leak Repair Summary Page says that Commercial refrigeration & Industrial process refrigeration systems (50 lbs. & Over) have to be repaired if the annual leak rate is 35% or more. Comfort cooling appliances & all other appliances (50lbs. & over) must be repaired if the annual leak rate is 15% or more.
Check it out yourself: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/leak.html
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first of all, I believe I would suggest using R-22 to top it off, R-12 would really make things interesting!
the repair guy is full of bull, it is like saying that my car doesn't run right, therefore it would cost just as much to buy a new car
yeah, maybe if the transmission is burned up it might make sense, but for most scenarios it is much cheaper to fix a car rather than replace it
same with your leak, unless it is in the condenser, it should be a small fraction of the cost of replacing the unit just to fix a leak.
and even if it is the condenser, it is still sometimes cheaper to replace the condenser rather than the entire unit, definitely cheaper to replace a leaking compressor than a full unit
heck, I just welded a crack in my compressor that was leaking for about $4 in silver solder, even though I could have purchased the exact 3 1/2 ton copeland scroll compressor for a very reasonable $340
remember one thing, technicians make a ton of money replacing a unit, much more than fixing a leak, and the replacement is often an easier job, especially with a package unit. So they get a ton more money for less work, and you are none the wiser, in this republican, screw the poor world, it's the American Way!
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Hi cowboy, hope you are having a nice day
On 28-Jun-05 At About 09:01:26, cowboy wrote to All Subject: Re: A/C Needs Fixing
c> >> My A/C is in need of repair. The first repair guy I called wouldn't >> touch it. Said it was too old that fixing (the slow leak presumably) >> would cost me as much as a new A/C. Then he hit me with the sales >> pitch!! Can't they just top these things up with more R-12? Or >> replace the coolant with something else? Currently the A/C blows >> about 10 degrees F cooler than the room temperature, not quite cold >> enough when the heat starts going up up up. Do I believe the repair >> guy or get a second opinion?
c> first of all, I believe I would suggest using R-22 to top it off, c> R-12 would really make things interesting!
What if it is an old R12 unit though?
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
... "I think that would affect my stomach more than my heart."
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Cowboy,
Not ALL technicians are on commission, so your statement is not always true, but yes some tech get paid good money if they talk you into replacing your unit. The problem is many, but not all, "High Performance Contractors". These contractors usually pay commissions on parts replacements and bigger commissions on unit replacements. The techs in these companies are usually the pushy ones. The more they charge the customers, the bigger their commission is. I would recommend another company be called. Look for the smaller ads in the yellow pages.
Stretch
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My condolences if your unit is R-12... That stuff is liquid gold where I live.
Or do you mean R-22? Which aint cheap now days.
Replacing freon from one type to another is a nightmare even in the best of situations.
The guy across the street from me just had a crane to his house and they installed a used package unit on his roof.
Call a couple of others and see what they say. Then you will know if you should believe him.
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This is Turtle.
there is some R-12 HVAC system still around but they are no problem to deal with for you replace the freon and oil with ester Oil and 134-A like in cars. now you should recover all the R-12 and put all fresh R-134-a in it with new Ester oil.
If not there is still not a problem to top it off.
TURTLE
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TURTLE wrote:

Thanks everyone for the opinions. I think I will call another company to have it looked at.
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you can't do that in cars, often the o-rings in the hose connections and in the compressor in an R-12 system will not tolerate ester oil or other 134a oils such as PAG, beside how do you plan to remove all of the old mineral oil with a complete system flush with solvent?
not to mention the fact that unless you replace the condensor with a high-efficiency model, the cooling will be much less with 134a than it was with R-12, because 134a is a much less efficient refrigerant
this is why the fins in the condenser in newer cars are much more tiny than they were before about 1994 or so
cheers!
cowboy auto A/C oracle
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I've worked on a lot of coolers, refrigerators, etc. Been using R-409A, and had very good results with it.
--

Christopher A. Young
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You'll get a variety of opinions here. I'm of the opinion that if it's cooling at all, it's probably fixable.
At the moment, we don't have enough information. Would be nice to know the brand and type of system, the age, and some information like that.
Since it's blowing cooler than the intake air temp, it means it's doing some good. I'd suggest call a different repair tech.
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Christopher A. Young
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This is Turtle.
Get a second opinion for your being given a sales pitch to buy a new unit. tell him to gas it up or get out.
TURTLE
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As I'm learning, AC units have many other problems. Low on freon is only one of many problems AC can have.
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Christopher A. Young
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This is Turtle.
Stormy , the service man told the customer that he could not refill the system with the right freon legally and would want to sell them a new unit. He could gas it up if he wanted too but he did not offer it. 134-A & 409-A for 12 and 22 is still for 22 systems is a options and also they have a leak stop for leaking systems now sold today. The fellow just did not want to fool with it.
TURTLE
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wrote:

Is it a window unit? If so and it is really old, you might want to consider a new model because it will be more energy efficient and may have some worthwhile features (timers, etc.). If you don't get electronic controls (remote control, etc.) and can install it yourself, they are reasonably priced.
OTOH, if I remember correctly, I read that next year's models will be even more efficient and there is the possibility of bringing back (tax) incentives for replacing old ones. But still, you have to pay to have your current one fixed in the meantime so that gets factored into the cost of waiting.
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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