Air Conditioner- fix or place?

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I recently had my air conditioner (Trane split system, r22 condenser, mfd 4 /97)inspected on an Angies's List 20 point inspection for $70. My air cond itioner barely cooled the entire 12 years we lived here (we live in Califor nia and the temperature is rarely boiling so we rarely use it). They check ed it and said it needs to be recharged, estimate $50 per lb., for 8 lbs, a nd leak checked. After the estimate that was it. I asked if everything el se seemed okay, as per the 20 point check. No answer.
At this rate, am I better off fixing it or replacing it? BTW, my house is about 2400 sq ft.
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On 4/15/2015 10:24 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Hard to say. New units are more efficient and may pay for itself. Given the age, anything can go at any time. Get some prices on new units to start.
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On 4/15/2015 10:56 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

When I was working for a friend, he'd get about $2500 to replace the indoor and outdoor units. This was ten years ago, the OP will likely get prices higher than that. Being in PRC, and all.
I'd vote for competent repair company, not a gas and go.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

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My thinking that 8 lbs is just about all that a 3 ton or so unit will take. If they do evaucte all the freon that is in the unit, it is suspose to be reused or sent back for cleaning and recycling.
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On 4/16/2015 8:08 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:

The first system I worked on (june 2000) took 5 pounds. IIRC, two or two point five tons.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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On Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:24:42 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Is it blowing cold at all? If so you shouldn't need all 8 pounds and even then that seems like a lot. Be careful, those"cheap" clean and check deals are simply a sales call. I would want to see that freon weighed. If all the gas leaked out, there is a good chance you will need something expensive like the condenser or evaporator coil and simply replacing the system might be a better option. What is the SEER of the one you have? (typically the model number on an old Trane (1200 = 12 seer)
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On 04/15/2015 09:24 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Since the outfit gave you no indication of whether or not the unit is actually OK, there is no way you can determine.
I'd go to Angie's list and give the outfit a poor rating, then find one that knows how to determine the actual condition.
That said: How old is the unit? If it's over 20 years, you might just be better off getting it replaced
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On 4/16/2015 6:09 AM, philo wrote:

Since you appear troubled by reading comprehension, I'll edit out some text, and make it easier for you.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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On Wed, 15 Apr 2015 19:24:42 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

So you paid $70 and the asshole refused to even answer your questions. I'd refuse to pay him. If you already did and used a credit card, or check, cancel the payment. The report the asshole to the BBB and complain to Angies List as well.
$50 per pound sounds like highway robbery. I bet you can buy a canister of freon and rent the stuff needed to install it for much less. But does it really need the freon? After refusing to pay the guy, get a second opinion.
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On Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 6:21:45 AM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@spamblocked.com wrote:

Agree with most of what others have already said. Especially the question by Gfre, as to whether the system is actually running/cooling or did it have a problem that initiated the checkup? It's not unusual for scammers to offer $70 checkups and then tell you that you need expensive repairs, sell you a new system, etc. At the very least, I'd call in another company for an opinion without telling them what this guy said.
The cost of R22 has varied, looks like it's about $10/lb now. $50/lb seems OK if it needs a pound or two, but $400 for 8 pounds seems excessive to me too. But before getting to that, it needs to be determined what's leaking. If it's one of the shrader valves, it's a $1 fix. If it's the evaporator, may be time for a new system. But I wouldn't trust a guy that won't even answer questions.
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Jerry's right. This guy charged you $70 to come over and try to sell you some freon. A good con.
Dave M.
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On 4/15/2015 10:24 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

point inspection for $70. My air conditioner barely cooled the entire 12 years we lived here (we live in California and the temperature is rarely boiling so we rarely use it). They checked it and said it needs to be recharged, estimate $50 per lb., for 8 lbs, and leak checked. After the estimate that was it. I asked if everything else seemed okay, as per the 20 point check. No answer.

You didn't mention how many BTU or tons is your old system. You also didn't mention if your residence is old and drafty, or modern and well insulated. Both are relevant.
I service HVAC, though I'm in PRNY, not PRC. With a system that old, it probably needs cleaning. A good HVAC guy would take the top off your outdoor unit, mix up some cleaning solution and pour on. There are three types, I use the purple stuff. For many reasons, not the pink or green. After three to five minutes, rinse the solution (and lots of dirt) with a garden hose. Repeat, the second wash will also get a lot of dirt.
Most of the time, no refrigerant is needed. Many techs are big on weigh in a charge, look for leaks, etc. My first treatment of choice is to chemical clean the outdoor condenser.
After the condenser is clean, it needs to be dry to check the refrigrant level. So, the guy should come back in two or three days to check the "Freon".
BTW, Freon is a brand name, like Sunoco or Pepsi.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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On 4/15/2015 10:24 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Angies's List 20 point inspection for $70.
They checked it and said it needs to be recharged, estimate $50 per lb., for 8 lbs, and leak checked.

Questions for you. If you can't answer them, be sure to ask the tech. Get back to me with the information, please.
1) What was the outdoor temperature when the guy did the check? 2) What was the suction pressure while running and stabilized? 3) What was the discharge pressure while running and stabilized? 4) What was the suction line temperature at the unit, while running and stabilized? 5) What was the superheat? 6) What was the temperature of the condenser discharge air? 7) What was the delta T across the evaporator? 8) How many tons was / is the system? 9) What is the amp draw of the outdoor unit? Rated, and actual. 10) Is the system TXV or orifice (orifice is some times called a piston). 11) What was the temperature of the liquid line filter drier with the system running and stabilizied?
Please note, that if the system is dirty (it has to be) that a recharge and weighing in new refrigerant will not make much change to the performance of the system. A dirty condenser simply does not work properly. And there is often no way to know it's dirty by looking.
This seems like a lot of information to ask the 20 point guy, but (well, most of it) it's relevant.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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I just heard back from the guy. He stated:
Just got your email forwarded to me for some reason the Angie's List email system does not always forward. Attached is a copy of the Big deal promotio n that you bought. He did perform the items on the list, and found you to b e low on refrigerant. All other items are within specifications. Let me kno w if you want us to come and re-charge the system
"Calibrating and leveling thermostat
Cleaning filters as needed
Lubricating and inspecting bearings for wear
Monitoring operating pressures of refrigerant
Inspecting safety devices for proper operation
Inspecting disconnect box for proper rating and installation
Monitoring volts and amps on fan motor
Tightening all electrical connections
Inspecting and testing contactor for burns and/or pits" ________
They did not a temp difference 10degree at 70/60. That is the only notatio n on the invoice except for the needs recharge est $12 service $50 per lb. Recommend evoc- leak check and recharge.
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On Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 1:20:33 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

ion that you bought. He did perform the items on the list, and found you to be low on refrigerant. All other items are within specifications. Let me k now if you want us to come and re-charge the system

. Recommend evoc- leak check and recharge.
I think most of us are still curious as to whether you had an actual problem that lead to this checkup or was it working? I would think with 8 pounds of R22 missing, it likely would either not run or have an obvious problem. You didn't say how many tons, but 8 pounds sounds like it could be all of it for a typical residential system.
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This was an earlier email, they sent: "Sorry I double checked Matt's paperwork and I realized he had written a 4 not a 2. The system fully charged takes 8 lbs of refrigerant, it should not require that much to re-charge."
I live in a relatively mild spot in Calif. It only gets so hot that I try to turn it on about 5 days a year. I can feel some cool air come out, but it isn't much and definitely doesn't cool the whole house. For years, we j ust kind of ignored it, since we barely turn it on. But I saw the inspecti on advertised and thought, I should have this looked at.
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On 4/16/2015 4:14 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

fully charged takes 8 lbs of refrigerant, it should not require that much to re-charge."

days a year. I can feel some cool air come out, but it isn't much and definitely doesn't cool the whole house. For years, we just kind of ignored it, since we barely turn it on. But I saw the inspection advertised and thought, I should have this looked at.

At this point, I'd decline the offer, and see if some other tech will come out for estimate. I'd come out, but the trip charge from PRNY is a bit much, and I don't have a business licence in PRC.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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On Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:14:53 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

He misread the number! That sounds like a lie to me, the kind of thing they say when they get caught. (But it still doesn't mean they're saying the truth now, only that they're no longer claiming you need 8 pounds) Sure, someone can misread a number (How coudl a 4 look like a 2?) but in context, I don't bellieve them.

So how much would it take, and where do 4 and 2 come in?

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On Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 6:33:42 AM UTC-4, micky wrote:

+1
And at least now we know how the system could be running. With 8lbs missing, that seemed impossible. IDK if having 1/2 a charge is enough to run it for sure either, but at least that seems like it could.

Maybe Stormin can help us out here. I'm not sure that you can tell for sure how many pounds it will take based on readings. Seems more likely to me you can only ballpark it.
Since it looks like it may just be low on refrigerant, I'd get a different company out to check it out, look for leaks, and if the leak is just at the valves, or they can't find a leak, then top it off. At the least, he'd likely get another year out of it and see what happens. If you get another year, possibly more for maybe $250, that doesn't sound like a bad idea.
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