Freon Leak

My central AC unit (10 year old Carrier system) was not cooling down the house. I noticed that the air coming off the condensor was not particularly warm. The repair guy showed up and checked the freon pressure and said it was ~20psi and should be at ~70psi. He said there was most likely a leak in the system and that he reccommended replacing the system for $4500.
This seemed excessive and I was wondering if there's a good way to check the system for a leak? In the meantime, I had him recharge the unit (something that he insisted would be a temporary fix). The house seems to be cooling down nicely.
Thanks in advance.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Scrot Hamilton wrote:

The tech is certainly correct that recharging the Freon is only a temporary fix. Depending on the size of the leak it might only last a day or two or it might last months. Either way if it leaked out once it will leak out again.
Certainly unless the whole system is clearly in terrible condition a proper leak detector should be used to isolate the location of the leak. If it's due to corrosion then certainly at least the area / components that are corroded should be replaced. Depending on the extent of the damage it may be reasonable to replace the whole system.
If the leak is due to a refrigerant line rubbing against something from vibration and wearing a hole in the line (I've seen this happen) then it is almost certainly more reasonable to repair the line and support it away from the point where it was rubbing.
Certainly recommending replacement of a 10yr old system without any more diagnosis than finding a low charge is not acceptable.
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Call another repair man, an honest, compentent one would be best. Any A/C contractor/repairman worth his weight in salt should be able to detect the leak source and repair it.Unless your unit is in really really bad shape because of a serious lack of maintenance or abuse it should be repairable. 10 years is NOT that old and any repairman that suggests that replacement is the best or only option is a thief. Just for clarity let me repeat.... any repairman that suggests that replacement is the best or only option is a thief! When the time DOES come to replace your unit, please, get several quotes from different contractors and ask for advice from family,friends and neighbors if necessary to make sure your getting a quality unit, properly installed at a fair price. It is very unfortunate but the heating a/c business is full of shady operators that seem to have no qualms about cheating people.
Good Luck George
Scrot Hamilton wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You got lucky if it is only $4500. If the radiator in your car started to leak, you'd have to buy a new car for $25k to $35k.
I'd call another service guy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

So, should he be looking to replace the AC unit or should he be looking for a new house? :)

No kidding...and keep this one's phone number handy so that you NEVER call him again by accident.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

IMHO,
Something smells VERY fishy. He was there for a service call and didn't try to check the obvious places for leaks?
I don't like this tech. Might want to check the BBB status, and before you dish out 4K, get a second option(this case a leak checker).
hth,
tom @ www.WorkAtHomePlans.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

In all fairness you can't say this unless you know how old the machine is and what the SEER is. At a certain point the most responsible answer might be not to spend any money on an old machine
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

From the OP's post: "My central AC unit (10 year old Carrier system)".
Pete C.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And that's part of the problem.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 20 Jul 2006 22:20:16 -0400, with neither quill nor qualm,

What do you consider the useful lifetime of a Carrier Infinity system?
-- Heard of the Frisbee Religion? They believe that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and you can't get it down. ---- http://diversify.com Comprehensive Website Development
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 18 Jul 2006 20:12:30 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

'most responsible' ? Usually a term used by technicians to soften the blow they are going to only tell you about the high cost option.
:p
tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tom The Great wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

FWIW -- I'm a customer, not a serviice guy. I just had a leak in my 20 year old heat-pump system. The pressure was only partially down.
In this part of the country, lifetimes for heat pumps are around 12 to 15 years, so this unit doesn't have much time left. The technician was willing to do a leak test, but that plus the refil would be over $500, and it doesn't make sense to put that much money into it.
His recommendation, and what I did, was to fill the system (took 4 pounds), and see what happens. If it stops working again right away, bite the bullet and replace the unit. However, it is likely to be a slow leak (since it wasn't all gone), so I may get more service out of the unit. And that's in fact what happened. It's been a month and a half, and it's still working well.
I agree that it depends on how old the unit is.
I will point out that the tech explained the choices, made his recommendation, and let me make the decision.
T.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I agree. The guy is a crook. But then, most hvac guys are according to all the TV magazine Dateline/60 minute type shows..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JimL wrote:

This is a rhetorical question, but what right business does an HVAC guy have tputting freon into a system he says he knows it will leak out of?
Doesn't that violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the regs/laws covering intentional release of freon into the atmosphere?
Modern home HVAC systems are designed to be completely effectively leak free if installed correctly. If the freaon leaks out it means something has developed a crack or other opening which should be repaired.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 18 Jul 2006 18:31:19 -0400, Jeff Wisnia

The regs specifically exempt adding freon for leaks for small systems.
Also, when no funds exist for repair, are you going choose to let grandma die of a heat stroke or add some freon to the system?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

FWIW, 'small systems' hold less than 50 pounds of refrigerant.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JimL wrote:

freon if i really want to work next week or next year as I have to acount for the freon when I do my aduite of usage at week end.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Scrot Hamilton wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What's a reasonable expectation of the lifespan of one of these systems? If the unit were 15-20 years old would replacing the entire thing make sense?
I'm told the current SEER rating is about an 8 on this unit - servicing a 1600 square foot 3 level townhouse. Evidently it's builder grade and the reccommendation from the technician/thief was that I go with a 14 SEER dual speed fan unit.
hindu wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.