Got screwed by the AC repairman?

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Late last summer, I felt my central AC was not cooling adequately. The air from the registers was only 10-13 degrees F below room temp and the suction line back to the condenser unit was about room temp (normally it is cold). I had a tech come out and check it. He found it was low on R22 and put some in. Cools great.
Now its cooling season again and the unit is behaving as if it is low on R22. I found this odd since it went for 10 years since last charge up.
I remember that the service port cap, the tech put on was a silvery color, not the brownish colored original one. I figured he dropped the original one and lost it in the grass and put on a spare. I never questioned this. Now, I noticed an oil stain around service ports and suspect it is leaking there. I removed the cap and notice a slight hiss from the low side service port. I also notice the cap the repairman replaced has no rubber grommet to help seal the valve.
While the HVAC service industry is typically honest, It is hard to believe I wasn't somehow duped with the cap switch.
Is this one of their common tricks?
I'm going to call a different company to fill it again and install a new cap.
John
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jriegle wrote:

If he did not fix, and you can bet if he did not charge you he did not fix, a leak, he took you. They don't use the stuff, so if you are low, there is a leak. Just filling it back up would mean someone coming back again. Maybe he thought you would just keep calling him back each year?
Call some one and let them find and fix the leak.
How old is that puppy? Since it is at least 10 years, and it sounds like it may be a lot more, it may well be time to consider a new one. A good tech can help you make that decision.
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Joseph E. Meehan

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professional and he used that service port and it leaks the charge. Whether this was intentional or not, I can't say. Either way, I feel he is responsible.
The unit is 27 years old, It runs fine when there is enough refrigerant in it! I can't see replacing it until it has an expensive failure. John
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Did you know you will probably save enough money in energy costs in a couple of years to replace it now?
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heating (gas) is avg. $37 in the winter and $90 in the summer cooling season - avg. difference of $53 per month. I cool for about 5 months, for a difference of $265 per year, so if I don't run the compresser and just run the blower in the summer, I save a whopping $265 yr!. Installing a major 240volt appliance that draws a few thousand watts will eat into that savings. I doubt I'd save more than $10 per month in the cooling months.
It is not possible to pay for a now unit in two years by not even running the compressor how can I recope the cost of a new AC unit buy running a new one?
I'm sure the HVAC companies would like to believe I can save so much. It ain't so!
John
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savings per month ...
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If you can be comfortable with just the fan, so be it. I feel your logic is flawed. If you get a new system and run it, your power bill will be less with the new system over comparable run times of your old system.
Where I'm at we run AC's about 7-8 months because of the humidity as well as the heat. You may not have the needs we do.
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jriegle wrote> He

Let me get this straight. You believe the service port has been leaking freon since the Technician charged the system, 1 YEAR AGO? How much freon do you think it holds? If it was leaking after he charged the system, it would be empty 1 year later. Granted, there are some crooks out there. But remember the saying "shit happens"

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said it would pay for itself in two years. I pointed out using my average electric bill I could not approach this even if I kept the unit off in the cooling months. No doubt it would be uncomfortable and I would never actually go through summer with a fan!
My house is small and my cooling season runs from May through Sept.
John
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Silly us, the customer knows best.
- Robert
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I put up the difference in my electric bill from winter average to summer avg. Other than the condenser unit running, my electrical usage doesn't change much, yet the AC more than doubles my power usage. However, clearly not near enough to recoup the costs in two years as other poster said.
A new efficient unit will save money, but over a considerable amount of time. Not possible over two years. It may be different in other cases.
John
wrote

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And you *know* the leak is there? You've tested it?

Then a recharge is cheap compared to the cost of a replacement. Call your new company and see what they do.
Jeff
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If he didn't fix the original leak, it's still leaking from your leak. Sometimes when hoses are removed some residual oil is left around the service port. You didn't check to see if the cap he had installed was actually leaking before you removed it so there's no gurantee it was leaking there.

That's entirely up to you, but I can gurantee you that under normal climate conditions you would see a dramatic difference in your heating and cooling bills and in fact your comfort in the home if you would replace it. Newer units provide much better humidity control and comfort control in addition to the operating cost advantage.
- Robert

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jriegle writes:

The EPA has a different opinion since the HVAC Tradesmens' Full-Employment Act, aka Clean Air Act.
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And what is the EPA's opinion on replacement under the Clean Air Act?
- Robert
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American Mechanical writes:

Topping up leaky systems is illegal.
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Leak repair is an option, right? Is there a percentage leak rate that is allowed?
- Robert
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

Just as a clarification, it depends upon system refrigerant capacity and leakage rate. No requirement to repair most home sized systems, despite how wise it might be.
gerry
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jriegle wrote:
...

I don't see any evidence that it is the service port. It could be leaking anywhere. However it does appear he did not do his job. It has a leak, it had a leak before he came and that leak needs to be fixed or the system replaced.
You have a unit almost as old as my son. It is time to replace it rather than spend the money to have the leak tracked down and fixed. Keep in mind that today's units are more efficient and the replacement is going to pay for itself in energy savings. They are more efficient now.
Don't try doing the cheap thing and replace only the condenser, replace the system so you get full advantage of the newer more efficient systems
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inside. It looks slightly dirty/corroded, so I give it a good chance to be the culprit. As you say, it could leak from elsewhere. Given the valve is leaking heavily (blows soap bubbles when I checked), the system is relying on the cap to seal it.
The system is old, but I'd like to get another year or two from it. See my other post of why I doubt I will recoup much of the cost of a new system. John
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