how to check & refill refrigerant?
I have the Trane XE1200 Air Conditioner, 4 tons, 12 SEER, model number
TTP048D100A0 since 1999 in Northern California for a 2 level 2100 sq ft
According to its label, it shows refrigerant to be HCFC-22 is 8lbs 10oz?
Can you please tell me where to get a meter to check the refrigerant level?
(any used one for occasional use, like once a year). And where to buy
refrigerant to fill it?
I was told that as long as my AC is giving cool air, its refrigerant level
1)You need EPA certification to service the unit.
2) If it's releasing more than fifteen percent of its charge over the
course of a year, the EPA requires the system to be repaired rather
than repeatedly recharged.
Paragon Home Inspection, LLC
Any person who performs maintenance, service, or repair that could
reasonably be expected to release class I (CFC) or class II (HCFC)
substances from appliances, except for MVACs, into the atmosphere.
Technician also means any person performing disposal of appliances,
except for small appliances, MVACs, and MVAC-like appliances, that
could be reasonably expected to release class I or class II
refrigerants from appliances into the atmosphere.
Any device which contains and uses a class I (CFC) or class II (HCFC)
substance as a refrigerant and which is used for household or
commercial purposes, including any air conditioner, refrigerator,
chiller, or freezer. EPA interprets this definition to include all
air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment except that designed and
used exclusively for military purposes.
Any of the following products that are fully manufactured, charged, and
hermetically sealed in a factory with five pounds or less of
refrigerant: refrigerators and freezers designed for home use, room air
conditioners (including window air conditioners and packaged terminal
air conditioners), packaged terminal heat pumps, dehumidifiers,
under-the-counter ice makers, vending machines, and drinking water
Mechanical vapor compression, open-drive compressor appliances used to
cool the driver's or passenger's compartment of a non-road vehicle,
including agricultural and construction vehicles. This definition
excludes appliances using HCFC-22.
EPA has established a technician certification program for persons
("technicians") who perform maintenance, service, repair, or disposal
that could be reasonably expected to release refrigerants into the
atmosphere. The definition of "technician" specifically includes and
excludes certain activities as follows:
- attaching and detaching hoses and gauges to and from the appliance to
measure pressure within the appliance;
- adding refrigerant to (for example "topping-off") or removing
refrigerant from the appliance
- any other activity that violates the integrity of the MVAC-like
appliances, and small appliances.
... Technicians are required to pass an EPA-approved test given by an
EPA-approved certifying organization to become certified under the
mandatory program. Section 608 Technician Certification credentials do
"Refrigerant Sales Restrictions
Since November 14, 1994, the sale of refrigerant in any size container
has been restricted to technicians certified either under the program
described in Technician Certification above or under EPA's motor
vehicle air conditioning regulations. The sales restriction covers
refrigerant contained in bulk containers (cylinders or drums) and
AFAIK the "50 pound rule" refers to various service and record
keeping requirements where servicing unit at or above this size, for
"Owners of equipment with charges of greater than 50 pounds are
required to repair leaks in the equipment when those leaks together
would result in the loss of more than a certain percentage of the
equipment's charge over a year. For the commercial and industrial
process refrigeration sectors, leaks must be repaired when the
appliance leaks at a rate that would release 35 percent or more of the
charge over a year. For all other sectors, including comfort cooling,
leaks must be repaired when the appliance leaks at a rate that would
release 15 percent or more of the charge over a year."
"Technicians servicing appliances that contain 50 or more pounds of
refrigerant must provide the owner with an invoice that indicates the
amount of refrigerant added to the appliance. Technicians must also
keep a copy of their proof of certification at their place of
"Owners of appliances that contain 50 or more pounds of refrigerant
must keep servicing records documenting the date and type of service,
as well as the quantity of refrigerant added."
The EPA takes this stuff very seriously:
As always, if I'm in error, I welcome corrections.
Paragon Home Inspection, LLC
Michael - Do you have a link / citation for your 'fifteen percent loss
per year requires repair' statement? It is my understanding that there
is no such EPA requirement for appliances containing less than 50lbs of
OK, I have what I think is the final answer to these questions, via a
phone conversation with the EPA's head office in Washington: the
information I provided was incorrect, as was its source, an
informational bulletin from one of the major manufactures of
residential central AC systems.
Based on this mornings conversation:
1) As far as the EPA is concerned it's legal for a homeowner to do
any sort of diagnostic or service work on their own AC system, up to an
including instalation of a complete system, provided that they can find
a source willing to sell them the required tools and materials without
their providing proof of holding an EPA 608 certification.
2) There is no limit to the number or frequency of recharges to
comfort cooling system containing less than 50 pounds of refrigerant;
if the homeowner is willing to do so they can recharge as often as they
wish, nor is their any limit to the number or frequency of such
recharges, performed at a homeowner's request by a commercial HVAC
service's EPA 608 certified technician.
According to the EPA these is considerable confusion regarding these
provisions, and these are questions the EPA is frequently asked by HVAC
wholesalers ad other resellers of refrigerant and the equipment
required to charge and service residential AC systems, including large
organizations such as Granger Supply and Home Depot.
I apologize for an inconvenience caused by my incorrect response above,
and can only note that I wasn't making it up "off the top of my
head", I was depending on information from what appeared to be a
reliable source, and according to the EPA representative there is no
EPA document which directly address the issue of homeowner service of
central AC systems
True. They also need to know and follow local codes. This includes getting
permits and having the work inspected.
Also true. A lot depends on how 'deep' the pockets are. Monthly trips by
contractors to recharge AC's can be expensive.
Local codes govern that problem, as long as the 608 regs are followed.
Some people are too proud to admit confusion, much less apologize (I'm
guilty occasionally). Michael, you're a good one.
What the EPA told me is that is a very common question, and that it's
frequently asked by resellers of refrigerant and AC s supplies large
volume vendors (Granger and Home Depot were specifically mentioned).
And given the range of regs that apply to commercial AC service
organizations and technicians I can see why, it's a surprising
omission. My guess is that regulators just don't believe it's a battle
worth fighting given the relatively small number of systems that are
actually serviced by owners. And in fact, in my area, I'm not aware of
any source that will sell refrigerant to an uncertified individual.
Well, I'm seldom wrong - especially so completely wrong <grin>.
(Really, the *much* more common situation is that someone says "But
we've always done this way..." and turns out I'm the one who has the
more current or accurate information.)
But I have to cover a lot of territory, I often have to rely on
industry publications or training materials, and if information from
these sources is incorrect, , or it's unclear, or out of date, or I've
jsut misunderstood it, and I want to retain any creditability at all,
I need to get on it, NOW, and resolve the question to my satisfaction,
and either produce support for my opinion, or admit my error; it's a
job that requires a healthy ego but also, if you want to be really good
at it, a willingness to dig in and find the answers, even if once in a
while you are proving yourself wrong.
Paragon Home Inspection, LLC
Many have already try to tell you that the issues are too complex
for a "simple" or "common sense" answer. It is too bad that there
are many rip off artists in the residential HVAC service industry.
When you find a good honest one, keep him. Ask for a
recommendation from neighbors, coworkers, church goers, etc.
Simple: at the outdoor unit there will be 2 pipes. One large,
one quite a bit smaller. Check while the unit is running on a hot
day. The large pipe should be quite cold to the touch - depending
on atmospheric conditions it may be sweating a bunch or even
showing a touch of frost. The small pipe will be almost hot
enough to burn your skin. Make sure the coils on the outdoor unit
are clean. If the condensate line is making a steady stream of
water, you know the unit is working, though this is a bit subject
to the relative humidity. If these conditions don't exist, call
for a repairman.
Further diagnosis requires a gauge set, knowledge of refrigerant
types, temperature differential settings, and perhaps add
refrigerant. Most vendors will not sell the refrigerant to non
licensed individuals so the scenario usually dies right there.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Don't know how cold it gets.
We set the home temp to 78F and it often takes around 20 minutes to cold
down 1F (rough estimate).
Is there common sense to check if the AC unit needs services.
Services calls are too expensive here in Silicon Valley. I just want to know
if there is any kind of basic maintanence I can do myself.
wrote in message
There's not much routine maintenance for the home owner. Change the
filter every few months. Have a routine service call every few years. That's
about it. You are not qualified to work on this system yourself.
If the cooling seems poorer than in years past it may be time for that
routine service call.
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