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A friend of mine lives in NC and his GF just had an AC experience. Started about a month ago, when the central AC was not cooling sufficiently. Setup is a condo with a gas furnace in a crawl space, plus 2 ton AC. AC part is 5 years old. She called an HVAC company, they came out, diagnosed it was low on charge, never even went to look at furnace half, probably because it was in the crawl space and they were lazy. So, they recharged it. In about a month, it was down, not working again.
So, this time that company plus at least one other, told her it's leaking, don't know where, not worth trying to find the leak, you need a new system. So, for $3500 she's getting a new 16 SEER. My thoughts on this are mixed. On the one hand, you'd think that they would at least go sniffing for the leak. If it's just the evaporator, a leaking braze joint, shrader valve, it could be fixed for what? Less than $1000 I would think. The HVAC guys have big incentive to sell a whole new system, but I can see other issues too. With a new system, they know it's solved. If they replace an evaporator, maybe it still has other problems too, and then what? Who eats the cost of the failed attempt, etc.....
If it was me, I would have insisted on looking for the leak, which as significant as it was, I would think would be easy to find. Bad thing here is that new systems don't seem to last long. As I reported here a month ago, the fancy ECM condenser fan on my 3 year old system just failed. Fortunately I was able to replace it with a conventional motor for $85.
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On 7/22/2015 10:22 AM, trader_4 wrote:

By closing the service valves, you can isolate the halves of the system. Run it up to some pressure, close the valves. Wait over night (system turned off). Connect gages and open the valves. See if the leak is condenser or evaporator. Might be a fairly simple repair.
--
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Christopher A. Young
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What is it with the AC system that a simple leak can not be found ? Often traces of oil will be on the lines. Can't some dye be put in that glows under UV ? There are several kinds of leak detectors. The ultra sonic, and the chemical sniffer type. That is not including the very old propane cylinder type for the R-22. At 5 years old I would think there would be some kind of warrenty.
Guess it is like most anything else, just a general incompenent service people. I am not knocking all of them as I worked in a plant as an electrician and instrument man myself. Some of us were good and some were just along for the ride.
About 10 years ago I bought a house that had about a 15 or 20 year old heat pump. After 2 years it started freezing up outside in the winter. Called the man and he replaced the fan and capacitor. Two days later it froze up again. I don't know why he would replace the fan as it was running when I checked it. I was at work when he did the work and my wife was at home. Seemed to me like it was not going into the defrost cycle. Called him back out and he mentioned something about a board needed to be replaced but the sysem was obsolete. Ran him off and had the whole unit replaced except the duct work. Probably will save money in the long run due to a beter heating and cooling factor.
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On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 1:22:55 PM UTC-4, Ralph Mowery wrote:

I think they typically use the electronic sniffing type that detects the refrigerant itself. But how well they work, how easy or hard it is to find the leak, how long it takes, IDK. If the leak is in an inaccessible part of the evaporator, will it find it? Lines are not always all accessible either.
If it were me, I would have gone through the options, like how much will it cost to look for the leak, and assuming it's found, what are the range of repair costs, etc. But then we don't have the experience of the HVAC guys either to know how it typically turns out, the complications, how long the repairs last, etc.

Certainly the first HVAC guy that never went to look at the furnace half of the system meet the definition of incompetent. I think they wound up going with the Trane 16 Seer system. I recommended they find a Rheem/Ruud dealer and get a quote from them too, but they were in a hurry.
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<stuff snipped>

and

Yes, there are lots of ways to detect leaks and I would certainly entertain one of them before I forked out $5K for a new unit to replace one that's only 5 years old.

Precisely. In reading about service companies that rip people off, it seems a common practice is to replace a unit like that, take it back, clean it up, and sell it as new. Here's another excerpt from
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1995-06-18/news/9506170160_1_conditioner-safford-homeowner
<<Still others show the homeowner the contact point on the motor. It is a spot with a burn mark that stems from the initial start-up. It is normal, but the scammer will tell the homeowner that the house is in danger of burning down. Then there are the creative flim-flam artists.
''They tell people that they can't fix leaks because of environmental regulations, that they have to get a new unit,'' Safford said.
The fraudulent companies also specialize in replacing units with old ones taken off other houses.
''They'll paint it, and people think they're getting a new unit,'' Herrick said.
In Mount Dora, a longtime customer of Jimmy's Electric fell victim to a scam last month, said Jane Stoothoff with the Mount Dora company.
The customer, an elderly woman, was persuaded to buy an air conditioner for nearly $3,000 - even though the unit she had was only five years old. It had just been checked and found to be in good working order, Stoothoff said. The parts were still under warranty.
Stoothoff said the elderly customer ''thought it was us.''
''They scare these old people to death,'' Stoothoff said of the phony companies.
Ed Touey, a spokesman for the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, said customers should check to see whether the contractor has a license before hiring him.
''Older people, they come from a generation that was trusting, and it's just not like that anymore,'' he said>>
--

Bobby G.





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On Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:37:43 -0400, "Robert Green"

Let's not romanticize the past. Chimney shakers and other scam artists have always been with us. My ma sicced the States Attorney after a chimney shaker 50 years ago. Got her money back too.
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just

FWIW, I didn't write that, just quoted it.

Why am I not surprised that you come from a long line of "siccers" who can't be conned easily (or for long). Good for her. As yes, I have no desire to go back to the past. It was a whole lot worse in almost every dimension. Remember the hippie era when so many people took off to live in communes? I'll bet very few exist because people just don't seem to take to anarchistic socialism naturally.
--
Bobby G.



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Makes me sooo glad I live in a part of the country that requires no AC. ;)
nb
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As I reported

thats a great idea..
did you wire it up for a fixed speed or have some way to select speed taps or ?
I'd prolly just hard wire it for the highest speed and call it done.
Mark
Mark
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On Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 1:18:37 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It was the condenser fan and the original was single speed ECM, so no need to rewire it for speeds, etc.
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In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 22 Jul 2015 07:22:17 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

One would think.

Unless they make a mistake on installation.

Well, only if you have AC skills.

Just talked to a friend who lives in Atlanta now. He used to live in a co-op on East 57th St. in NYC, until earlier this year. Said the room AC in the living room had been there since 1965 and was still working.

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On 7/22/2015 10:22 AM, trader_4 wrote:

My thoughts are not mixed. She got screwed. Put some dye in it that shows up under a blacklight and come back in a couple of weeks. Can't find it? Put some sealer in it. Only of those things don't work do you think about replacing the system.
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<stuff snipped>

Especially one that's only five years old. I am sure they took into account that she was unlikely to investigate further or that it was unlikely she knew, as you and many other do, that leaks can be detected IF you use the proper equipment. Saddens me to see vendors try to rip people off like that. )-:
Reminds me of when I went to a different mechanic than I normally went to and they insisted that to change the fog light bulb on my Honda they had to remove the bumper. I told them NOT to change the bulb, had my wife drive me immediately to the shop and yanked my car then and there.
Remove the bumper to change a bulb? I really laced into the shop manager because such a claim doesn't even pass the smell/common sense test. Finally, he said "we looked it up and you're right - it takes removing two Phillips screws from the lamp housing to change the bulb." But by that time, considering how obstinate the original technician was about needing to pull the bumper, they could not reclaim any semblance of trust.
Reminds me of the time on the NJ Turnpike where during a gas-up and oil check I came back to the car very unexpectedly and caught the SOB standing with a oil can in his hands while he checked under the hood. Seems he was dribbling oil on the engine to make it seem it was leaking.
Apparently another favorite trick was to take some iron filings and put them in a place where it looks like bare metal is being scraped away. Or to take the same oilcan and spray some oil on the shocks to imply they're leaking.
--
Bobby G.



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On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 2:03:53 AM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:

Suppose you're the HVAC guy, you put all the time into tracking down the leak, capturing the refrigerant, brazing in a new evaporator while flowing nitrogen, evacuating for an hour+, recharging..... and then it turns out there was another problem, eg the compressor is bad too, and it still doesn't work? Who eats the $1000? I suspect the HVAC guys have been down that road before.
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On 7/23/2015 9:05 AM, trader_4 wrote:

There's risks in any case. Though, replace the entire system has the most money pay out with the least risk to the HVAC guys.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:26:52 -0400, Stormin Mormon

Except for their massive loss of reputation when the word gets out. My AC was 40 years old and still working just fine when a 5? year old system was replaced in the house 2 doors down and the unit literallyu dropped in my lap. Figured it was as good a time as any to change it. (same age as my "new" furnace (which I had replaced at the same time the neighbour had A/C installed).
Ends up they had the furnace replaced and the HVAC guys sold him an "entire system". His loss, my gain.
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On 7/23/2015 5:09 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Didn't that hurt, to have a system literally dropped in your lap? I mean, the outdoor unit has to be 200 pounds or so. Did they drop the evaporator and line set at the same time, literally on your lap?
Were you at least sitting in a soft chair?
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Christopher A. Young
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On Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:26:52 -0400, Stormin Mormon

And the most profitable, considering a fat markup on the equipment plus the labor.
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wrote in message news:F8Wdnb7UBL-

you

account

the

Sorry, no sale. Ed was 100% correct. You have to at least do a leak test. You wouldn't just toss your car if it developed a transmission leak, would you? A thousand dollar repair is better than a five thousand dollar cost of a new unit.
Besides, there are at least some techs out there who deliberately sabatoge equipement or use scare tactics:
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/action-9-exposes-ac-repair-companys-questionable-t/nNQm3/
<<"The basic fact: He was telling the techs to sabotage the unit," Rathbun said. "They're told to do something to the unit to make sure we make money." WFTV put Bayside Cooling to a test and had a volunteer call for its $39 AC tune-up, which is yearly maintenance check. We used four hidden cameras in and around the volunteer's house so we could see everything the technician did.
First, he spent a few minutes checking the compressor and took the cover off the air handler. In less than 10 minutes, he called the homeowners outside for the bad news.
The tech said a rusted part could kill the unit within a year and that it was low on refrigerant. He also said air handler was choked with mold and dirt and that repairs were nearly $400.>>
http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1995-06-18/news/9506170160_1_conditioner-safford-homeowner
<<Air conditioner repair scams are heating up along with the summer temperatures, and they are costing Lake County residents millions of dollars.
''Next to car repair ripoffs, it's probably the biggest scam in Florida,'' said Chris Herrick, an assistant state attorney experienced in consumer complaints.
The typical victim is an elderly homeowner, and the typical crook calls with an offer to service the air conditioner. Trouble blossoms from there. Among more than a dozen recent complaints:
An elderly Mount Dora customer was tricked into buying a new $3,000 air conditioner when her 5-year-old one was in perfect order and still under warranty.
A Tavares man bought a $500 air-conditioning service contract from a company that deliberately sabotaged his unit, then told him he needed a new one.
A Clermont resident hired a company to renovate his air-conditioning system for more than $2,000. The job was shoddy, and the company wouldn't return to fix the problems.
The scams not only hurt unsuspecting homeowners but also damage the reputations of legitimate businesses, contractors said.>>
I can find 100's of other examples if these don't convince you.
--

Bobby G.





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On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 1:05:47 PM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:

No one *has* to do anything.

No, but the typical transmission leak is just a gasket or hose and doesn't require the more complex and costly procedure involved with an AC either. And it's not the right analogy either, it would be tossing the transmission, not the car.
A thousand dollar repair is better than a five thousand dollar cost of

Try to stick to the facts. The cost was $3500, for a new and higher efficiency unit. So, using your example, it would be a $1000 repair versus ~$3000 for a new unit. And IDK what I'd do if faced with that. A common source of failure with an AC is incorrect installation to begin with. In this case, they had no history, knowledge of what was done in the past, etc.

Sure they do, but that's irrelevant. As reported, the unit developed a problem and stopped cooling on it's own. The tech recharged it and it worked again for a month. No evidence of sabotage.
Rest of sabotage rant deleted.
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