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.
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)
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.
How old is the unit? If it's over 20 years, you might just
be better off getting it replaced
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
r22 condenser, mfd 4/97)inspected on an Angies's List 20
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.
it? BTW, my house is about 2400 sq ft.
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
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
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
system, r22 condenser, mfd 4/97)inspected on an
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.
replacing it? BTW, my house is about 2400 sq ft.
Questions for you. If you can't answer them, be sure
to ask the tech. Get back to me with the information,
1) What was the outdoor temperature when the guy
did the check?
2) What was the suction pressure while running and
3) What was the discharge pressure while running
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
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
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
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
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
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
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.
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.
l system does not always forward. Attached is a copy of the Big deal promot
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
ion on the invoice except for the needs recharge est $12 service $50 per lb
. 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.
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.
You can check the delta yourself. Turn on the system, let it run a
while and check the air temp going into the return, compare that to
the output as close to the unit as you can get. If you are getting a
15 degree or more delta,. I might not do anything.
If you are just "low" after 18 years, you may not have a bad enough
leak to justify evacuating the system, charging with nitrogen to test
for leaks and putting in new (recycled) freon at $50 a pound. That is
particularly true if he is not even sure how low it is. Find someone
who will top it up, and check it again next year..
Sorry, there was more to the 20 points that I didn't list above.
"Inspect electrical for exposed wires.
inspecting and testing capacitors
inspecting fan blades
inspecting service valves
measuring temperature difference
monitoring compressor for proper amp draw, volt draw and wiring connections"
Do you think on this type of "tune up" they should be able to tell whether there was a leak or not, and where it might be?
If you have a decent delta and it is not icing up, you can figure out
how bad the leak is by just running it another season. Being "a little
low" may not really mean anything on a system that old. I would still
gamble up to a pound of freon before I did anything. (But I still have
a jug in the shed) ;-)