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.
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.
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.
Scrot Hamilton wrote:
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).
tom @ www.WorkAtHomePlans.com
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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