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Old 02-17-2013, 06:34 PM   #1
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


First time posting, but am a long time reader on this forum - lots of great suggestions and am hoping you could steer me into the right path.

About a month ago, our home air conditioner stopped blowing cold air. No problem with heating. Here are the model numbers.

Bryant Condensing Unit: Model - 561CJ042-F
Bryant Evaporator Coil: Model - CK5BXA042021
Bryant Furnance Unit: Model - 310AAV048090AAJA

I checked the inside and outside units and both seems to be running. I visually checked the compressor and it seems to be running.
I checked the dual run capacitor and even though it seemed OK, I replaced it since I had a replacement one at home.

Before the A/C stopped blowing cold air, several weeks prior to that, I remember the insulated copper wire on the outside unit did freeze and had ice built up. Subsequently, the unit worked for a month and we didn't need to turn on A/C until now.

So finally, I chalked it up to that system either low on freon(R-22 refrigerant) or R-22 had completely leaked out.

I called a Technician, paid a service call fee for diagnosis and here are the findings:

1. Possibility of micro-leaks in Evaporator coil(since the electronic leak detector went off few times but Tech had a hard time pin pointing the leak or leaks)
2. Tech confirmed System was bone-dry - meaning had no freon or freon had completely leaked since the manifold guage showed little or no pressure.
3. Quoted Outrageous pricing on per lb of R-22.

Tech wanted $150 to perform additional leak checks(either pressurize with nitrogen or dye) but gave no guarantee that the leak could be fixed.

Tech suggested fixing the leaks would be time consuming and he would do it but suggested as an alternative o replace the Evaporator coil.

Breakdown of work estimate:

Branded Evaporator Coil - $700
Labor - $300
R-22 Freon Five(5) lb = $275
Total(with Tax) - ~1400

So my dilemma is - do I pay $1400 and get the evaporator coil replaced(however new coil is warranted for only 1 year and am not thrilled about it) or ask the Tech to:

A) Apply the Freon and also, apply A/C sealant from Nu-Calgon or Cliplight(he wasn't thrilled about that this idea) which means I end up paying about $400
OR
B) this forum to the rescue - (am EPA certified so can buy R-22 but am not a HVAC Tech) buying the freon and A/C sealant and paying the Tech his labour for doing the work which means I end up paying about $100 - $150 for labour and my cost of R-22 and A/C sealant.

If I have to DIY - I'll have to buy a manifold guage - learn how to use it - buy R-22 and A/C sealant at a supply shop or online and perform the job myself.

What are you suggestions? Is this a DIY job?

Note: The A/C unit is 8 years old and there is no warranty whatsoever. I really don't want an evaporator with 1 year warranty nor want to take on the expense of replacing the entire unit to support R-410a now. I will be forced to replace the system in 2015 when 95% of R-22 will be phased out.

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Old 02-17-2013, 07:18 PM   #2
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Hard to leak check a system when there is no refrigerant in it.

Thats 95% of virgin R22, not the reclaimed R22.

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Old 02-17-2013, 08:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Hard to leak check a system when there is no refrigerant in it.

Thats 95% of virgin R22, not the reclaimed R22.
You are right..thanks for correcting me. The 2015 goal is to phase out virgin R22 so reclaimed R22 will live forever albeit expensively!

Based on my description is it worthwhile to get the evaporator coil replaced or is this a DIY project - what would you suggest?
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:34 PM   #4
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


neither, replace the system with R410A (which is to replaced soon) as that is exactly what the EPA wants you to do due to their markups of the R22
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:13 AM   #5
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Without all the tools/meters and gauges, its a very expensive DIY project. Usually best having a company do it because of that. I still replace R22 evap coils.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:42 AM   #6
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


If you can,invest in a new unit. 410-a is highly superior.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:45 AM   #7
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bobelectric View Post
If you can,invest in a new unit. 410-a is highly superior.
I understand replacing maybe cost effective in the long run but at this point, am not inclined to spend $4K to replace the R-22 system with R-410a

I will try to find a Tech to do the job of recharging the R-22 and Sealant and will post back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Without all the tools/meters and gauges, its a very expensive DIY project. Usually best having a company do it because of that. I still replace R22 evap coils.
The replacement R22 evap coil is only warranted for 1 year - unless I can find one with 5 year warranty, I'll hold off on replacing for now.
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Old 02-18-2013, 12:12 PM   #8
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Just be aware that leak sealant has a good chance of not working and seizing the compressor. At that point your options become replace the system or learn to live without ac. My advice is replace the coil.

You can diy but the savings isnt that great. My manifold,hoses,micron gauge,torches,nitro tank with regulator and vacuum pump totaled about $1200. Last I looked r22 was 450 a jug. It all adds up fast but you could sell the stuff after doing the work where I need it daily.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:39 PM   #9
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tampaite View Post
I understand replacing maybe cost effective in the long run but at this point, am not inclined to spend $4K to replace the R-22 system with R-410a

I will try to find a Tech to do the job of recharging the R-22 and Sealant and will post back.



The replacement R22 evap coil is only warranted for 1 year - unless I can find one with 5 year warranty, I'll hold off on replacing for now.
They should be easily able to get you one with a 5 year warranty.

Leak sealer may or may not harm your compressor in less then a year. But a compressor is far more expensive to replace. And it only comes with a 1 year warranty.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:08 AM   #10
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Finally an update and this is how you save thousands of dollars or maybe blow up hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself.


This is a DIY project and you don't have to be an HVAC expert or certified.


1. Get EPA certified, either Type 1 or Universal - I got Universal certification, what this does is it allows you to buy R-22(Freon) legally plus since you have to take the test, it does allow you to understand how refrigeration works in general.


2. Buy a Jug or Canister of R-22(Freon) online for about $350(30lbs)


3. Purchase a decent quality manifold gauge and leak sealant from Cliplight.


Cost of Certification($70) + Freon($350) + Gauges($50) + Leak Sealant($70) = $540 but technically I have only used 4LB of Freon, so the actual cost = $236.66 assuming I can sell rest of the Freon.







Here are the next steps:
  • Hook up your manifold gauges to the low-side and high-side and turn on the A/C(set it to cool). If you are not sure how to hook up, please look up videos on Youtube.
  • Recharge from the low-side until pressure builds up. Turn off A/C.
  • Hook up the leak sealant. Turn on A/C and Charge the unit with leak sealant from the low-side until it's empty.
  • Hook up your gauges again and re-charge until you get 40 on the manifold dial gauge.
  • Stop charging and continue to monitor the gauges for about 5 minutes to see if you lose pressure, if you don't then sealant has been working for so far.
Viola! - It has been a month since I put the leak sealent IN and the R-22 and so far A/C is working great.



However the only issue is that am having excessive condensation from the outlet pipe in the garage(that am collecting in a pan) and am hoping someone can shed light on this..usually, the condensation gets drained to the PVC pipe outside the house but for some reason, the outlet pipe(could be a secondary drain pipe?) in the garage is discharging the water.

Appreciate your help!

Thanks.
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.-excessive_condensation.jpg  
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:57 PM   #11
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tampaite View Post
Finally an update and this is how you save thousands of dollars or maybe blow up hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself.


This is a DIY project and you don't have to be an HVAC expert or certified.


1. Get EPA certified, either Type 1 or Universal - I got Universal certification, what this does is it allows you to buy R-22(Freon) legally plus since you have to take the test, it does allow you to understand how refrigeration works in general.


2. Buy a Jug or Canister of R-22(Freon) online for about $350(30lbs)


3. Purchase a decent quality manifold gauge and leak sealant from Cliplight.


Cost of Certification($70) + Freon($350) + Gauges($50) + Leak Sealant($70) = $540 but technically I have only used 4LB of Freon, so the actual cost = $236.66 assuming I can sell rest of the Freon.







Here are the next steps:
  • Hook up your manifold gauges to the low-side and high-side and turn on the A/C(set it to cool). If you are not sure how to hook up, please look up videos on Youtube.
  • Recharge from the low-side until pressure builds up. Turn off A/C.
  • Hook up the leak sealant. Turn on A/C and Charge the unit with leak sealant from the low-side until it's empty.
  • Hook up your gauges again and re-charge until you get 40 on the manifold dial gauge.
  • Stop charging and continue to monitor the gauges for about 5 minutes to see if you lose pressure, if you don't then sealant has been working for so far.
Viola! - It has been a month since I put the leak sealent IN and the R-22 and so far A/C is working great.



However the only issue is that am having excessive condensation from the outlet pipe in the garage(that am collecting in a pan) and am hoping someone can shed light on this..usually, the condensation gets drained to the PVC pipe outside the house but for some reason, the outlet pipe(could be a secondary drain pipe?) in the garage is discharging the water.

Appreciate your help!

Thanks.
Just a couple of things I'd like to add to this. First of all where in gods name did you get someone to sell you 30 lbs of R-22 for $350? I'm buying wholesale & paying way more than that.

Secondly just charging until you hit 40 (I hope you mean 40 degrees on the R-22 scale) isn't really the best idea either. You could have easily overcharged which can cause damage to your compressor. In order to properly charge you have to verify if you have a TXV or a fixed metering device and then compare the saturation temp on the low or high side (depending on if you have a TXV or not) to the actual line temps. The unit may work as is, but it could also not be good for your compressor.

Finally pressurizing the system & waiting 5 minutes won't tell you much of anything. If you see a noticable pressure drop in 5 minutes you have a pretty big leak & leak sealant probably isn't going to do you any good. It's not uncommon for leaks to take hours or even days to make a noticeable drop in pressure.

As for that drain that is almost surely a secondary drain. In all likelyhood your main drain is stopped up. Cut the PVC, clear any obstructions & couple back together.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:18 PM   #12
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


what was your superheat?
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:36 PM   #13
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JScotty View Post
Just a couple of things I'd like to add to this. First of all where in gods name did you get someone to sell you 30 lbs of R-22 for $350? I'm buying wholesale & paying way more than that.

Secondly just charging until you hit 40 (I hope you mean 40 degrees on the R-22 scale) isn't really the best idea either.

Finally pressurizing the system & waiting 5 minutes won't tell you much of anything. If you see a noticable pressure drop in 5 minutes you have a pretty big leak & leak sealant probably isn't going to do you any good. It's not uncommon for leaks to take hours or even days to make a noticeable drop in pressure.

As for that drain that is almost surely a secondary drain. In all likelyhood your main drain is stopped up. Cut the PVC, clear any obstructions & couple back together.
You can buy R-22 on eBay for $350 or so...I see BUY IT NOW prices around $380 to $450 for 30lb canister(just checked now)

You are right about the 40 degrees on R-22.

The system has been working for over a month now and I haven't noticed any difference in how it cools the house although, you are right I need to hook up the manifold gauge and check the pressure just to be sure.

I fixed the drainage in the secondary pipe by hooking up the garden hose into the primary line and blowing it out with water. A lot of dirty came out from the PVC pipe located outside the home and now the A/C system has been running for 2 hours and water is flowing from the primary line.
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Old 04-18-2013, 07:07 PM   #14
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HVACTECH96 View Post
what was your superheat?
I did not measure the temperature nor suction pressure to determine superheat.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:40 AM   #15
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Bryant evaporator coil and using A/C sealant.


Good job saving money. Keep us posted if it fails again the forum can give you advise on the next step. Don't forget keep us in the loop.

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