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Old 07-12-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
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central AC repair. is this true?


I had an HVAC tech out to my house today to look at our AC unit. I am currently out of town on business and my wife was the one who worked with him today. After he told her the issue, she had him call me to explain what needed repair. After all my research i cannot find anything that answers this.

problem Background: We moved in our home 3 years ago (brand new). the AC was working great, however as about 1 year ago, it started freezing up. the AC service port was covered in ice at random times. It happened maybe once every 4 days back then, and I would change the filter and this helped a bit. However now it is freezing up every day now, and I noticed that about 3" before the service port the insulation is darker than the rest. It feels oil based. So I guessed we had a leak and called a HVAC tech to come and confirm.

So he calls me on the phone and tell me that the solder that connects the copper pipe to the service valve looks bad and this is where the leak is. He then tells me that in order to re-solder it, he will need to discharge the entire system, solder the pipe and recharge it. He explained 2 PSI readings he got and told me they are normally around 325 and 125 as it was 103 today in Utah with little humidity. told me that mine logged 260 -/+ and 75 -/+.

he then said my system 13 seer takes between 5-7 lbs of r-410a and he is estimating 5 lbs at 69.95/lb. total bill was quoted in the 690.00 range.

My questions are;

1- does the system really need to be discharged before resoldering the connection, or can it be soldered/Brazed without discharging? (he said if it was not discharged, it would bust the line or something)

2- If the system does need to be discharged, can the r-410a that is drained be saved and reused when recharging?

3- Is there another method of repair that is heatless? I have seen copper pipe epoxy,fiberglass tape products for repairs and stuff such as Jaco JFC070? The leak seems super slow, and I would think that an epoxy would seal it, but I am not HVAC so I want to make sure its done right.

I cannot afford 600+ right now as money is tight, but the house reaches 85+ during the day so I need to get a repair on it anyway possible.

So he quoted me
discharge / pipe repair = 286.00
5 lb r-410a = 345.00
total = 631.00 give or take.

Every search I have done never mentions discharge is needed before soldering. Please help!!


Last edited by sti1471; 07-12-2012 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:13 PM   #2
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central AC repair. is this true?


Quote:
1- does the system really need to be discharged before resoldering the connection, or can it be soldered/Brazed without discharging? (he said if it was not discharged, it would bust the line or something)

2- If the system does need to be discharged, can the r-114a that is drained be saved and reused when recharging?

3- Is there another method of repair that is heatless? I have seen copper pipe epoxy,fiberglass tape products for repairs and stuff such as Jaco JFC070? The leak seems super slow, and I would think that an epoxy would seal it, but I am not HVAC so I want to make sure its done right.
1 - Yes, He needs to recover all the refrigerant, fix the leak....he needs to nitrogen pressure test to check if the leak is gone. After that, vaccum the lines and than charge the system again.

2- Yes, during the recover process of the refrigerant a drier filter is added to clean the refrigerant to the recover cylinder.

3- NO, if the leak is around the welding, he needs to do all these steps.....if the leak is at schrader valve it can be removed and replaced.

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Old 07-12-2012, 10:16 PM   #3
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central AC repair. is this true?


If the leak is outside of the service valve then he can pump the refrigerant into the condensor and hold it there by closing the valves. After that it's hit the joint with some heat and silphos,vacuum pump to 500 microns and replace whatever leaked out. Just fixed one today in the same location and it was exactly 1 hour from finding the leak to filling out the bill.

JJ was typing at the same time. I agree the filter drier needs changed. If it's inside the condensor then all the refrigerant has to come out.

Last edited by Marty S.; 07-12-2012 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:30 PM   #4
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central AC repair. is this true?


So is the cost he quoted me correct?

if it is about 1 hours from find -to-fix how could it be 250+ to fix the copper joint?

The leak is on the outer side of service valve (side of the service valve facing away from the 13 seer unit outsude).

So he is quoting me at 5 lbs of r-410a, however if my system has maybe 3-4 lbs in it, that can be reused so I am only looking at buying 1-2 lbs more.

So let me get this straight.

He can pump the r-410a (currently in the system) into the condensor and hold it there. heat & re-solder the connection, release the r-410a from the condensor and add 1-2lbs to top it off.done and done???

How much can the condensor hold? lets say my unit has 4 lbs still in it, can it hold 4 lbs while he does the repair. I am just trying to get all the facts in case he says something like "there is too much 410a to hold it there, it needs to be flushed". I am just trying to keep the hour bill time down by home doing more "labor intensive work" than what needs to be done.

Marty, the one you did today, what was the total on the bill and how much 410a did you use to refill?
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:44 PM   #5
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central AC repair. is this true?


This is small town America so our prices are not the same as large populations. To answer the question though total repair(was 40 oz of R22 which is more expensive than 410A) came to $186.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:46 PM   #6
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central AC repair. is this true?


here is a photo i created showing where the leak is. With this leak, can he hold it in the outside unit for repairing?
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:48 PM   #7
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central AC repair. is this true?


Marty,

So just to verify, the job you did today, that included a solder repair of a pipe before filling the system for 186.00?
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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central AC repair. is this true?


Yes. If the filter drier is inside that cabinet then he can't change it without removing the refrigerant. It needs to be changed so hopefully it's not in the condensing unit and you can save some cash.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:54 PM   #9
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central AC repair. is this true?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sti1471 View Post
Marty,

So just to verify, the job you did today, that included a solder repair of a pipe before filling the system for 186.00?
Dang you must type with more than two fingers! Yes that was the total. An hour of labor=84,refrigerant=60, trip fee 20, misc. fees like torch and nitrogen and braizing rod and vacuum pump made up the rest.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:58 PM   #10
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central AC repair. is this true?


Great,

I found a picture of a setup that looks 100% just like mine at my house.

I would imagine the HVAC would know he could hold it here instead of discharing the system for the repair. Maybe I will go with someone else for the actual repair!
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:06 PM   #11
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central AC repair. is this true?


pump it down ..repair leak.. evacuate..then top up refrigerant.... still not cheep...
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:09 AM   #12
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central AC repair. is this true?


$186 is cheap, in my city, at least $400. I think the $286 part is reasonable, but $345 for 410a is way too high. His cost is only about $5 per lb. I think $100-120 should cover the 410a and his mark up.

Last edited by clocert; 07-13-2012 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:18 AM   #13
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central AC repair. is this true?


Not every body gets the same prices as quoted, You guys have to stop talking about specific pricing it's going to kill the guys trying to make a living at the trade and don't forget-----Insurance, Mechanics pay & benefits, truck costs gas, tires, inspections, wear & tear, workman's comp, tools, uniforms, years of trade schools and OJT, books, seminar's, shop overhead, etc. So now you see why costs are not what the Company buys parts and equipment for Plus we got to eat.

PS: I am sure I missed many other overhead costs of running a Company.
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:30 AM   #14
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central AC repair. is this true?


if you call other companies tell them you need a repair on the brazed suction into the shut off valve int the condenser.if the inulation was oil soaked you right on with the leak there...is the service shut offs tight and dryloosen the caps no oil shradder caps tight no oil in the caps?that is a quick fix for a seasoned tech in by 8AM out by noon.don't be shy if you bump into an hvac guy at of those the home centers it is easy side money for them they would bang it out in 1-2 hrs
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:36 PM   #15
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central AC repair. is this true?


This would be like going to the doctor for a routine surgery and trying to find a way to get it cheaper.

Unlike doctors we have to go to school all the time to stay up to date with the new trends and electronics.

Why should we have to charge less for our education and experience?

Yes the system can be isolated and pumped down with addition of refrigerant that leaked out.

No it does not look like the system needs to be completely reclaimed of refrigerant.

My opinion is get 2 or three other opinions to keep the contractors honest!

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