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Old 08-07-2011, 06:44 AM   #1
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Dryer & Freon replacement


My system that includes a 3 ton, 14 SEER Rheem RAPC-036JAZ could not hold 79 during the day w/temps in excess of 100. This condenser and a new evap coil were installed 05/2006 while under a home warranty contract.

Had a different HVAC service co check the system and the tech pointed to what he called a dryer and [s]explained that the exterior of the line being damp and cold before passing into the dryer, but dry on the exit side of the dryer meant that the filter was clogged and needed to be replaced.[/s] This explanation seemed reasonable to me, but I became uncomfortable when he stated that, in the process of replacing the dryer, all of the freon in the system w/b lost and was not recoverable.

He first tossed out a ballpark estimate of 10 lbs of freon at $40/lb as the add'l chg for the coolant to refill the system. When pressed about not capturing the freon from the system, he seemed to say that he would recover the existing freon, but it was expensive to process the removed freon into a form that was reusable. He later adjusted the estimate for freon to 13 lbs at $30/lb.

Am I crazy to accept his suggestion of replacing the dryer?
Am I way off base to think that the system can and should have the freon removed prior to the repair and the same freon returned to the system after the repair?

Edited to correct:
explained that the exterior of the line being damp and cold after passing through the dryer, but dry on the entry side of the dryer meant that the filter was clogged and needed to be replaced.


Last edited by hotintx; 08-08-2011 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:57 AM   #2
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Dryer & Freon replacement


Call another tech. your system can not even hold more than 7 or 8 lbs. plus let the freon go off to the air is againt EPA rules. About the dryer, which one ? the one on the small copper line or on the large line ? you are right the freon should be recovered into a tank and reuse it later.


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Old 08-07-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
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Dryer & Freon replacement


It should say on the name plate for the unit how much refrigerant it holds. Depending on the line set length it may take a little more but that would give you a good idea on what it needs.
If the dryer is plugged up there is no way I would use the old refrigerant over. It could be contaminated and cause problems again. It would still need to be recovered and disposed of properly.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:14 AM   #4
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Dryer & Freon replacement


As 122 said, the data plate will tell you what the factory charge is.

As for reusing the recovered refrigerant. If its filtered as its removed, and then filtered as its put back into the system, there is no problem.

Might want to call another company or 2 to have them give you a price on the work.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:16 AM   #5
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I would not reuse the refrigerant either. Too big of a risk for the company who has to guarantee the work. Rheems are terrible about the name plate sun fading so he's probably guessing on the refrigerant amount.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:18 AM   #6
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I agree with all the other guys, but only call in another tech if you have lost confidence in the one you have. Nothing you posted sounded unreasonable, and he sounded like he knows what he is doing.....

You wound be crazy NOT to accept his suggestion of replaceing the drier.
And with a good tech you would be crazy to not refill with virgin R22

I try to NOT reuse refrigerant that I am unsure of and in just about any residential system there is no way I would reuse refrigerant in a system that I did not install (that i know a proper vacuum was pulled.)
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:24 AM   #7
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Gotta ask.

What contaminates are you going to reintroduce to the system by reusing the old refrigerant?
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:05 PM   #8
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Dryer that I will apparently be having replaced is in the smallish copper line.
Easily readable faceplate says factory charge 160oz, so apparently 10lbs was not a number pulled from thin air.
I estimate an 80ft run from the condenser to the evap coil, so that and back for coolant in lines.


The tech did mention that moisture or contaminants from the original install would have clogged the filter, but all he had to say about reusing the freon was how expensive it was to recycle the freon. 'Course I may have tuned out a little when this guy blatantly stated they had to sell their freon to make money. Silly me, I thought the service call and labor charges s/b the primary income sources.

You folks have connected the dots for me as far as not wanting to reintroduce the same contaminants back into the system by reusing the recovered freon.

I would like to hear any further comments.
I plan to shop around on Monday and see if I can find another svc co to do the work. I would like to find one that I feel like will dispose of the old freon properly.
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotintx View Post
Dryer that I will apparently be having replaced is in the smallish copper line.
Easily readable faceplate says factory charge 160oz, so apparently 10lbs was not a number pulled from thin air.
I estimate an 80ft run from the condenser to the evap coil, so that and back for coolant in lines.


The tech did mention that moisture or contaminants from the original install would have clogged the filter, but all he had to say about reusing the freon was how expensive it was to recycle the freon. 'Course I may have tuned out a little when this guy blatantly stated they had to sell their freon to make money. Silly me, I thought the service call and labor charges s/b the primary income sources.

You folks have connected the dots for me as far as not wanting to reintroduce the same contaminants back into the system by reusing the recovered freon.

I would like to hear any further comments.
I plan to shop around on Monday and see if I can find another svc co to do the work. I would like to find one that I feel like will dispose of the old freon properly.
Service and labor charges are not making money, just paying the bills.

Again, what contaminates would be put back into the system?
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Old 08-07-2011, 03:50 PM   #10
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have you had any freon added since the original work in 2006..and that dryer should of be cooler on the OUT not the IN... if retricted heading into the house and the sir handler.if the froen is original the freon could be reused and the lost gas just topped off but not 13lbs and the condensers on most piped up sytems don't give the total charges its the start up install guy who has to note it someplace...after completion..resticted dryer would give you a high dicharge and low suction ant pressure readings with the days temp when he was there
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:08 PM   #11
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Lots of people think that the refrigerant flows out the vapor line an d back to the condenser through the liquid line.
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:50 PM   #12
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Dryer & Freon replacement


I think the tech was talking about the dryer on the large line. if not, his story does not make sense. (He said damp and cold !!)
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Old 08-07-2011, 05:48 PM   #13
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a suction dryer on a residential install.... poster does the line the dryer is on have black foam insulation on it.... and is there a dryer on the thinner raw copper line out of the condenser?
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Old 08-08-2011, 04:02 AM   #14
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I absolutely had the flow going the wrong direction. Had it in my head that you would insulate cold pipes flowing into the system in the house. Now I know better. Trying to learn.

This dryer is in the liquid line, small copper tube, non-insulated. So, this is the vacuum or high side, right? It is not in the larger insulated line coming into the condenser.

Just 2-3 inches of the line on the outside of the dryer, between the dryer and the house is the portion of the line that appeared to be wet. The line looked dry between the condenser and the dryer. Regret now that I didn't think to get a picture when the cover was off.

I did not see any gauges actually used. My invoice/quote does not reflect any readings. Appeared the clogged dryer determination was solely based on visual inspection.

The only other service I recall since the install - the unit was cleaned and checked in Aug '08. I don't recall if any freon was added or not.
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Old 08-08-2011, 04:51 AM   #15
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The small line is the liquid line, it is a high pressure line(typically between 170 and 300 PSIG for R22), and the refrigerant is flowing toward the indoor coil. The large line is the vapor/suction line, it is a low pressure line(typically between 58 an 90PSIG for R22), and the refrigerant is flowing toward the outdoor unit.

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