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Old 05-11-2009, 11:42 PM   #1
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new ac unit leaking refrigerant


I have a unit that was installed at the end of the season of 07. ln the middle of 08 when it was not cooling properly I went to the airhandler and saw that there was ice on the pipe bringing in the refrigerant. I called the installer who sent someone to check the system. I needed approx 3lbs of refrigerant.

Now I am having a simmilar problem. I am not getting cool air and when I check outside where the pipes leave the condenser unit the pipe is not cool like it should be (or like the other machine is). Is it possible that one of the joints that they connected in the line was not done properly or got damaged? I did have a plumber desolder a pipe, with a little water inside (more heat to loosen the solder), right next to the refrigerant line for the ac. Can it be that he loosened/weakened the joint and caused a tiny (or not so tiny) leak? Is there a way to test a specific point for a leak? What would be the recommended course of action?
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:36 AM   #2
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new ac unit leaking refrigerant


Doubtful the plimber did anything to cause the leak.

You need to call the installing company back. And have then recheck it.

If its low on charge again. Ask them to find the leak, and repair it.
They should have looked for the leak the first time they were out.

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Old 05-12-2009, 07:44 AM   #3
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well I had a hard enough time getting them the first time. Even after they came the person who they sent would not put it in unless I agreed to pay. I had to call the contractor who hired them and he told me to agree to pay and he will take care of the yelling and screaming for me...
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:07 AM   #4
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A real pro would neither have charged your system knowing it will simply leak out, nor have put you in such a difficult position. Aside from the ozone depleting arguments, a large leak could evacuate the system in no time wasting time and money. As a customer, do not accept 'gas and go'.

It is time to find a real pro that will find and fix the leak. Be prepared for a potentially long and expensive service call as some leaks are very hard to find. Most leaks are found pretty quick by experienced pros so find someone reputable.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:05 PM   #5
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What are the different ways of finding the leak? What would I need to know about the proccess in general when I speak to the next people I hire? Is it likely a problem somewhere along the run where it is inside the ceiling?
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:33 PM   #6
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Typically pros use one or more combinations of soap bubbles, leak detector, UV dye, etc. Some times you need to charge with nitrogen and add a small charge (if none is left) to find with a leak detector. Usually the leak is around a brazed joint on the line set or sometimes a factory brazed joint in the indoor or outdoor coil.

Some pros don't like repairing coils due to the difficulty, so finding one that is at least open to the concept improves your chances you won't have to replace an expensive coil.
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:47 PM   #7
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Thank you.
I just scheduled someone from servicemagic to come and find the leak. Does 150 for the service call to find the leak sound right? fixing is additional but whatever he has to do to find the leak is included. I tried to get a specific method how he will find it but the person on the phone just said he has the tools and decides what to use after he looks over the system.

I hope its good.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:00 PM   #8
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Prices are very localized so I don't know if that's low or high.

I just notice your system is less than 5 years old, which means it should be under parts warranty. You may want to cancel that call, and get a company that is factory certified to services your brand. That way any parts will be easier to locate.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:48 PM   #9
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Servicemaginc is a reference company. Simular to craigslist.

The person you talked to knows nothing about how the company that accepts the job works.
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:40 PM   #10
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I know. I used them to find someone. I spoke to someone from the company that is coming.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:36 AM   #11
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Cancel the call and file a complaint with the BBB. Then find someone your self. You are paying $150 for nothing.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:38 AM   #12
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Might find someone cheaper.
Might be more expensive.

What good does a BBB complaint do. If the original company won't do anything.
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:13 PM   #13
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File a complaint against the original HVAC company. It hasn't worked from new by the sound of things and they haven't stood behind their work.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:13 PM   #14
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First Choice: Call the contractor and ask for his help with the original HVAC company.

2nd choice: If the original HVAC company refuses to fix it at no charge and you really want to get nasty (and don't do it till you have no choice) you might mention to the original HVAC company that you understand that there are strict EPA limits on acceptable leakage rates and that you are worried that the 3 lb leak was in excess of the limits and should have been repaired in 2008 in order to avoid violating federal law. Explain how you're not a lawyer but would be happy to call the EPA and get their opinion as to whether federal law was violated- unless of course they feel like fixing it now and then there would be no point in you following up with the EPA. You should present this in an innocent, "I'm so confused by all this but want to do the right thing for the environment" manner as if you have no idea the grief that it will cause the HVAC company as well as the potential for huge fines. The last thing they want is a visit from the EPA so they will tell you it's no problem but just keep innocently saying things like: "I want to do the right thing for the environment"; "It couldn't hurt to call the EPA and check"; "I'd feel better with the EPA's opinion cause I wouldn't want to cause global warming"; "I won't be able to sleep without getting this fixed or getting the official ok from the EPA".

3rd choice: If they tell you to drop dead then call the EPA - you might cash in big on a whistleblower fee and can buy a new A/C.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jogr View Post
2nd choice: If the original HVAC company refuses to fix it at no charge and you really want to get nasty (and don't do it till you have no choice) you might mention to the original HVAC company that you understand that there are strict EPA limits on acceptable leakage rates and that you are worried that the 3 lb leak was in excess of the limits and should have been repaired in 2008 in order to avoid violating federal law. Explain how you're not a lawyer but would be happy to call the EPA and get their opinion as to whether federal law was violated-

3rd choice: If they tell you to drop dead then call the EPA - you might cash in big on a whistleblower fee and can buy a new A/C.
There is no EPA leak repair rate for systems containing less then 50 pounds normal operating charge.

Tell him some more lies to say to the contractor. So the contractor can beg him to stop making him laugh so hard.

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