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Old 06-27-2013, 11:14 AM   #1
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


So, per an HVAC tech, I have contaminated refrigerant lines. Apparently that's why our brand new A-coil's TXV valve is not opening. He says it's ruined and needs to be replaced, as well as the lines being cleaned out, new refrigerant put in, all that.

The problem is, this refrigerant (R-22) was pulled out of my system before replacing our A-coil and simply put back in (they could not pump it down into the condenser for some reason). If the water came from my system in the first place, then how did it not destroy my previous metering device? I think it was a capillary or something like that, I'm not sure, but it definitely was not a TXV valve.

So why did this water destroy my new TXV but not my old metering device? Makes me think the tech is trying to blame the water on my refrigerant when it really may have come from the bottle he stored our R-22 in during the job.

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Old 06-27-2013, 11:25 AM   #2
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


moisture maybe in your system after the work,and if he didn't pull a vacuum before reinstalling your recovered Freon moisture will be in the piping...questions... what was the system doing before the change and after the new item was installed...he is talking to much might be trying to rip you... did the unit work at all since the warm weather kicked in...

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Old 06-27-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


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moisture maybe in your system after the work,and he didn't pull a vacuum before reinstalling your recovered Freon what was the system ding before the change and after the new item was installed...he is talking to much might be trying to rip you...
The system was barely blowing any air, major dirt and rust on the A-coil. (We just moved in this house that was foreclosed on the previous owner about a year ago. It was a disaster, but we were looking for something to fix up.) He took out the A-coil and captured our R-22 in a bottle since he couldn't pump it down into the condenser.

After the new A-coil was installed, I watched him test for leaks with nitrogen or something, and then he vacuumed the lines and added my freon back in from his bottle.

At first, it seemed to be working but I noticed the air wasn't cool enough and was barely keeping up on an 80 degree day. Not exactly a taxing temperature.

Then after a few days I noticed it completely ice up. Back to low air flow, obviously. Now, it's at the point it starts to frost up instantly. The tech said the TXV is shot and is not opening, and he said the lines are contaminated. I wasn't there to watch him diagnose this, so I'm not sure what he did to conclude this.

That's why I wondered...my old evaporator was no good, but it didn't ice up like that at all.

Is it possible I had water in my refrigerant lines all this time, but it just didn't destroy the metering device on the A-coil? Is a TXV more sensitive to water issues than other metering devices?
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Old 06-27-2013, 12:14 PM   #4
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


a TXV is more sensitive and he may be correct. he followed standard procedures and did his job properly so I would trust him. If the outdoor unit is over 12-13 yrs old and it does not sound like it was maintained properly then it may have a TON of wear and tear/miles on it. Pretty soon the compressor may fail and that is $2000 or more. If it was my customer or unit and my company is pretty reasonable (some are not) I would try negotiate some of the repair $$ you spent towards the price of a new unit. We usually do 50%. That way you have a new higher efficiency unit and warranty. You now are looking at another $500-$750 in repairs on an old beat up unit that may fail who knows when. post the make, model and serial number and we may be able to tell how old it is.
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


Thanks, both of you. I have the original contractor at my house right now. He is using a Qwikcheck 2-second Acid Test to test for moisture. I was told it only tests for acids, but this guy is saying it detects water as well. And it is showing good...

Is that correct?
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:05 PM   #6
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


Trust your installer.
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Old 06-28-2013, 10:52 AM   #7
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Trust your installer.
I know you mean well, but that was a bad idea. My installer wired the Hard Start kit to the fan motor instead of the compressor. A journeyman HVAC, he is. I'll have to fix this tonight after work. Almost fried my fan for good.

This is why I question everything. It is responsible to do so. No one is above making mistakes and no license makes anyone good at what they do, or even really prove they are proficient at anything at all. I do not trust without cause. And this is why.

So..again...does an acid test really test for water? Or just acid? This same installer likes to pretend it tests for "moisture", and I don't fully believe that. Not one bit. But I'd like to verify that because I don't like making assumptions.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #8
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


according 2 their website it is for acids only. never had to do that test in my experience. fuel oil yes.
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Old 06-28-2013, 01:18 PM   #9
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


Acid only. Its a litmus strip that changes color when acid is present.
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:54 PM   #10
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Water in A/C Refrigerant Lines


Thank you very much fellas. I appreciate the clarification on that.

Yuri - thank you, but we did figure out how old the unit is. The furnace is 15 years old, and the condenser is 13 years old. The A-coils are new. They are all different makes. It's a mutt system I guess.

I may buy my own system and install it myself, short of the brazing, vacuuming and charging. But with the protectionist racket the HVAC industry has managed to put in place it will be quite a challenge getting the system bought. We'll see..

Thanks again, your help is very much appreciated.

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