How to locate a freon leak in AC system?


Old 10-07-05, 09:55 AM
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Question How to locate a freon leak in AC system?

I just had some guys out to check my AC system in my house and they showed me that the Freon was very low, so I had them refill it. Cost was about $50 or so. But they stated that if it is low then I have a leak somewhere.

My question is how can I locate the leak myself as aposed to pay a contractor to locate it wich I was told can be pricey?


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Old 10-07-05, 10:12 AM
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You have received what is known in the trade as a "gas and go" which really is a waste of time and money without some effort at finding the location of the leak(and in my opinion should be outlawed). Your techs should have at least shot some dye when they recharged your system which would help locate the leak. Most leaks occur at the line connections. You might use sudsy soap and water to check visually for source of leak. HVAC pros have special diagnostic tools that can be used in finding leak. A lot of leaks are so small that it is difficult to see. Perhaps some of the forum experts can give you better advice.

Good LucK!
Old 10-07-05, 10:34 AM
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With Tiger they should have did more when they where there. If you want to play around try the kids bubble stuff works good. Like said there is better ways to go here.
Use the bubble stuff on the high side of the unit when its running the small line. Check all the caps on all the schrader valves with it. Then check the low side or big line when the unit is off. At both the inside coil and out side coil. Also look for small oil spots some where first.
Its a lot in like when you lost the freon. If you lost the freon when the unit is running look on the high side. if you seem to get low on freon when the unit is not running or like off for the winter. look on the low side
I have had some leaks drive me nuts trying to find .Have fun

Old 10-07-05, 12:05 PM
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It is outlawed in some places

Thought Tiger would appreciate that gas n go is illegal in some states. If a system is losing freon, a full system check to find the leak is required. At least, that's what the last tech in Texas, who refused to gas n go, told me.
Old 10-07-05, 07:00 PM
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"Gas and Go" is legal on small systems (less than 50 lbs of freon). Residential systems only have about 5 to 15 lbs. While it is not good practice to just recharge a leaking system, there are times where it cannot be avoided. If a technician is very busy and doesn't have time to leak check and repair, he will do a "gas and go". It's better than leaving you with no a/c.
Old 10-08-05, 04:43 PM
james curry
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Yeah gas and go is more often than not, especially when the boss is paying a tech $25 dollars an hr to look for a little leak and he has customers that dont have any a/c calling and saying when are you gonna be there, trust me its not the techs fault, its just the way the buisness is run especially in the summer time. theres been plenty of times where i am looking for a leak and ring ring theres the boss, I have another call for you. the law is that it can not leak a certain % of froen per year, but no one ever really enforces that. usually if i get a call back to a house that i just charged up and it has a leak again, then i will tell the boss, that i need to find this one, but alot of the time its trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Old 10-08-05, 06:05 PM
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That's a big 10-4 about looking for a needle in a haystack. Finding leaks is an art in itself. Some leaks seem to take forever to find. When everything fails I bring out the Fluorescent dye. It saved my keyster a few times.
Old 10-11-05, 03:52 PM
chester durkin
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My satisfactory experience in adding freon

Recently, I had a service man regarding low air. He found the freon low and replaced it. Afterwards, he spent what I considered a goodly amount of time with his instruments looking for a leak in and around the the outside compressor. Next, he went to the condenser coils in my attic. There he removed part of the cover and tested for a leak in and around that unit.
I'm sure he spent as much as thirty minutes looking for a leak.

Since freon was added to my system two years ago after a serious windstorm,
the technician told me then and recently that I might possibly have a leak along the lines going through my walls from the outside compressor to my upstairs evaporator. He did say that this test would be more expensive.

My outside unit is more than twenty years old, the compresser was replaced under warranty seventeen years ago. The technician advised me of some problems of a mechanical nature. I'll just replace the unit before paying for another service call and monitor as to whether there is an in wall leak.

My charge on this service call was about $75.00 for the call and about $40.00 for the freon. I was more than satisfied and fully intend to continue and use this company.
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