Refrigerant Dye-A/C Leak Detection


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Old 07-11-06, 06:34 AM
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Refrigerant Dye-A/C Leak Detection

I have a problem with my A/C unit that I need to get resolved.

I just purchased a home on 6/24 that has dual A/C & heating units. One unit cools the front of the house-living room, formal areas, kitchen, & den. The other unit cools the bedrooms, hallways, and baths in the rear of the home. I DID have a home inspection completed and was told that I would need to "check" the A/C system in the rear of the home. Well after moving in I find that the rear unit can run all day/night and it is not cooling. I called out an A/C guy and he told me that it was low on refrigerant. He charged the system up and it was working properly for all 10 days! Whoo-hoo 10 days of cooling for $200!! Last night it was running, & running, & running, but no cool/cold air coming from the vents.

I know that I must have a sizeable leak somewhere. Where can I purchase the injectable dye so that I can test the system to see where it is leaking? I have heard that the R-12 dye will work in the R-22 system, but the only thing I can find locally so far is the R-12/R-134 dye for auto installations. I have tried the local Home Depot but they don't sell anything that will be of use.

I DON'T want to call out an A/C guy just yet. If I can identify where the leak is, I will then make a decision whether or not to just scrap the current system entirely (attic & outdoor components) or to simply replace the compressor/condenser unit.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 07-11-06, 06:39 AM
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EPA laws restrict an unliscensed person to work on the refrigeration side. But you can take some liquid soap solution and go over all the joints to see if it bubbles up anywhere. Other than that you'll need a tech to look at it.

How old is the sytem and brand ?
 
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Old 07-11-06, 07:44 AM
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Where there is a will, there is a way. I am going to track down some dye, and R-22, and charge the system up to locate the leak. Once I find the leak(s), I will evacuate the system entirely, then make the proper repairs.

After that, I will re-charge the system and see how she works.

Should I blow anything up along the way-I will simply have the entire system replaced by a professional. What have I got to lose? A bad A/C system?

I know you are going to say-YOUR HEALTH is what you are going to lose if something goes wrong. Don't worry. I work on automotive A/C systems daily so I have a decent grasp of how the individual components work together. I replaced the compressor and accumulator on a '97 Pontiac Bonneville, then charged the system yesterday. Total time=1.25 hours. I saw the ticket to the customer and realize what a racket this business can be. Not knocking it. I understand that the customer is PAYING for my years of experience, education & training. The key is, I can figure out what the key components actually cost-and I WON'T be taken advantage of.
 
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Old 07-11-06, 07:48 AM
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You're gonna do what you're gonna do. If a neighbor or someone decides they want to collect on the reward money you will be heavily fined and possibly put in jail.

Good luck.

If you do MVAC use your electronic leak detector.
 
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Old 07-11-06, 08:41 AM
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Thumbs down

With Matt that can cost you $10,000 K and more if you put some R134 in the system. Then you have to clean it all out
Try the kids bubble stuff.if you did fix it how are you goimng to vac it out.

ED
 
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Old 07-11-06, 04:01 PM
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Auto vs. Residential

Go69,
Your health or even life could be at risk. With automotivie systems, all of your fittings are threaded whereas in residential, they are brazed. If any refrigerant is present, heating it will produce phosgene, a highly toxic gas.
This saftey warning is in addition to Mattison & Ed's warnings about fines & jail.
 
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Old 07-11-06, 07:28 PM
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I always liked the customers that fixed it themselfs lol

I always made a bundle on them.

They do not seem to realize that car systems while the basic system is the same the componets are not.

I can bet dollars to donuts that when he is done he will need a complete system lines and all.
 
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Old 07-12-06, 06:35 AM
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Just an update... I was able to locate the leak last night with the "help" of a licensed HVAC technician.

It appears at some point in time in the past someone soldered in a section of liquid line-5/16" in diameter-that was leaking at one of the soldered joints. The unit still had 3/8" line at the outside unit, and 3/8" at the evaporator, but this small section of 5/16" line in between. We were able to evacuate the system, remove and replace the entire line using 3/8" copper tubing. After that we vacuumed out the system once more, then re-charged.

I now have A/C again!!!!

The materials cost less than an average "House Call" charge. Imagine that...

Rob-sorry but I did not blow myself, or my system up. Does that bother you that I was able to fix it? I thought this was a community where information was shared so that we could learn, or expand our current knowledge. If you have nothing to offer in the way of helping a person with their issue-why even bother to post?

I am going to treck on over now to the "Insulation" section of this web-site to see if anyone has any recommendations on that topic. Thanks for the help to those who offered.
 
 

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