Freon Leak & Using Leak Sealer

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Old 09-06-07, 06:10 PM
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Freon Leak & Using Leak Sealer

I have a 2 year old 12 SEER Gibson 2 Ton AC. (upstairs AC) It was installed a few months after I moved in to a new house. After a little over a year, the registers for this unit were not blowing any cold air. An AC guy came over and said I was about 1lb low on Freon. He said the temperature at the AC (measuring the temp at the big pipe going into the AC unit) was 89 degrees. He said that the temp at this location should go as low as 48 degrees AND should be close the temperature exiting the upstairs registers. After adding the Freon it fell to about 59-60 degrees. He said that since I lost about 1lb of Freon in over a year, I have a slow leak. He did NOT go into the attic to look at the coils but only noticed that there was no fluid or oily substance at the outside AC compressor. Same company different guy came out 1.5 years ago and checked for leaks at the seams (AC unit and Coil) and didn't find any leaks then, so this guy just assumed leak is in the wall. Given the amount of freon lost, it was a very small leak.

For $125, he was suggesting I use Leak Sealer in my system. He didn't give me the brand, but he said it was activated by air, and that since my leak is so small and probably behind the wall, this was a reasonable option. He said he'd give me a 5 year warranty (works for a medium size HVAC company) and that sealer would not damage or destroy compressor or coils.

Just wanted some feedback if anyone has used Leak Sealer for residential AC installations and what, if any, negatives are there to using it. Ripping out the walls to find this leak would probably cost at least $1000, so this is a tempting alternative. Anybody out there with any advice or Leak Sealer horror stories?

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Old 09-06-07, 06:51 PM
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Welcome to our forums!

Leak sealers for refrigeration systems are a form of witchcraft!
They are a poor excuse for not taking the time or knowing how to find a leak.
A one pound leak per year is not that small of a leak considering that most modern electronic leak detectors are capable of locating a 1/2 ounce per year leak.

Granted, leaks are often difficult to find but but this is a very basic part of the trade.
For your mechanic to not go into the attic to check the evaporator was neglecting to check where a good many system leaks occur.
The compressor where he mentioned he checked is probably the last place I would look for a leak.

You need to forget about the leak sealer and have your leak sealer be a competent tech that takes the time to look for the leak.
 
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Old 09-07-07, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
Leak sealers for refrigeration systems are a form of witchcraft!
They are a poor excuse for not taking the time or knowing how to find a leak.
A one pound leak per year is not that small of a leak considering that most modern electronic leak detectors are capable of locating a 1/2 ounce per year leak.

Granted, leaks are often difficult to find but but this is a very basic part of the trade.
For your mechanic to not go into the attic to check the evaporator was neglecting to check where a good many system leaks occur.
The compressor where he mentioned he checked is probably the last place I would look for a leak.

You need to forget about the leak sealer and have your leak sealer be a competent tech that takes the time to look for the leak.

Ditto- forget leak sealers, it's not the same thing as putting a leak sealer in the cooling system of your car.
 
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Old 09-08-07, 08:22 AM
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Agree with everyone else. I would like to add that a leak inside the wall is very rare indeed. In my experience about 80 to 90% of the time the leak is in the evaporator coil.

I would not add leak stopper. I say repair or replace the leaking component. In your case you could also choose to do nothing and just add a pound of freon every year. This in my opinion, is a better option than the leak stopper.

Finding leaks is part of the job. They are not all that difficult to find if the technician has experience. The uv dye makes leak detection very simple. However, every technician has his/her favorite methods.
 
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Old 09-08-07, 09:55 AM
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Has anybody here ever used a leak stopper? I've seen them advertised at the parts houses but I've never tried one.
 
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Old 09-08-07, 12:41 PM
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not me

Originally Posted by gremlin View Post
Has anybody here ever used a leak stopper? I've seen them advertised at the parts houses but I've never tried one.
I never have and wouldn't. Many moons ago I used Thawzone once; it worked but I never tried it again. Instead, I improved my dehydration techniques. I've also repaired a few punctured evaporators with Red Epoxy which worked very well.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 09:06 AM
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Gremlin NO dont do this on a new unit and also never even on a old old system unless the leak area is identified, it sounds like you may have a fairly lazy tech, get you one that will find the leak and fix it properly on your two year old system man.
I have added super seal to 2 old old units and it does work. However it was only added once the leak was pinpointed and the situation was properly evaluated. Both where small leaks at the evaporator coil and both units are 12+ years old. The service connections must be marked that sealer has been added, if a tech hooks his recovery machine unknowingly to a unit that has sealer in it, he could ruin his recovery machine gauges and vacuum pump. As a homeowner you would not be happy with the cost of that service call. No way I would use a leak sealer on a newer system where I did not even know where the leak was at!!!! IMHO it is only to be used for old junk units on their last leg, and only for tiny evaporator leaks. Yes one of the systems I added the junk to is still holding after 4 cooling seasons the other after 3 seasons but the sealer should only be considered a stopgap type repair. Heck you may simply have a loose or bad schrader valve at the service connection. Maybe you have some neighbor hood kids huffing some refrigerant from your service port you ever thought about that? Ole gremmy may not have a leak at all LOL
 
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Old 09-09-07, 03:09 PM
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I can tell you that the super seal works great. I had an older system that, each year, would leak R-22. I had two different professionals come out and after a half hearted attempt to find the leak, they said they could not find the leak and they both said the whole system needed to be replaced. They would top off the R-22 and they were on their way after handing me an outrageous bill . Finally as a last ditch effort, the super seal was used and the system has been working perefectly for the last 5 years.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 06:22 PM
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Testimonials aside, there is a downside to delaying a permanent repair.

When the system runs low on refrigerant there can be a considerable amount of time that it does not have a full charge but you may not notice it low..
When a refrigeration system runs low on refrigerant the lack of cool return gas that a full system provides will cause the compressor to overheat.
It would not take too much of this to kill the compressor.

In other words you should get this fixed properly as soon as you can.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 10:18 PM
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I have a hard time believing that the leak stopper would hurt a recovery unit, gauges, or vacuum pump.

I do know that a great deal of the systems that I work on are in industrial refining areas. Such areas can be very hard to work in. Often a battery powered leak detector requires a permit to operate. In addition, high sulfur content in the air causes acid rain to form on the wet surfaces. Most of our units use coated coils and we usually seal all coil ends with insulating paint to keep the air off the silver solder.

I think I'll try a leak stopper some time and see just how well it does. Report to follow.
 
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Old 09-11-07, 01:36 PM
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gremlin the way most of the leak sealers work is that when the material is exposed to air it will form a hard plug of green looking junk. This green looking junk can easily clog the solenoids and orfice ports of any HVAC equipment. The theory is that there is no air exposure inside the sealed system of a AC unit, which it typically true, but what happens every time you disconnect your service equipment? hmmm green goop. One of the before mentioned test units that had the sealer added, recently developed a compressor start problem (cannot tie it to the addition of green goop but makes you wonder) while replacing the capacitor and adding a hard start kit I checked the refrigerant level. There was a funky green coating at both the service ports and neither one would seal back once the lines were removed, so both schraders had to be replaced, one was real hard to remove even with the system pressure pushing against it. This sealer is some FUNKY NASTY STUFF avoid it if at all possible and only use your old gauges on those systems that have been contaminated. Check the sporlan site for a proper inline filter for your recovery unit or prepare to toss the unit in the trash heap.
 
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