Leaky A/C

Old 07-03-08, 08:33 PM
Stampy's Avatar
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Leaky A/C

Fellow DIYers,

My ancient 70's central A/C unit wasn't cooling when I started it up this summer. Everything - blower, condensor fan, compressor, ran but the A-coil didn't get cold and no cold air came out (It's worked for the last 4 years and I haven't had it serviced). I called in an HVAC tech who diagnosed extremely low Freon (almost empty!), probably due to leaks in the evaporator. He recharged it with a full 32oz. of Freon, but said it would continue to leak until repaired or replaced. Fair enough, I figured I could at least get through the summer with the full charge he used.

The A/C worked for about a day in moderate conditions. The next day, the evaporator and cold line froze up. I turned off the A/C and turned on the blower to thaw it out overnight. The A/C seemed to cool a little while after that, but now, just three days after being recharged, the A/C is back to square one -- it runs but won't get cold.

Here's the twist: When I went back to check the condenser outside, I noticed that the tech had left the caps off the Schrader valves used to recharge the lines. This may be an honest mistake; but the A/C became nonfunctional in 3 days and now I'm not sure whether it's just due to the A-coil leak diagnosed by the tech, or the leaky valves which the tech left uncapped...it seems convenient. Is it likely for a pair of 30-year-old supply valves to leak (a lot) of Freon if left uncapped?

Obviously this whole thing is a candidate for replacement, but the issue with the valves makes me wonder whether I ought to get an opinion (and possibly the new A/C) from another contractor.

Old 07-04-08, 08:10 AM
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While it is true that many a service tech has searched for hours to find a leak without realizing what they are looking for is sealed by the gauges they have installed on the system.

I would guess that your charge leaked before the tech got there while the caps were in place. So the fact that he left them off makes little differance. Basically if they do both leak, you have at least three rather than one.

Always get 3 or more quotes when replacing a system.

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