Freon Leak In Line [Merged threads]

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Old 04-30-09, 09:42 AM
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Freon Leak In Line [Merged threads]

Last June, I had a new AC unit installed ($7000), bc the compressor was completely dead. Although brand new, the new unit never kicked out COLD air. Last week, I fired up the unit only to feel warm air. I called the crew, who installed the unit last year, to perform service and maintenance. According to the them, I have a leak in the line bc the unit was completely out of freon. After applying pressure in the line, no hissing sounds could be heard from the unit to the point of entry into my condo. The crew also checked inside for sounds near the coils. With that, they believe there is a leak in the line behind my walls. Before I have them rip up my hallway, which would be costly and destructive, I'm hoping to receive suggestions and direction on this issue. Thanks!
 
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Old 04-30-09, 09:50 AM
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You may get better luck in one of the heating/cooling forums, but until then...

There should be some way that they can pressurize the system with compressed air (not freon or whatever coolant they use these days), and put a pressure gauge on it for a few days to prove that the system is actually not sealed. Similar things are done with gas piping for pressure testing.

You may be able to use a stethoscope or something to listen to the pipe and the wall to see if you can hear any hissing.

I'd also consider getting another opinion on the subject from another contractor. Maybe they never pressurized it correctly the first time? Did you ever feel cold air after they installe dit?
 
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Old 04-30-09, 09:53 AM
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Freon Leak - Suggestions on Repair

Last June, I had a new AC unit installed ($7000), bc the compressor was completely dead. Although brand new, the new unit never kicked out COLD air. Last week, I fired up the unit only to feel warm air. I called the crew, who installed the unit last year, to perform service and maintenance. According to the them, I have a leak in the line bc the unit was completely out of freon. After applying pressure in the line, no hissing sounds could be heard from the unit to the point of entry into my condo. The crew also checked inside for sounds near the coils. With that, they believe there is a leak in the line behind my walls. Before I have them rip up my hallway, which would be costly and destructive, I'm hoping to receive suggestions and direction on this issue. Thanks!
 
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Old 04-30-09, 09:54 AM
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This definitley needs to be moved to the HVAC A/C forum. More info will be required, but there are procedures for checking a system after install, and it sounds like they weren't followed correctly. You can just copy your post and put another here....
Air Conditioning - DoItYourself.com Community Forums
 
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Old 04-30-09, 10:12 AM
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I know we are discussing in the wrong forum but if they checked for a leak by listening they don't know what they're doing. In the old days you used a propane leak detector* but now days you usually use an electronic detector. If it were in the wall you could make a small opening and use the electronic sniffer to check for leaks.

It's of course a matter of ascetics but here it is not uncommon to run the lines on the outside wall and cover with a metal race or wood. Certainly an alternative to ripping open walls if indeed it is in the wall. No way till it is actually checked with a leak detector.

*Propane type detector: Open flame that turned green when hose to the torch's air intake was passed over the leak.
 
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Old 04-30-09, 10:15 AM
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I assume that you reused your existing line set when the unit was replaced. If so, they should have isolated and pressure tested the line then to insure it was ok.

I would use an electronic leak detector or put dye in the system to check the indoor and outdoor coils for a leak. I would also isolate the line set and pressure test it before I went ripping your house apart to replace it.
 
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Old 04-30-09, 10:42 AM
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I know that this isn't the right forum but don't you think they should have checked for that will they installed your new unit. Did they put new lines on it when they install your new A/C? My point is that they should had tested this after installing it. You should have some type of warranty for it. Good luck.
Jim
 
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Old 04-30-09, 03:18 PM
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If the crew that was "listening for sounds" to locate a leak installed your a/c unit I can assure you they were not qualified to
do that work.

You need to use proper leak detection equipment which could consist of several things.
It would be absurd to open a wall based on their "belief" there was a leak there.
Belief is a basis for several things, a/c repairs being not one of them.

You mentioned that ripping up your hallway would be expensive.
Because your unit is under warranty I would assume you mean costly to them and not you..........Is this so?
 
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Old 04-30-09, 06:20 PM
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I would leak check the system with nitrogen at 150psi. First, the whole sys. If a leak shows isolate the condensing unit with the stop valves where the lines connect to the cond. unit. Still shows pressure drop?
Add a trace amount of refrigerant and pressurize with nitro again. Check the coil and tubing with electronic detector. No sign of leak? Cut and cap the lines in the attic so the line set is the only thing pressurized. Still a press. drop? It's the line set.
Oh, there might be a coupling under the suction line insulation. That would be nice if you can get to it.
There are really nice looking covers for an external line-set, color matching, too.
Tom Beer 4U2
 
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Old 05-01-09, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by GregH View Post
If the crew that was "listening for sounds" to locate a leak installed your a/c unit I can assure you they were not qualified to
do that work.

You need to use proper leak detection equipment which could consist of several things.
It would be absurd to open a wall based on their "belief" there was a leak there.
Belief is a basis for several things, a/c repairs being not one of them.

You mentioned that ripping up your hallway would be expensive.
Because your unit is under warranty I would assume you mean costly to them and not you..........Is this so?
The AC unit is still working, aside from lack of freon and needs to have full maintenance performed. If there is a leak in the line to/in my home, it's my cost. The condo was built in 1997, and I'm sure all system warranties have expired.
 
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Old 05-01-09, 03:35 PM
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Hmm.......... your post is somewhat confusing.
You said the unit was new and working but suffers from a lack of "Freon" or to use the proper term, refrigerant.
Are you maybe saying that the fan blows air but does not cool?

I think you may be looking for other than technical advice.
Is this so?
If so I will offer an opinion on your situation which has pretty much already been given.

Under normal circumstances a reputable company installing an air conditioning system will indeed not warranty any old lines he may reuse but IMO is under an obligation to ensure that they are leak free.
Even though they are hidden behind a wall and without getting too technical there are two common ways of doing this.
One is to use nitrogen pressure to detect a drop in pressure and the other which I use is with a vacuum pump and electronic gauge and it doesn't matter how deep the lines are buried in the ground or a structure.
You won't know where the leak is but just that it exists.
The tools and knowledge to do this should be available to any reputable and competent company.

We do not go out of our way to slander any trades people here but will offer an opinion as to what normal and proper procedures are.
Like I said and IMO, that if they were actually just listening for a hiss as you describe then this is not a normally accepted procedure.
If this is the only method they used to look for a leak then they could have very easily missed a leak in the work that they did.
If you were not paying attention and they were using proper leak finding methods then yes, you may have to rip up your home to find a leak.
But, if you suspect they were not working to professional standards then a wise investment would be to find and hire a competent company to look for a leak.

No offense to people who work in the residential a/c market but my experience has been that tradespeople who also work in larger commercial jobs may be in a better position to have the proper equipment and techniques to do this.............not always but better odds.

Not sure if this is the advice you want.
 
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Old 05-01-09, 09:41 PM
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One more note;NEVER use air to pressure test a refigeration--A/C system. Air contains moisture,moisture in the system causes acid,which causes a burnout.As stated most service techs will use nitrogen at a min. to 150 PSI. with a trace of refigerant for electronic detectors.Nitrogen helps remove or suspend moisture.Listening for a leak is good,however,you could have a leak right in front of you and not hear it.Using an electronic and bubbles will pinpoint leaks.
 
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Old 05-02-09, 12:26 PM
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Listening for a hisssss seems to be somewhat akin to looking for a gas leak with a match!
Tom Beer 4U2
 
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