New A/C System Acting Strange


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Old 09-15-09, 11:25 AM
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Question New A/C System Acting Strange

Hi... Our 17 year old R-22 A/C system had been leaking freon for some time. No one could ever find the cause. We opted to have freon added whenever it was needed. We knew the drill of turning off the system and letting the fan run to defrost the system. Originally it was twice a year and then led to every 2-3 weeks. It was now time for a new system.

In March 2009 we had a new R-410 15 Seer Heat Pump system installed. The A/C tech was referred to us. I had told him the entire history on the previous unit.

Refrigeration lines were never talked about when we received the quote. The quote given to us was just a grand total for the system and the installation.

My husband came home during the installation and saw the A/C tech flushing out the lines. Husband asked why we weren't getting new lines. Tech said it wasn't necessary that flushing out the lines was standard.

A short time after the unit was installed I noticed a strange smell coming out of the vents. This was in every single room of the house and still is to this day. I called the A/C tech and he said he'd stop by and take a look when he was in the neighborhood.

That stop never happened but I did have to call him again with another problem. The compressor started sounding louder than usual. Normally it was just a soft hum. Then within a hour of noticing the louder sound, the inside temperature started climbing. Warm air was blowing out of the vents.

I went outside to check for ice as this was the routine we previously had. No ice! I called the A/C tech and he said he'd be over. In the meantime I turned off the unit but did leave the fan running just in case there was a freeze somewhere.

I turn the unit on about an hour later. Compressor now hums. Air is now cooling in the house. A/C tech arrives. He goes to the compressor with his gauges and freon. Husband comes home and meets up with A/C Tech. Tech tells my husband that he recently had attended an A/C class about new 410 units. They were instructed to start adding more freon than previously done at installation time. So during this visit he added more freon to be at the level the instructor from class stated.

Not too sure if that story was legit or he was just covering his assets!

So I'm here to ask something. Could that weird smell coming out of my vents be freon/oil? I realize freon is odorless but there is oil and I'm wondering if that is the smell. I had a vehicle that had a freon leak and everytime I turned the A/C on it had that same weird smell.

I'm also concerned about our warranty being voided by Comfortmaker since old lines were used. Not sure if flushing is full proof and possibly damaging the new system.

What do I do? I feel like I'm constantly complaining to the A/C tech. During the last visit I asked him what happened. What would have made warm air come thru the vents? Why did the compressor make that loud noise while running and then go back to a hum after turning the system off then back on? Tech said he didn't know and that he would need to hear it to diagnose. No more explanations. He just packed up and left. He acted as if we had bothered him making him come out for nothing.

Any suggestions?
 
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Old 09-15-09, 01:07 PM
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Any suggestions?
Yeah, find a new tech. I hate to say it, but from what you have posted I have very little confidence your system was installed properly or he even knows what he's doing.

The only time you don't replace the line set is if its enclosed in a ceiling etc and you can't get to it. You can flush them with Rx-11 flush and if done right should be fine.

Did he pressure test the line set to make sure its not the source of your elusive refrigerant leak?

He recently went to a class about R-410a systems

So he just adds more 410 - double

Most problems and premature compressor failures stem from a poor installation. I would contact your local Comfortmaker distributor and ask them to have the factory rep come out and go over the system and installation,sorry.
 
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Old 09-15-09, 02:20 PM
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Another question. Did the evaporator coil inside the air handler also get replaced? If not that was probably the source of the original leak and the high pressure of 410 just made it worse. This system will be ruined if you don't get a competent tech in there to go over his job. No way could I install a new a/c system for $1,000 bucks...
 
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Old 09-15-09, 03:00 PM
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The old system had the evaporator coil replaced but the system still leaked. So over the years we just kept having freon added. The old system was removed and a new compressor and air handler were both installed. The Tech used the original refrigeration lines. I didn't say we paid $1,000 for a new system. We paid $3,200.
 
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Old 09-15-09, 03:11 PM
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I see where you got the "grand" from. In my original post I was trying to say that the quote given to us only had one price which we were told was for the new system and installation, nothing about refrigeration lines, etc. Thus the term "grand total". Usually quotes have a break down of what everything costs and we were completely unaware of refrigeration lines being a possible additional cost.
 
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Old 09-15-09, 04:25 PM
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Refrigerant that leaks out in two weeks is a VERY BIG LEAK and MUST BE FOUND before any of your money has be taken for new equipment or you've been robbed IMO.
 
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Old 09-15-09, 04:48 PM
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The new system was installed in March '09. A few months after is when I started smelling that weird smell. September '09 is when warm air blew thru the vents. I'm just trying to figure out if that weird smell is a freon leak. And September is when our A/C Tech put more freon in saying it's because he just came from a class on R-410a systems.
 
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Old 09-16-09, 02:29 PM
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410 systems are far different than 22 systems. The refrigerant is a blend and if there is a leak and he continues to add refrigerant it will change the composition of it over time and another problem is that the oil is highly hygroscopic meaning that it absorbs moisture at a very high rate. If the leak allows moisture to get in or he didn't properly evacuate the system you will have a real mess then. I would highly suggest getting another tech in there to go over the install.
 
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Old 09-17-09, 02:48 PM
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Mattison... I did contact the Distributor for Comfortmaker. He had concerns that the Tech did not pull a permit and I heard him "flinch" on the phone when I said he topped off the system with more puron. He directed me over to the manufacturer. Spoke with them and they are going to have someone call me after they speak to this Tech. Manufacturer did say though that you can use the old lines. That one stumped me. Those lines are 17 years old and are visible in our attic. We have a high roof elevation so getting around in the attic is no problem. They too didn't like hearing that he topped off the system without looking to see what could have caused noisy compressor and loss of cooling. I reminded them that they had him listed as a dealer on their web site. I wanted my complaint documented and it is. I'm just waiting for the follow up call.
 
 

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