what is a reasonable price to replace Freon filter?


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Old 08-25-10, 10:32 AM
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what is a reasonable price to replace Freon filter?

My AC technician said I needed to replace Freon filter. It's the one hooked to the smaller copper pipe outside and close to the outsde unit.

does anyone know what is he reasonable price for part and labor (in Texas)?
 
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Old 08-25-10, 10:50 AM
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pricing varies but probably 250 or so. Make sure that you get someone that will do the job correctly and flow nitrogen through the lines while they are brazing.
 
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Old 08-25-10, 10:51 AM
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why so much water from AC some times?

My downstairs unit has some issues (like faulty TXV based on one tech) and it doesn't cool that well from time to time.

I also noticed two times where there was lots of water accumulated in the indoor unit.
This doesn't happen all the time. It only happened twice.
first time was a few days ago when outside temp was over 105F. The AC tempature gradually went to up 87F.
I went up and unhook the drain pipe (it was cut in 2008 to blow out clog). then I 2 buckets of water came out of the AC indoor unit. I suspect at that time compressor stopped for self-defense.
then it never happened until yesterday when weather was pretty cool and there was not much running of the A/C.
then I went up to the attic. and I dumped out another two buckets of water.
both times, I couldn't explain it by clogged pipe becuase the other side of the pipe didn't have much water.

so I would appreciate if anyone can give some possible causes.
here are a few I can think of
1) clogged drain pipe
2) the bad TXV (to be repaired).

what else?
I plan to have a AC technician come and take a look. but I'm afraid that they may not find anything.

If I have all the possible causes, I can quetion him.
 
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Old 08-25-10, 10:56 AM
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I have seen ice block the drains and if you are getting good info from your tech about the TXV it is possible that you have some coil freezing issues.
 
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Old 08-25-10, 11:24 AM
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I don't think your water problem has anything to do with the TXV. You said you unhooked the pipe a few days ago and dumped out 2 buckets of water, after that did you blow out the clog and make sure it is clean before you hooked it back ? If you did not, of couese you will have water in there again. Here is the real question: How many drain pipes do you have, If you have 2 (one primary, one secondary), You are not suppose to see water accumulated until both pipes got clogged. If you only have one, then yes, the water will be there if it is clogged.
 
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Old 08-25-10, 12:24 PM
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thanks for your reply. I didn't clean the drain when I unhooked.
I am ordering a gallo gun now.

but the drip pan didn't have water.
the guy who installed the AC pointed the pipe upwards for the drip pan. perhpaps that's why water got piled up. I was always puzzled why he did that way.
 
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Old 08-25-10, 01:05 PM
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If the secondary drain pipe(the one to the pan) is higher than the coil and the primary drain, then the secondary is useless. It sounds your primary was clogged, but because the secondary pipe is too high, so the water does not go to the pan. I am guessing now. A picture will help.
 
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Old 08-25-10, 04:09 PM
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image got messed up. will update later
 
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Old 08-25-10, 05:03 PM
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thanks so much for answering the questions.
I am putting two pictures.
the downstairs currently has water problem.
the upstairs doesn't (installed 3 weeks ago). it started to drip water and then I called them up. they came over and hooked both to the primary drain pipe. I am puzzled.

so questions are:
1) for downstairs unit (that has water problem). was it installed properly. I am puzzled why the drip pipe points upwards
2) for upstairs unit, is it OK to hook both up to the primary drain as this AC guy did?



downstairs (that has water problem)



upstairs unit (currently working)
 
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Old 08-25-10, 09:06 PM
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Upstair unit: you have 2 primary drain pipes, but connect to the same output pipe. I can not see if you have secondary or not, the picture does not show the lower portion of the pan. Downstair: you have 1 primary, no secondary, I can see a little on the picture. There is no (secondary drain) pipe at the bottom of the picture (right above words 'currently working') to drain the water out of the pan. The upright opening is the overflow which will dump the water to the pan if the primary is clogged, downstair one is too high, other than that, it is OK. I think the problem you have is (1) your primary is clogged. (2) You don't even have secondary drain pipes installed.
 
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Old 08-26-10, 02:02 AM
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Top picture: There needs to be a cap on the clean out pipe that comes out of the top of the tee. The elbow next to it marked "S" on the cabinet needs to be turned straight down instead of up. There needs be a seperate drain pipe coming out of the metal secondary drain pan under the unit that goes somewhere to the outside (over a window etc) or next to the primary drain or to a floor drain that you will notice it if there is water coming out of it. The point is that if you see water coming out of the secondary (metal pan) drain you know you have a plugged up primary drain. Paint the end of the secondary drain outlet red or something and tell your family members that if they see water coming out of it to tell you about it so it can be addressed before water damage occurs to the house or the unit.

Bottom picture: Again you need to cap the top of the tee on the primary drain. You need to separate the pipe where the two drains come together and dump the secondary drain marked "S" on the cabinet into the metal pan and have a seperate pipe to the outside or wherever your drains go just like I explained for the top picture.

You never want to run the two drains out of the furnace/air handler into one pipe in case the pipe gets plugged downstream at an elbow or something and stops up all your drains. You always want a seperate drain system in case the primary one fails. This is a big problem in an attic installation where you run the risk of structure/ceiling water damage from a completely plugged drain system. Not to mention the mold problems that could arise not only in the ceiling but in the flooded furnace/air handler/ductwork etc where the mold is blown into the living space when the unit/ductwork dries out.

Make sure both primary drains with the traps are cleaned out and drain good. (dump some water in the top of the clean out tee while someone watches where the water comes out of the drain and makes sure it is flowing good). Hookup the secondary drains from the metal pans and keep an eye on them during the cooling season and you shouldn't have any more drain problems.

You should blow out the traps a couple of times during the cooling season to make sure they are flowing good. Also check both the primary and secondary drains in the spring before you start the units for cooling to make sure they haven't gotten plugged up during the winter from bugs or dirt or whatever.
 
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Old 08-26-10, 06:00 PM
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thanks for both of you to reply. sorry I didn't take picture properly.
both units have drip pan drain pipes. below are the new pictures.

for the bottome picture, I was puzzled myself. 1 week after installation (this year), drip pan started to have water. I didn't think it's normal. I called the guy. He originally had the drip pan pipe pointing upwards. Now he just hooked it together with the primary drain pipe.

let me understand this based on the two pictures.
1) the top picture is fine except the secondary pipe (pointing upwards) is a bit high?
2) for the bottom picture, it's not correct to hook up both into one pipe
3) is there a difference internally as which one should be primary and which one should be secondary? In other words, would it be OK if I simply switch primary and seconary pipes? the reason I ask this is because the guy who hooked up both pipes into one drain pipe (bottom) picture told me no difference. I'm kind of suspecious.
4) if I understand correctly, it is NOT normal at any situations that drip pan should have water. this is either primary drain is clogged or something else is wrong, right?



downstairs unit



upstairs unit
 
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Old 08-26-10, 07:00 PM
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On the cabinet by each drain hole there will be stamped in the cabinet a "P" by one port and a "S" by the other port. "P" stands for primary drain. That is the drain that the water should come out of first and is at the lowest level in the internal drain pan. The "S" port next to it stands for secondary drain and is a 1/4 inch or so higher than the primary. If the primary drain gets clogged the water will rise the 1/4 inch or so and start going out of the secondary drain. In your case it dumps into the metal pan underneath. Answer to question 1. The elbow needs to point down so it will dump into the metal pan instead of the water having to rise to the top of the elbow and flooding the inside of the air handler. Answer to question 2. No. Why the guy plumbed it like that is beyond me. All the water for both drains must all go through one pipe. The secondary pan and drain would never get used until the interior of the air handler was flooded. If that is a recent install call the owner of the company that installed it and tell him to send someone out to redo the drain plumbing that has a brain. Question 3. See above. Answer to question 4. Exactly. The metal pan is an emergency pan in case both drains in the air handler are plugged. The pic marked "downstairs unit" just needs the vent on the tee plugged with a PVC cap and the secondary drain elbow turned a half a turn counterclockwise and it's golden provided all the drains are clear. The pic marked "upstairs unit" is a mess created by an idiot and needs to be redone to look like the downstairs unit after the modifications I mentioned.
 
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Old 08-26-10, 07:13 PM
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Jeggs.
thanks for much for your detailed explanation.
I don't know how to pay your back.
 
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Old 08-26-10, 07:30 PM
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Also I don't like the looks of the vent pipe for the furnace in the upstairs unit pic. Hot air likes to go up but not sideways. The elbow in the pic should be right at the outlet of the furnace not a foot and a half from it. The downstairs pic is better but again the elbow should be right at the furnace outlet. I would have them both changed and make sure you have good carbon monoxide detectors in the house.

The thing that gets me is that any HVAC tech with a license should know all this stuff about condensate drains and proper furnace venting. But these shoddy procedures go on all the time causing damage to ceilings etc from incorrect drain systems and carbon monoxide poisoning from shoddy furnace vent installations. And the sad part is that in all installation manuals for HVAC equipment there are instructions (with pictures even!) on how to install these systems so they work. Anyway sorry for the rant but it just gets under my skin that the homeowner has to go out and seek help and practically become an HVAC tech to get their multi thousand dollar systems working right because some bozo with a HVAC license screwed up their install.
 
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Old 08-26-10, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Rj2010
Jeggs.
thanks for much for your detailed explanation.
I don't know how to pay your back.
I'm just glad I could help.
 
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Old 08-26-10, 07:48 PM
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Jeggs,
I just turned the secondary drain pipe as you said for the downstairs unit.

I have a follow-up questions for question 4.
perhaps I didn't ask it correctly. What I meant to say is that I saw water coming out of the secondary drain pipe and flowing out of my house.

So my question is this: is it normal under hot weather when AC works hard to see water coming out of the secondary drain even the primary drain is not clogged? basically AC works so hard, water comes out from both places?

That seemed to what was going on when I noticed the newly installed (the one you said installed by an idiot. this was just installed three weeks ago).
I called them and said I saw water coming out of secondary pipe and flowing out of my house via the drip pan. I called and said I don't think it's normal to see water dripping out of secondary pipe. Then they came in and hooked both up. after that I don't see any water overflowing. that means that primary pipe wasn't clogged to begin with yet secondary drain started to drip water. I don't see the guy did any unclogging work other than hooking it up together. If the clogged primary pipe was the reason why secondary got water, hooking them up would have resulted in overflowing of water out of the primary pipe (which isn't capped).
 
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Old 08-26-10, 08:30 PM
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Water should ONLY come out of the primary drain marked "P" (the one with the trap) under ALL conditions. The internal drain pan and primary drain port are designed to handle any amount of condensate when the system is working properly regardless of how hot the weather is. If there is water coming from the secondary port marked "S" either the primary drain is plugged or the evaporator is freezing up and creating too much water for the system to handle when the unit shuts off and the ice starts melting. Freezing can be caused from a faulty TVX as you mentioned in your first post or a low refrigerant charge or the fan speed in the air handler is set incorrectly (too slow). It can also be caused from a mismatch of the condensing unit outdoors to the coil size in the air handler/furnace (outdoor unit too big). Is this a complete new system or did they just replace the indoor unit (air handler/furnace)?
 
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Old 08-26-10, 09:52 PM
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From you just said, I think your P is clogged, it is clogged at the elbow area before joining the secondary pipe or at/near the output of the plenum. so now all water goes out from the S. even you don't see any water or problem, but you don't have secondary for overflow anymore. if the drain pipe down the line clogged later, the plenum will be flooded. The down stair is now perfect after you turn the S around. the high upward pipe is fine. it is for clean up purpose only, cap it if you want. or cut it short if you want, that will make it serve as another overflow. some old system does not have S installed, this short one becomes a must.
 
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Old 08-26-10, 10:09 PM
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I usually cap (with no glue so you can remove it for cleaning) the clean out stubs to keep bugs and dirt from getting in the p trap and clogging it.
 
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Old 08-27-10, 06:54 AM
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Jeggs and Clocert,
thanks so much for both you.
I capped the downstairs unit already. for upstairs unit, I don't want to cap because everything is hooked up to the same pipe. if pipe is clogged, my AHU will be flooded if I cap the only escape.
My two systems are completely matched systems. The downstairs unit was installed 2008 and the upstairs unit was installed 3 weeks ago.

For upstairs unit, I saw water dripping out from secondary pipe into drip pan. I called them up and they hooked both into primary drain pipe.
Following Jegg's advise, I called them today and confronted them about hooking both up. They said that because air blows that way and it's possible secondary pipe will have water. But he reluctantly agreed to come over next week and inspect. I asked the owner (instead of the guy who did it) to come. to be fair, upstairs unit runs perfectly fine for now. it's just the concern of drippig water.

I am having cooling issues for downstairs unit. Primary discussions in this thread are centered around downstairs unit.

Let me summarize possiblities of downstairs unit with not cooling enough and too much water and dripping out into secondary pipe. When the AC guy comes over, I will ask him eliminate all these.
I scheduled a third technician (have to pay for that as well. in another thread, I said that first guy put more freon and second guy took out some and diagnosed TXV) to diagnose cooling and water issue.
1) Faluty TXV (likely? because a guy already said so. he measure preasures from both ends and said there was not much variation)
1a) evapoarating freezing up because of other reasons: likely? in fact, both times I observed lots of water was the AC stopped running for a while or AC barely runs because of low temp outside. It seems to me something melted.
2) low refrigent (don't know about that because first guy added and 2nd guy took out some. If third guys says low or high refrigent, I will press hard for reasons and want to see the numbers)
3) fan speed of air handler (not likely?, this had been working fine and it was a complete system installed 2008). nobod adjusted it
4) mismatched unit (not likely?, this was a complete installation in 2008)
5) clogged primary drain pipe (possible. I have ordered gallo gun and will do some self cleaning as the pipe was cut by the installer in 2008)
6)this a wild guess. perhaps the unit is hanging too low? that it makes it hard to have water flow out? this can't explain why it had worked in the past 2 years. I will also monitor the U-shaped trap closely.


thanks
 
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Old 08-27-10, 11:44 AM
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If the tech is concerned about air blowing out put a p trap on the secondary outlet. A lot of installers do this anyway as it does indeed blow out conditioned air from the drain and is an efficiency issue.

Have the installation company give you your copy of the installation and owners manuals. A lot of this will be covered in there and will give you some ammo on getting your systems set up right.

On the downstairs unit if there isn't much difference between pressures that does mean you have a restriction somewhere. It could be a faulty TVX or the filter/drier could be plugged as one tech mentioned. A bad TVX or a plugged filter/drier could cause the evaporator coil to freeze up and cause the water drain problems. There will be at least a five year parts warranty on both of your systems so the parts to fix the downstairs unit will be covered. Not sure about labor. Check your paperwork for the downstairs unit on labor warranty. Compressors usually have a ten year warranty so keep that in mind if that ends up needing replaced at some point.

On the hanging low question. All you need to worry about is that you have at least a 1/4 inch of drop per foot on the entire drain pipe from the drain pipe outlet on the furnace to the end of the pipe where it drains out of the house. 1/4 inch of drop per foot is what building code calls for on condensate lines for A/C systems.
 
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Old 08-27-10, 12:04 PM
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Here is a link to a good article on condensate drains.

Let's Concentrate on Condensate | ASHI Reporter
 
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Old 08-27-10, 12:15 PM
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You can easily check to see if the primary pipe is clogged or not, just use a flashlight peek into that opening and see if there is water come from the plenum flow down the pipe, and also pour a glass of water into it and see if they go thru the P-trip and go down freely.
 
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Old 08-27-10, 12:53 PM
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Thanks so much for all your replies.
You guys are great.
 
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Old 09-05-10, 06:20 PM
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just wanted to report back that my AC was fixed.
There were two problems:
Bad TXV: after replacing TXV, the temp at the incoming pipe is much lower and it doesn't generate as much water at the drain pipe
clogged primary drain: this was discovered under my sink.

Wanted to think Jeggs and Clocert for answering all the questions.
 
 

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