Refrigerant leak

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Old 08-29-12, 06:25 PM
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Refrigerant leak

I had my a/c system charged with 2 lbs of refrigerant 2 years ago. I am now encountering the same symptoms (a couple of degrees of temp drop, reduced air flow, ice inside the a/c & furnace unit). I called the same techs. They said it will cost $195 for the diagnostics (even though we both know what it is), $50 per lb for R22, $110 for injecting the dye, and $300 for a return visit to figure out where the leak is. Then it will be additional cost for the repairs. They told me it is not worth repairing because R22 is in short supply and is getting scarcer. They advised me to get a new unit instead. A salesman arrived and he gave me an estimate of 8 grand for a new a/c and furnace combo. Does it make sense to replace instead of repair?
 
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Old 08-29-12, 06:45 PM
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Potentially it may make more sense to replace vs. repair. First, how old is your a/c? Second, find a new contractor, those prices seem outrageous and I don't trust dye, I use an electronic leak detector. R22 supply has been cut. Cost of R22 has more than double since last year and will only get worse. However, if your system is not very old and you have just a small leak you may want to decide to just top off the system with R22 and see how long it lasts you. If it took 2 years after you had 2 lbs installed to have a problem then it is likely a small leak. Figure if you spend $300 each time for trip and diagnostic and to top off system every 2 years and the TYPICAL leak repair is around $1000 - 1500 then it would take you at least 6 years before you come close to the same amount of money. After 6 years your system may be a better canidate for replacement. Just giving you some input.
 
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Old 08-29-12, 07:42 PM
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Hi hvactechfw,
Thanks for your response. My townhouse was built in 1989 and the a/c/furnace is original, so it is 23 years old. What you say makes sense, though the cost for recharging will keep going up because R22 is in short supply.
 
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Old 08-29-12, 08:12 PM
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at that age you should seriously consider replacing it due to efficiency and warranty
 
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Old 08-30-12, 01:04 PM
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The R22 phase out is a lousy reason to replace an existing system.

There are a couple of drop in replacements for R22 - R438a is one of them.

That being said, a proper leak repair could potentially cost you over $500, possibly over a thousand if it's in the indoor coil.

There are system sealants available which solidify in the presence of moisture/air, but there is a risk of damage. (any moisture in your system could cause it to solidify where it shouldn't)

If possible budget for replacement in the very near future.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 02:26 PM
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23 years old, id say you got your moneys worth. However, depending on the size of your unit and what needs to be done, i would say 8 grand seems a bit high, especially with those service rates. If 22 is $50/lb this year, next year it may be $75 or even $100. Look for a more efficient replacement and dont worry about your system anymore.
 
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