Options to deal with an a/c leak

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Old 06-14-14, 05:56 PM
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Options to deal with an a/c leak

My home is about 25 years old and so is the Trane TTJ730 a/c with the old style R22 refrigerant. A few years ago I noticed that the air flow had diminished and looking through the humidifier hole in the plenum I discovered ice formation on the coil. A repairman came in and charged the system. It seemed to work fine for a couple of years and the symptoms reappeared. I was told it was a slow leak and for a system so old it was not worth fixing it. However a new Trane XR13 a/c system costs 5 grand.

Discouraged, I called another repairman and asked him to diagnose the leak. He used some kind of a meter and said there is a slow leak in the coil area, but since the leak is so small he can't tell what place of the coil is leaking. He can replace the coil with a Goodman coil for $1200. He said the condenser is fine. The catch is that it will take 2 cooling seasons to discover whether the new coil has fixed the leak and the warranty doesn't go that long. I told the guy to add a pound of freon to the system, which he did. So for now the a/c is doing its job.

Here is what I'm left wondering. This coil is made out of metal. How can there be a leak through the metal? Isn't it likely that the leak is at one of the junction points, maybe a seal? What are my options?

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Old 06-14-14, 06:05 PM
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How can there be a leak through the metal?
Metal rusts and corrodes. Evaporator coils usually have many solder connections in them.
In my opinion, it would be foolish to replace just the coil with the compressor being twenty five years old.

Typical A coils..... aluminum and copper.

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Old 06-15-14, 10:40 AM
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Wants to put a Goodman coil in a 25 year old Trane system? Run from that guy
 
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Old 06-15-14, 02:22 PM
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I like the fact that aluminum evaporator coils are back again.

I took out a 1981 aluminum evaporator coil that still had a good looking tubesheet. I see 4 and 5 year old tubesheets on copper coils the are very rusty already.

I still prefer copper condensers.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 07:29 AM
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PJmax, thanks for the pics to show how it is possible to have leaks in the coil.

Airman, you indicated that putting a Goodman coil in a Trane system is a no-no. Can you indicate why?

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Old 06-25-14, 03:28 AM
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What is it costing you to have it serviced every 2 years ?

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 06-25-14, 05:19 AM
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Replacement is the only long term option worth considering.
 
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Old 06-26-14, 04:02 AM
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True , but , were it mine , I would look at the cost of recharging it , he said every 2 years .

Of course , were it mine , I would replace both Schrader valves at the service valves , first . I have the tool to do this , w/o loosing the refrigerant charge .

Then I would top off the charge every year . I have the refrigerant and tooling to do so . Myself . I am betting , charging it every year will keep it operating more efficently ? Less dollars for electricity .

Replace the system when it is just about to die . And be researching the cost of a new system . If you can , schedule to buy a new system in the dead of winter when the HVAC folks are hungry .

And also consider replacing it with mini splits .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 06-26-14, 05:44 AM
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I would opt for replacement with a much more efficient system. Think about all the $ you will save every day it's on.
The price of R22 is rising all the time, so recharging will also.
 
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Old 06-29-14, 09:26 AM
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It takes me less than $200 to recharge the system. My cooling costs are $100 - 200 per year. A higher efficiency system will not save me much in absolute dollars. I like WyrTwister's idea of replacing it only when it is about to die. By the way, what are mini-splits?

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Old 06-29-14, 11:02 AM
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I think the reason for the Goodman coil in a Trane system was that AFAIK, Goodman is a low end brand, while Trane is considered more upper end. Also, it's a 25 y/o system, might be hard to match up and not really worth doing anyway. Like replacing the engine in a 20 y/o car that has other issues.

Mini splits are small self contained systems that don't require duct work. The compressor and condenser coil are still outside but the inside unit with the blower and controls mounts on the wall and only a small hole is required for the refrigerant and electrical lines. Imagine a very efficient window unit split in half with part inside and part out. They are often used in small homes, additions, offices, cabins, garages, etc where the cost/effort of installing a large unit and ducting is prohibitive. Depending on the home, they can be an attractive alternative. In most homes, you would need multiple units.

Panasonic, Mitsubishi, and Sanyo are some well known names.
 
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