Low on freon ?


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Old 07-31-14, 04:03 PM
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Low on freon ?

I've been at this townhouse since March. When the season started, I turned on the unit, and it worked like a champ. All of a sudden it seems like it is struggling to maintain a temperature. Today it is 81 outside, I have it set for 75 inside, and it is holding, but the unit is running non-stop. In the past, it would run a little while, and shut down. I went outside to the compressor, and noticed the air being expelled by the fan is ambient temperature. I think this should be hot air due to heat exchange, correct ?. Also, I know one of the 2 lines (forget which, but I think it is the copper one) should be warm to the touch, but mine is ambient temperature also. I believe the insulated line is supposed to be the "cold" line right ?. That one also feels like ambient temperature. The fan is blowing fine, but by "feel of the hand" at the vents it doesn't seem like there is truly cold air coming out. It feels just slightly colder than the room. I've attached some pix for reference but I am thinking low freon (or whatever it uses - R22?). Thoughts ?.

1. Inside unit



2. Outside unit (the thin line is the copper line on Pic 1.)



3. Label on outside unit.



4. Close up of 2 lines outside.





Thanks in advance for any tips.
 
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Old 07-31-14, 04:16 PM
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Can you tell when the compressor is running ? Sometimes it's hard to hear over the fan.
If the fan is running then technically the compressor should be running too. If it was low on refrigerant the entire condensor unit would be short cycling.

Even just slightly low on refrigerant..... you should still feel the insulated copper line to be cold.
 
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Old 07-31-14, 04:50 PM
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Yes, I can tell when the compressor is running. The insulated line was not cold. I tried this.....

1. Shut unit off at thermostat for 10 minutes.
2. Turned unit back on. Unit started right away. Same results.
3. After a few minutes (10-15), the unit shut off on its own.

The setting is for 75, but the temp read 77.

After a few more minutes the unit restarted and is now running as before.

Question: if the setting is for 75, should the air coming out of the vents be 75 ?.
 
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Old 07-31-14, 04:59 PM
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If you are getting your normal flow of air out of the registers and the compressor is running.... it's time to call an HVAC guy.

It could be a low charge or it could be a restriction in the refrigerant lines. Possibly a plugged drier/filter or defective TXV (expansion valve). A tech will need to put gauges on to see what is going on.
 
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Old 07-31-14, 05:02 PM
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thanks, PJ.........I'll get a tech in here.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 05:45 AM
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After some more reading, I am almost sure it is a capacitor.........(fingers crossed). I misread your question about the compressor running over the fan. I cannot hear the compressor over the fan........just the fan.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 11:33 AM
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OK, so here is what went down.....would like to hear your input.

I got home a few minutes after the service guy. It was a father and son team. The father immediately told me "you have an obstruction because the pressure blah blah blah". I said, "ok, so the freon is good then", so he says "didn't check that yet". Son goes out to compressor and the gauge is reading "10" on the low side, so he goes to the truck to get R-22. Father is adamant something else is going on. Son plugs bottle in, and slowly starts to recharge the system until it was 70 on the low side (whatever that means). Low and behold, the system starts to cool. Father then says your coil must have a leak, let me go measure it. So off he goes and I stay outside talking with the son. He tells me even at 11 years old, the unit should not lose freon, so he recommends "leak stop" or something by that name, so I said "ok" - he went to the truck, got a tube of something and injected it into the system. He said they have good success with that. Father then comes out to tell me the coil size is hard to find, and he will have to cut sheet metal, blah blah, if this doesn't work. Gives me a quote for $1500 to change the coil, or $5000 to change the whole thing to an R410 system. Son says, maybe this will hold.

So there is the story.

In the end, I paid $380 for the call plus 6 lbs. of R22. To be clear, I have nothing against the father. He seemed like a nice guy trying to help. I have no reason to believe he was trying to screw me.

Thoughts, comments, tips, welcome.

Oh, air coming off the vents was 63 degrees, and on the return was 78 which I think is pretty good.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 11:34 AM
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I've been at this townhouse since March. When the season started, I turned on the unit, and it worked like a champ. All of a sudden it seems like it is struggling to maintain a temperature.
The key clue is 'All of a sudden' it quit cooling normally.
It appears the compressor may not be running at all.

You better call a service company, as very few equipment owners can trouble shoot these units in a safe & effective manner.
-----------------------------
Saw your last post: appears compressor was off on low pressure switch; no comment on what they said & did...

However, if it cooled okay & then suddenly quit cooling that could mean a fast leak-down that injecting the leak-stop won't usually stop. I never ever used any of that stuff; figured it could ci=use other problems...
 
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Old 08-01-14, 01:38 PM
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Let's hope the 'leak stop' works, usually it won't, but may be you are the lucky one. Post back here in a week or two and let us know.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 03:31 PM
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Yeah I don't have much faith in that stuff. I also believe (hope), that this leak has been there for years and only now did it get low enough to stop the compressor. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 
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Old 08-01-14, 06:17 PM
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leak stop is absolute garbage. if you've seen what that stuff actually does, you wouldn't want that in there. On top of that, its technically forbidden to refill a system that you know is leaking. Putting leak stop in a system is not looking for, finding or fixing the leak. How did the father know that the leak was in the A-coil? Possible? Definitely, but I've seen many many times before these so called "techs" put leak stop in a system or swap out an A-coil when the leak is really in the valve cores or the caps....sad stuff, some of these guys out there. By the way, has anyone from jersey had success with the new Master HVAC license? I've heard a ton of complaints from about 99.9% of the guys and I only know of one other person that has gotten it besides myself. I'm not thrilled with the way they issued numbers, it looks like a contractors license number. The one I was issued was 19HC00066000
 
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Old 08-02-14, 05:37 AM
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@RDSTEAM: Where in NJ are you ?. Perhaps if this craps out again, I'll want you to look at it. You posted the same question I had: If it is leaking FREON into the atmosphere, why would you refill it ?.

Of course, from my side of the equation that was the least expensive so I was all for it, but if you look at it from the EPA side of things....well.....

I also wondered why the A-coil and not a leak along the loooong line from the compressor to the A-coil, or even at the compressor.
 
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Old 08-02-14, 08:55 AM
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It's pretty rare for the lines themselves to leak. A leak can be anywhere there is a connection. That would be at the back of the compressor, at the coil or typically the coil itself as it can be constructed of hundreds of welds.

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Old 08-03-14, 06:44 AM
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ok, that makes sense now.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 08:52 AM
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Actually I just found out something very interesting. Any copper pipes run thru and in direct contact with cement can corrode and develop pin holes.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 09:41 AM
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Through cement, Copper pipes should always be run in conduit.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 10:51 AM
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Through cement, Copper pipes should always be run in conduit.
Apparently.... yet I've seen many A/C installations directly thru cement with no sleeves.
 
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Old 08-03-14, 05:22 PM
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I traced my lines. No cement, but outside they do penetrate thru stucco. Not sure how to tell if there is a sleeve. The lines then run vertically inside the wall 18 feet to the attic, then about 20 feet across, then down about 12 feet to the coil. All told each line is close to 50 feet long. The only other material they come close to being in contact with is drywall.
 
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Old 08-04-14, 05:48 PM
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A lot of times you see the lines going through a block wall. Usually there's just a patch on the outside and inside but nevertheless is should always be sleeved. Usually 1-1/2" PVC works well.
 
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Old 08-11-14, 06:18 AM
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OK, so back with more observations / questions....

Observation #1: So the unit was recharged 11 days ago, and so far it seems to be cooling OK. I have put these on top of the vents, and get 64 to 66 degrees temps coming out when the unit runs for a long cycle (>10 munutes). I realize this is not very accurate, but at least gives me an idea.

Observation #2: Sometimes the unit runs for short periods. I think this is t-stat related, as this t-stat has NO SWING setting, so if I set if for 75, it will cause the unit to run short bursts to maintain 75. I have it programmed for 75 during the day, and 73 at night. When it kicks down to 73, it runs for a while and this is when I see the 64-66 temps on the vents. The rest of the time, I see ~70, and I assume this is a function of the unit not running long enough.

Observation #3: This may have happened before, but I only noticed it today. The unit ran one of those shorter cycles, and then stopped. I then noticed a hissing sound (actually sounded like a toilet was running water elsewhere in the house). Eventually I noticed it was coming from the inside coil, so I dropped the temp on the t-stat to force the unit to restart (it had been off about 10 minutes). The unit started, and I let it run for about 5 minutes, then returned the t-stat to its normal program which made the unit stop. At this point, there was no more hissing noise.


Questions: What was that hissing noise?. Valve?. Did not sound like anything escaping...rather, it sounded like liquid to gas or vice-versa which I could see happening while the unit runs, but not after it stops ?. I have NEVER heard this noise before. What gives here?. I can try to get a video with sound and post it if if ever happens again. Could the unit be overcharged (remember they added 6 lbs of freon 11 days ago).

Regarding the t-stat: Is having a swing a good or a bad thing ?. I am positive this t-stat (Honeywell) has no swing. My t-stat at the other house had up to 2 degree swing. Not sure what is best. Seems swing would reduce the number of cycles, and make the unit run longer each cycle which I believe to be a good thing ?.


Thanks for putting up with my stupid questions......of course, I may be back tonight with "the thing doesn't work" dreaded post.
 
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Old 08-11-14, 10:01 AM
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73-64/66 = 9 or 7. This delta T is too small. You have a problem. leaks ??
 
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Old 08-12-14, 06:23 AM
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Yep.

Died again. Having it looked at this afternoon.
 
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Old 08-13-14, 02:44 PM
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Replaced evaporator coil. Nice job by RDSTEAM. My house can now be used as a meat locker.
 
 

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