Replacing the R-22 line myself

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Old 06-27-15, 11:16 AM
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Replacing the R-22 line myself

Ok, heres the run down and sorry for the long winded wall of text.

I have a house with a 16 year old AC unit in it. I noticed when we first bought the house last year that it doesn't cool all that great except for my bedroom. It was still bearable but kinda slow to cool the rest of the house down. I had planned on having someone come out this summer and look at it but of course, before I could drainage started backing up which expedited that service call. Yesterday I threw down $200 to have a new drain line ran. Noticed there was still some dripping and now the unit wasn't cooling as well. So I called the company back. They sent another tech out. Turns out that the way this house (and many houses here in FL) are built (with the lines going under the foundation in a long tube) it causes erosion to everything since they sit in muck and water in the tubes and ground. At least thats what I was told. So I now have a refrigerant leak and my coil has started freezing. Which is what the new dripping is. His solution was to run a new line up through the attic instead of under the house to prevent any new issues. The problem is, they want over $800 to do it. Yup, to run about 30 feet of copper tube and add refrigerant they want 800 smackaroos. My question is, with help from my BF is there a way he and I can just replace this copper tubing ourselves? I have no desire to run it through the attic. Most likely I will have it running along the back wall in some sort of insulated sleeve. Can this be done that way? Then just pay someone to put the R-22? Single mom budget dictates I cannot afford to replace the whole unit right now. Or pay someone $800 to run a copper tube through my attic.

Edit: Not to confuse anyone..the refrigerant leak as been going on for awhile according to them since the cooling hasn't been efficient. However for some reason all the mucking about in that underground pipe made it worse.
 
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Old 06-27-15, 11:28 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

First off I am not an HVAC tech but have a good idea how things work. IMO $800 is not bad to run a new lineset and charge the system. Yes, you can save some money and buy a lineset and run it your self. Just make sure not to kink the tubing.
 
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Old 06-27-15, 11:32 AM
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$800 sounds like a fair price. If the unit is over 10 years old I would have some stop leak added to the system.
 
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Old 06-27-15, 04:05 PM
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After doing some research I might just have them do it. I'm trying to cut costs but looking at the kits, those are anywhere from $150 to $300. Plus we will have to have someone come out and deal with the refrigerant removal before we start then refilling it. I'm sure that will be a pretty penny. Plus the more I read about this the less confident I am we won't bork something up and make my house implode. HVAC people charge a lot for a reason I am starting to see.
 
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Old 06-27-15, 04:41 PM
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Do you have any idea if the existing copper lines can be pulled out of the " tube " and new copper lines pulled back in ?

If new lines are installed , they will need to be insulated on the larger / suction / vapor line . On older systems the smaller / liquid line was not insulated .

Probably need to pull an new thermostat wire along with the copper lines ( this is just about the only part that is not expensive ) .

I would have them give you a written proposal and warranty .

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now , for the rest of the story .

You first called because the condensate was not draining ? Where is the fan unit / air handler unit ? Attic or closet ?

Now , supposedly , you have dripping again & they tell you you are low on refrigerant . This is resulting in the coil freezing up and more leaks .

And now they wish to charge you to replace the copper refrigerant lines . Because , they have a refrigerant leak from being under the slab ? Maybe in them dirt ?

Something about this does not exactly sound right ? Maybe , even a little bit fishy ?

Wish you all the best with this .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 06-27-15, 05:41 PM
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I'm going to assume they can be because they ran the new drain down there but he was saying they no longer do it that way for this exact reason. They run them up through the attics. I live in a very humid, flood prone state so what he was saying about the water and corrosion made sense. Or maybe I'm just dense.

My AC is located in my garage next to the door.

Yes, I first called because my AC was literally pouring water. I don't question the line was blocked because he even showed me plus the hose that was under the house (it wasn't even a pvc pipe. It was a black thick hose.) and I was told that what I had was no longer regulation for HVAC installs but since my house is almost 30 years old that is what they used back then. He installed the new line and everything was working great. No more water except I noticed that it was taking a lot longer to cool then usual. He left after about 20 minutes and I waited for the temp to drop in my house. It never got down past 85 the I heard the dripping. A WHOLE lot less this time though. Like a few every few minutes. I called them back today, he came out and that is when he told me that I had coolant leaks. Which is why my AC isn't cooling the way it should. It was cooling inefficiently before. I even had my BF go check the ducts in the attic beginning of summer. Now, it's just barely cooling at all. He had what I assumed to be a refrigerant leak detector and it was going bonkers. Sort of reminded me of that movie Aliens. Half expected something to pop out of the AC and attach to his face. I would agree about the fishy feeling. I have it too however this AC cooling inefficiently has been a issue for awhile. At this point I feel like whether I blame them for making it worse or I had let it continue to go..eventually this was going to happen. I feel as though my hands are tied at this point. Calling another company out means paying another $100 to be told the same thing though the thought has crossed my mind.
 
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Old 06-27-15, 06:15 PM
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BTW, this company came very highly recommended and has an outstanding BBB record as well as awards from angies list for customer service and great yelp and google ratings. That is why I chose them. But of course, my luck I would get a careless tech.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 03:17 AM
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What is the distance involved , to run the 2 new refrigeration lines ?

Please pardon me , if you have answered this question , but did they get the second water leak / drip fixed ?

I did not understand the tech used a refrigerant detector . Was he at the furnace / air handler when he located the refrigerant leak . Or at the condenser unit / outdoor unit ? Or some where in between ?

If new lines are run from the condenser to the attic , that portion that is surface mounted on the exterior wall can be partially " hidden " with a sheet metal cover .

If you are careful and do not bend the copper tubing to sharply and kink it , you could run the new copper tubing yourself ( insulating the large line and running new thermostat wire / cable with it ) . Leaving ti ends taped closed , at the attic and the condenser unit .

Remember , copper has gone up in price , a bunch . So be prepared for price shock .

At that point , you would need the tech to take over . Unless you have the tooling , equipment and skills to do the rest of the project . And the EPA card .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 06-28-15, 12:49 PM
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Are you saying a new drain line for the AC or some other drainage?
Geo
 
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Old 06-29-15, 04:09 PM
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Hello everyone,
I just wanted to thank everyone for their help. I went ahead and had another company come look at my unit and they also confirmed that there was a leak under the slab in the access tube (or what ever you call it) they offered to do the work for a bit less then the other place so I let them. When he pulled the copper tube out of the ground it was bent in 2 places. These were not new and it looked like the hose had been submerged in mud/water/muck for years where the bends were and up about another foot. They went ahead and ran a new line set through the attic and my house has not been this cool ever. I bought it a year ago and even then I knew the AC was going to be a problem. I will eventually replace the unit but until then there are still a few things that I think I can do myself.
 
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