200 dollars for six days of R-22


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Old 08-27-16, 12:23 AM
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200 dollars for six days of R-22

Hello,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask, but I figured there would be members here knowledgeable about my question. So I hope this will be allowed.

I called an HVAC company to look at our central air because it wasn't working. They said it was frozen up and came back later to add 2 pounds of Freon. That cost about $100 just for the call and about $200 to add the Freon.

I had read that any time an AC system loses refrigerant, it means a leak. So I intended to call the company back to ask if they had checked for leaks and if they guaranteed their work.

Six days after the first call the AC isn't working again. Before I could even ask the company my questions. I call them about it. They come back and diagnose a leak. Now, IMO, that information should have been given on the first call. I would not have had $200 of refrigerant added to my AC for six days of cooling (that wasn't even that cool). They did not provide me with their expert/pro opinion as I had paid them for on the first call.

Since that $200 of Freon was completely wasted, I ask the company to please refund all or part of that charge. I look up the price of a canister of Freon, divide it out by pound, and offer to pay for the 2 pounds at cost. Essentially I asked for $150 of the $200 back because I feel I was ripped off. They offer a $50 refund.

Where should I go from here? Should I ask my credit card company if this situation qualifies for a dispute? Is there a regulatory agency that I can present my situation to?

Thanks for any advice!
 
  #2  
Old 08-27-16, 04:26 AM
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Some units have very minute leaks so topping off the refrigerant is rather normal. Because these leaks are very small it's often not economical to try finding or repairing it and often the topping off will be good for several years. It's something that is commonly done to save you money. Depending on the size of your system 2 pounds could be a minor amount and not indicate a serious leak.

In the service techs defense they had no idea you had a big leak until you called them back 6 days later. Now, if they come back they can gauge how fast it's leaking. Just be prepared for the chance of a bigger bill.

As far as a warranty most only cover the work or new parts they installed. So, if they installed a new motor and the motor died six days later or if they forgot to tighten the bolts that might be a warranty item. A leak in an old system is likely not covered by anyone.

If you are now mad at the first company and call a different one to make the repair make sure you tell them about the refilling you just had so they know you have a biggish leak. One good reason to stick with the current company is that they have learned about your AC. A new company will be starting over from scratch.
 
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Old 08-27-16, 04:45 AM
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When I add freon, I always advise the customer that there is a leak. I tell them I don't know if its big or small but inform them of the risks of just adding freon. Usually I try and find it. A quick check with an electronic leak detector takes about ten minutes or so. I think if the company didn't at least inform you that the freon could leak out fast, they are at best incompetent, but not necessarily illegal or actionable on your part.
 
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Old 08-27-16, 04:45 AM
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Did they attempt to find a leak? Was the coil iced up after 6days?is the filter and epaporator coil clean?
 
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Old 08-27-16, 11:54 PM
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On the call-back, the tech said there's a big leak, and the entire system needs replaced. I don't think the coil was iced up because we turned the AC off after we noticed it not working. The filter was clean, and the tech on the first call cleaned the coil.

So if the leak is bad enough that it cannot be repaired and the entire system needs replaced, wouldn't that be something that should have been noticed on the first call? I'm guessing that it didn't go from a small leak to so big or in such a location as cannot be repaired, the whole system must go in six little days?
 
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Old 08-28-16, 12:10 AM
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Why the whole system? Not an A/C tech but the leak if only one is either at the condenser coil or the evaporator coil or line set. it seems like you could just replace what is leaking not the whole system. Sounds like he just wants to sell you a new system instead of even trying to find the leak. I'd suggest a second or third opinion.
 
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Old 08-28-16, 04:24 AM
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What type system do you have? How old is it?
 
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Old 08-28-16, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by remy
". . . They said it was frozen up . . ."
Doesn't that usually mean that a small amount of water has accumulated inside and it just needs to be purged ?

That doesn't mean anything is broken; just that ice is blocking the normal flow of the freon, and needs to be vacated.

If they're adding refrigerant under these conditions, the system will be over-charged, and something will fail.
 
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Old 08-28-16, 05:10 AM
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If the leak is that big check the coils out to see if there is any signs of oil anywhere or have the tech point it out to you, definetly get another option.
 
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Old 08-28-16, 09:57 AM
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That's the way we fix AC too. don't blame at the tech. We charge it up first and wait for the customer to call back. If they call back in one day, that's big big leak, if they call back in 6 days, that's big leak, if they call back after 6 months, that's small leak, if they call back after 2 years, that's small small leak. We won't know until we charge it up first and count the days until they call back. Then depends on the size of the leak we decide what to do next (whole system replacement, or part replacement, and give customer some credit from the first visit, etc..). This way is much easier than to try to find the leak at the first visit. Of course if we try, we may find the leak in a few minutes, but if it is a very small leak, we may spend hours or days and still can not find it. So unless we can see the leaks right away, otherwise we won't even try. Please understand, We charge $100 per hour, If we spent 15 hours to find the leak, do you really think we'll be paid $1500 for the leak finding work.? (I don't think the customer even want to pay half of that).
 

Last edited by clocert; 08-28-16 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 08-28-16, 10:17 AM
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When the coil is "frozen up" it means the ice was over the outside. It froze due to the lack of a charge or poor airflow. Water would not be inside the lines unless they charged an empty system without evacuating the air and moisture.

The typical failure point is the evaporator coil leaks due to sitting in non draining condensate water. You will rarely see any oil on a leaking evaporator.

It's not always easy to find the leak in the evaporator as it's hard to get to. That coil is not easy to replace either.

There are a lot of issues that come into play here.
How old is the system ?
What brand is the system ?
Is the air handler in the attic ?

All these and more determine if it's cost effective to repair or replace. Since it's an older R-22 system it may be time to replace it.

I consider the refund of $50 appropriate in this case.
 
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Old 08-28-16, 03:45 PM
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But shouldn't the HVAC company have told me, "We can add the Freon, but it could leak out in a week or a month or a year, if there's a leak. We won't know until we add it"? I hired them for their professional opinion, but I didn't feel like I got it. My decision was based on their saying adding R-22 will fix the AC problem. Had I been informed that adding it was also a diagnostic test for a leak, I may have decided differently.
 
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Old 08-28-16, 04:46 PM
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Yes, they should tell you that the Freon may leak out again and depends on how bad the leak is and go from there. Most people just want charge the system first and hope it is a very small leak and that one charge will last for years.
 
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Old 08-29-16, 02:49 PM
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Any company that you pay money to should tell you the truth and the facts. The truth is that just putting in Freon without checking for the leak has a high chance of failure and unhappy customers like you. They should at THE VERY LEAST tell you that it could leak out relatively fast. What they really should do is what I said a few posts ago, and look for the leak.
 
 

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