Author Topic: Small coil leak  (Read 2558 times)

econberkeley

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 105
Small coil leak
« on: June 10, 2015, 08:27:21 AM »
My A/C unit stopped working about a year ago. Inside the A/C unit was frosty. HVAC guy replaced the capacitor for the furnace. He also checked the coil and found a small leak. he couldn't tell how long the coil will last. He told me that if he changes the coil, then he needs to replace a/c units too since new coils do not use R22 Freon. He gave me a price around $8000K for 2 units and coil. I do not want to spend that kind of money when the a/c units are working very efficiently per my utility company guy that inspected the units.
Are there any tell tale signs about coil is ready to be replaced? I may get another 10 years from these a/c units so I do not want to replace them prematurely. By the way, the efficiency of the a/c units does not matter too much to me since our electricity usage is about 50% off our neighbors.

churchill

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Small coil leak
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 08:54:16 AM »
The tell-tale sign a coil needs to get replaced is if it's leaking a lot. If you're only losing a lb or so a year, you're fine (just keep putting R22 in), but if you're losing three and four lbs then there really isn't much you can do that's cost effective. R22 will cost you, and it gets more expensive every year due to a very limited supply as the EPA forces it to be phased out. Sorry to say, but it's very unlikely you can get 10 more years. How old are the systems? What manufacturer?

conpewter

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Illinois
Re: Small coil leak
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 10:54:29 AM »
I know there are still R22 coils out on the market, so if your condenser is fine you may be able to find someone else that will switch out that coil for you.  I've been contemplating getting my license to do some refrigeration things (Just the $15 online license). 

In any case they should be able to pump down the R22 into the condenser and replace the coil without losing much if any.  Depends on how long your line set is.

I just had a new-to me condenser put in for $700 so you definitely should be able to stay below $8000

econberkeley

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 105
Re: Small coil leak
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 05:50:22 PM »
The a/c units are 12 years old and coil 7 years old. A/c units are trane brand. Diagnosis was made about a year ago. So far no issues. They only replaced the capacitor. They did not add any freon. I would rather pay 100-150 dollars to add R22 than pay so much for a new system.

Conpewter,

Is $700 for brand new condenser? It is extremely low price for parts and labor. What brand is it and where do you live?

churchill

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Small coil leak
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2015, 07:46:38 AM »
If they only replaced the capacitor and didn't add refrigerant, don't worry too much about the leak. You'll eventually have to add R22 but for now just skate by. A coil replacement in a high cost of living area is probably going to run you around $1,200 including labor and recharging it with refrigerant. At that expense on the system you're then in the point of some serious cost-benefit analysis with a system closer to 15 years old. If you get 22 years out of a system like you'd hope that would be amazing, but again unlikely. Here's to hoping you get at least four more years out of it.

econberkeley

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 105
Re: Small coil leak
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 09:05:05 AM »
Churchill,
 
Thank you for the great tip. I live in Houston. It is a low cost city. How much should I expect to pay for two 3 ton lowest seer decent brand a/c units, furnace and coil?

churchill

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Small coil leak
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2015, 02:20:28 PM »
Actually, from what I understand, Texas as a whole actually isn't low cost for HVAC. Extremely high demand and all. I don't really want to give a guess since it would be specific to our particular market. Recommendation: if you want to save money get your system replaced during a time of year when it isn't especially cold, hot, or super humid. Roughly February, right? HVAC contractors will be more competitive on prices just to keep themselves occupied. When your AC goes out and it's 110* you're going to pay more. Hire a real company to do it. We hate having to charge someone a good chunk of money after they only just paid an underskilled someone the year before who really shouldn't be in the trade. See it all the time. Last week we had to charge someone for work that he'd only had done a few weeks before by someone else.

Don't buy into the high-efficiency push. The components are much more fickle, and the manufacturers keep changing them every six months it seems. If they break once it'll cancel out all the savings from your 10 year break-even on utility savings. Manufacturer warranties only cover parts not labor, and the more complex systems that look so nice and small are much more difficult to get at the parts. Eventually the average HVAC technician will need to have gone to grad school for electrical engineering and computer science. More and more circuit boards. Systems really aren't made like they used to be all in the name of government-mandated efficiency, and the rise of "The Internet of Things." When someone calls with a 25 year old system that's still chugging along and they ask what it'll cost to replace, we tell them a ballpark so they can start earmarking money but also frequently suggest they consider waiting until it breaks. These are usually people who we've been regularly servicing for decades. Maintenance truly does make a difference.

conpewter

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 38
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Illinois
Re: Small coil leak
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2015, 04:42:14 PM »
Hi! Sorry didn't see this for so long

the $700 was just labor and R22, in the end it was a bad deal and the AC stopped working so I'm back to window units.

I never seem to be able to find contractors that can do a good job, I always end up learning the skill and doing it myself.