A/C Freon Leak - Repair Advice needed

azlbJune 24, 2008

We purchased our home a little over 2 years ago and it seems we have an ongoing issue with a freon leak. The first technition that came out was under our home warranty and just recharged the unit without explaining what was wrong. This summer season started and the a/c was blowing hot air again. A new technition came out (no more home warranty) and explained that there was a freon leak. He placed some sealant and recharged ($400). 1.5 months later same problem blowing hot air.

Second technition came back out and took apart the condenser unit and used a gauge to show me that the accumulator is leaking freon, he suspects that it is rusted out.

House specs: 1,500 sqft single story built 1997

Central heat/air with a split unit compressor outside and blower in the roof

Goodman unit CPKE42-1B 3.5 tons 10 SEER

Second technition contacted me today and told me that he had tracked down a new accumulator and we could get it installed for $1,300. He also said that he found the exact same model of condenser and it would be $2,700 installed.

My question is whether this is going to solve our problem and either way whether it would be smarted to just change out the whole system for a new one? I have no idea what a new one would cost but financially we are very tight right now. We live in AZ so a/c is very important.

Thank you in advance.

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A new system would cost considerably more than $2700, so if you are sure that the leak is in the outdoor unit, since you are financially tight now (aren't we all), then I see no issue with changing it out with an identical match, of course cleaning out the existing refrigerant lines, etc...

Is the indoor unit matched to the current condenser so that the outdoor unit replacement will be worthwhile?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 9:24PM
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1200 dollars for a accumulator changeout OUCHOLA dude that is expensive. Get two more prices minimum. That job goes for about 450 around here unless the unit is on the roof or something lol.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 9:42PM
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As far as I know both units are the same. They would have been installed by the builder. One thing I do know is that the home inspecition showed that the blower was installed "backwards" resulting in the duckwork having to make a u-turn. The inspector said that this was not a problem but would probably make the system less efficient.

The unit is on the ground sitting on concrete surrounded by nothing but gravel. I think he said something about the fact that the unit is old and not made anymore he had to track an accumulator down and it will take 2-3 weeks to get it.

I am not sure about this guy now, he charged us around $300 to add freon earlier this year and that seemed pricy at the time but he showed me his price list and it clearly says Refridgerant Adjustment Suggested list price $300.

This is what he wrote: (Unit low on freon) found both isolation valves leaking under caps. Leak lock caps. Adjust R-22 level 224/71@90 anb 7* Superheat.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 9:55PM
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I agree get more estimates on repair that repair price seems way up there to replace an accumalator, Its only a metal can with 2 pipe stubs, 2 joints to sweat recovery, evacuation and recharge. I think you can get it done cheeper.

Here is a link that might be useful: Goodman accumalators with pricing

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:18PM
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Thanks for the website trane_tech. So according to that website the accumulator costs around $150, with a 100% markup ($300) plus the refrigerant reclaim and vacuum listed on his invoice as (suggested retail price $400) that equals $700, which would mean he is charging $600 for the labor? Am I correct that this is how I would break it down?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:29PM
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In general it sounds as if this guy is HIGH, and I don't mean just his prices.

Shop a bit. When calling ask them specifically: "How much to come out AND do x-y-z".

We had the same problem but due to the age of the unit decided to replace everything after charging it for two years (but only once each year) in a row. The costs averaged around $150 for 2-3 pounds including trip charge. Varies by location I'm sure.

R22 is around $30-35 a pound installed I believe. Add a trip charge (which s/b under $100 unless you are in Martha's Vineyard) and you should have your figure. Ask them to weigh the tank before and after charge to see how much was used.

Lots of unethical techs out there, hopefully an equal number of good ones too.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 4:36PM
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