add Freon and keep going?

judyann_growJuly 16, 2010

I have a 15 year-old 3 ton Goodman system. It heats and cools fine and my electric bills are reasonable. I was having scheduled maintenance done every 6 months. About two years ago I was told there was a leak in the air handler evaporator coil. He recommended I seriously consider replacing the system and he added 1 lb. R-22. In the next year he added Freon again but didn't seem as concerned about the leak.

I am due maintenance and considering using a different firm to get a fresh opinion. The system I had before this one lasted 22 years before replacement. I am inclined to keep adding Freon as needed until I have to replace this system. By the way, I am in an older townhouse with the duct system pretty unaccessible and there is no attic. That is another reason I am hesitant since duct work might have to be done.

I have been putting off maintenance because I don't want to deal with the pressure to purchase a new system when I'm not sure if it's necessary.

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if it was mine and i could keep it going by just adding a pound of freon a year i would continue to do so.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 3:13PM
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Same thing happened to me. I have a 10 year-old 3.5 ton York. Last year the AC stopped working, the technician added freon (old type) and did not mention about a possible leak. It seemed the freon did not last very long, since the winter it did not work well Most of the time, the system ran on the aux. heat. This Summer the AC stopped again. The same technician came and he added freon plus dye. This time he said there is a leak (likely in the air handler).

The first service call was $150 and the second was $168 (dye was injected).

The technician did not recommend a new system, but I have had several quotes ranging from 8k to 6k for a new system. Have not decided what to do yet. With $150 a year for freon and if it lasts through the winter, adding freon is not bad choice relative to a new system or replacement a new coil.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 4:26PM
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Replacing a coil in the handler would cost $700 part and labor.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 5:04PM
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"Replacing a coil in the handler would cost $700 part and labor."

Finding a coil to match a 15 year old system is not going to happen.

This would leave you with a mismatched system and may actually increase bills.

If you switch from an orifice to a TXV it might reduce bills, but there is no way to be sure before installing the change.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 7:59PM
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so a leak in the coil in the air handler can't be not repairable?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:51PM
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I called and talked to the tech. about his plan for my heat pump. He told me that if a leak is in the coils (in or out), he has to find a replacement. I might take 3 months; heat pump coils are not readily available??? even to match a 10-year old York

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:04AM
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I decided to have my former a/c technician do the maintenance again even though he had switched companies. He explained that he and most of the other techs had left his former employer because the new owners were pressuring them to sell new systems.

After recharging my system the two previous years and saying I needed to start thinking about a new system because of a leak...this time (a year later) he said the system did not need more freon. Hmmmm. I'll take the good news, though.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 12:17PM
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Any leak can be found and repaired, it,s simply a matter of how much labor will be required. The leak detection system using a powder that glows under black light allows almost any small leak to be detected. However, the cost of evacuating the unit and repairing leak can be expensive and many times as long as only a small amount of freon needs to be added yearly the best course is to leave the unit alone. The coil can be replaced, while it might be difficult to get an exact replacement, universal after market ones are available and using one would create a slight mismatch, but I doubt you units effeciency would suffer much. We have replaced many and never had a problem. My suggestion if only a lb of freon is required, keep adding it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:46AM
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