A/C is broken, is repair not possible?
I know nothing about HVAC, so pardon my dumb questions. We have 2 units, one for upstairs, one for down. This August we turned on the A/C for upstairs, and it did not cool the air down at all. The machine ran fine, but only warm air. A call to an A/C company, the man thought the Freon had leaked out of the system, and that he was going to look for where it had leaked. He said he isolated each part of the system and put valves on each of the four sections of the system, which (I gather) is:
1 the pipe that goes upstairs to the evaporator in the attic.
2. the pipe that goes back down to the condenser outside
3. the evaporator
4. the condenser
He said #2 and #3 were fine, but that was a leak in the pipe that goes upstairs to the evaporator. He said it did not hold any pressure at all (he used nitrogen? to pressurize it and then looked at pressure gages attached). He said there was also a slow leak in the condenser, it was losing a few lbs a day. (He pressurized it and came back 3 days later and it had lost 10 lbs). So, he said I should get a new pipe, because there was a leak somewhere in it, and a whole new air conditioner, because you cannot replace a condenser without replacing the corresponding evaporator. Actually he wants to replace the heater as well, because it is attached to the evaporator, or does the heater machine run the evaporator too? Is that right?
We only use our A/C about 5-10 days per year. We only use our heater maybe 3-5 days per year. It's mild weather here mostly and the house is well-insulated. We did not even use the A/C last year because it wasn't particularly hot. We might have only used it 1 or 2 days the previous year. I did notice last year that there was some oily stuff by the A/C unit, and wondered what it was, but with being so busy I forgot all about it. The system is Carrier and was installed in 1999. Should it have lasted longer than that? Did it break because we don't use it enough?
This is all very expensive, so I want to know if this sounds legit? Would one of the copper pipes just break? They are inside the stucco wall, so nothing can really get at them except pressure from the A/C unit. Would the pressure have spiked breaking the pipe? The company is reputable but I know nothing at all about this stuff.
We have to replace the A/C even if we don't use it much. Most of the neighbors use theirs a lot. We just tolerate heat a little more, maybe.
Can we just replace the condenser and the broken pipe and put new coolant in? Do we need a whole new machine? Is a whole new system the only alternative? Is there a less expensive alternative to $8,000 for something we use 5 days a year? $8,000 is just a lot of money, you know?
Thanks for your thoughts.