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horn4life

Air Conditioning Mystery Bingo! Mysterious freon loss.

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OK here is the issue got a new AC in the Fall and now it won't hold freon.  Ultimately it's not my problem, but my sweaty balls are my own problem...

So had about a 1 lb charge, in June.  Since unit was installed in November, tech supposed maybe they didn't get a good fill since it wasn't hot.  Made sense and unit worked great until a few days ago, then took like 3 lbs, which lasted about 2 days.  First thought it "well, we used the existing lines, we are probably gonna need to replace one or both of those, but we will run a pressure check.  There was basically less than 1 lb of freon in a 6+/- lb capacity unit. filled with nitrogen and pressurized unit. 

Unit holds pressure. Pumps up pressure a wee bit more.  Hold pressure for an hour.  Recharged and then last about 18 hours.  No oil or anything around compressor, but clearly loss is coming somewhere.  But everything pressurized fine?  Evap Coil? 

Anyhow test your air conditioning knowledge and let me know what you think?

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29 minutes ago, horn4life said:

OK here is the issue got a new AC in the Fall and now it won't hold freon.  Ultimately it's not my problem, but my sweaty balls are my own problem...

So had about a 1 lb charge, in June.  Since unit was installed in November, tech supposed maybe they didn't get a good fill since it wasn't hot.  Made sense and unit worked great until a few days ago, then took like 3 lbs, which lasted about 2 days.  First thought it "well, we used the existing lines, we are probably gonna need to replace one or both of those, but we will run a pressure check.  There was basically less than 1 lb of freon in a 6+/- lb capacity unit. filled with nitrogen and pressurized unit. 

Unit holds pressure. Pumps up pressure a wee bit more.  Hold pressure for an hour.  Recharged and then last about 18 hours.  No oil or anything around compressor, but clearly loss is coming somewhere.  But everything pressurized fine?  Evap Coil? 

Anyhow test your air conditioning knowledge and let me know what you think?

A static pressure test like that is going to test the coil, too, I believe.  What it might not test is the rotating compressor.

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That's a lot of loss to not be able to find where its happening. There is going to be a large puddle/stain/oil residue that a tech should be able to quickly find I would think.

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I’d say coil but not sure if that’s part of the pressure test

 

Curious what kind of system and who installed

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Have you been re-roof any time since the new install?

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

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Call a tech that’s not a dumbass.

You deserve to sweat your balls off for letting someone replace a system and keep the existing refrigerant lines. A competent tech could check the refrigerant after installing regardless of the outdoor temp. Losing that much should be simple to find. Did they even bother to get a leak detector out? Or some UV dye?

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4 hours ago, ROFL BOX said:

Have you been re-roof any time since the new install?

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
 

*Have you been re-roofed any time since the new install?

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Posted (edited)

Interesting comments- especially the  "have you been reroofed" which almost exactly coincides with the 1 lb top off.  I thought perhaps they might have somehow damaged a line, and in fact that was my first thought,  But... pressure test...

We addressed the "freon thieves" angle with tamper proof caps, just in case.   First time I ever rooted for meth head freon huffers....

Guy is competent, pulled a several hour vacuum on the existing lines before we decided to use them.  Pressure was checked after the original install and the statement on the 1 lb add was just an off hand remark to possibly explain the small level of loss back in June.  And it worked fine for nearly a month after that top off.

My guess is similar in that I am assuming that the line test is static and that the one moving part is the compressor.  So that's where my instinct is, but no sign of oil of staining there, and with the amount of loss I would think that would be evident.  Anyhow ROFL BOX has piqued my interest the most with his reroof comment.  That was actually where my mind drifted as they were actually finishing up tear off on the 1 lb refill. 

Luckily I have my recently purchased trailer sitting in my driveway, and I upped my hillbilly electrician credentials and added a temporary 30 amp RV outlet to poer the trailer's air conditioning.  So slept comfy and cold, and this "crisis" has given us an opportunity to test out the new purchase.  Which I am SUPER happy with, as my main concern was buying a trailer that would not cool in the brutal Texas heat. That is not a worry.  Runs great on propane on my dual fuel generator as well so eventually I will be on the beach at Pins. So there is always a silver lining.

 

Edited by horn4life

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Posted (edited)

Check your coil, check for rats, flush your line with vinegar/water mixture.  Then check again for rats. 

Edited by Lobo

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I usually do that in the shower
Presta or Schraeder?

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

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3 hours ago, horn4life said:

ROFL BOX - you still have me interested on the reroof angle.  But with my lines buried.... 

All I can tell you is my contracts specifically state we are not responsible for any AC lines or electrical or plumbing or whatever that is in direct contact with the underside of the roof deck & shouldn't be there.  All of that is out of code specifications & there is no way for us to spot that, especially if it's in an area of the attic that is inaccessible for a visual inspection.

Probably 2x a month I see a post in one of my FB roofing groups where someone mentions hitting something that shouldn't be in the spot where it got shot by a nail.

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4 hours ago, Jkwellborn said:

Those things don’t make a unit lose refrigerant.

You've never heard of rats chewing through to get to refrigerant?  I'd love to live in your la-la land.  

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You've never heard of rats chewing through to get to refrigerant?  I'd love to live in your la-la land.  

Is my meter broken here?

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Now that I think about it, AC lines are soft copper. If a rat can chew through a copper wire, he could chew through a copper line, I suppose. 

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1 hour ago, Jkwellborn said:


Is my meter broken here?

Well yeah, duh.  The rats chewed threw it!  ;) 

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Ok well we we finally found the leak.  It was the most likely choice, the old lines.  Still so damn weird that it held pressure when filled with nitrogen.  In fact on the prior test the tech pushed the pressures UP about 20% beyond normal peak pressure, but the leak didn't show itself.  Yesterday the pressure loss we expected to see Saturday was readily apparent. Isolated both lines, and boosted pressure again and the culprit was found.

It's still a mystery as to WHY the pressure was able to hold in the prior test?  Hopefully this is the BINGO!

ROLF BOX - I sympathize about shoddy work, and short cuts taken by builders and contractors, after doing a fair amount of remodeling.  What always amazes me is the shortcuts are almost always ones, that either 5 minutes, or a few hundred dollars could have made a huge difference in quality.  The one thing I HATE about my house is that they did a double pitch roof, with another small low pitch between the large pitches to accommodate the space needed for the Air conditioning Plenum.  Had they simply spend a few hundred more I could have had a huge tall attic space with plenty of room to replace the plenum.  Plus it would not have cost any more to roof as the surface area would have been the same.  Now it would be a $5K fix.

Thanks for all the response and thanks for playing! I sure as shit hope I am not posting again and saying... with FUCK... no cold air by the weekend.

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9 hours ago, horn4life said:

ROFL BOX - I sympathize about shoddy work, and short cuts taken by builders and contractors, after doing a fair amount of remodeling.  What always amazes me is the shortcuts are almost always ones, that either 5 minutes, or a few hundred dollars could have made a huge difference in quality.  The one thing I HATE about my house is that they did a double pitch roof, with another small low pitch between the large pitches to accommodate the space needed for the Air conditioning Plenum.  Had they simply spend a few hundred more I could have had a huge tall attic space with plenty of room to replace the plenum.  Plus it would not have cost any more to roof as the surface area would have been the same.  Now it would be a $5K fix.

Blame @Longhorn_Fan68 - he's an architect, so all derision for shittacular design due to "artist!" goes his way.  Srsly, though, while not him I see a shitload of things that...

1.  The architect shouldn't have built in.
2.  The GC should have asked questions about.
3.  The production manager (if in a tract pre-planned / subdivision) should have spotted.
3a.  In most cases, whether carpentry or roofing, a Texas based sub-crew will be interested in getting shit done, not saying "Hey, this needs ____ & we will come back in 1 week when you have the right parts", assuming they even know English.

Look up the term "Dead Valley on roof" & you'll understand what I mean.

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In junior high, there was a group of kids who huffed freon from the AC units behind the school during recess. In retrospect, I should have joined them

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1 hour ago, gail the snail said:

In junior high, there was a group of kids who huffed freon from the AC units behind the school during recess. In retrospect, I should have joined them

Based on your thread in the "Board Discussion" area, we're not so sure you actually didn't.

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After a weekend of cold air the problem is now solved. 

IF my exterior lines were NOT buried, then the rat scenario would be a very valid potential.  I actually sort of freaked out as I went out to clean up the area I had dug out to adequately drain the area after shoving a hose with a pressure time about 18 feet down the line.  I freaked out because I saw what looked like a tiny little hole being dug next to the now open freon line conduit.  But it was not a rat nor mouse, it was one of those giant cicada killer wasps.

So now gonna go get some great stuff to seal off both ends of the conduit. 

I guess the other interesting thing was the lines were original from like 1978, but the fuckers only insulated the visible ends of the large inflow line.  SO a lot of lost energy there over the years.

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If the line is ran in the attic, the whole thing is insulated. If it’s not, just what you can see is insulated.

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