Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/AC replacement

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QUESTION: Hello,

I have a York 2.5 ton 10 SEER A/C From '99-00.  It has been leaking R22 for 4+ years.  I've never gotten a leak test, because it has only leaked about a pound a year and the cost to refill has been reasonable, until this year.  I was told that this past year it has leaked about 70% of its charge, which I find somewhat hard to believe since it was blowing cool before it was charged.  Nevertheless, it IS indeed leaking refrigerant and is 13 years old.

I only plan on living in the home another 2-3 years.  I think the best solution is to replace the outdoor unit, lineset, evap coil and all misc hardware rather than attempt a R22 leak test and repair.  Is that logical?  I feel like a new A/C unit would help sell the home to offset the additional cost.

Also, I live in the Mid-Atlantic and am getting quotes of about $4K for this job for a Goodman or Bryant 13 SEER.  Pricing the equipment, this seems to be quite a markup... but everyone seems to be in that ballpark.

Does this all seem logical?

ANSWER: Hi JC,

I find it hard to believe too, that its lost 70% of its charge. With only 30% of its charge, it wouldn't be cooling at all. The only way to tell is pull the refrigerant out and weigh it. A leak test is not that big of a deal, you could probably do it yourself. A bubble test won't tell you everything especially if the leak is in one of the coils. If your interested let me know and I can walk you through it.

A 13 year old unit still has some life left in it. If you were my customer I would suggest putting a product called "Easyseal" in the system and keep it running for a few more years. The cost on this would be in around $150.

Here in the midwest I would have quoted about $3500. So in the Mid-Atlantic the $4k sounds about right.

I hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'd be interested to hear about your bubble test idea.  Is it similar to leak testing a car tire?

Also, what are your thoughts on the Goodman units?  I hear they have had a bad rep due to them selling the units to basically anyone and the bad installs are making the brand look bad.

Answer
Hey JC, Sorry it took so long to get back to you. All you need is a spray bottle, dishwashing soap and water. Turn the breaker for your furnace and A/C off. Remove the access door on the condensing unit ( outdoor). Be sure and spray the schrader valves, they should have caps on them. If your not sure take the caps off, they look like valve stems on your car. Put the caps back on hand tight before you spray. Spray all the fittings on the copper lines. Try not to spray any electrical components. If this is a A/C unit only there will be 2 valves. If you have a heat pump there should be 3 or 4 valves. Depending on how deep you want to get in to this, you can also spray the coil. You will have to take the top of the condenser off and spray it inside and out. Do the same to the copper lines that enter your furnace.

As for the Goodman unit, they used to have a bad rep years ago. They have come a long way since then. My A/C is 22 years old, when it finally gives out I am going to install a Goodman. The price is right and it has one of the best warranties.

Hope this helps you!

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC

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Jim S.

Expertise

I can answer questions on gas or electric furnaces, ac units and heat pumps. I don't work on boilers,chillers,or home appliances.

Experience

I have been in the HVAC trade for over 35 years. For the past 15 years I have owned my own business. I am semi-retired so I can answer questions in a timely manner.

Education/Credentials
I attended trade school for 5 years on weekends and evenings. This was very hard to do, but well worth it!

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