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Question DetailsAsked on 4/21/2017

2005 Trane AC no freon in coil. How much to repair?

Lexington Heating & Cooling says My 2005 Trane AC has no freon. He says it is 80.00 per hour to find the leak. He says that could take 15 minutes - 5 hours. He says coil will then have to be replaced. Why does he have to find the leak if he is replacing the coil?

How much does a coil cost? Howe many hours to replace the coil. Is 80.00 per hour for labor reasonable?

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1 Answer


Sorry - the Angies List system is taking out paragraph breaks again - each place >>>>>>> shows up should be a paragraph break - sorry. >>>>>>>

$80/hr is in the normal range for an A/C tech in all but the cheapest locales. >>>>>>

Coil (assuming you mean evaporator coil, the one in the air handler or in the ducting, not the condensor coil which the outdoor fan blows over to cool the refrigerant) typically about $1000-1200 minimum (installed cost) to replace in almost all cases, $1500 seems a pretty common range, and can run to $2000 or even more with some brands and in the highest cost areas. >>>>>>

Like he says - finding the leak could be very quick, could be up to a couple of hours - though I can't see spending 5 hours on diagnosis/tracking a leak in an normal residential (as opposed to multi-unit building central air) system though. If it is taking more than an hour or two he needs to use a different detection method - ultrasonic, infrared (probably the most effective for all but pinhole leaks), or dye detection for instance. Course, depends on how big the leak is - a large leak should be easy to find in an hour or less (unless concealed in tubing hidden in walls or such) - a small pinhole leak that takes weeks or mnonths to bleed down may mean putting in dye and recharging/reactivating the system then coming back in a week or two to see where the dye has appeared, meaning an additional service callout and more labor cost and additional gas replacement. >>>>>

Like you say - why would he say the coil needs replacing if he has not found the leak yet - though an AWFUL lot of HVAC companies just jump in and do that right off the bat (replacing evaporator coils is a big money maker for them when they provide the coil and gas too), then if the problem persists say "oh, there must have been a second leak too". Granted, the evaporator coil is a common leak location - especially in older units like yours, but I would not be assuming that is where the leak is without some proof. And if the coil IS leaking, one would normally either remove the existing one and cap the lines for pressure testing, or (less desireable but more common) install the replacement first, then pressure test the system for other leaks (typically using nitrogen gas or fully dried air) before recharging it with the expensive refrigerant. >>>>>>>

You can find a lot of previous similar questions with answers, including some discussions of how to detect leaks, in the Home > HVAC link under Browse Projects, at lower left. A couple are provided below: >>>>> >>>>>> >>>>>> >>>>>> >>>>>

Of course, with a 12 year old unit, you are pretty much getting into the normal life of an A/C these days - with current cheap construction the days of 20-40 year lives are about gone, so you will be needing to evaluate whether a repair (especially with an indeterminate leak detection cost plus if it has leaked out probably $500 range gas replacement to boot), versus the cost of a new unit which would also come with a new warranty. I would guess, unless a simple fitting leak (as opposed to a leak in a coil or compressor, which would almost certainly have to be replaced rather than repaired), that the repair is going to cost more than the unit is worth in terms of remaining life. >>>>>

Though if tight on $, at times keeping an older unit going with a repair is the better solution for some people than a new unit, just because of the several thousand or more $ out of pocket for the new unit. Of course, how much financial risk you are willing to take (i.e. the possibility you will fix it and there will be another failure in the system very soon which might make you replace it soon after you had it fixed) comes into the picture too - as does how vital an A/C is to you. Some locales you might chance it more and risk another outage soon - if in a very hot, humid summer locale or the A/C is necessary for the comfort/health of an invalid say, then that is another factor which might weigh in favor of replacing the unit now - or at least putting a tight limit on how much you will spend on diagnosis and repair. >>>>>

In the Home > HVAC link under Browse Projects you can find a number of previous responses which discuss the economic issues - that of sinking $ into an aging unit versus a lot more $ to get a new unit, the possible efficiency improvement and resultant energy savings (especially if in heavy use A/C area), etc.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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