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Question DetailsAsked on 1/19/2017

My ac unit is freezing up the repair man ran a pressure test

The ac company ran a pressure test on my AC unit then he came back 3 days later and stated that my compressed had a leak and he would have to remove it and take it to his shop to repair it. Then he stated I also needed to put more refrigerant in it and it takes 5 cans or pounds of coolant last week he told me it would be $75.00 per and my home warranty will only cover $10.00 per for a total of $325.00 and the only way he could complete his repair is to do the whole thing so on top of the $75.00 I gave him to him to come out and the monthly fee of $58.00+ a month. So I told him to just fix the leak and that this is winter and I would recharge it in the spring time he told me he can not guarantee his work with completing the job is this true isn't there a leak test he can perform in his shop to see if he has fixed the leak? I would like to add my insurance company sent a company out who stated that my A/C is from 1998 and needs to be replaced and not to let them tell me they can fix it.

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2 Answers



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services


Ahhh - another home warranty complaint.

0) I presume the first $75 is a service call charge - your deductible basically.

1) I am not sure how he knew the leak was in the compressor rather than the evaporator or condensor coils or from the tubing or valves or such. Plus, it is VERY rare in residential A/C systems to be able to "fix" a leaking compressor unless it is just the fitting leaking, because these days they are almost all sealed units - not reopenable without permanently damaging the casing, and usually replaced as a unit if defective or damaged in any way.

2) On the refrigerant thing - that is a fairly normal cost/pound for Freon (R-22) refrigerant, and with some contractors for newer refrigerants (R-410a for instance) too, though should be a lot less than tha to be fair - markup on gas is commonly 3-10 fold on wholesale price. But if the warranty contract does notspell out a limit the payment for gas, the warranty company cannot just set an arbitrary limit on what they will cover after-the-fact. This is a very common complaint about home wrranty programs - the warranty saying certain systems are covered, but then fraudently saying that they do not cover certain repairs on those systems or that there is a dollar limit of some type on what they will pay, even though the contract does not spell that out.

3) Also the source of many hjome warranty complaints - vendors adding-on additional work or charges and saying those are not covered by the warranty company. Sometimes unneeded or "fake" work items, sometimes item should actually be covered but by getting paid for it directly by you as a "non-covered item" he looks good to the warranty company (they pay less on his service calls than to other contractors they use) plus he gets 100% of the additional payment (legally or otherwise), not the usually flat-rate per-task amount the warranty company usually pays him.

4) Yes - if the compressor was leaking, he can hook up to it and test it at the shop - and should be able to test that in the field to.

5) No, he cannot repair the leak but not recharge the system - without enough gas in it not only will it not work correctly or efficiently, but the gas also cools the compressor, and also carries the lubricating fluid around in the tubing and through the compressor - be significantly low on gas and you burn up the compressor, a very expensive item to replace. Plus improp[er pressure can, as you saw, cause icing up of the A/C unit.

6) I would ask HOW he knew the leak is in the compressor and HOW he intends to "fix" it, because that makes me suspicious - not only the "fixing" thing, but also the compressor is commonly one of the least likely things to leak.

7) Normal diagnostic procedure, which should always be done if there is a significant loss of pressure, because the system does not "lose gas" unless there IS a leak: pressurize the system with gas (refrigerant if slow leak, inert gas like nitrogen if a fast leak) and detect the leak in-place - using sound, a spray or wipe-on chemical detector chemical or bubble fluid to show the leak point, use dye injected into the system to show by color leakage where the leak is, detect the colder leak spot with a laser thermometer or thermal infrared camera (or cell phone recalibrated to near-infrared range), with a sonic detector or stethoscope (listening device to hear the leak hissing), etc - different methods are favored by different vendors, and some are best used for fast leaks, some better for slow ones.

8) If he is asking for additional money, bear in mind how much the repair is costing versus a new unit installation (from another, well-rated contractor) - and also how much the repair is costing versus not having it done under the warranty - sometimes a second bid from a local vendor will be cheaper than the "warranty" repair.

9) you can always google or Angies List check that contractor to see how many complaints he has and how he is rated - might give you a handle on whether what he is saying about the compressor is legit or possibly an attempt to gouge you.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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