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Question DetailsAsked on 1/18/2018

can I trap the freon in my outdoor condenser unit while I remove the evaporator coils for cleaning.

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1 Answer


Doing so is required by law for almost all refrigerants, certainly all in common household use. But this is not a DIY job - first because it is illegal to do without the appropriate EPA licensing, and also it requires a gas recovery/recycling pump and tank unit which you will not have access to. Also, considering the cost of the gas, almost certainly cheaper to have a pro remove and clean the coil properly than illegally vent the gas and have to have it refilled.

One thing to consider - some units (especially with ones mounted on rails like they all should be designed to do for ease for cleaning) it is possible to put flexible stainless steel reinforced braid lines connecting to the evaporator coil so it can be pulled out without discharging the gas, for external cleaning. Cost typically about $200-250 over cleaning charge - though doing so does introduce a slight additional risk of leakage because of the additional fittings.

Another possibility - especially if the area underneath it is not going to be damaged by water and the water will nto run into the furnace (so generally takes some planning in the ductwork installation initially) - is putting in access panels in the ducting to allow for spraying it with fungicide and with washing fluid in-place, draining out through a bottom removable panel or oversize drain in the duct.

Unfortunately, the manufacturers have no incentive to nake maintenance easy or affordable - sort of like some of the Ford engines where you literally had to pull the entire engine just to change spark plugs because they were designed with no clearance to do that. Just sloppy design in my opinion, and promotes respiratory problems because evaporator coils tend to not be regulary cleaned, so people are unnecessarily breathing in mildew and mold. One of those "Ought to be law" things.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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