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Question DetailsAsked on 8/2/2017

hii had the same issue as triagi,i had a 4lb freon put,it was the phased out model for the r22,and it will go in 24

should i replace,as they say the freon put can be gone anytime bet 24-48hrs,he detected leak in the coil by atic,and also says,even we fix it,we have to refill the refregirent which is $125 1lb.As he said it is the phased out freon for the older models.Should the col be fixed he,is saying dont know how long will last,before compressor or anything goes off.
i do have a home wrranty on it but it does not pay for the freon which he says,abt 12lb,$125 pr lb,which equals to 1500 alone in freon.or could the leak be taken care of by recoiling?please advise
thank you

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2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

For other readers, here is link to the triagi question being referred to:

Assuming the leak has been pinned down as definitely being in the coil so it needs replacing (versus a tubing leak which can economically be repaired) it is true that you have no way of knowing how long other components will last, but commonly at least 10-15 year total life for an A/C or heat pump system and a LOT run 20+ years. That is excepting the evaporator coil which for modern coils are rapidly chasing a life of 5-7 years versus the 15-25 years you used to see with all-copper or cast iron coils. Some of the modern copper tubing/aluminum fin ones are not even lasting 5 years, because putting those two metals together in a damp/wet environment (even if the materials and workmanship themselves were not cheap Chinese junk) is a gross violation of basic materials science and an invitation to aggressive corrosion failures.

As for the "phased out" R-22 - R-22 refrigerant is still available for a few more years at least (possibly much more with Trump in office) - but I would say $1500 for 12# of Freon is a total ripoff - wholesale cost is around $25/# plus or minus so that should bill out at maybe 40-50/#, not $125.

It basically comes down how much risk you are willing to take of fixing a unit which might or might not get a significant life extension by doing so, and to whether this is your "forever" house - meaning would you get the full benefit out of a new, more efficient unit (assuming this one is say around 10+ years old), whether you can even afford a typically $3000-5000 new unit cost (so roughly 2-3 times the cost of the new coil cost including gas)

The other major factor - and there are a number of recent responses to questions about home warranty repairs and replacement offers which you can read in the Home > HVAC link under Browse Projects, is the problem of warranty companies saying the associated items needed for a coil replacement (gas, minor tubing and ducting mods, condensate drip pans and tubing, etc) are not coevered even though the original contract says nothing about that, which is just out and out fraud on their parts. Check your warranty - if it does not include such restriction then they cannot just pop a "but our authorized repair item list does not include those" list on you after the fact - that is contract and consumer fraud but something they commonly pull.

[Those links also have a lot of discussions about the repair/replace decision and economics, and on deciding whether to go with minimum allowable or higher SEER rating.]

I have seen and heard of a ton of cases where the bottom line "additional costs" on home warranty work was as much or more than the fiar market price for the entire job including the "warrantied" part - so bear in mind you may be getting ripped off here and need to get another HVAC contractor in to give you a quote, because commonly $1500-2000 TOTAL will handle a coil replacement. In almost all cases, my experience and all I have heard about home warranty plans is you are basically wasting your time and would be better off just putting aside money every month in a maintenance account that you ONLY touch for maintenance and needed repair (not "improvements").

You did not say if he is trying to laundry list you with a bunch of additional "uncovered costs" but if so, I would bet you are looking at a total out-of-pocket (including your warranty deductible) of $2500-3000, which is definitely getting into the start of the total replacement cost range, so I would get a couple of more Heating and A/C contractor repair/replace bids before committing.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


thank you so much for your very informative answer still in the cloud of what to do?

Answered 3 years ago by astha


One thing I did not say in the other post - if repairing the system (or indeed if putting in a new system) it should be leak tested BEFORE charging with refrigerant, so if there is a detectable leak you are only losing a few dollars of nitrogen rather than refrigerant. Generally, a system should be flushed out with nitrogen anyway before charging with the refrigerant, to clear out any debris in the lines.

I have also assumed the coil is NOT under warranty - probably in the mid to high hundreds range for that if you have to pay for it (most A/C equipment manufacturer warranties cover only the new part, not the labor or installation miscellaneous). But check - original papearwork should tell you the warranty period, and hopefully you have installation date on a receipt or invoice or such.

As for still being in the cloud - it would not be proper or advisable for anyone to TELL you what to do on this forum - even though that would make it simpler for you for sure. You know your financial situation, and how old the unit is - but without competing bids for repair/replacement from other vendors you do not know what the competing price is versus the warranty-plan contractor - though it does sound like likely a good couple of thousand probably for the repair, so if your unit is not over 15 years old say and has not been unreliable and a problem child to date, AND you intend to stay in the house for at least say 10 years, I would guess (assuming you can afford the $3000-6000 probable range for a brand new minimum SEER system) the odds are good you would be more secure and probably ahead financially with a new unit versus repair. Cdertainly you would have more peace of mind over the unit for at least the next 5-10 years, which might be worth a lot to you too.

If not planning on staying there long, or the unit is pretty new (say not over 10 years), then repair (at a decent refrigerant price - not $1500) might well be the way to go - might well last as long as you live there, and a lot less money out of pocket (or borrowed) up front. This assumes the unit did not run "dry" - running with basically no gas pressure, so the lubricant (which circulates in the refrigerant) could not get to the compressor and got scorched and burnt. If it did, and the oil is scorched, that would weigh more towards the "replace" side of the decision tree.

My basic philosophy is if an appliance has been reliable to date and not real old and has not been seriously abused (like running dry), unless the repair is in the range of half or more a new unit, keeping it going commonly pays off - bearing in mind total replacement may not be real far down the road.

If your unit is in the mid-range - say 10-15 years old or so, then a tough decision - and which way you go may be decided by one or more of the peace of mind, up-front cost, risk of another signficant (compressor) failure in the near failure, unsureness about whether the compressor was damaged, how critical having the A/C is to you (especially if needed for disabled, elderly, or medically infirm person how may be harmed by a few days to a week or more of out-of-service time if the repaired unit breaks down in the future), and how long you intend to stay in the house.

If you talk to a couple of other Heating and A/C contractors so you have more info to base yuour decision on, and the warranty one if you feel "good" about his honesty, for total repair (assuming evaporator coil replacement is needed) and for replacement with equivalent capacity unit) you will have the advantage of a few more opinions on the state and likely remaining life of your unit, and of competitive pricing, which may help clarify the repair versus replace options. This should not take over a week or so to get (considering we are coming up on a weekend) - assuming the A/C is not critical to you at this immediate time, not knowing where you live.

If you have a friend/coworker who you trust and is home handy their opinion might help too.

Good Luck

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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