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Question DetailsAsked on 2/11/2016

home a/c - compressor cycles off and on quickly. recently had easy seal added. any ideas?

Previously have needed a charge once a year. Last couple years it has been 6 - 8 months between charges. Tech could not find leak with sniffer. All pipes are exposed so everything was checked as well as the coil. Added easy seal. within a month started having a problem with the compressor short cycling every 10 seconds. pressure was a little low but usually the coil ices up and the compressor keeps running when the refrigerant is low. Unit only about 6 years old. American Standard 3.5 ton.

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

I am sorry you are having this problem. I am not sure what easy seal is but adding a substance without the manufacturers recommendation is not good. It sounds like the easy seal may have plugged the drier or expansion device. I would recommend calling a trusted professional to locate the leak, repair the source, and clean up the system as necessary. A leak of the size you indicated would not be hard to find with the proper equipment.

Source: Poppy Ross

Answered 4 years ago by PoppyRoss


Obviously you have a leak - and maybe need a new A/C technician - because if he was unable to find it with a leak detector he should have gone to a penetrating dye, which is injected into the lines and shows as a bright colored stain where the leak is - or sometimes a colored spray pattern if coming out through a pinhole pretty vigorously. Continuing to refill the unit while it has a known leak is just throwing away the likely $500 plus or minus you are paying for new gas each time - a non-leaking unit should not need more than a poound or so of gas every few years at most (generally nothing in forst 3-5 years) due to gaseous diffusion and leakage from the compressor - I have seen sealed vane type compressor units go 20 years without a single refill.

Do NOT run the unit if it is short cycling - the lubricant for the compressor is in with the gas - let the lubrication fail and you are looking at a new compressor for probably $1000 plus. Plus short cycling is going to wear your unit out too, because the compressor is getting and staying hot too long.

This assumes the short cycling is due to A/C failure - not a failure of the central air unit to move air past the evaporator, which can also cause freezeup.

At 6 years old and American Standard and 3.5 ton unit, so maybe $2-4,000 in remaining life value, I would go to the trouble of having another vendor diagnose it - then decide if the repair is worth the cost.

Since icing up at the evaporator coil AND losing refrigerant, sounds to me like a coil leak - but could also be excessively low return line pressure, possibly from the refrigerant loss. or possibly a malfunctioning pressure control relay, though that would not account for the gas loss. Since it is taking 6-8 months to get low on gas, that is not your only problem.

I dont' know the exact design of your unit - so doing a bit of hypothesizing here. After adding the leak sealer (which I consider VERY bad practice as it blocks up metering orifices and gums up the compressor too) - since pressure was only a little low (from your slow leak presumably) it is quite possible the metering orifice in the inlet of the evaporator got mostly plugged up. It is a small fixed opening "valve" at the inlet that controls the refrigerant flow - as the refrigerant passes through it it expands dramatically, causing the cooling that chills the coil and cools your air. IF that orifice gets plugged up with the sealant (which cannot tell the difference between a tubing leak it is supposed to seal off and the small opening in the orifice), the orifice cannot pass as much refrigerant as it is supposed to, so the compressor pressures up the high pressure line very quickly because the gas is not making it all the way around the loop - so the "high" side pressures up and shuts the compressor off, the refrigerant bleeds through the orifice, and the compressor kicks back on because the system is still calling for cold air. This can be aggravated by icing in the orifice if your lines have moisture in them - causing icing up in the lines or evaporator, which then thaws out and lets the refrigerant through again.

A good tech would be checking to see if the compressor is shutting off because the thermostat stopped calling for cooling, or because the high side pressure reached the safety swtich shutdown pressure.

I would pay the $150-250 for a diagnosis including dye tracing to find the leak, as well as full system operation testing which involves test running it and monitoring the pressure at various places to see if the high and low sides are within proper range, and also that the control valves and solenoids are operating at the proper points. And that the evaporator coil is not plugged with dust and mold, or cracked.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


I hope BayAreaAC jumps in here, as he is a major HVAC contractor out of Tampa area, as I recall, so his opinion would be very valuable in addition to that of PoppyRoss.

Good call by PoppyRoss - I had not thought of the dryer - which removes water which has condensed from air in the line from the refrigerant system. The quick seal sealants which are injected into lines (refrigerant, auto cooling system, etc) are designed to clump and plug up openings where there is a pressure drop occurring - so they plug pinhole leaks, but also other places there are normal pressure drops in the system such as filters, dryers, regulating orifices and valves, throttling/regulating valves, shutoff valves, compressor valves and vanes, and sometimes even connectors in lines where there is a pressure irregularity due to abrupt changes in diameter. For this reason, they are generally recommended against by equipment manufacturers, and can void warranty coverages.

20-20 info in this case, but this type of sealant is generally a bad idea unless you are the little dutch boy with his finger in the dike, because they clog up the works where they should not.

Whether or not the material that was injected will be able to be reasonably cleaned out or not depends on its composition - and unfortunately, with many types the solvent to remove it is corrosive to copper or aluminum or rubber/plastic fittings and hoses, all of which A/C systems have in abundance - so it may be that the system (when inspected by a qualified HVAC contractor) will be deemed to be trashed.

If deemed to be trashed, IF you can find manufacturer statements or warranty conditions that its use (or get an eMail or letter from them to that effect) is specifically recommended against or voids your warranty, you might be in a position to put in a claim for damages against the first HVAC firm who put it in.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


I am assuming "Easy Seal" is one of several Leak Sealer Additives that have been on the market for several years now.

Manufacturers do not approve them, but are not likely to void warranty over it, probably will never know it was added.

Leak should be relatively easy to find,if in the copper lines from the indoor to the outdoor unit, can be more time consuming if hard to get to.If the leak is in a system component,it has/had a 5 or 10 year warranty.They really did a disservice by adding gas ,over and over. The installing contractor may have left a leak.

All the Leak Sealers I am aware of warn that it will "gum" the system up, if there is ant moisture in the sealed system. With the leak being on going,and the icing, good chance there was moisture, takes very little. Numerous reports of gummed up TXV valves,and failed compressors , when moisture is left in, or the additive to treat it is not added.

We have only used it twice, very old systems to see if it would buy the owner some time. One was located on an island, so extra expense to get a new system.

Both went fine so far, we used the additive for moisture on both. Most people deline when we quote the price, with NO Gaurantee.

I suggest a qualified contractor, they can find the leak. Then go from there.


Answered 4 years ago by BayAreaAC

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