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Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: d4
Date: July 19, 2021 03:05PM
Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Add this to the, "No one ever told me about this when I bought the house" list.

The 6-year old, Mini Split (ductless) AC unit was not cooling. Just blowing air. Condensation hose was bone dry. Outside unit's fan was not spinning. And of course, temperatures were up in the mid-90s. Ughhh...

Capacitor? Electrical? Leak? Compressor? No idea. $$$???

The first HVAC company said they could come by in 3 weeks. $250 service charge just to come out and look at it. No thanks. The second company I called can come by next business day. No service charge. Done!

The moment he comes around to the back of the house, he sees the refrigerant copper line is frosted over, and he tells me the refrigerant needs to be recharged. He asks, "How long ago was the last service call?" Me, "I've had this AC unit for 6 years, never knew I had to do routine maintenance checks. It's never had any issues, before this.

Do you do annual service/maintenance checks on a dishwasher? Stove? refrigerator? Window unit AC?? No. Ohwell, now I know.

The gauge shows it's VERY low in refrigerant, that's why the outside fan was shutting down. He pumps in 4lbs of gas into the system. And the mini-split unit is back in business.

If I was in Florida, where the AC is pumping year round, I guess maybe annual checks is warranted. But here in NY where the AC is used maybe 4 months out of the year,,, I'll see if I can get by with every 3 years smiling smiley

Next you all will tell me I should be doing maintenance/service checks on my boiler Sheesh! LOL







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2021 03:06PM by d4.
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: Bixby
Date: July 19, 2021 03:11PM
You should do regular maintenance/service on most major systems that you expect to work when you need them to.
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: d4
Date: July 19, 2021 03:22PM
My inlaws have 35 year old, window AC units that never needed maintenance service checks. dunno smiley Berlin Wall was up, Soviet Union was still in power. And Back to the Future was in movie theaters! Now I know...



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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: MikeF
Date: July 19, 2021 03:27PM
The concern is that the refrigerant was low. It shouldn't leak. That tells me there's a small leak somewhere.
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: Racer X
Date: July 19, 2021 03:37PM
Quote
MikeF
The concern is that the refrigerant was low. It shouldn't leak. That tells me there's a small leak somewhere.

First thing I thought too. It's a sealed system. If it's low, it's leaking. Period. How often do we top off our refrigerators or freezers? Usually never, until it fails.

We had a car with an extended warranty due to expire. They refused to gut the A/C system and replace most of it, because they were claiming "All refrigeration systems need to be topped off yearly" The judge saw it differently. He had a 34 year old Frigidaire at home, with that lever handle. Never needed refrigerant. I even brought in the service manual where it said in the opening sentence of that chapter that it is a sealed system.



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The police have no duty to respond. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) or Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: d4
Date: July 19, 2021 03:55PM
Quote
MikeF
The concern is that the refrigerant was low. It shouldn't leak. That tells me there's a small leak somewhere.

I usually chat up repair guys to get info out of them. Some are more talkative than others. I asked the HVAC guy if this low pressure was normal. That's when he asked me when was the last time the system was serviced. (Never in 6 years since I had it installed) He tells me, with mini split ductless units the copper line sets are 20-30 feet long. From the one, outside condenser unit to the individual wall units in the rooms of the house. Topping off the refrigerant in mini splits of this size is not uncommon.

During the next service check (my call) he will check the coolant pressure. If it's out of the ordinary, then he can use a dye and check for leaks. I appreciated that the HVAC guy took the slow, wait and see approach. And didn't try and use fear tactics to push me towards expensive repairs at the onset. I will keep an eye on the cooling levels and we'll see how it goes.



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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: July 19, 2021 05:19PM
Regardless of the line length, the system should be sealed and not leak. There is a leak somewhere, might be serious might not be. It might be just a small leak at a seal when temperatures fluctuate or it gets cold in the winter, or it could be a hole in a line that will slowly get bigger. Time will tell, if the coolant wasn't expensive a wait and see approach should work fine.



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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: deckeda
Date: July 19, 2021 05:49PM
It has a leak and in a week or 3 it’ll stop working again. That money is now lost. As has been said, you don’t do annual checkups or whatever on HVAC systems for homes, because anything so blatantly obvious as to be a pending problem would be noticed by you.

Know what a mechanic does when you take the car in for a AC check? They turn it on and see if cold air comes out. Only when a customer plays dumb and presents a broken AC system does the mechanic find something that needs addressing.
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 19, 2021 06:20PM
how did he fill it? if there is an access valve/port, maybe that was not tightened properly and that's where it leaked. Are the other connections soldered or swagelok fittings (compression fittings)? did he check to make sure those are tight?
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: deckeda
Date: July 19, 2021 06:37PM
space, the guy that just refilled the system is who got it going again. The leak occurred prior.
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 19, 2021 06:47PM
Quote
deckeda
space, the guy that just refilled the system is who got it going again. The leak occurred prior.

I understood that. What makes you think I did not understand that?

If you want me to be more clear: maybe it leaked at the access valve, he refilled it and closed it properly and now it no longer leaks. Or maybe another compression fitting was loose, he tighten it before filling, and now it no longer leaks.

Unlikely, but possible.
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: deckeda
Date: July 19, 2021 06:53PM
I see what you’re saying now, a speculation that certainly could have occurred.
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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: d4
Date: July 20, 2021 06:31AM
I completely understand the different viewpoints. I hope that if there is a major leak the symptoms will reappear soon in weeks or months and not 6 years. The information I got from the repairman (and relayed here) was through casual conversation while he was working. And not a transcribed record of every word and detail.



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Re: Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Posted by: modelamac
Date: July 20, 2021 08:50AM
If outside the fan won't spin manually, a motor has burned out. If it spins manually, the problem may be a 'Start Capacitor. Get the model of your unit and look up the Start Capacitors to see the rain and location. They are usually less $20 or less and easy to replace. Be sure to disconnect power first. Capacitors can knock you into next week faster than your mother can. If that doesn't work call a repair company.


Quote
d4
Central Air/Mini Split maintenance service check.
Add this to the, "No one ever told me about this when I bought the house" list.

The 6-year old, Mini Split (ductless) AC unit was not cooling. Just blowing air. Condensation hose was bone dry. Outside unit's fan was not spinning. And of course, temperatures were up in the mid-90s. Ughhh...

Capacitor? Electrical? Leak? Compressor? No idea. $$$???

The first HVAC company said they could come by in 3 weeks. $250 service charge just to come out and look at it. No thanks. The second company I called can come by next business day. No service charge. Done!

The moment he comes around to the back of the house, he sees the refrigerant copper line is frosted over, and he tells me the refrigerant needs to be recharged. He asks, "How long ago was the last service call?" Me, "I've had this AC unit for 6 years, never knew I had to do routine maintenance checks. It's never had any issues, before this.

Do you do annual service/maintenance checks on a dishwasher? Stove? refrigerator? Window unit AC?? No. Ohwell, now I know.

The gauge shows it's VERY low in refrigerant, that's why the outside fan was shutting down. He pumps in 4lbs of gas into the system. And the mini-split unit is back in business.

If I was in Florida, where the AC is pumping year round, I guess maybe annual checks is warranted. But here in NY where the AC is used maybe 4 months out of the year,,, I'll see if I can get by with every 3 years smiling smiley

Next you all will tell me I should be doing maintenance/service checks on my boiler Sheesh! LOL



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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