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AC leak hard to find

We have had a very small freon leak in our system for what I consider forever. In 1999 the leak seemed impossible to find so we were told to buy a new AC unit to solve problem. That obviously did not work. Leak must be pretty small as it takes about 2-3 years before we get no more freon. We had to call back for services again in 2002, 2005, 2007 and again now in 2010. Each time we were assured that the leak was fixed permanently (after paying for 2-3 hours of services and for more freon) but 2-3 years later need more service. So here are my questions: 1) in 2007 we were told that one could not place anymore freon afterward as new laws were in effect, is it true? 2) How can we make sure that if we call for service, the people coming really fix the leak once and for all? 3) If for some reason we have to replace AC unit, how do we again make sure that this problem gets fixed once and for all? Thanks for all your expertise and efforts

Re: AC leak hard to find

If I remember correctly an A/C unit cannot be charged if it is more than 50% empty, I'm not sure on the laws about recharging over and over but I'm sure there's someone on the forum that knows.
The only way I can tell you to be sure the leak is fixed right is to use a reputable contractor, ask for references to be sure you don't get a fly by nighter. If replacing the unit didn't fix the leak the first time I doubt that's the problem. I don't know how they ran your lineset or if there are parts that can't be accessed. The leak may not even be in your condensor, it could be in the Evap Coil and even though it would be hard to find a good leak detector should find it.

Re: AC leak hard to find

Thanks very much Sten for your answer and taking the time to help us. I deeply appreciate your help. we did not use fly by nighter companies but only the most recommended by Consumer Checkbook ( a consumer agency in our area which does research on best products and companies) in our area (wash. DC). The people we used the last two times came highly recommended and is supposedly one of the better AC company in the DC area. Thanks very much for your suggestion about the Evap coil.

Re: AC leak hard to find

So did they replace the A coil in the furnace? That is a very common place for leaks. I know of no EPA rule that prohibits recharging residential units of any level of loss, although some companies have policies. The only one I am familar with is if a system contains more than 50 pounds of refrigerant,(no residential units contain this much)and has a leak rate of 15% a month in a comfort cooling unit. The allowable limit is 35% for refrigeration units with >50lbs. Residential units and automobiles are not required to be repaired, but common sense (and dollars) would cause most people to fix them. http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/608fact.html#leaks

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