Thread Number: 71890  /  Tag: Air Conditioners
Rheem Central Air question
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Post# 951039   8/1/2017 at 08:11 (298 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        

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Looking for insights on my air-conditioner dilemma.
Our house has two central air units. Both are Rheem. Both are 12 years old.
The unit for the upper floor has developed a slow freon leak. A pound or two of freon need to be added about every eight weeks. First trouble ever with either a/c unit.
The servicer who installed both systems when the house was built and serviced them since has diagnosed a leaky evaporator.
The problem here is that these units are R22. He explained that "living" with the leak was too expensive. Additionally, both the evaporator and condensor/compressor unit will have to be replaced as R22 is obsolete and the existing system cannot accommodate the new freon.
I believe him. It sort of ticks me off that I cannot have the system repaired.
However, I would like opinions from this forum. If you have encountered this dilemma or have any info that may be useful, I'm willing to listen.
The repairman topped off the a/c at no charge last time as we were having guests for the weekend. He appreciates our business and estimated the repair at about $2500.00.
All comments welcome.

Post# 951042 , Reply# 1   8/1/2017 at 08:27 (298 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
There is a 1:1 replacement using the same equipment: R-438A

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So if that's the only problem, perhaps this website will help. I have the distinct impression that A/C people tend to be super conservative in their views on what does and does not work safely, so it may be he's being too cautious. Or, it may be that he has had enough experience with this particular set-up to know something we don't.
Can't hurt to at least check, though - that's a lot of money.


Post# 951052 , Reply# 2   8/1/2017 at 09:10 (298 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Thanks for the quick reply

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Will check out your info. Thanks.

Post# 951062 , Reply# 3   8/1/2017 at 10:03 (298 days old) by Combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Replace the leaking evaportor

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And recharge with r22. It should cost less than $1000 to fix.

Post# 951082 , Reply# 4   8/1/2017 at 11:32 (298 days old) by estesguy (kansas)        
And replace the run capacitors

Have him replace the run capacitors in both units. My Ruud unit (same as Rheem) had the capacitor go out at the 13 year mark, on a record 111 degree day. It was a combo capacitor, and the fan part went bad, causing the fan to run out of phase, and go out on thermal overload. Luckily, the unit had the HI head pressure switch and shut it down. Replaced it the next day, and up and running again just fine. The point is, capacitor failure is unpredictable, but does seem more likely to happen with age, and is an inexpensive preventative move I would suggest

Post# 951086 , Reply# 5   8/1/2017 at 12:25 (298 days old) by simpsomatic (Melb, Aust-now Palm Springs,US)        
Replacement ripoff

The tech is only interested in selling you another unit for $'s., It is difficult to determine leak in the A coil unless the unit is running and tech can test, blower off and sidewall of coil enclosure removed. Outside condenser usually easier because visually you can see the leak or meter can detect. The one thing that A/C techs do not tell you about is the leak from the SCHRADER VALVE which is the port used to add or discharge unit of freon. The port has a cover to keep it clean but not necessarily to stop any leaks. Replacement of the valve is easy (technician knows how but will never tell you it could be the cause of a leak). Next order of business have the schrader valves (sometimes one at condenser and one at coil) replaced and new o rings installed. For complete knowledge and understanding go to GOOGLE or search engine and type in:
Schrader valve leaking in residential A/C. Surprise....You may have the answer to your leaking freon. Watch the tech like a hawk but insist on replacement. The valve itself is about $5 bucks.

Good luck

Post# 951095 , Reply# 6   8/1/2017 at 13:00 (298 days old) by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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yeah, replace the one coil and refill with R22, you should be fine from there on.....

see no reason to replace all the units in your house, if the other ain't broke, don't fix it....

if anything, as I have learned, call for other estimates, several in central unit went out after 11 years, prices started at 3000.00 just for the central, adding in that the whole heater needed replaced, to replacement and increasing the size of the ductwork to a toll of $10,000.00

I ended up buying the outside unit and "N" coil myself, and paid to have it installed and charged(with R22 I might add), 800.00 total! my electric bill has majorly dropped compared to past years with the other system....

I agree, have your capacitor, either replaced, or if you know how, at least have them on-hand if needed.....its a simple swap out, just make sure to discharge first!

keep us posted

Post# 951152 , Reply# 7   8/1/2017 at 17:01 (298 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

You could have the evaporator replaced (if the leak was actually confirmed to be there) and then have the system converted to R407C, a direct drop in replacement for R22. (it requires replacing the oil in the system though). At that point and the systems age I'd at least solicit bids for a new condenser and evap and compare that with the cost to repair the existing system. 


HVAC contractors are a dime a dozen, good ones are hard to come by. Don't be afraid to keep searching until you find someone you're comfortable with. 


Post# 951159 , Reply# 8   8/1/2017 at 18:21 (298 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Thank you all

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I greatly appreciate the terrific advice. Now I've got some homework to do.
Much obliged!

Post# 951163 , Reply# 9   8/1/2017 at 18:54 (298 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Gusherb / Question

paulg's profile picture
Great video. By any chance is it yours? Are you the tech in the video?

Post# 951194 , Reply# 10   8/1/2017 at 23:46 (298 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

No, but I'm in contact with that person. TBH I could be the tech in the video but I don't have the tools to work on the refrigerant side of things.

Post# 951230 , Reply# 11   8/2/2017 at 07:32 (297 days old) by retro-man (nashua,nh)        

Just ran into this problem this week also. Have a rental condo and the a/c stopped working last week. Called my usual hvac guy and had him look it over. It is also a R-22 unit. It and the furnace are York units and are 31 years old. I feel I got my life span out of them and they are both being replaced next week with a Goodman furnace and a/c unit. Total cost is going to be $7400.00 The a/c is 2 1/2 ton and the furnace is 80,000 btu natural gas. I guess they have to evacuate and dry the system to remove all traces of the R-22.


Post# 951237 , Reply# 12   8/2/2017 at 08:01 (297 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Gusherb thanks for reply

paulg's profile picture
The RUUD repair video was very good and I appreciated the talent of the tech who performed the repair. If this person had a business in the Chicagoland area, I would consider hiring the company to perform the same repair.
However, now that I have advanced my knowledge of this malfunction, I will go back to my regular repairman and have a discussion about repair options.
Again, much obliged to all. This info was exactly what I needed.

Post# 951268 , Reply# 13   8/2/2017 at 10:21 (297 days old) by GusHerb (Chicago/NWI)        

I just remembered I do know a guy in the Chicago area who is probably close enough to wherever you are. He is a hydronic guy but has been doing forced air lately, not sure if he only does replacements or repairs as well but he is totally worth giving a call to. He is among the best of the best in terms of the work he does.

If you go on their FB there's pictures of his work.


Post# 951329 , Reply# 14   8/2/2017 at 18:01 (297 days old) by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Big thanks for the referral

paulg's profile picture
I thank you for the referral. Information like this helps me a great deal with this tricky issue.
Your time and effort is much appreciated!

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