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Old 08-19-2013, 10:17 AM
 
143 posts, read 291,776 times
Reputation: 86

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I have a heat pump that was installed in my condo in 2002 and I have a preventative maintenance contract with C-M where they come in the spring and fall to check the system. When they came in April, they said the R-22 (Freon) was down 2 lbs, so I had them add 2 lbs. The tech said there was a small leak "somewhere," but he did not see the leak when he was working on the system. He said to wait and see at the next visit whether the leak has gotten any worse. Or I could pay $350 for them to try and find the leak, but there was no guarantee they'd be able to.

They are coming back in a few days for the fall check-up, and I am stressing out about what to do. I'm sure others must have had a similar situation, so I am hoping someone can give me some advice (since, obviously, I am clueless about heat pumps.) Do people just keep adding freon in an attempt to avoid replacing the system? Or does the fact that there is a leak mean I need to replace it? I think spending $350 with no guarantee of finding the leak is kind of a lot of money. It seems like the heat pump has been keeping my condo nice and cool all summer, so it's not like it's not working.

Does anyone have any recommendations for other HVAC companies? I see on Yelp that C-M only gets 2.5 stars, so I am open to switching companies. I live in Falls Church/Fairfax/Merrifield area. One more question: anyone have a ballpark guesstimate on cost for a new heat pump? It is a small one, if that makes a difference...

I really appreciate any feedback. Thanks.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:31 AM
 
104 posts, read 166,875 times
Reputation: 44
Heat pumps typically leak water at the condensation line. I am assuming you're talking about the inside unit, of course. In fact, my neighbor's line got clogged and caused somewhat of a flood. Have them check the condensate line and make sure it's not clogged. But honestly, they should have done that anyways.

I had a new heat pump put in my townhouse last fall and have had subsequent maintenance calls and use Air-Right Energy Design. I cannot begin to say how good they are in every aspect and I am very hard to please...
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:40 AM
 
143 posts, read 291,776 times
Reputation: 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcnycarch View Post
Heat pumps typically leak water at the condensation line. I am assuming you're talking about the inside unit, of course. In fact, my neighbor's line got clogged and caused somewhat of a flood. Have them check the condensate line and make sure it's not clogged. But honestly, they should have done that anyways.

I had a new heat pump put in my townhouse last fall and have had subsequent maintenance calls and use Air-Right Energy Design. I cannot begin to say how good they are in every aspect and I am very hard to please...
Thanks for responding, but it is not water that is leaking...it is the R-22 Freon. When they did the servicing on the inside and outdoors units they did not see where the leak is. They can tell that there is a leak because they had to add 2 lbs. of Freon, and the pressure was down...
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
5,104 posts, read 5,403,142 times
Reputation: 12617
IMO, HVAC companies (and their service contracts, too) are rip-offs. Many people don't have their HVAC units "professionally" serviced twice a year, and their units will last 15+ years.

$350 to try to find the leak - how much to fix it once it's found?

I'm of the mindset that if it's broken (or leaking) I want it fixed but at that cost just to look for the leak is ridiculous. Do you work with someone or know someone who could take a look at it for you? Or try to find an independent contractor who won't charge as much.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:10 AM
 
687 posts, read 1,132,556 times
Reputation: 549
$350 just to look for a leak is a ripoff. You don't need someone inspecting your unit twice a year. These inspections are just fishing expeditions so they can find things to sell you. Most of these guys start in with the scare tactics so they can convince you to buy a whole new system. Just replace the freon and if the unit doesn't cool well in a year or two have some more added. That will be far less expensive then actually making the repairs.
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