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Home air conditioning

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by F6Hawk, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    I am looking for some info on home air conditioning, particularly regarding R-22 & ES-22. I know this is a "green" forum, but figger there is someone out there who does AC on the side, or is at least smart about it.

    If you are AC smart, perhaps a PM would be in order, so we don't take up bandwidth here.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. FSully

    FSully LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Ask away....former a/c tech that moved into a/c distribution. If I don't have that answer I could point you to a another website that you could check.

  3. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    Well, I was wondering how to correctly check my system for proper charge. I have heard different thins as to what pressure, like just "75 psi at the hottest part of the day", or "X amount of psi under the ambient temp". So what should my pressure be? Also read something about the return air should be 12-14° warmer than the output air as a method to determine if servicing is required.

    I was looking to get some R-22 to charge the system myself, and came across some (new?) stuff called ES-22. Supposedly better for the environment, more cooling per ounce (therefore less product required to cool, less head pressure, etc., makes compressor last longer). Is this true, or just hype? And if true, does a system have to be flushed, or can ES-22 be added to R-22? (Logic dictates not just adding, if you want the less pressure benefit)

    At any rate, my coils are clean, I just wanted to see what to look for in properly servicing my unit. And if I stick with R-22, can I buy it in smaller quantities than 20 lbs? Part of the reason I am looking in to this is keep from having to pay a $125 service call ($85 just to show, plus time, plus freon), when I have heard that often, the call is not even required.

  4. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    :nono: Thats a no no, First of all if you don't work on those systems daily you shouldn't be working on them at all. You don't take you car or a truck to a chef to get worked on do you. hire a professional As far as checking to see if it properly charged. There might be something called a sight glass installed on the system, look at that if you see nothing thats good, if you see bubbles not good. If somebody came up with a refrigerant that you can just drop in they would make a ton of money. There is nothing wrong with R22 is is pretty good stuff. I went to school for this stuff and I have my license. If it aint broke don't fix it
  5. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    Well, see, that's just it.... IS it broke? I know you need to make a living and all, but I don't want to pay someone $85 just to tell me it is fine. Or $125 to tell me it needed a coupla pounds of R-22. Or charge me for 15 pounds when they only used 2 lbs.

    There's no reason why a home owner can't connect a gauge to the low side and see what is in the system... it's much safer to do than on a car using 134a, don't you agree? And they have kits for us to do that at Wal-Mart. (They just don't tell you that R-134a causes testicular cancer.)

    If my system is leaking, or needs a major overhaul, that is when I would call in the pros. But for this, unless you know something I don't, I see no reason why a fella couldn't check the charge in his own system.
  6. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    If your going to do it any way why bother posting? If you have a problem with your system and you end up calling in a professional he is not going to listen to you. He will make his own diasgnosis and charge you according and fix if properly. The last thing any technician wants to hear having a homeowner telling how to do his job. You may be right or you may be wrong but if he replaces something that you said was wrong and it still dosen't work. Now your going to be pissed off and it will cost you even more money to fix the system. If you suspect something is wrong call A HVAC comapny and they will do there job
  7. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    Ok, let's regroup here. My main reason for posting was to find out two things:

    1) How to properly determine if my system is sufficiently charged (or not). If it HAS enough charge, I don't want to call in a pro to throw a gauge on it and tell me, "It is fine, that will be $85." Seeing how much R-22 is, doing it myself doesn't make sense, either from a dollars & cents standpoint, nor from the hassle/chance of something going wrong one. I agree with you that if it needs servicing, I will call in a pro.

    2) More info on ES-22. Should I make the switch? If so, can it be added on top of R-22 (I have pretty much figured out that it can't, the system has to be evacuated to about 10" first). The ES-22 stuff sounds like it has some real benefits (and I may actually switch to this on the cars, but that is later on down the road).

    I am not looking to get info to tell a pro how to do the job. One hires a pro mostly for his/her knowledge on how to do things right. But at the same time, I would like to be educated enough so as not to be fleeced. Self-preservation in the blood, I guess. After reading many posts on this site for a while, surely you can see that not all who call themselves a "pro" on here are truly pros, and even among those that ARE, there are differences of opinion on how to do any given jod correctly.

    At any rate, thanks for your input, I appreciate your replies.
  8. xcopterdoc

    xcopterdoc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 752

    Ok Hawk..
    IF that ES stuff is anything like other so called replacements, it probably contains either propane or butane. Not a good idea to have that in yur system. But if yur deadset on it... even you yourself said that adding wouldnt do as good as a total flush and recharge.
    You cant just release what you have in there, so it must be reclaimed. Read... Licence! Also reclaimer and waste tank, and disposal of waste freon.
    In order to buy R-22, you have to have a lic.
    In order for you to check the pressure, you have to have a set of gauges and you have to look at the high and low sides. Also its different connections and gauges than for R-134a.
    Now... all that being said... pressures will vary day to day depending on the ambient temps. Pressures will also vary depending on what make and model A/C unit you have.
    And gauges are not all you will need... you will need 2 accurate thermometers to measure your discharge air temp and return air temp. You may also need a good DVOM and an amp clamp.
    As far as "Is it broke or fine?" If it keeps you cool and the unit isnt constanly cycling, its more than likely fine.
    Bottom line is.. by the time you buy everything, its cheaper to just call a HVAC guy to look at it.
    I do alot of different kinds of temp control work.. the smallest is 5 ton AC units, the lagest so far is a 400 ton water chiller.
    On a closing note of help... Check with your local community college. Most of the ones here in NC run a night class on basic refrigeration and at the end of the course they give the test to get the lic needed to buy R-22. Cost of the course is about 60 to 70 bucks.
  9. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    All valid points, and I have no intention of trying to swap R-22 for ES-22 myself. I would call in the pros for that. Just wondered if it was a cost-effective measure, considering it is spoda be better for the environment. And according to what I have read (but have not looked at the MSDS on it) there is no butane or propane.

    R-22 requires a license? I found a site that sells it to anyone, so perhaps it is illegal.

    I have R-134a gauge set, and access to a 12/22 gauge set. (Used to have my own, but time took its toll on them) I also understand the different connections (Schrader vs snap-on).

    You mention checking the input/output temps... what should the delta be? I seem to recall reading 12-14° And isn't there a rule/formula for the pressures? Like ambient temp minus X should be low side pressure?

    I have the DVOM, but not an amp clamp, just low-amp inline capability (10 amp max).

    Thanks for your reply!
  10. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    bingo ^^^^what this guy said

    Also remember about 8 to 10 years ago when the automotive industry stopped putting in r12 for car conditoners cause companies stop making it so the price spiked. There was an abundance of repair shops stating "convert your car to R134A to help the ozone layer" Remember that, well that was the biggest line of BS I've seen in a while. Any HVAC tech will tell you that if you converted it there is a really really good chance that it dosen't get as cold anymore. I will also state if it aint broke don't fix it or buy into it. Bottom line if your system dosen't get cool call a pro, if it works leave it alone.

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