Austin Air Companie Blog : Posts Tagged ‘R22 Freon Ban’

Copper Coils Versus Aluminum Coils

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

The residential HVAC industry has been going thru many changes over the past decade or so in terms of the metal materials they use to make certain pieces of HVAC equipment.

To give you some understanding first, there are two different separate type of coils that your HVAC system uses for your air conditioner or heat pump to work properly. The outdoor coil is the condenser coil, the indoor coil is the evaporator coil. This subject is primarily dealing with the indoor evaporator coil.

HVAC Refrigerant Leaks In All Aluminum Evaporator Coil

Come with me on a repair call in which I repair a Freon (refrigerant) Leak in an all aluminum evaporator coil. (Watch video embedded below) I also discuss the copper versus aluminum debate in the video.

This Katy, Texas AC blog subject for today is regarding the indoor coil or evaporator coil section of your residential HVAC system. Because usually, this part of the system starts to leak refrigerant more frequently than the outdoor or condenser coil. (Realize the AC refrigerant leak you may have could be in the outdoor coil just as much as it could be in the indoor coil: proper diagnosis must be performed, a guess is not a diagnosis. Just because an evaporator coil refrigerant leak is more common, doesn’t mean that this is where your refrigerant leak is.

As of 2018 nearly all, if not all manufactures of HVAC equipment make all aluminum evaporator coils. Copper tube and aluminum fin evaporator coils are at the beginning of the end as manufacturers continue to cut costs from their AC manufacturing processes.

Aluminum Coils Are Better Than Copper Coils

All Aluminum Evaporator coils are often called a new way of doing things. Truth be known, this isn’t the first time the HVAC industry used all aluminum evaporator coils. (indoor evaporator coil, don’t get this confused by the spiny fin aluminum condenser coil of Trane / American Standard brands, which was invented by GE in the early 1980’s.) With that said, about 30-40 years ago Carrier made their air handlers with all aluminum evaporator coils. The difference now is that the technology is much better this time around, but not infallible.

The problem with the technology back then was the connection point to the copper line set. They used a compression type connection to connect the line set to the evaporator coil. After some time this connection would leak. With no real way to repair this leak, the solution was to replace the coil with a copper tube and aluminum fin coil. You see when I say ‘copper coil’ I mean copper tube and aluminum fin. Manufactures to my knowledge have never made an all copper evaporator coil for residential air conditioning systems. That would be very costly, not to mention very heavy.

All Aluminum Evaporator Coils Are Probably Here To Stay

The drive away from copper tube evaporator coils is in my opinion due mostly to cost of the metal and because it’s been determined that formicary corrosion is leading to increased failures of this type of evaporator coil this increases the home owners cost as well as the manufacturer of the coil, because as the coils have become larger due to equipment efficiency requirements, the walls of the copper tube to these evaporator coils have become ‘paper’ thin or very close to it, which gives little to no protection against formicary corrosion.

To find out more about what formicary corrosion is and what it looks like watch the video embedded above. There are examples of formicary corrosion within the video. This type of corrosion effects all brands of copper tube and aluminum fin evaporator coils. The formicary corrosion attacks the copper part of the coil which causes it to leak refrigerant.

High efficiency air conditioning has driven up material cost in recent years because requirements to increase efficiency have made coil sizes increase as well. More material = higher cost. It’s only common sense that by using cheaper materials a manufacturer (all manufacturers) can cut these material costs.

So because aluminum is not effected by formicary corrosion, aluminum is the better coil material? Aluminum is a very reliable material. However, this does not mean an all aluminum coil will not fail ‘at some point’ due to refrigerant leaks.

Remember we’ve been here before with all aluminum coils (30-40 years ago). While the technology now is considerably different and in my opinion much better than before, aluminum coils can fail (spring refrigerant leaks) just as much as a copper tube aluminum fin can. Watch the video embedded above if you think an all aluminum coil can’t leak refrigerant.

I have installed many, many all aluminum coils over the course of my illustrious HVAC career (23 total years as of 2018). It is my opinion that all aluminum coils are a good replacement option in light of the formicary corrosion problem that is well noted and documented by the HVAC industry as a whole.

However, all aluminum coils used as evaporator coils in your AC system are not without their own set of problems or short comings. While all aluminum evaporator coils are currently better than the copper tube and aluminum fin coils they are replacing and quite reliable this doesn’t mean they will not fail at some point. If a salesman is trying to sell you on a shiny all aluminum coil, realize nearly all manufacturers make an all aluminum evaporator coil. This feature is nothing special as of 2018.

Air Conditioning Refrigerant Leaks To Remain A Challenge

Refrigerant leaks have always been a challenge to one degree or another in relation to an AC system. The difficulty now is that your AC system must be refrigerant leak free due to the rise in cost of all refrigerants. The method of recharging systems without leaks being repaired is a method of the past. It is no longer cost effective to do these practices any more.

If you watched the embedded video above demonstrating where this particular all aluminum coil failed, my personal opinion is that this coil most likely failed by some sort of corrosion because the coil sits in condensate waste water from air pulled from the home. It is unlikely this leak was cause by any other means.

Because I install all my own equipment, is the reason I can say such things without a shadow of a doubt. Certainly there could be other reasons not yet known. If anything, this example in the video shows the complexity of this subject.

There is no such thing as an air conditioning system that doesn’t fail, for one reason or another. You will always need a good reliable HVAC repair man. Maybe it’s me?

So what can you do? Build up a service history with me. (CHECK MY SERVICE AREAS HERE) I keep track of things of this nature via your service invoice, if a particular coil is failing often I will attempt resolution by offering other solutions. Some manufactures are better at different things and or different configurations of HVAC equipment. Just realize this isn’t a gimmick as I know that all brands of equipment fail at some point, the idea is to limit or reduce the failures as much as possible.

This is another reason why I sell more than one HVAC brand and these decisions are constantly being evaluated. I don’t just blindly keep replacing the same brand coil over and over again as it is my opinion this would result in insanity. Obviously this is ultimately your decision how to proceed, but I will at least attempt to offer another option that may give a better result due to my own personal experience in equipment choices I have sold in the past to other customers.

Currently my failure rates of all aluminum coils (any brand) that I originally installed is less than 2%. Some AC brands I’ve installed the failure rate on the coils is currently 0% (it’s likely not a brand you know). While all aluminum evaporator coil failures do happen it’s not as often as you may think. Some equipment configurations are more susceptible than others.

Thank you for visiting with me today. I hope your day is comfortable.

About the author of this blog:

My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie, a HVAC Service Company serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas | Richmond, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with 23 years ‘hands on’ experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs. I specialize in Residential HVAC systems.
About Austin Air Companie:
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Austin Air Companie

832-475-6895

“Your home comfort from A to Z”

Air Conditioning | Controls | Heating | Zoning

Better Service. Done Right. On Time. Guaranteed.

 

 

Does Freon Leak Stop or Freon Leak Sealer Work?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Air Conditioning Refrigerant Leak Sealer

The HVAC industry continues to change and develop new technology. As refrigerants become more and more costly this trend will only continue.

With that said, caution should be heeded. The risk is that whatever you place in your HVAC system will remain there in some form up to and including the line set. (Line sets are typically not replaced when equipment is replaced as many times it is not feasible to do so… in some cases you may have no choice.)

This is why it is important for the professional to visit you in person to go over options you are considering to possibly repair this problem you are having with your HVAC system.

The problem with refrigerant leaks is the volume of refrigerant that the system is leaking. The more the refrigerant leaks, the less likely a leak sealer will work. Due to the nature of this, it’s in your best interest to consider all your options and choose with caution any option that includes the use of leak sealers.

Air Conditioning Refrigerant Leak Experience Required

Not all refrigerant leaks are created equal. Refrigerant leaks in certain areas of the equipment will have to be repaired the regular way. This takes experience to know what will work as opposed to just throwing money away… because if it doesn’t work, all the Freon that was put in is all going to leak out again and you just spent all that money on Freon and a proposed leak sealer for nothing. To make matters worse you never, ever want to add two different leak sealers this will likely contaminate the entire system. It’s not uncommon for people to jump from one HVAC contractor to another… this is dangerous for what should be obvious reasons.

You see my job isn’t just to give you a cheap solution. Many cases leak sealers are just nothing more than a temporary repair. In this realm temporary means 1 year, best case scenario. It could last more than 1 year… but could, should and will are entirely different terms.

I am here to work with you… it may not be in your interest to add a leak sealer to your system. I can only give those options in person for me to be able to see in person what I am dealing with.

R22 Freon Production Ban Coming Soon

Due to the phase out and banning of R22 Freon effective January 1, 2020 these things will only continue and likely get worse. R22 Freon will become so expensive that these schemes and scams will likely proliferate.

There is no drop in for R22 Freon, in the realm of being exactly as good as Freon R22. They can come close, but efficiency is lost as well as rated capacity of the machine the drop in refrigerant is being put into.

If it sounds “TOO GOOD” to be true… it probably is. Avoid hype or promises that are unrealistic, nothing on this planet is perfect. An air conditioning system is a 15 year appliance (national average). Nothing will stop that clock.

Realize I repair and fix air conditioners more than any job in the summer time. But just because you want a repair to avoid cost doesn’t always make it feasible. Any good HVAC contractor would help you make wise financial decisions because that contractor is depending on you for repeat business— in most cases “years” down the road. If your finances are blown due to improper repair the HVAC contractor is in jeopardy as well. A “GOOD” HVAC contracting business is built on doing it right. Fifteen years is a long time to live with a mistake.

My tag line “Done Right” isn’t there on accident.

Make air conditioning repairs carefully. If you’re not sure ask questions. The answers to those questions should help you make the wiser choice. Avoid decisions that are based on cost alone. If the HVAC repair doesn’t fix it, what difference does it make how little or how much you spent?

Thank you for visiting with me today. I hope you’ve learned something from your visit and as always I hope your day is comfortable.

About the author of this blog:

My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie, a professional HVAC Service Company serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 20 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs.

Austin Air Companie

832.475.6895

“Your home comfort from A to Z”

Air Conditioning | Controls | Heating | Zoning

A Ray Austin HVAC Service Company

For more information you can always visit me on my main website @

www.austinairco.com 

Better Stuff. Done Right. On Time. Guaranteed.

Air Conditioning Freon Leaks

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Air Conditioning Freon Leaks
(video included below “My AC Evaporator Is Leaking Freon? WHERE?”)

Freon in this case more or less means refrigerant, because you could in fact have a system that uses R410a that is also known as Puron. Puron is a trademark name commonly used to describe this new air conditioning refrigerant.

R22 Freon and R410a Puron are the only two EPA & Manufacturer approved refrigerants for use in a High Temp air conditioning application like residential air conditioning or commercial air conditioning. Notice I said High Temp… This application design temperature is to maintain temperature of a structure between 70 to 80 degrees. There are other applications and many different refrigerants. So you need to realize before reading any further this subject is on High Temperature Central Air Conditioning application ONLY.

When a home air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it will perform inadequately not putting out enough cooling in all areas of the structure. However, a low refrigerant suspicion doesn’t mean something else could be at play with your system. Guessing will not fix your air conditioning system. I’m not paid to guess just as much as I am not paid to “play around” with your system. I can only get to the root of your problem by diagnosing it and that requires a visit to your home in person. This is what I do for a living.

Many people to this day, believe their air conditioning system uses refrigerant and this liquid needs to be replaced or refilled at some point. Wrong. The only time you need refrigerant is when you have developed a leak or the refrigerant circuit needs repair. However, if you simply refill the system and there is a refrigerant leak then it will leak back out again a short time later depending of course how large or bad the leak is.

Refrigerant leaks can be caused by:
Formicary Corrosion
Defective part in refrigerant circuit
Poor servicing methods
unit vibration
improper or neglected maintenance
equipment age (worn out)
poor equipment design or installation
Dog urine
Freezing of the Evaporator Coil

Refrigerants CAN NOT be:
Mixed
Installed in wrong equipment
USED

Doing such things listed above will void ANY manufacturer warranty, not to mention add serious costs to repair up to and including the replacement of your AC System.

When you look at your AC equipment you don’t see anything leaking from it, so it must be OK? Condensation or moisture isn’t refrigerant. Water leaks are an entirely different subject.

Just because you don’t see anything when looking at your AC system doesn’t mean much…. Refrigerants turn to vapor under our atmosphere many times you will not be able to visually see the leak without the help of a refrigerant detector.
(Watch the embedded video below for better understanding.)

Trying to guess where a refrigerant leak is without testing for it is NOT RECOMMENDED under any circumstance, UNLESS you are replacing the whole Air Conditioning System or you enjoy the possibility of wasting money.

National average life of an Air Conditioning System is 15 Years. If yours didn’t last that long you may want to consider making a change some where.

I hope this information saves you from making a costly mistake.
Have a GREAT Summer! Thank you for visiting.

About the Author of this blog:
My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie, a HVAC Service Company serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 20 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs.

Austin Air Companie
832~475~6895
“Your home comfort from A to Z”
Air Conditioning | Controls | Heating | Zoning

For more information you can always visit me on my main website @
www.austinairco.com

Better Stuff. Done Right. On Time. Guaranteed.

AC Repair Cypress

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

AC Repair Cypress
(video embed below)

This blog post focus for Air Conditioning Repair Cypress Texas is about what the difference is between an Air Conditioning Technician and a Licensed HVAC Contractor in the state of Texas.

The main purpose for this blog is that you the home owner have a big decision to make if your AC system breaks down this summer. Whatever decision you ultimately decide upon could effect you and your families comfort in some profound way.

Just picking an air conditioning company based on what seem as favorable terms often thrown around within the HVAC industry without factual checking isn’t really what it’s cracked up to be when you’re talking about one of the most expensive systems you operate within your home.

You pay for this system repeatedly via your electric bill, repairs made to the system and eventual replacement of the HVAC system. The difference typically comes down to experience, design and service quality.

The truth is when it comes to an AC technician there is no real reliable way to discern how much experience one HVAC technician has comparable to another. You can only hope who ever the company sends is qualified to work on your system.

Do you see a problem with that? Watch the video below for a more in depth view as to the differences from what it takes to be an AC technician versus a full fledged Licensed HVAC Contractor. I think this might surprise you.

There is additional information in regards to 2015 EPA Regional Efficiency Standards as well as information on R22 Freon Ban in 2020 included in the video.

Thank you for visiting with me today, I hope this information helps you make a wise decision.

About the author of this blog:
My name is Ray Austin. I am the owner and operator of Austin Air Companie, a HVAC Service Company serving Katy, Texas | Cypress, Texas and some surrounding areas. I am a Texas Licensed HVAC Contractor with over 20 years experience in Air Conditioning and Heating Systems. I hold an AOS degree in HVAC/R, EPA universally certified to handle any refrigerant and NATE certified in HVAC installations and repairs.

Austin Air Companie
832~475~6895
“Your home comfort from A to Z”
Air Conditioning | Controls | Heating | Zoning

For more information you can always visit me on my main website @
www.austinairco.com

Better Stuff. Done Right. On Time. Guaranteed.