Central air leaking freon?

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I have lived in my condo for over 3 years now. The first year our central air worked just fine. The second summer it wasn't cooling our place at all, the third summer I had a company come out and refill the freon and it worked great until the end of the summer. This summer it isn't working again and the guy said if it happened again there was probably a leak in the walls. Is there a way I can try and find the leak myself, or do they have a tool they can use so they don't have to tear up my walls? Obviously once they find the leak they will have to cut a hole, but I don't want more than one. Also, do you think the condo association would cover this since it is in the walls?




  1. I think he meant a leak in the actual unit itself, probably in the walls of the evaporator.  They normally will need to replace the leaking part of the system; you'll need an expert to find the leak and address it.

    Edit: by expert I mean an ACrepair person; any qualified tech should be able to do this.  Also, depending on the part that is leaking, this could be an expensive repair.

  2. The leak is so small it takes most the entire cooling season before it leaks down.  True, oil is a good indicator but is not always perfect, it can get you close sometimes.  You can spray leak detector on the piping and fittings with freon in the system but the pressure is not high enough to show where the leak is.  The freon has to be removed and the system filled with nitrogen and sprayed with leak detector to pinpoint the leak. I would guess and hope for you the leak is in a fairly accessible location.  If it's not, this can be time consuming.

  3. HVAC Tech.:  There are many reasons for the refrigerant lines to leak IN THE WALLS. I have seen this in new units and 10 year old ones. I would run what is called a SYSTEM COMPONENTS check. This is a test where the system is split into three separate units. Inside coil. outside coil with compressor, and the refrigerant lines. In this test each of these is separated and welded shut. Pressure is charged into them and left for 24 hours,then checked for loss or change. Which ever component lost pressure is the one that needs repair or replacement. Sometimes the LINES can be replaced without tearing out the walls. Some warranties cover workmanship, some have a 5 year some have 10 years. You will need to check with the association maybe have them check with the builder or the provider/installer. Good LUCK!!!

  4. With a Freon leak there is usually a light oil film on the copper line or around the condensing unit (outside coil), sometimes the service valve caps leak, they should be tightened after charging...check there first.  The service company does use a leak detector. A line leak would be caused by the copper rubbing up against a rough surface like brick. Good luck.

  5. There's nothing you can do. I would find it hard to believe there is a leak in the walls. Most units are install with soft copper tubing that is pulled through the walls as one solid piece. If you do have a leak chances are its at the condensing unit or the evap coil. Try a different repairman.

  6. Then let me see you do it without tearing out a wall. If the leak is through a wall what are you goin to do? Some one has to tear up the wall. Right. Anyways is very rare, is like one in a thousand chances that the leak may be there. There is leak detectors that technicians use and is not necessary to tear up the wall. Most leaks are found on fittings, flare nuts, couplers, and others. Meaning at the unit it self. Anyways good luck.

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