Author Topic: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?  (Read 917 times)

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Online fuzzyMarmot

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Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« on: July 13, 2018, 08:50:32 PM »
I recently got the following notification in the mail, and was wondering if people who are smarter than me have any thoughts on it.

Is "formicary corrosion" an important issue for health concerns and air conditioner efficiency, or is this just an AC company trying to find reasons to sell me more stuff?

And is it important to change a unit that still uses R-22?

Lots of thanks to anyone who has advice to offer.

« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 11:33:16 PM by fuzzyMarmot »

Offline Noisy Rhysling

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2018, 11:42:21 PM »
Even if it does need work you don't have to have those guys do it.

Have you contacted the company that made the unit?
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Offline CarbShark

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Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2018, 12:17:02 AM »
It is a good idea to have your AC system inspected every few years, but this is nonsense.

A coolant leaking into the conditioned space is very rare. Coolant leaks in general are pretty rare.

A pinhole leak would be enough to reduce cooling completely in a matter of hours.

If you’re worried just contact a professional with good references. Don’t let these guys anywhere near your home.


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« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 01:32:27 AM by CarbShark »
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2018, 02:19:20 AM »
Formicary corrosion... has the appearance of an ant nest.

Formic acid has the distinctive smell of ants, and to formicate is to gather like ants. Formicidae is the family of ants.

Online fuzzyMarmot

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2018, 04:04:01 AM »
Thank you all so much! That helps a lot. I'm really fortunate to have a place with smart (and skeptical!) folks to turn to for help.

If I ever run into any of you at a conference, I'll buy you a beer or your beverage of choice  :)

I just moved into this house recently, and I rent, but my landlord makes me do everything maintenance related. It is a major bummer. Plus this is my first time living in an extremely hot climate, so all this AC maintenance stuff is pretty new to me.

Offline PANTS!

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 09:34:07 AM »
Thank you all so much! That helps a lot. I'm really fortunate to have a place with smart (and skeptical!) folks to turn to for help.

If I ever run into any of you at a conference, I'll buy you a beer or your beverage of choice  :)

I just moved into this house recently, and I rent, but my landlord makes me do everything maintenance related. It is a major bummer. Plus this is my first time living in an extremely hot climate, so all this AC maintenance stuff is pretty new to me.

Wait, what?  No - above all this is why you rent (well that and moving flexibility).  May as well own a home if you have to pay for the upkeep.  At least you get some equity.
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Online Calinthalus

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2018, 09:53:54 AM »
I have a coolant leak in my AC unit.  Every year now, near the beginning of summer I have to have the guy out to top off what is missing.  I can tell when it happens because after a bit, my unit outside starts freezing up and blowing luke-warm air instead of cold.  This started a few years ago (probably 7)...then two years after that, then the last two years running.  This year's top-off cost me $145 US...so it's not a huge problem, but still.


The guy we have that works on the unit says we are really just limping this unit along and it probably needs replaced...but he'll continue limping it as long as feasible.  The unit is around 30 years old.  We've expanded the house by a significant amount of cubic feet since we moved into it 13 years ago...so the little unit is doing it's best to keep up as it is.










To the OP...yeah, if you're renting, it's his problem, not yours.  In the case of having to call a repairman, I can understand you having a deal where you call the repair company and schedule the service, since he/she will probably need someone at the house to work on it...but your landlord has to pay for that.


My situation is different, in that I technically rent from my mother.   I handle all repairs and pay the mortgage and equity note, deal with the bank etc...and in return she pays the property taxes every year and doesn't give a fuck what color I paint the walls.  It was my grandmothers house before it was my mothers, she inherited the house and a late mortgage and then took an equity loan to put in a new septic system and some other house repairs.  It will be mine when she passes (or if I pay the bank off before then...my credit is shit and we can't transfer the loan/ownership without rebuilding the loan entirely based on my credit).
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Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2018, 07:36:45 PM »
My AC was down for much of last week and did not get it fixed until this Monday.
Two years I had to get it topped up and was worried that it leaked.
I have a home warranty to defray costs.

Turned out though that my coolant level was fine this time but that a capacitor blew out.
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Offline xenu

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2018, 08:28:52 PM »
On older units like that it is usually better to just buy a new unit. The new ones are much more efficient. I had to have mine topped off about 5 years ago and it has been doing fine since. I don't know when it was topped off before that. I think it it needs to happen again I will just buy a new unit. Mine is a few years old too.
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Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2018, 08:42:02 PM »
On older units like that it is usually better to just buy a new unit. The new ones are much more efficient. I had to have mine topped off about 5 years ago and it has been doing fine since. I don't know when it was topped off before that. I think it it needs to happen again I will just buy a new unit. Mine is a few years old too.

It took the guy less than half an hour
My house was built in 1995 so maximum age is 22 years. 
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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2018, 07:47:41 AM »
New unit for the house would be $5-6k.  I don't have that just laying around so I'm just limping at my $140 a year for a bit.
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Offline xenu

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Re: Air conditioner: important issue or pseudo-scam?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2018, 09:31:14 AM »
New unit for the house would be $5-6k.  I don't have that just laying around so I'm just limping at my $140 a year for a bit.

For sure it's not worth going in debt for. I would do the same thing.
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