Air conditioner refrigerant leak

Inspected a condo today and the tenant stated that she has to have to refrigerant refilled every other year. She said that the HVAC tech said that it would be costly to fine the leak. It was snowing today, the unit did responded to the request for cooling. I feel I need to put something in the report so it get fixed before my client buys. Not sure how to word it.

Was there a service log on the furnace/air handler? If there is, it should show each time that they have added a charge to it. I take a picture of the service log and note that refrigerate has been added X amount of times and recommend a leak search and repair by a licensed HVAC contractor.

If the there is no service log, I just note the comments from the tenant and recommend repair or documentation of repairs from the seller.

Unless is was a heat pump, if it was cold enough to snow, it was too cold to run/test the air conditioner. Testing the A/C unit is not recommended below 65 deg. F. as the compressor oil is a summer weight oil (higher viscosity). Running the A/C below this temp. is risky. You do not want to have to buy a compressor or pay for the repairs.

Put in report exactly what the tenant told you.

“Every of the year” means it has been around for a while.

Time for a new unit.

R- 22 refrigerant is getting too expensive to keep filling up.

Cost for identifying and repairing the leak would make for a good down payment on a new unit.

Unit was a 2010 Arcoaire

Wouldn’t a leaker detector find it?
I had a leak at the coil frame.
I had the coils replaced.

Problem is, the lines ran through the drywall basement ceiling from the back of the home to the front utility room.

Most likely at a soldered fitting.

If it takes 2 years to go down, no you will not find it with a sniffer.

Can you find it? Yes.
Tenant paying for it? No.

These leaks don’t happen over night.
That means the compressor runs w/o proper refrigerant for a long time before someone notices it. Coked oil, heat damage, lubrication failure…

If it’s R22, I’d scrap it.

Actually, I’d fix it (cuz I can…). But I’d buy the house at $7k off the list price.

The last 3 I have seen were bad Schrader valves. Probably local teens out huffing… :roll: