Losing My Cool

Last fall, my A/C system that is less than two years old stopped cooling.  I called for service and they found a leak in a fitting at the evaporator coil in the garage.  That cost me a little over $200 because of the refrigerant (which is exorbitantly expensive and laden with various and sundry EPA pitfalls for the company).  Fast forward to the first really warm day this spring: I started it up again and it wouldn’t cool.  I called the service company again and they discovered that it was low again and added more refrigerant (to the tune of another $200) and tried, but could not find the leak with the electronic sniffer.  So they recommended a UV dye check (which costs another $250).

The service tech was just here and showed me with the UV light that there is a leak in the evaporator coil, which is not repairable.  It will require a whole new coil.  The good news is that the coil is under warranty.  The bad news is that it will cost $1000 to replace it (that includes labor, miscellaneous parts, and the ever-so-expensive refrigerant), and labor is not covered at this point in the warranty.

It’s absolutely gripes my butt that a 2-year-old unit would have a leak in the coil like that.  I will definitely not consider this brand (Goodman) again, if this is any indicator of their quality.

Update: I guess I should retract that statement about Goodman.  It’s impossible to tell if it’s their fault (faulty unit) or an installation issue.  The tech was here this morning and he is convinced that there is insufficient return air for this unit, based on the small return-air filter opening, which the original installers should have noted at the time.  Insufficient return air flow can cause increased pressure in the system, which can kill a compressor (and possibly lead to a leak in a coil).  The next step will be to investigate adding an additional return air intake and ducting.


  1. Mike says:

    You are getting worked over, I have a lot of rentals in the area, goodman is a find unit. Installation is the key. A poor install job will shorten the life of any unit. Yes, the A coil can be repaired, Freon is only $250 for a 30lb bottle. The price is only high because of low life AC people that want to take the consumer for a ride. I thnk mark up is fine, but some of them are selling the stuff for $30 a pound, that makes the bottle they paid $250 for sell for 900. If you want a second opinion, I can give you the number for my AC folks, small husband and wife company, I would think that their bid would be much less than the $1000 bid you received.

  2. I didn’t just accept their word. I searched around and the $1000 bid is fairly standard for this type of job on this type of unit (at least for those companies that do flat-rate pricing). And the coil cannot be repaired if the leak is not at one of the tube ends. In this case, the leak is in the middle.