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My AC unit is leaking refrigerant. The house is 7 years old. About 2.5 years ago I had the unit serviced and the guy (good reputation among my friends) put one unit of R22 into it and thought it might have a leak but could also be because the unit wasn't topped off when installed and ran with what the factory had installed.

At the end of last summer the AC was getting ineffective but I waited until this week to get it serviced. The same guy put almost three units of R22 into it and indicated that there was in fact a leak on the cooling coil inside.

Is about one unit of R22 per year excessive and requiring repair/replacement? Between remote mounting my PMD, replacing my daughter's Grand Prix computer and cam sensor, replacing my dead mower, essentially being told I'll be covering a quarter of my in-laws 50th anniversary (better them in Ireland than at my house) and going to Burger King for my 20th because I'm flat broke...well, I'd like to keep the thing limping along until next year when I'll be more flush.

Can I put this off or is this all that unusual?
 

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Can I put this off or is this all that unusual?
LOL. I have mine serviced at the beginning of each summer, and nearly every year there is room for *a little* refrigerant. I don't know how much a "unit" is that you refer to, but mine never takes enough that I get charged over what the regular service call costs. I think I pay $49 or so, and they come out and check the ducts, run an evap test, add freon, clean the coil, clean the burner(it's a dual unit), check the drain line, and they check always poke their head in the return ducts to see if everything looks ok. I'd say if you notice a decline in preformance over the course of the summer, you may want to have it looked into further. Hope this helps.
 

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A unit would most likely be a pound. As a general rule you should not have to add freon every year. The problem is that finding a small leak in a system that big will be costly. It will have no harmful effect charging it every year. Just don't let it get too low. That could damage it. Watch the sweat on the large line going to the unit. When the sweat goes away you need freon. If you decide to try to fix it start by checking all joints with kids bubbles. The kind with the little wand. Check all the joints you can see. If that doesn't work you will need to rely on the repairman's electronic leak detector. Hope this info helps!
 

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Don't they have refigerant with a marker dye??? The dye will come out the leak.
 

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There is most likely a stem valve in the freon plumbing comming off the compressor. Probably be covered by a brass screw cap. This valve (like in the valve stem on a tire) can be troublesome and a common place for leaks to occur. They deteriorate with age. Check it with liquid detergent for a leak. Sometimes just tweaking the metal part of the stem a bit will stop the leak.
 
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