Next job


Tom King
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Actually, this is from a few days ago, but I've kind of lost track of days, and forgot to post this.  I have recovered the refrigerant, and it seems to be uncontaminated being the right pressure in the new recovery tank for its temperature.  Cool mornings projected, which will be much better working in that attic.

 

The end heat pump in the rental house never has worked very good.  Crimped copper line picture is the vapor line.  I don't think that 3/4" vapor line is passing much of anything.  All the electrical, compressor, and fan works like it should.

Tomorrow morning, while it's still cool, I plan to recover the refrigerant.  Unit is 2006 so uses 410a.  I keep separate manifold gauge sets for different refrigerants.

It's too tight up there to want to do any brazing, so I'll be using a Parker Zoomlock Push coupling, and then pressure test with Nitrogen.   

 

I'll braze it if I have to.

The house was remodeled in 1974, and it looks like whoever put this system in used the old line set from back then.  It snakes all over the place, and goes down in the wall.  I'm going to try to straighten it out some, and cover it with new pipe insulation.

If the first fix doesn't hold, I'll probably just run a new line set through the gable wall.  The condenser unit sits right below that gable on a ground pad.  No one sees that end of the house, and I can cover it with a kit that makes a decent looking job anyway.

I did away with some of the superfluous, rough lumberIMG_4319.thumb.jpg.9c3f76cbbaa0954e9f2a96f7b426def0.jpg roof truss bracing, and built a plywood floor to have a good base to work on, rather than balance on ceiling joists.

It's probably hard for you to tell anything from these pictures.

 

 

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I just noticed some uninsulated plumbing water lines in that second picture.  I'm at least glad they're in the attic, and not in the slab.  If I ever have to fix those, I'll probably reframe that whole end of the attic to make working space.

I hope there's not another crimp in either of those lines, but don't know yet.  I didn't want to crawl under the air handler if I don't have to.  There is a big access door where they raised it up in there in the other closet.  That white board is part of the framed opening for that access door.

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I hate crawling around in attics and, crawling around in crawl space's under the house's cleaning spider webs away with my head. I worked as a carpenter my entire adult life, when I started I was the guy that did all the dirty work, I always thought some day I won't have to do it anymore then I got older and I was still the guy, (try getting an apprentice to crawl around and get some production going) it was easier as I saw it to do it myself, I was going to have to go in and fix it anyway (most of the time damn kids don't care enough to do it right anyway. I'm retired now and if I have to have some crawling around to do.... you guessed it it'll be me. Good luck on your project!

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Around here, the only way I've ever been able to get anything done right is to do it myself.  This is a Trane heat pump, so it was installed by pros.  I'm not as impressed by that word as I used to be.  I've been putting this job off until close to last.  The only other thing I have to do is install some handrails on a set of steps.  This house came cheap because no one else wanted to bother with it.  

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I only have three hours to work each day, at best, and even then I might get called to the house to help Pam take my half paralyzed Mother to the bathroom a couple of times.  I park with my truck headed to the house.  Pam gets the second half day while I stay at the house, and call her if I need her. 

Not cool enough up there this morning for me to work, but supposed to be 61 and 62 the next couple of mornings.

Looking at line sets online.  I may decide to just replace both lines with pretty bends and new tubing, and cut that other stuff off where it comes out of the wall.

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$180 for a new line set.  

https://www.supplyhouse.com/ICOOL-F383438025-3-8-LL-x-3-4-SL-x-25-ft-Refrigerant-Line-Set

 The refrigerant is contaminated a little bit, so I'll recycle that, and put in some fresh when I get it reliable to hold pressure.  The old stuff may have some stop leak in it that effects the temperature a bit, or even have some old R22 left in it from the original unit.  Or it could have a bit of air in it from a leak, or poor handling in the past.

I'm going to pressure test it with Nitrogen like it is.  That way, I will know if one of the units is leaking.  If the evaporator coil is leaking, it's about as cheap to replace the whole air handler as it is to buy a new evaporator coil, unless the leak is obvious and can be fixed.

Probably this to cover it going down outside the brick on that end of the house.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Fortress-84125-4-5-Ivory-Wall-Duct-Kit-LDK122I-12-Ft-Kit

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On 9/2/2022 at 11:50 AM, Tom King said:

I only have three hours to work each day, at best, and even then I might get called to the house to help Pam take my half paralyzed Mother to the bathroom a couple of times.  I park with my truck headed to the house.  Pam gets the second half day while I stay at the house, and call her if I need her. 

Well you sure seem to get at it and consistently! Hope your mom is still holding up well and enjoying the birds.

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I decided to not go to max test pressure with the Nitrogen to start with, and I didn't need to.  At 300 psi there is the smallest little leak at that crimp.  Pressure didn't noticeably drop for a couple of hours, so hopefully that's the only leak.  No bubbles on the coils which was a relief.

I cut the tubing near that crimp, and it's Nasty inside.  I expect the previous unit using these lines used R22, and that has different oils in it than 410a.  You're supposed to flush the lines if you reuse them, but I'm betting they didn't bother.  The old compressor could have failed and blown all sorts of gunk in the lines.

New lineset it is, and I'm hoping the system working parts are not trashed.  Everything runs, but I don't know how much of the R22 gunk is in anything.  Will study up on flushing the coils.  I'll put new lines on it, pressure test everything,  charge it, and see how it cools, or for how long it works.  If it doesn't cool well, I'll recover the refrigerant, and probably just replace both units.  I won't run it long enough to gunk up the new lines, I hope.

It's a shame more people don't understand how these things work, because you can get screwed and never know it.

edited to add:   Found this:   https://www.achrnews.com/articles/86197-internal-flushing-is-critical-for-coils

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We set up scaffolding this morning, and I cut the hole through the brick, and wall for the new line set.  I didn't want to get thrown off the ladder running a big drill with a big bit, so the scaffolding gave much more working room. The Sun was brutal bouncing off of that wall by late morning, so that's as far as I got on it today.

The 3-1/4" core bit I'd bought for running electric service entrance wire cut the prettiest hole I've ever drilled through brick, and really wasn't much work.  The SDS-Max drill just walked right through it.  Cutting the wood behind the brick was really more of a job with a hole saw.  I didn't want to risk one of my big self feed bits hitting a nail, so I sharpened an old hole saw.

Picture coming.  This should have been the hard part.  BIL is leaving for a few days, and I don't know if I'll tackle the line set bending by myself, so it may go on hold for a week.

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This morning, I built a support for the air handler so I could move it over some to allow more room for working on it.  It was hooked up with large flex duct that had a lot of slack in them, so it was pretty easy to move once I cut the refrigerant lines.  

I found another reason it "wasn't working so good".  One of the two 12" flex ducts on the supply side had come apart at a "coupling" where two pieces were just taped together.  A large part of any conditioned air, when or if it had ever worked before, was just blowing into the attic.  I picked up a 12" flex duct coupling on the way back from seeing my Mom this afternoon.

I also found the leak in the large vapor line.  It looks like the installer used the little end of a ball peen hammer to make a flange to solder the end of the other part into.  There is almost no seat.  It's hard for me to believe it had not been leaking all along.

While I was in the plumbing/HVAC supplier, they had a display of the ProFit fittings on the counter.  I asked him if anyone around here had used them.  He said he had them in stock, but had never sold one.  I guess I'll be the first guinea pig.  I have enough room up there to braze if I need to, but since I have these fittings, I'm going to give them a try.

 

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All I did today on it was use the coupling I bought yesterday to put that 12" flex duct back together.  It's amazing how much difference the air movement is in that end of the house now.  I guess that's why those pipes never froze, because they were heating the attic.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get the lineset cover up on the side of the house, and may even run the lines.  Other stuff to do keeping this place up, so not sure how much of this work I'll get done.  I'm trying to complete at least one step at the time a day, even if it's a half hour job.

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Put the line cover up on the end of the house.  The tubing bender does a pretty job.  I'll have several feet of tubing left over from the 25' line set.

All buttoned up, just have to do the connections, but I'm done for the day.  We're going to visit my Mom in rehab about an hour away one way.  We've been every day since she's been there.  She's pretty beat up from her fall, but no major damage, and she's already gaining some strength back.

 

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I did one of the outside connections in the 3/8 tubing with one of the Parker Push fittings this morning.  I polished the end of the tubing probably as good or better than the average worker does, so feel like it has a good chance.  I did leave enough extra tubing so I can braze it if I need to, but I'd make some bet on this fitting.  

The Sun caught me, so I moved over to work on the shop doors while they were in the shade, and will do another one tomorrow.

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Finished the outside connections this morning.  It's supposed to be 49 degrees tomorrow night, so it should be workable in the attic the next morning to do the other two connections with the new line set.  

I had to use the reverse bend function of that tubing bender, by bolting on another couple of arms.  I don't believe anyone can do a decent job of installing a line set without such a bender, and that was the main problem with that crimp to start with.

 

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