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Old July 8 2014, 01:43 PM   #1
LordMudd
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Location: Pasadena, TX.
A/C repair

I have a 3 year old window unit in my barn. It has stopped blowing cold and I can't afford to buy a new one. I saw somewhere that you can recharge them. I went to Home Depot yesterday to inquire about it. They had a recharge kit for a car. The woman there called 2 employees and did an internet search and her conclusion was it is a sealed unit and cannot be recharged.

My problem with this is that I suffer from mild paranoia, so in my mind her response makes sense because she would rather sell me the $100+ A/C unit than the $35 kit. To me, an A/C is an A/C, whether it cools the entire house, just 1 room, or your car. Your car can be recharged and they have a kit for you to do it. Your house unit can be recharged, but you need a license from the government and a big fancy kit that is probably more $ that the window unit, but the point is it can be done, so it is reasonable to assume the window unit can be recharged too. I was just hoping to find a little more info before actually tearing into the unit.

Anyone have any experience with this?

CCC.
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Old July 8 2014, 02:24 PM   #2
bbailey861
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Location: Kingston, ON
Re: A/C repair

What is the make/model of the unit and what year was it purchased?
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Old July 8 2014, 03:45 PM   #3
LordMudd
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Re: A/C repair

GE

AEY05LQ

5,050 BTU
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Old July 8 2014, 04:10 PM   #4
RoJoHen
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Re: A/C repair

If you can't get it fixed, I often see people selling used window A/C units on Craigslist. We have three in my house, and two of them are used and run perfectly. Could be worth a shot.
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Old July 9 2014, 01:50 AM   #5
The Keeper
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Re: A/C repair

In order for an AC unit to be rechargeable there must be a place to connect a supply of recharge refrigerant, like cars and home units do.

Window units are considered disposable, if they break down they are usually cheap enough to easily replace.

You may find someone able and willing to graft on a nipple to recharge it through, but the parts/labor for the job may be more costly than just replacing with a new one. Due to safety reasons, such actions may be illegal.

Simply replacing it also gives you the opportunity to upgrade to a more efficient unit, perhaps with better features, or one that runs more quietly, or is colder, assuming those were issues.

All that said, Are you sure it needs refrigerant? Perhaps your current AC is just not breathing well due to dust. Run a vacuum hose with brush attachment carefully over the interior coils, behind the filter. Pour water down the outside coils to remove dust which may be stuck on fins inside. A vacuum with a reversible airflow, (hose connects to exhaust to become a blower) may blow out anything blocking maximum airflow.
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Old July 9 2014, 03:01 AM   #6
Brolan
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Re: A/C repair

You aren't going to get a AC guy to even come look at your unit for less than $150. No point in calling them. If you bought your AC from Home Depot they are famous for taking returns after a long time. Otherwise I think you are hosed.
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Old July 9 2014, 03:11 AM   #7
Trekker4747
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Location: Kansas City
Re: A/C repair

It seems really odd to me that the unit couldn't be recharged, I mean the refrigerant had to get into the unit in the first place somehow.

But as said above, getting any technician to look at it will likely cost you more than a new unit in the long run. Might as well just replace it with a more powerful and more efficient unit. Just be sure to take the current one to a place that'll properly dispose of it.
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Old July 9 2014, 03:25 AM   #8
bbailey861
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Re: A/C repair

LordMudd wrote: View Post
GE

AEY05LQ

5,050 BTU
My son-in-law hasn't been able to find any schematics for this one suggesting that at a hundred bucks the unit was made to be a throw away. Doesn't say much for the environmental though. Sorry I couldn't have been any more help.
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Old July 9 2014, 03:46 AM   #9
The Keeper
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Re: A/C repair

5 Ways to Recycle Your Old Air Conditioner
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Old July 9 2014, 07:55 AM   #10
LordMudd
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Location: Pasadena, TX.
Re: A/C repair

bbailey861 wrote: View Post
LordMudd wrote: View Post
GE

AEY05LQ

5,050 BTU
My son-in-law hasn't been able to find any schematics for this one suggesting that at a hundred bucks the unit was made to be a throw away. Doesn't say much for the environmental though. Sorry I couldn't have been any more help.
Thanks.

CCC.
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Old July 9 2014, 07:58 AM   #11
LordMudd
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Location: Pasadena, TX.
Re: A/C repair

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
It seems really odd to me that the unit couldn't be recharged, I mean the refrigerant had to get into the unit in the first place somehow.

But as said above, getting any technician to look at it will likely cost you more than a new unit in the long run. Might as well just replace it with a more powerful and more efficient unit. Just be sure to take the current one to a place that'll properly dispose of it.
Thats what I was thinking, BUT, is it the same size contact point as a car uses, and can I use the same $35 kit? Even if I have to unscrew a panel, it still saves me $70+ I don't have right now.

CCC.
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Old July 9 2014, 01:37 PM   #12
Brolan
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Location: Backwoods Minnesota
Re: A/C repair

Freon for cars and home AC units used to be different. Home AC had the freon that damages the ozone layer and had to be worked on by certified specialist with a "vampire" machine to capture the freon.

With all the changes lately I don't know if this is still the case. Also if you work on AC you have to realize you are working on a pressurized system, and the hazard that creates.
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Old July 9 2014, 03:53 PM   #13
Trekker4747
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Re: A/C repair

Yeah, I wouldn't mess around with it myself, there's a lot of variables at play. Pressures, knowing exactly what kind of gas to use. All air-conditioning systems largely operate the same way so on that front there's no reason the car-recharge system wouldn't work but there's just so much more at play here making it not quite that simple.

And, really, I'm not even sure I personally would do the at-home car recharge system on my car. There's, again, just a lot going on in there that I think an experienced and certified person should do it.

If you don't have the money right now to purchase a new unit then maybe save up for one and tough it out in the mean time (though depending on where you live we're entering the brutal months of Summer)? Buy it at a place where you can get a credit-card (usually many places start with interest-free financing for an introductory period)? Get a personal loan from a friend or family member?

It'd just suck to spend money on recharge system/service only for it to not work. Heck, why did it lose the gas in the first place? You may have a leak in the system somewhere (either in the tank the holds the refrigerant or in the lines somewhere) which means even if you successfully recharge it you're wasting your money because the gas is going to leak back out. Now you've spent money on the recharge kit, and now need to spend money to either repair/replace what is leaking and buy ANOTHER recharge kit.

Take the unit to a local small-appliance retailer, they may be able to give you some level of "trade in value" on it, if only for parts or something which may help off-set some of the costs of a new unit; which I think is probably your best option right now.

You can either go with something you're guaranteed to have work (a new unit, however you manage to pay for it) or you can possibly spend as much money (or more) to repair the current one or just plain waste money to fix something that cannot be fixed.
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Old July 9 2014, 04:56 PM   #14
LordMudd
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Location: Pasadena, TX.
Re: A/C repair

As far as pressurized systems go, I was a tank mechanic in the army and worked on nitrogen pressurized systems, so that isn't a factor. The unit is 3 years old and runs non stop in summer, not at all in winter. It is blowing fine, just not cold. Recharging it is my first cheapest option. I was actually pricing a new unit when I heard about it and decided to look into it.

CCC.
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Old July 10 2014, 07:22 PM   #15
The Stig
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Re: A/C repair

Yeah, unless you've got high and low-side valves, you're out of luck. Planned obsolescence is a bitch.

It's also worth noting that the refrigerant leaked out of the unit somehow, and unless you fix that problem it will leak again. Now, if it's been seeping for a while, that's not a big deal, but if it developed a leak recently you'll waste the money spent on refrigerant as it floats skyward in a few days/weeks.

Sorry to say, but you're going to have to buy a new one.
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