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Refrigerant leak causes problem with cooling system

The heating/cooling system for my home is a packaged unit that sits outside.

It is a big piece of equipment that is rather old.

The unit was already installed when we purchased our home five years ago. Although it makes a lot of noise whenever it starts up, the system puts out a great deal of conditioned air. For the majority of the year, we set it to cooling mode. It easily handles outdoor temperatures in the mid-nineties, managing to keep our house perfectly comfortable. For the majority of our brief winter season, the system manages to keep up with demands. If the outdoor temperature drops below 40 degrees, it struggles. We’ve had problems with the outdoor unit freezing over. We finally purchased an electric heater that is designed to look like an authentic wood stove. This supplemental heat is enough to help out the central heating system and keep us warm. This past summer, I noticed that the house felt overheated. While there was plenty of air flowing from the vents, it felt tepid at best. I hoped that the problem was the thermostat. I tried changing the batters and making adjustments, but nothing helped. I was finally forced to schedule a repair for the heating/cooling unit. The contractor took the system apart and discovered a very small refrigerant leak. I was worried that I’d need to replace the whole unit. Because of its age, replacement parts are not available. The contractor recommended adding refrigerant, recharging it and hoping for the best. He said that if the leak is very minimal, we might get several for years out of the system. The cost of the refrigerant and labor was $250. That is much less than buying a whole new heating and cooling system.

New heating units

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