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Old 20th April 2010, 11:07   #1
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Default AC gas recharge, big scam?

In Noida, home AC units require gas recharge every year. I thought our AC had a fault, but some talks with other owners of LG, Samsung etc., revealed that its indeed the case.

However in Punjab, AC gas even in old ACs lasts 2-3 years atleast. Even in the cars here in Noida, it lasts atleast for 2 years.
So what was the catch?
Contacted the service center, and they say that there are some gases in the atmosphere due to which gas leaks every year. This is due to the numerous open drains in the city.
Well, I did not buy that. I am no chemical/AC engineer, but basic common sense tells me that outside pollution cannot simply enter the AC circuit. Its a sealed pressurized circuit, right? Moreover, our Samsung Fridge is 6+ years old, and has not required an AC gas recharge.

Anyways, I thought maybe they were telling the truth, and there are indeed some spirits in the slime, aka ghostbusters, which cause this. But googling this brought up only Ghostbusters links. If Ghostbusters had been a documentary, it would have been okay, but it was a movie, not a documentary.

So whats the catch about this scam?
A recent event sealed my belief that it is a city wide scam.
As the summers came in early, we called samsung guys for gas recharge. They took the AC, and returned it after a day. It was cooling fine.
after 2-3 hours of use over a period of a week, the cooling stopped. Again a call to samsung, and they took away the AC(this time it will be free of charge due to 30 day warranty).

The same day they took the AC, the Guard told us that they have taken 2 more ACs for the second time.
I called up those flats, and they told me that they had gotten gas filled and it leaked within a week.
Now this happening with once AC is fine, but with 3 ACs from same building, too much of a coincidence.

So here is my theory. When these bozos fill gas, they intentionally do not fully tighten stuff. After months of use and vibrations, gas leak starts to happen, and by a year of use it goes kaput.
This time, they left it a little too loose.

If somebody has some concrete answers which support pollution theory please come forward. Otherwise its ghostbusters time with India TV.
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:22   #2
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It came as surprise that the AC gas only lasted two years. Out of the ACs in my house, the oldest one is a ten year old Voltas unit. Never been recharged, only regular filter cleaning. It still works like a charm quietly and efficiently. In fact, I've never recharged the gas on even the other ACs in the house and they're more than 5 years old. No problems yet.

EDIT: All the units in the house have never been touched by company service, so that could hold a clue.

Drifter

Last edited by drifter : 20th April 2010 at 11:23.
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:29   #3
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My Onida split A/C is 3 years old, the cooling is awesome & sounds like HD with screaming eagle; almost no maintenance except dusting twice in a year by myself. BTW - are you talking about split or window A/C?

PS - I'm wondering why A/C gas refill is appearing under Gadgets, Computers & Software.
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:30   #4
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Now imagine my surprise. Back home Hitachi is 5 years old, never required a recharge, and the 3 year old LG never required a recharge. I guess these "Bhoots" who steal gas exist only in Noida? Funny thing is the many people I spoke to believe in this special noida gas mumbo jumbo and pay every year for gas recharge.

@aargee, its about Home ACs. if it was Car AC I would have put this in Technical stuff
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
In Noida, home AC units require gas recharge every year. I thought our AC had a fault...
Even in the cars here in Noida, it lasts atleast for 2 years.
Gas leakage from ACs, whether car or home, is quite a rarity. And topping up gas is not a very advisable thing to do, since gas charging is done by weight / volume after vacuuming the lines, and overfilling the system would lead to a busted compressor.

To check if your AC has a fault, use a digital ambient temperature-reading thermometer to check the grille temperature - anything between 5*C to 10*C is fine after running the unit for about 15-20 min. If this temp is achieved, forget about gas charging.

I have one AC in the house which is about 12 years old, as well as 3 others, none which have ever required gas charging.

The funda about open drains causing AC leaks would apply if you left your AC immersed in such a drain. Next time, immerse the technician instead.
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:32   #6
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Default AC gas leakage is a defect

An A/c unit is normally a sealed unit. Is yours a window A/c or a split A/c. Note a window A/c has less number of joints than a split A/c , so chances of leakage in a window A/c are lower. However ideally there should be no leakage in A/c gas at all for years. There could eb a slight reduction in ac gas in a system due to some mixing with oil over the years, but that should be insignificant .
If the gas has leaked even within a year, means the person who charged the a/c gas did not do a proper leak check of the system. Yours s surely a case of improper service by unqualified servicemen, if not fraud
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:34   #7
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What is this recharge business? I have Voltas Splits and cassettes running 24x7 for 3-4 years non-stop except for routine cleaning. Gas doesn't leak outside of Noida I suppose?
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:35   #8
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Hi TSK,

I live in Shipra Sun City, about 8 KMs from your place; and have never needed gas recharge in my ACs in last six years.

However, as I had told you earlier as well, one of closest friends lives in GAIL Vihar, Sec. 23 - across the road from your place and he has to re-fill gas in his ACs every year. I too had doubt regarding this environmental gasses theory; and once got his AC's gas recharged from a very trusted mechanic, who is not based in Noida. And it too didn't last more than one year.

Similarly for his neighbors, they too have to do gas recharge every year, so IMO there is some truth in this theory :-)

Nitin
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:36   #9
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If it was happening only in my AC, i would say incompetence, but since its happening with everybody in Noida I have spoken too, I smell a scam. Time to call up samsung customer care people and notify them?
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:44   #10
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Aah!!! Samsung, well, let me explain something on what the technician said when we installed our Samsung split A/C an year ago. During installation when the copper pipe is connected there's some amount of gas that escapes and with a neat installation, the gas stops leaking. Now, what he said was the company knows about this fact & adds extra level of gas so that even if some amount of gas (Freon I suppose) escapes during installation, the required amount is available for cooling. The extra level of gas filling is either not a concept or less than extra level filling is practiced by Samsung due to which the cooling level comes down with time.

We don't know much about this cooling factor going down as Samsung is installed on my Mother's room & she usually sets in temperature around 29. I'll check for the cooling this week & post you an update.
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Old 20th April 2010, 11:49   #11
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Well I have my Hitachi 1.5 ton ac running after 8-9 years without any recharge. Just cleaning at ever season start
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Old 20th April 2010, 12:19   #12
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Well if you notice the facts gathered on this thread and off this -
1 - Refrigerators do not face problem of gas leakage as ACs in Noida do.
2 - There are fewer problems relating to gas leakage in Split AC.
3 - In window ACs there are fewer problems for gas leakage reported in brands like voltas/hitachi, and they are more frequent in LG/Samsung etc.

There are reasons that you can attribute to each one of them
1 - Refrigerators - inside the house so the corrosion problem is diminished to an extent. But they do in a couple of years in Noida (avg age ~ 7-8 years)

2 - Split ACs - there are 2 reasons for this.
a - Units of Split A/Cs are usually at ground level and to a certain extent they are shielded from a direct draught of the corrosive matter coming from the open drains.

b - The evaporator/condenser coils are made of relatively thicker gauge than a window A/C hence they do corrode eventually but corrosion has to seep a greater depth compared to coils in window A/C.
3 - Window A/Cs of a particular brand - Brands like hitachi/voltas etc again have a thicker gauge coil compared to brands like LG/Samsung. Why I am saying this is that if you compare the nett weight of units having similar power consumptions of different brands you would find the korean brands being lighter by almost 5-7 KGs, where does this weight come off from some from the compressor but most from the coils.

I've also been told that the best window ac for Noida is Leonard or a similar sounding name. They sell kits for A/Cs and you have the flexibility of getting your choice of compressor and the preferred brand there is tecumesh.
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Old 20th April 2010, 12:30   #13
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This is the 3rd year of usage of my Bluestar window A/c & the A/c has not been touched for any maintenance work (except for cleaning the grille filter which I do myself) & its running great.

My Father's 4 year old Bluestar Split A/c too had no issue with the A/C gas so far.

Last edited by Technocrat : 20th April 2010 at 12:42.
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Old 20th April 2010, 12:31   #14
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A yearly recharge is not needed. I had to recharge my home AC gas after 4 years.
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Old 20th April 2010, 12:31   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonirohit View Post
b - The evaporator/condenser coils are made of relatively thicker gauge than a window A/C hence they do corrode eventually but corrosion has to seep a greater depth compared to coils in window A/C.
If gas leakage is due to corrosion, what is the point of gas charging without changing the evaporator/cooling coil? And if corrosion is the cause, the co. should be replacing the parts under warranty anyway - in which case gas charging is part of the replacement procedure, so should be free of cost.

IMO, this certainly is a scam.
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