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View Full Version : Lifespan of Filter-Driers in Home AC units







beiland
10-06-2017, 09:58 PM
Under normal circumstances what should be the lifespan of a filter/drier piece of gear inside a home AC unit?

I have a 5.5 year old York (Luxaire) unit hooked up to my trailer home here in St Augustine Fl. I do NOT live near the beach. I keep my whole trailer and surrounding property very clean and washed down.

A week ago I lost all refrigerant from my AC unit. At fault was a VERY RUSTY filter/drier that ended up letting all the refrigerant escape. I looked up the manufacturer of this filter-drier (Sporlan) and found they were a USA company, who had been in this business since the late 1940's. They were NOT a Chinese company that I would have been immediately suspicious of manufacturing such a substandard product.

Take a look at this filter-drier (some photos attached), and give me your opinion. My opinion is that this filter-drier was NOT properly undercoat painted/prepared prior to the outer paint coating. The water readily got under that outer coating (paint layer) and the rust began from day one. Look at how that outer layer just peels off in layers while still holding together as an entity.

I'm going to attach some photos. I would welcome other's comments/views.

I come from years in the boating industry (and ocean going boats as well), and I have seen my share of improperly prepared hulls, machinery, etc that allowed water to penetrate the outer layers of paint. This is just such a case. The outer layer of paint is not damaged, and the item has not been abused such that the water would have penetrated the coating. This is a classic case of an item that WAS NOT prepped correctly prior to the finish coat during manufacturing....my observation.

If this is the case there must be some goodly number of similar items/failures out there? This item is ID as a #407G filter-drier from Sporlan. and installed in a York (LUXaire) AC unit. Have there been other recorded failures, or any recalls on these filter-drier parts?? There should be as it might prevent some poor customer from loosing all his ***** before theirs fail.

This repair has cost me $850, most of that in the cost of the ***** replacement I'm hoping that Sporlan will step up to the table and reimburse a goodly portion of my repair cost. But I am not so hopeful when I read about some of the filter driers that have been sent back to them for review, but have not been reviewed for months, or years?

(I'm going to post this now, then come back and add the photos, otherwise I fear losing the text)
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beiland
11-06-2017, 01:51 AM
A few more pics
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Just to show how clean my overall AC unit is
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beiland
11-06-2017, 02:01 AM
few more of overall condition of my AC unit
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FaultCode
11-06-2017, 06:19 PM
Unfortunately the lifespan of equipment such as this depends on the quality of the unit build.

When that filter/drier was installed they had to use a high temperature blow torch to braze the joints together. Often, not always but often, the torch operator will scorch the paint around the pipe spigot. This damage should be repaired before the unit is handed to the user.

Have you checked whether this has been done on your newly installed filter/drier?

Also, was the appearance of rust not brought to your attention by your service company during the routine maintenance tasks?

monkey spanners
11-06-2017, 06:48 PM
They are just powder coated, its not proper paint. Also when brazed in to the copper pipe its near on impossible not to burn some of the paint off near the connection, ideally this then needs painting over with some fresh paint to restore the rust proofing.
Think the newer Sporlan driers are made in China, I have stopped buying them unless there is no alternative.

redroge
12-06-2017, 03:34 PM
Seen this before when the liquid line is horizontal and touching the base of the unit, if the unit gets water lying in the bottom it can cause corrosion over a period of time

beiland
13-06-2017, 02:58 AM
Unfortunately the lifespan of equipment such as this depends on the quality of the unit build.

When that filter/drier was installed they had to use a high temperature blow torch to braze the joints together. Often, not always but often, the torch operator will scorch the paint around the pipe spigot. This damage should be repaired before the unit is handed to the user.
I have not noticed any 'scorched paint' around either end, but the of course I do not have the paint samples from the end that has lost most of its paint coating.

beiland
13-06-2017, 03:01 AM
They are just powder coated, its not proper paint. Also when brazed in to the copper pipe its near on impossible not to burn some of the paint off near the connection, ideally this then needs painting over with some fresh paint to restore the rust proofing.
Think the newer Sporlan driers are made in China, I have stopped buying them unless there is no alternative.
Just powder coated,...that's all !!

beiland
13-06-2017, 03:13 AM
Wonder why I am not receiving emails when someone post a reply to this subject thread??

Grizzly
13-06-2017, 05:45 AM
Hi beiland.
The forum system does not email anyone.
You enter a post and then when suits you, log back on and read and reply (If you wish to?)

The filter rusting out is poor as you state and 850 dollars sounds a lot.
But if you get another 5.5 yrs use trouble free then the running costs are less than 1/2 a dollar per day.

Just a question of how you look at it I suppose!

Grizzly

hookster
13-06-2017, 06:54 AM
It does look like the corrosion spread from the copper stub end, the dissimilar metals are always going to be an area prone to galvanic corrosion. I agree the outer protective coating would have been damaged in install resulting in the corrosion.
To be fair to the service inspections most of the corrosion would have been occurring under the paint layer until it peeled off.I would put this premature failure down to manufacturing assembly as I have seen these dryers over 20 years old and still going strong.

Cost to manufacture in full copper jacket was probably not a million miles away from a steel jacket but in a global competitive market every penny/cent counts. Globilisation is a horrible thing that our politicians keep trying to convince us is good and manufacturers keep moving their manufacturing bases to the lowest wage area.

Modern manufacturing has planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence as a design criteria. Take the case with chillers and chilled water systems where you got 20 - 25 years from the systems and now we have modern AC systems that barely make 8 years!

FaultCode
13-06-2017, 01:59 PM
........
I was not using a maintenance service as I was perfectly capable of keeping this unit clean.
Whoops, maybe clean but going rusty. ;)

beiland
14-06-2017, 12:55 PM
Hi beiland.
The forum system does not email anyone.
You enter a post and then when suits you, log back on and read and reply (If you wish to?)
When I looked at the "tread tools" it did indicate that i could 'select notification by email'. So the software program you are using for these forums have that capability. Perhaps you have disabled it?
Such as shame as I participate in a number of sailing/boating forums, and a few other hobby forums, and in a variety of subjects on those forums.

It is sure nice to receive a notification when someone replies to a subject one has interest in. Its daunting to continuously have to return to all of those subject threads all of the time to find whether someone has added a comment. And I certainly don't mind receiving an email notifying me of such participation. And I can elect separately if I do not what such notification.


The filter rusting out is poor as you state and 850 dollars sounds a lot.
But if you get another 5.5 yrs use trouble free then the running costs are less than 1/2 a dollar per day.

Just a question of how you look at it I suppose!
Grizzly
I guess there are ways to justify lots of 'cost' we incure, but that should not relieve a manufacture from providing a PROPER product,...should it?

My neighbor just exactly next door just had the service man out to his AC unit....installed the very same year as mine. Its a different brand. i looked at it as it was being serviced, and talked with the nice gentleman who was doing the work.
1) First off it appeared to be in top notch condition compared to mine (the whole unit and the filter/dryer), yet is sitting probably about 150 feet from my unit. It isa different brand, .....Bryant I think it was
2) I found it interesting in talking with him that he had quit another AC company in the area and gone to work with another company, as he felt the first company only paid 'lip service' to their inspection task/contracts (didn't do a dutiful job on semi-annual inspection.)

beiland
14-06-2017, 01:02 PM
They are just powder coated, its not proper paint. Also when brazed in to the copper pipe its near on impossible not to burn some of the paint off near the connection, ideally this then needs painting over with some fresh paint to restore the rust proofing.
This 'painting over' might very well NOT stop corrosion, or water getting behind the paint) if the whole filter drier was not properly primed?


Think the newer Sporlan driers are made in China, I have stopped buying them unless there is no alternative.
How many other alternatives are there?....and particularly ones that are NOT made in China (inferior materials and construction very OFTEN)

beiland
14-06-2017, 01:13 PM
It does look like the corrosion spread from the copper stub end, the dissimilar metals are always going to be an area prone to galvanic corrosion. I agree the outer protective coating would have been damaged in install resulting in the corrosion.
If it appears to spread from one end, how about from the other end? Aren't both ends sweated on??


To be fair to the service inspections most of the corrosion would have been occurring under the paint layer until it peeled off.I would put this premature failure down to manufacturing assembly as I have seen these dryers over 20 years old and still going strong.
I've owned a few cars for some very lengthy time periods (one Mercedes for 25 years), and operated in winter-salty road conditions, and never had their filter-driers on the AC units corrode like this home unit I pic here.



Modern manufacturing has planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence as a design criteria. Take the case with chillers and chilled water systems where you got 20 - 25 years from the systems and now we have modern AC systems that barely make 8 years!
I believe that. But a company (Sporlan) that has been in this business since 1947, and supplying a goodly amount of the AC business community (AND claiming to be USA made),...in excusable !!!

beiland
14-06-2017, 01:46 PM
Look at some of the photos here of these filter-drier unit installed out in the open !!...outside the entire AC box.

http://inspectapedia.com/aircond/Refrigerant_Driers_Filters.php

beiland
14-06-2017, 01:50 PM
A corrosion resistant powder paint protects the exterior of the shell.

...Quoted from page 2 of this PDF
http://www.carlyleccrp.com/site/catalog07/sporlan/sporlan-005.pdf

niceman
14-06-2017, 04:35 PM
Sorry, but any warranty is long gone, you say you didn't need anyone to maintain this unit, you could clean it yourself, l did service and maintenance for over 40 years on refrig and a/c, part of ALL maintenance schedules was to check for any corrosion, so the customer would not end up in your situation. Have seen and replaced plenty of rusty driers, personally l don't see you getting anything out of Sporlan

FaultCode
14-06-2017, 08:17 PM
"Email notification"

Try this - select 'thread tools' at the top of the thread. Now select 'subscribe to this thread'

On the next screen you can select how often you want to be emailed, instant, daily or weekly.

beiland
15-06-2017, 01:17 AM
"Email notification"

Try this - select 'thread tools' at the top of the thread. Now select 'subscribe to this thread'

On the next screen you can select how often you want to be emailed, instant, daily or weekly.
I've done that 4 times, but I think it gets reverted back. That is I said the software used in this forum has the capability, but perhaps it has been disabled?

beiland
15-06-2017, 01:37 AM
Sorry, but any warranty is long gone, you say you didn't need anyone to maintain this unit, you could clean it yourself, l did service and maintenance for over 40 years on refrig and a/c, part of ALL maintenance schedules was to check for any corrosion, so the customer would not end up in your situation. Have seen and replaced plenty of rusty driers, personally l don't see you getting anything out of Sporlan
Regardless of whether employing a maintenance situation, do you really think we should resign ourselves to having these outside home AC units fail in a period of 5 years due to rusty parts?

I believe from what I see with how the rust has TOTALLY consumed this filter-drier (totally under even the 'good paint' you see in my photos), that it might well have been very difficult for the service/inspection person to have determined that this unit was failing. The rust was all happening 'underthe cover' of what appeared to be good power/paint job.

The strange thing is you don't see any 'bubbles of corrosion' under that 'good paint' remaining on the other half of the unit. But I can tell it is fully corroded down there, while not leaving tell-tale signs on the surface.

But then I guess your x-ray vision would have detected that....:rolleyes:


Have seen and replaced plenty of rusty driers
Can you give some details,...brands, age, special circumstances, etc?

beiland
15-06-2017, 01:40 AM
Sorry, but any warranty is long gone, you say you didn't need anyone to maintain this unit, you could clean it yourself, l did service and maintenance for over 40 years on refrig and a/c, part of ALL maintenance schedules was to check for any corrosion, so the customer would not end up in your situation. Have seen and replaced plenty of rusty driers, personally l don't see you getting anything out of Sporlan
Regardless of whether employing a maintenance situation, do you really think we should resign ourselves to having these outside home AC units fail in a period of 5 years due to rusty parts?

I believe from what I see with how the rust has TOTALLY consumed this filter-drier (totally under even the 'good paint' you see in my photos), that it might well have been very difficult for the service/inspection person to have determined that this unit was failing. The rust was all happening 'under the cover' of what appeared to be good power/paint job.

The strange thing is you don't see any 'bubbles of corrosion' under that 'good paint' remaining on the other half of the unit. But I can tell it is fully corroded down there, while not leaving tell-tale signs on the surface.

But then I guess your x-ray vision would have detected that....:rolleyes:


Have seen and replaced plenty of rusty driers
Can you give some details,...brands, age, special circumstances, etc?

beiland
19-06-2017, 03:29 AM
Discovered more of the paint chips that peeled off of this filter-drier this afternoon as I removed the fan unit looking for other potential problems,...with the newly installed one, or anything else in that unit. I'll get some pics tomorrow or the next day.

Also discovered a few Youtube videos concerning Sporlan filter driers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pUZBi38rCM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sirDKhXtkMI

beiland
21-06-2017, 02:52 PM
I have not noticed any 'scorched paint' around either end, but the of course I do not have the paint samples from the end that has lost most of its paint coating.
I just found some of the 'paint/coating' that peeled off of that upper end. I will have to examine it more thoroughly and take some photos. I found it when I removed the fan unit to do a follow up inspection.

I was also disappointed that the recent repair guy DID NOT bother to coated his repair solder/braze joint on the new drier/filter with anything that might help prevent the same situation I have just experienced.

beiland
21-06-2017, 03:03 PM
As I was doing a little more research this morning I decide to look up the price of 410A refrigerant. BOY! was I surprised that you could buy 25lb tanks of this stuff for anywhere between $90 to $165 dollars. ....sometimes as little as 3.60 per lb. And I was charged a "discounted price" of $55 per lb. ($550 for 10 lbs)

What a RIP OFF !!!

Plus I discovered I was charged a diagnostic fee in addition to the labor charge of doing the job. As I understand the fair deal is you are charged a diagnostic fee if they come to check what is wrong and you don't end up selecting them to do the job. If they do the job right on the spot there should not be this double charge?

Both of these activities are going to get reported to the Florida consumer authorities.

PS: I just looked up the product number of my new filter/drier ,...a EMERSON 1635.,...appears as though they can be purchased for about $14-$20 verses the $75 dollars I was charged !!!

beiland
21-06-2017, 03:57 PM
BTW, I contacted Sporlan via their contact form about 2 weeks ago about the faulty filter-drier unit. They have failed to make any reply/response. So I wrote them another such electronic contact message today.

Next will come the physical letters sent via the post office to both Sporlan and York, ...and FL consumers division, BBB, etc.,...and perhaps some social media sites.

I don't appreciate being ignored when I think I have been wronged. Guess I am just old school...74 now

redroge
21-06-2017, 05:55 PM
Send for victor meldrew !

beiland
22-06-2017, 05:13 AM
Send for victor meldrew !
No idea of what you are talking about?

beiland
22-06-2017, 05:28 AM
Yesterday I discovered another Luxaire AC unit (by York) identical to mine, installed here in the trailer park where I am located. Today I paid a visit to more closely inspect her AC unit.

Guess what I found :eek:
...looks to be an identical filter dryer that is on its way to rusting out,...failure.
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Obviously this needs immediate attention so my neighbor does not end up losing her *****.

And I am very anxious to get a more thorough close look at this filter-drier.

beiland
29-06-2017, 11:39 PM
I believe I am understanding that there 'set prices' for certain types of repairs that occur often?

Would someone care to estimate what it should cost to have my lady neighbor's filter-drier replaced on her currently working AC system?

Since her filter-drier appears to be rusting away like mine, I believe it should be replaced. I assume that means drawing off her R410a refrigerant into a stowage tank, replacing the filter-drier component with a new one, then evacuating the system, and reinstalling her refrigerant.
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Rob White
30-06-2017, 03:14 PM
I believe I am understanding that there 'set prices' for certain types of repairs that occur often?

Would someone care to estimate what it should cost to have my lady neighbor's filter-drier replaced on her currently working AC system?

Since her filter-drier appears to be rusting away like mine, I believe it should be replaced. I assume that means drawing off her R410a refrigerant into a stowage tank, replacing the filter-drier component with a new one, then evacuating the system, and reinstalling her refrigerant.
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.

I would not replace it yet, it might last years.

Remove the flakes of paint and give it a general wire brush clean**
and spray or hand paint Hammerite paint on it, it will last for years.

No need to break into the system unless you really have to.

Rob

** Just be careful if it is on it's way out you don't expose a rusty hole
in the thing but if you do, at least you will know it's faulty..........

.

beiland
30-06-2017, 05:48 PM
.

I would not replace it yet, it might last years.

Remove the flakes of paint and give it a general wire brush clean**
and spray or hand paint Hammerite paint on it, it will last for years.

No need to break into the system unless you really have to.

Rob

** Just be careful if it is on it's way out you don't expose a rusty hole
in the thing but if you do, at least you will know it's faulty..........

.
That would be what I would be afraid of,...exposing a rusty hole,...and losing all of her VERY EXPENSIVE refrigerant. Look back at how mine rusted out, ....and very likely hers is the same year unit,...about 5.5 years old

I just thought it would be the better option to put a new filter/drier on, and property paint it with extra coating to help prevent a near-term leak. Recoating that old one doesn't seem the wise decision?

monkey spanners
30-06-2017, 07:14 PM
You can get some rust converts chemicals like Jenolite to nuetralise the rust then paint it with galv paint or similar.

But if its not your system my advise would be not to make their problem your problem. As soon as you touch it you will own every problem the system has from now on......