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  • somewhat OT: sealing a pressurized leak

    This should also be titled "Why can't I just fscking leave things alone"

    Anyways, I was defrosting my fridge and decided to try and expedite the process. I nicked one of the molded-in lines on the sheet metal and it sprung a leak. After a few minutes of initial panic, I was able to successfully seal it by applying a blob of epoxy on a piece of tape and stick that onto the hole. I guess it must have pushed some epoxy into the hole and it seems to be holding air now. I hope that because it was still hissing at the time I sealed it, that there will be some refrigerant left. So right now there is tape and epoxy over the hole and the fridge is turned off.

    Let us not discuss what a dumbass I am, but rather, how can I make a more permanent fix. I am a bit worried that at lower temperatures, the epoxy might crack or spring a leak again, and the gas will seep out under the tape. So one thing I was thinking of was to actually cut away the tape except for a small area over the hole, and then apply the tape and epoxy trick again, covering a larger area this time. I guess as a second defense. Or maybe I should just leave it fscking alone again as long as it seems to be holding. Any other ideas?

    P.S. Do not suggest I buy another fridge. I know that already.

  • #2
    I think tape and epoxy will leak or fall off. You probably know the right way is to remove refrigerant, put on a compression coupler, pump down and add refrigerant. An HVAC guy can do that but I have no idea about the price. Might not be unrealistic. You may already have lost enough freon to be a problem. Could trash the compressor.

    Simple and possibly OK solution would be a chunk of neoprene or other flexible hose. Split the hose lengthwise, slip over the tubing and use a hose clamp.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by beanbag
      This should also be titled "Why can't I just fscking leave things alone"

      Anyways, I was defrosting my fridge and decided to try and expedite the process. I nicked one of the molded-in lines on the sheet metal and it sprung a leak. After a few minutes of initial panic, I was able to successfully seal it by applying a blob of epoxy on a piece of tape and stick that onto the hole. I guess it must have pushed some epoxy into the hole and it seems to be holding air now. I hope that because it was still hissing at the time I sealed it, that there will be some refrigerant left. So right now there is tape and epoxy over the hole and the fridge is turned off.

      Let us not discuss what a dumbass I am, but rather, how can I make a more permanent fix. I am a bit worried that at lower temperatures, the epoxy might crack or spring a leak again, and the gas will seep out under the tape. So one thing I was thinking of was to actually cut away the tape except for a small area over the hole, and then apply the tape and epoxy trick again, covering a larger area this time. I guess as a second defense. Or maybe I should just leave it fscking alone again as long as it seems to be holding. Any other ideas?

      P.S. Do not suggest I buy another fridge. I know that already.

      Been there, done that, tried the epoxy repair, didn't work. Unless you've got a top of the range fridge, repairing it will be more expensive than buying a new one. Sorry.

      richard

      Comment


      • #4
        I suspect the only permanent fix is going to have to be a solder job or another fridge (sorry). I have doubts that epoxy will work long term. As has been said, you might have lost too much freon already also. You might as well try it though, since you have nothing to lose and it might last long enough for you to deal with the food you have in it and give you time to line up a proper fix.
        If the tube is aluminum, it's a little harder to do than soldering a copper line but still doable of course. QUICK LINK By the time you get the leak fixed and pay to have the fridge cooling system evacuated/recharged (plus considering the age of the fridge), it might be a toss up as to whether or not it's cost effective to attempt a repair.

        I have always been leery of digging around in my ice box to get the ice out and yes, I have done it several time without hurting anything but one time I did manage to scare myself when the knife tip stopped hard up against the molded in line. Since I've never had nor ever will have the patience to wait for nature to melt the ice, I went and bought myself a small hand held steamer and I use that to melt channels through the ice so I can get chunks out easily. Works pretty well too...at least I can't hurt anything!
        Last edited by Arcane; 06-19-2011, 11:54 AM.
        Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Arcane
          Since I've never had nor ever will have the patience to wait for nature to melt the ice, I went and bought myself a small hand held steamer and I use that to melt channels through the ice so I can get chunks out easily. Works pretty well too...at least I can't hurt anything!
          The wife's hairdryer also works pretty well. (Please don't tell her I know this.)
          .
          "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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          • #6
            The Hisssss from a refrigerator coil puncture is IDENTICAL to Magic Smoke escape from elecrical equipment! If it is an older unit, you just lost R12. If you can find any, prepare to cash your kids college fund to pay for it. But first figure out how to repair aluminum tube.
            Replacement is most probably your only option. On the door of your NEW unit, post a sign:- "I will not attack this unit with sharp objects! I will use only a hair dryer or warm water!"
            Self-defrosting units are not as energy-efficient, but they hardly EVER get stabbed!
            Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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            • #7
              Are fridges that need defrosting still used in the US. I haven't seen one for about 30 years when I lived with my parents. I would say replace it. Here in Ontario the hydro company will remove your old fridge for you so you can buy an energy efficient unit.

              Comment


              • #8
                Propane is an excellent replacement for R-12. Of course it does have a small drawback if any of it leaks.

                I didn't say this.


                I was never here.



                *snaps fingers*
                Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                • #9
                  I'd love to have a refrigerator that requires defrosting so I wouldn't have to listen to those stupid fans running and the creaking of the ice and plastic when the heater turns on.
                  Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The first epoxy I ever saw was a greenish color and was sold expressly to repair leaks in refrigeration evaporators. It required a good clean rough surface but it adhered well and was very hard when it set up.

                    There are some replacements for R12 refrigerant.

                    I think your best likelyhood of DIY repair would be to sand over the epoxy you have, clean well and build up the epoxy. If there is enough refrigerant left for it to work, which seems unlikely to me, it might last a good long time.

                    Sometimes a good working older refrigerator can be found inexpensively.
                    Don Young

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ...Let us not discuss what a dumbass I am, but...
                      If you cant be a good example, you just have to serve as a horrible warning. - Catherine Aird
                      Heh. Sorry, I just couldn't help it. Uh, forgive me? Heh. Sorry...
                      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                      ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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                      • #12
                        So I turned the fridge back on and it seems to be working ok. I guess this means I didn't lose that much R134a. Hopefully it will not spring a leak again. It's covered with ice anyway. I think I will just leave things alone for now.

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                        • #13
                          I have an old fridge in my shop that is not self defrosting. It's about thirty or so years old and works like a dream. I have never had a newer unit last that long. Thanks, I'll keep mine... but your thread is a good warning for future defrost sessions (which I seldom do).

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                          • #14
                            Wouldn't cost anything to check to see if a replacement evaporator is available or better yet jury rig something else in for our entertainment. Good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would not trust the epoxy, refrigerant molecules are very small and have a way of making it out of the smallest holes. They are small enough to work through rubber hoses over time. Granted, it sounds like you punctured the evaporator, so you are dealing with low pressures.

                              Keep an eye on the temperature. Fridges/Freezers tend to be regulated using capillary tubing, which is a critical charge system. If refrigerant is removed or added it can throw off the balance of the system and change how it operates. And don't just dump more refrigerant in the system, because then you could end up replacing the compressor as well.

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