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Old 05-29-2009, 02:47 PM   #1
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


In Florida with combo heat pump/AC, 2.5 ton Carrier. Compressor and blower running fine, but suddenly quit cooling. Tech says accumulator looks real bad (rusted) and inside coil does also. Contacts need to be replaced also. Diagnosing leak would cost $209 + freon + repair of whatever is leaking, could easily get over $1000. Suggests replacing unit (both indoor and outdoor) roughly $4000. Says he wouldn't put money into a unit this old if he were me, and that compressor is likely damaged from running w/out freon. Recommendations? Is something like this generally worth fixing or is he right?? This unit services downstairs, also have a 1. ton of same age upstairs, services bedrooms.

Estimator is coming out this evening. I bet he suggests replacing both pair. Current system is 12 SEER I think

Last edited by Miranda7; 05-29-2009 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


He may be right on a lot of your points. If it ran w/o freon for a long time it can overheat the compressor and damage it. Also depends on how many running hours the unit has. A 12 yr old car with 200,000 miles on it is a lot worse than a 12 yr old with 50,000 miles on it. In your climate it may be 1/2 to 3/4 worn out and may be better to replace it. His price sounds too low to me or he is giving you a real good deal. A basic heatpump where I am will be $4500 to $5000. If you plan to stay in the house for more than 2 yrs I would lean towards a new unit.

Last edited by yuri; 05-29-2009 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:15 PM   #3
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Second opinion time.

An accumulator is nothing more than a hallow vessel freon empties into before reaching compressor. In a word it is a protective device. Unless it is leaking than it's not in need of changing.

The leaks are another story.

Prices vary around the country so what might be high in someone elses area might be low in another ect.

I would get a second opinion and see what the tech says.
Carrier uses a low pressure control to protect compressors against overheat from low freon, on most model heat pumps I should say as a qualifier.

See what someone else has to say. There are all kinds of tax credits available on 16 SEER units if you wish to up grade that high but the cost might not be worth the length of time to receive the pay back.
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Last edited by hvaclover; 05-29-2009 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:23 PM   #4
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


Where I am in the Winter a drafty poorly insulated house can wear out a furnace from constant running in 12 yrs so I imagine the same can happen to an A/C in a hot humid climate. Some of those Heils have compressors that only seem to last 15 yrs where I am and then the valves are worn and they loose capacity badly. The OLD Tecumsehs were the best.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


Accumulators do tend to get rusty just as mine has. A little rust converter on top will protect it.

It may be worth your time finding the leak and taking it from there. Depending on the unit, it may have a low pressure cutoff switch that saved the compressor from damage.

If you opt for a new system, get many different quotes on different brands and model lines.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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Some of those Heils have compressors that only seem to last 15 yrs where I am and then the valves are worn and they loose capacity badly. The OLD Tecumsehs were the best.

I would say that most units out there are using copeland compressors ( with the exception of trane & am stand.) heil uses copeland... Very few use tecumsehs



Living in FL. his units have to live with some harsh conditions.. Sand ? salt water / air
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:38 PM   #7
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


The tech told me my model does not have the low pressure cutoff switch. We kept running it on and off over a couple days while we wished upon a star for it to start cooling again.

I guess I just wanted to if 12 years was a typical point of diminishing returns, or if they are just trying to make more money off me. Is the consensus here that it is? If so should I replace the upstairs system too, or wait till it goes?

The $4000 was a ball park figure from the tech only, so we will see what the "estimator" says. I would love to take some time and get multiple estimates, but my husband is impatient and heat intolerant so he is pressing me to just get it done yesterday. Yes, we run it pretty much all year and the condensor is next to an outside door so it gets alot of humidity

Is there any advantage to sticking with the same brand (less labor/retrofitting) or does it not matter?
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:42 PM   #8
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A Copeland blows the Tecumseh out of the water. Tecumseh has always been a good tin can refer comp but Copeland in ac applications have always out lasted Tecumseh.
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Old 05-29-2009, 03:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miranda7 View Post
The tech told me my model does not have the low pressure cutoff switch. We kept running it on and off over a couple days while we wished upon a star for it to start cooling again.

I guess I just wanted to if 12 years was a typical point of diminishing returns, or if they are just trying to make more money off me. Is the consensus here that it is? If so should I replace the upstairs system too, or wait till it goes?

The $4000 was a ball park figure from the tech only, so we will see what the "estimator" says. I would love to take some time and get multiple estimates, but my husband is impatient and heat intolerant so he is pressing me to just get it done yesterday. Yes, we run it pretty much all year and the condensor is next to an outside door so it gets alot of humidity

Is there any advantage to sticking with the same brand (less labor/retrofitting) or does it not matter?
No savings sticking to same brand.

Install methods are about the same for all units.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:05 PM   #10
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


We have had Great success with the Tecumsehs that the original Keeprite (made in Canada) used. Mom's is 28 yrs old. I guess they had a real good batch for several yrs. I like Copeland but I guess they have different quality batches from yr to yr.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:05 PM   #11
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


HVAC lifetimes, courtesy of many knowledgeable posters

12 to 15 years for high end heat pumps,
7 to 10 years for builders grade heat pumps. Ocean front, 1 to 7 rears depending on brand and grade.

gas furnace 56 YO, HE (stainless) still in good shape,
AC is close to 35 YO, still the original compressor.

If you get 10 years out of air cooled equipment of any kind. You're doing well.

Midwest, we get 15-20 years out of a furnace and
20-30 out of an A/C,
20-50 out of a hot water boiler,
about 20 out of a cast iron steamer.

13 years HP,
15 to 18 for straight A/C,
18 to 20 gas and oil furnaces,
25 to 30 for gas and oil boilers.

Average is 12years for a heatpump, and
20for a straight A/C..

Without knowing anything about HVAC. . .
". . .could easily get over $1000. Suggests replacing unit (both indoor and outdoor) roughly $4000."
So if there is a 25% or more chance that this will fix your unit then you should fix it, since 25% of $4K is $1k.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 05-29-2009 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Is there any advantage to sticking with the same brand (less labor/retrofitting) or does it not matter?



No advantage... If you switch brands only xtra $ may be the cost of the other brand.. Or, if you want more options. Like low / high pressure cut off.. Low/ high pressure switch can be added if you want
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:08 PM   #13
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A Copeland blows the Tecumseh out of the water. Tecumseh has always been a good tin can refer comp but Copeland in ac applications have always out lasted Tecumseh.


Lover,,,,,I knew I liked you for some reason... I'll take a copeland over the trane compressor any day
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #14
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12 year old HVAC unit, fix or replace


A LOT depends on how well it was maintained. If the condensor coil was washed properly every year and it wasn't running high head pressure etc it may last a bit longer. I think her unit has a LOT of miles on it and may be at the point of diminishing returns.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Lover,,,,,I knew I liked you for some reason... I'll take a copeland over the trane compressor any day
Thanks.

You can call me Clover.
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