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Old 04-15-2011, 09:18 AM   #1
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heat pump screeches in the cold - compressor shot?


Our 1000 sq ft condo is heated and cooled by a 1.5 ton heat pump.
It's an American Standard Heritage unit, about 20 years old.

In Boston's cold winter this year, the outdoor unit started to make a screeching sound, usually when it had just started to run, or maybe when it was shutting down. It produced heat just fine, although our bills seemed somewhat higher than normal.

As Murphy's law would have it, it stopped screeching earlier in the week (maybe because of warmer temperatures?) but we couldn't get a heating guy in until today.

He tells me that since the fan runs smoothly, the problem must be in the compressor, and that the compressor will need to be replaced.

Does that sound accurate?

If so, would there be any advantage to replacing not just the compressor but the whole unit, both inside and outside?

Thanks for any thoughts!

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Old 04-15-2011, 01:05 PM   #2
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heat pump screeches in the cold - compressor shot?


at 20 years old replacing the system would be a good idea to consider.

did the tech disconnect the fan to determine exactly what the noise came from. just because the fan turns freely does not mean the fan motor could not be causing the noise.

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Old 04-15-2011, 01:33 PM   #3
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heat pump screeches in the cold - compressor shot?


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Originally Posted by hvactech126 View Post
did the tech disconnect the fan to determine exactly what the noise came from. just because the fan turns freely does not mean the fan motor could not be causing the noise.
He did disconnect the fan. The compressor continued to run fine. It did not make the screeching noise at all, maybe because it is warm today. Bad timing on my part.
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Old 04-15-2011, 02:04 PM   #4
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heat pump screeches in the cold - compressor shot?


Probably weather related and the fan probably screetches in the cold weather and the bearings are looser now due to it being warmer. Doubt if it is worth spending a lot of $$ on repairs as the compressor valves will be worn and it is losing capacity due to its age (that is why your bills are higher). Like spending a lot of $$ on a 20 yr old car which will eventually need replacing it can be a money pit. The new units are a LOT more efficient and that is VERY important with a heat pump as you use it year round vs 4-6 months for an AC unit. I would not let him replace the compressor on a hunch unless it does it all the time and at that age not really worth doing anyway. Once the evaporator coil inside the condo leaks freon it is game over as it is obsolete due to the new units being more efficient/having a higher SEER rating. The new coils don't work with older lower SEER outdoor units very well or efficiently (mismatch in pressures etc etc).
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Old 04-15-2011, 09:57 PM   #5
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heat pump screeches in the cold - compressor shot?


I would bet on it being the fan that was making the noise.

As others have said, at 20 years of age, its lived a good life. And is not as efficient as a new one would be.
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