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Old 08-26-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


Greetings. My 4-year old home's Goodman system's evaporator has sprung several leaks and needs to be replaced. The rest of the system us working fine, though it has never been considered "robust" in heating or cooling. I am looking for input from the pros or those that have done this task previously. 1600sq.ft. 1 story slab home, well insulated, radiant barrier, etc, South Texas area so the A/C runs 9-10 months yearly in 95+ heat in summer. Electric bills are reasonable. Current evaporator coil is covered under warranty through a dealer install of the replacement unit.

Background:
- Goodman 3-ton Compressor: CLJ36-1A
- Goodman Gas furnace
- Goodman 4-ton evaporator H49-F
Photo of current install:


I am quite proficient in projects. Plumbing, brazing pipes, electrical, etc. and have a good understanding of HVAC systems and operation. I have been quoted $1k to $1300 to replace the warrantied evap. coil. Replacement unit will not extend original units warranty time. That includes labor, evac, R22, etc. If Goodman does not cover the warrantied coil, add another $900-$1100. This seems like a huge overage of labor hours, parts, et al. I can purchase a replacement unit identical to the existing, for $~350. I can manage the labor of cutting the ducting, cutting and re-attaching the unit, pvc drains, etc. up to connecting the copper, saving hours of labor charges. Then hire a tech to hook-up, charge, and test the system. .
So my questions are: (using Goodman products for compatibility)

1- Should I purchase the identical unit to what I have now. (4 ton) and install it myself and have a HVAC tech complete the hook-up and charge? >$300



2- Should I go with the matching case unit (3.5 or 4 ton) to closer match my compressor and adjust the duct work shape to fit the new unit? >$350

[img=http://imageshack.us/thumbnmail.png]


3- What difference can I expect using a 3, 3.5 or 4 ton evaporator on a 3-ton compressor? Since I get to choose the size, what size should I get. I understand the new 4-ton will need a simple adjustment to the orifice to work with a 3-ton unit. (I don't know if the builder took that step on the old one) Also, any alternatives to evacuating the partially-filled system short of having the tech make a preliminary trip? I would like to do as much work myself, and pay for the balance. I doubt I will be able to warranty the existing unit if I buy the replacement myself, but at $300 for a new one with a 10 year warranty going forward, that's fine. Thanks for any input in advance.

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Old 08-26-2009, 08:00 PM   #2
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


I have been quoted $1k to $1300 to replace the warrantied evap. coil.

Holy crap!!!!


If Goodman does not cover the warrantied coil, add another $900-$1100.

WHAT?

For a tolal of $2400 I'll drive to you from central KS and replace it for you.

I would expect $700-900 for a total coil and labor for replacement.
Coil alone is $250-300

Call another company

Since I get to choose the size, what size should I get. I understand the new 4-ton will need a simple adjustment to the orifice to work with a 3-ton unit.

If you were fine with the preformance before just replace with the same coil.

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Last edited by Plumber101; 08-26-2009 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:39 PM   #3
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


Coil should match the condenser. From the looks of your current install you really can not do much worse.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:36 PM   #4
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


Good god!! Why do Texans love to cram HVAC in their attics? It look like misery up there.

It's approaching the end of the cooling season and before the start of the heating season and the economy is bad so I'd shop around. You should be able to find a contractor that'll sharpen their pencil.

DIY is an option but it's unlikely you'll save any money when all is said and done. (at least for this type of job)

I don't advocate sharing the work (DIY + Pro). Either go all Pro or all DIY.

Last edited by hennyh; 08-26-2009 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 08-27-2009, 05:54 AM   #5
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


Do you have any friends that are pros?? If so I would hook up with them and see if they would work with you if not.
1. DIY purchase the exact same coil and do all the work except the copper lines, find a pro that will do the rest, but remember if it don't work it's not the pros fault he will take no responsibility for it.

2. Call pro.

3. DIY Warranty two types.
a. The egg timer.

b. The keep both halves. If it breaks in half you get to keep both halves.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:21 PM   #6
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


I would also recommend getting at least a couple more estimates from other reputable shops in the area before making the decision to do the work yourself.
The reason is that unless you have all of your own recovery equipment and EPA certification you would probably need two trips from a pro anyway, because he will first have to recover the R22 refrigerant before you can even cut the lines, then come back again to nitro purge and braze, replace the LL dryer, pressure test the lines, evacuate, recharge and checkout the system operation. Depending on your system, you may also need to change the metering piston or TXV to match the new coil, so not sure if your coil purchase will include those.
Based on the prices you stated, Iím thinking the cost of labor for these two separate trips may be more than the total cost of the labor included in a reasonable price quote.
Iím sure they will not warranty any work that you have done either, so if thereís a problem with the installation two weeks later... you will most likely be on your own here.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:32 PM   #7
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


1000 to 1300 is not unusual around here. I don't know what everyone is getting excited bout. Prices vary from area to area. You pay less you may get what you paid for.
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Old 08-27-2009, 03:38 PM   #8
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


What do you mean "If Goodman doesn't cover the warrantied coil". If it's under warranty and failed then you should accept nothing less. My one time experience with Goodman has been that they honor their warranty but that Goodman installers were somewhat reluctant to bother checking on warranty coverage (I actually had to call Goodman with serial number to confirm the warranty and then force feed that info to the installers who were more interested in selling a new unit.)

Do look for a shop that actually wants to do the job. The estimates given reflect a shop that doesn't want to be bothered with it and would rather sell a new unit. The installer can make a better argument for a new unit if the repair cost is higher so those installers that push new unit sales often have high repair quotes. Keep calling installers and hopefully you'll find one that is actually interested in repair work.
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:49 AM   #9
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


I have an off the wall question. Why would they use a gas furnace in Texas instead of a more efficient heatpump?
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:07 PM   #10
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


Heat pumps lose efficiency the colder it gets.Means you use more juice. And depending on your utilities
gas might be cheaper than electricity.
Is that what your looking for?.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:42 PM   #11
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I think you'll find Texas has cheap gas, and expensive electric.
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Old 09-05-2009, 06:17 PM   #12
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvaclover View Post
1000 to 1300 is not unusual around here. I don't know what everyone is getting exited bout. Prices vary from area to area.


Agree. Not bad. I charge 900 for 3 ton in my area.. other dealers charge more
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:48 PM   #13
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


I understand that heat pumps aren't much good below 40 degrees, but how many days below 40 does Texas have? I didn't take into account that gas may be much cheaper in TX. Gas heat is more expensive here in Virginia, but here the best option is a dual-fuel system.
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Old 09-06-2009, 05:10 AM   #14
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Need to replace evaporator - DIY+Pro project?


Texas has a lot of natural gas. So they have very cheap gas. Usually cheap enough. That a heat pump can cost more to heat the house with, even when it is 47 outside.

There are some other areas, that a heat pump isn't cheaper then gas, when its above 50 outside. Making a heat pump the more expensive heating option.

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