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Old 08-02-2012, 09:01 PM   #16
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no cold air, no solid airflow from AC


I had an HVAC pro out today. Worth noting he has a very good reputation.

Freon levels all good. Everything outwardly fine. Yet with his temp gun - even with the thermostat set to 70 - the air coming out of the vents was about 83.

He went outside, and basically said he could hear a hissing noise from the outside unit. That made him think there wasn't compression, or there was a leak. I didn't fully understand. It wasn't freon leaking, but rather, something that would push the freon I think.

Thus, my system was working - jsut not working very well.

My system - being 13 years old - he said it would be nearly the same cost to try to fix it. Plus it's an outdated system etc. etc. So replacement my best choice.

Said he could do the whole job for $2100. That would be replacing the outside unit and the coil think/part in my furnace and all the labor.

He said it would be a 13ACX Lennox - the cheapest unit. I asked about efficiency, etc. He said sort of laughingly that the more expensive models aren't worth it - this would do a fine job. Not sure what the inside unit would be.

This system would be for my upstairs only. But we have a totally open floorplan to the downstairs. Currently, a twin unit to the one that's failing cools the first floor and basement - still working.

Thoughts?

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Old 08-02-2012, 09:06 PM   #17
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If you can afford it, change the whole unit out. 13 years is reaching the end of it's lifespan.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:07 PM   #18
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Hard to tell if the "freon" levels are good if it wasn't pumping right.

It may very well be that the compressor's internal relief valve is leaking through.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:17 PM   #19
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if what you described is accurate get a second opinion. Check around in my area there Free.
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:58 PM   #20
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Question 1: I know 13 years is pushing it. We don't have the cash today to do a whole new unit (furnace and all). The guy said if something went with the furnace - just that part could be replaced too. I tend to agree - I've heard that before.

I don't know enough about this (it's why I'm here). That whole machine in my attic -it's 13 years old. I'd be having just a section of it replaced. Obviously, that section would outlast the original stuff that remains. Am I screwing myself, or could I still keep the new stuff just fine and replace the rest of the 13 year old stuff (probably the heating part) later when needed?

Question3: If there is some compression leak on my outside unit - is that really that hard to fix? I'd love to get even one more year out of this thing - then I might be able to buy a lot more later.

There are two twin systems in my house. The outside units - the working one hums nicely. The apparently faulty one - it hisses. It really does sound like something is leaking.

I should mention this - after I first starting having problems - I went out to inspect the outside units. They were pretty clean, but some leaves, etc. had built up just a bit around them. I blow the whole area clear with a leaf blower. I noticed some leaves in the open corners of the unit - so blew it all out. I noticed that hiss for the first time just after. But not saying it wasn't there before - because I was having some problems already.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:06 PM   #21
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No question some repairs would not make sense on an older unit, but you need to find a tech which at least can tell you what is wrong. You can't know if it is worth fixing without knowing what is wrong.

I get a lot of customers by offering free second opinion. In many cases I let the repair cost speak for themselfs. I give repair price and possible other problems after repair. I give a replacement price. Bottom line tech needs to know what is wrong at least what it appears to be. What he told you has some issues.
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Old 08-02-2012, 10:50 PM   #22
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Shifting gears momentarily - I have 3 floors. Basement, first floor, second floor. The problematic unit works the second floor. The other unit is shared between the first floor and the basement.

My basement stays about 70 all year round. Cold air falls, no wonder. I could shut of some of the vents in the basement and leave just enough to help with circulation (I also have a standalone dehumidifyer down there which works great).

My "twin" systems are 1998 - so actually 14 years old now. Original, but well-maintained (at least by me over the 3 years I've lived here).

We have a very open floorplan upstairs - a "catwalk" even splitting the 2 story foyer and great room.

I'm now facing potentially replacing my upstairs system. Since they are both the same age - I suspect the downstairs sytem can't be far behind.

So should I perhaps "overdo" it upstairs? Get some system that can handle far more than just that living space on the second floor? Since cold air falls - it would thus fall to the first floor - and make that old system work less.

Then in a year or so when that lower-floor system finally fails - I could replace it with a bare-bones, basic system - because the upstairs system is handling most of the load?

Thoughts on that?
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:00 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denemante View Post

My basement stays about 70 all year round. Cold air falls

Well...that's part of it. Basements are cooler because they are below ground, submersed if you will in a cooler "outside" temperature. The concrete walls assume the temperature of the surrounding ground. And you mean "heat rises", correct? Technically cold air doesn't move while warmer air rises...that's stratification. When you uppermost level is warmer it isn't because cold air falls it's because hot air rises. Is your basement level a living area or just a basement? Overdoing hvac is almost always a bad idea.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:36 PM   #24
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Maybe I'm reading you wrong - but if the temp was 80 on the first floor with no A/C on down there, and in an open floorplan, if you turned on the A/C upstairs to 70 - the temp on the first floor would drop a good bit too.

My basement doesn't matter - it's gonna stay cool naturally, but is helped by the the fact it's also attached to the first floor system (returns in the basement as well. My wife cooks in the kitchen - I smell it faintly in the basement because the air circulates. And yes - we spend a ton of time in the basement.

Just saying - my first floor/basement system will fail eventually since it's 14 years old too. My second floor system is failing now.

So should I get a "strong" system replacement for the second floor - perhaps more than needed, knowing that "the excess" cold it might be able to produce will fall to the first floor, and "help" that old system down there work less?

And very related - when that first floor/basement system fails in the next few years, I could just go with a basic/cheap model? The thinking is the "excess" cold air falling from the big second floor unit will hit the returns of the first floor/basement unit - so cold air from the second floor unit is really getting spread through the whole house.

Here's another way to say it: what if that upstairs unit could handle the whole 3000 square foot house alone? Hypothetically, perhaps the downstairs unit doesn't cool at all - just acting as a fan/ducts that circulates that fallen cool air from above.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:58 PM   #25
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No you need the right size system. bigger is not better in this.
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Old 08-03-2012, 12:15 AM   #26
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The guys here are experts and I am a layman. Do you know how many tons the unit is? I have 6 units in an office building and when they fail I replace the blower unit in the ceiling and outside condensor. It is painful but with R-22 being replaced by R-410 it is harder to just replace the condensor.

Before - we would just replace the outside condensor because the blower unit in the office (or house) usually holds up. The city will not allow me to get a R-22 condensor for the blower units. They want it all swapped out.

One of the guys on here said go to Alpine Air and get a clearance or scratch and dent.

I am assuming you have a 2.5 ton because you did not say. HEre is an Alpine Air with R-22 condensor for $839.
http://www.alpinehomeair.com/viewcat...categoryID=522

It is uncharged so the freon will cost at least $200.

http://www.alpinehomeair.com/viewcat...?categoryID=96
Goodman unit uncharged 2.5 ton R22 $881.

Another one but uncharged.
http://ecomfort.com/products/goodman...FQKEnQodb0IAbQ


http://www.acwholesalers.com/Goodman...erant-s/61.htm

Seems like all the R22 condensors are shipped uncharged. Maybe the R22 in your old unit could be transferred over.

Ideally you should replace the whole thing.

Here is a whole Goodman system (condensor & blower) slightly used used in Slidell, LA for $400. This looks like a good deal.
http://neworleans.craigslist.org/app/3173907387.html

People will get rid of slightly used decent units and if they have money and want to upgrade.

Goodman condensor - new in a box 2.5 ton $600 (maybe be R-410).

If money is tight then troll craigslist.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:36 PM   #27
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FrankL - thanks for your thoughtful input.

Everyone - some new details (and questions).

Based on repair costs and the age of the unit, I'm heavily leaning towards replacement.

Now two guys have quoted between $2100-$2500 for a new outside unit and new coil section for inside. Comparable lower-end, around 13 seer units.

But one guy told me I had to replace both inside and outside. Another guy said because I have gas heat (not sure why that matters) - I could just replace the outside unit.

I'll do what's right - but what is right? If that inside coil is fine (albeit 14 years old) and I could get some new outside unit (and I presume the new type or refrigerant would work through the old inside coils) - they why replace both the inside/outside units?
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:39 PM   #28
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New outdoor unit and new indoor evap coil, if you want anywhere close to the efficiency rating of the outdoor unit.
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Old 08-04-2012, 10:51 PM   #29
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in my opinion if you want to change to new refrigerant the outside unit and indoor coil need to be changed. I even go furter and say change the refrigerant lineset (refrigerant pipes). I may be possible to change the metering device on the indoor coil, but I would not even consider that. The lineset should be at least flushed, but by the time you factor the cost of the flush in alot of cases I can change the lineset. Yes even second floor linesets. Provided you don't mind running it in line hide or similar lineset cover.

The main problem is the oils used in your r-22 system are not compatable with the new 410-A systems. All the old oil must be removed. this is not as easy as it sounds as the oil travels with the refrigerant and can become trapped in places.

Some may disagree but for me spend the money do it right the first time.
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:01 AM   #30
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Thanks for the replies - I'm really honing in on solutions and understanding based on your comments.


It's kind of a tough subject. With most anything else in life - I can look at it myself and say "fix it" or "toss it". My first step here was just to make that determination.

It's kinda like if your car stops running. Some salesman tells you you need a new one. Is the engine blown up? Or are you just out of gas? Most people could tell the diff with a car. But HVAC is a bit more complicated.

So I've learned a bunch.

At this point - I'm officially going with the new system, done right (both inside/outside units) and hopefully at the best price.

Concerning the refrigerant lines - I'll be moving to 410-A. I've got that small copper line, and also the larger line (I presume the refrigerant being returned to the outside unit).

One guy did mention "cleaning it" and all would be good. This is an attic unit and those lines run from the ground into the wall and up 2 stories through the wall of my house into the attic.

Aside from now finding the quality brand/equipment to choose - this seems to be my final hurdle.

Leave the lines I have and "clean it/them"? Or somehow have them replaced?

Pros/cons here?

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