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Old 08-18-2011, 01:34 PM   #1
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Questions on replacing central air


You guys helped me rule out anything but a bad compressor and convince me that I need a new condensor if not an air handler and I am getting bids form what seem to be reputable local dealers. I have some questions about that/

1. Why is replacing the copper line preferred over a nitrogen flush and is $350 (over the cost of a new line that is included in a bid, a reasonalbe charge for the flush?

2. If the evaporator coil of the air handler is replaced, is it likely that the air handler will need major work within 5 years. One guy guarantees "it will fail" and I will just need a new one within 5 years. All this without inspecting its condition. He is a Trane dealer. I have a Lennox dealer coming out today and will ask him about replacing the coil and not he entire funrnace and blower. I wonder if the Trane dealer has a problem getting the coil from Lennox.

3. Roughly, how much should it cost to replace an evaportator coil as compared to an entire air handler? Half as much, a third, what?

4. I do not want to replace the compressor motor, only, but one tech quoted $2,000 to do so and I was under the impression that p&l would be closer to $1,000. Am I correct. We do pay more for labor in this part of Southern California.

5. The quote I got for the fancy system, a Trane XL16i, was pretty stiff, $2,600 more than the XB13. Is that a bit much? It looks like the bid for the XL16i includes the extended 10 year warranty and it isn't clear that an extended warranty was included in the cost of the XB13 (if it is it would be for 5 years).

6. In general I shun extended warranties, but are they worth getting for central air (assuming they are manufacturer warranties and not issued by the Fink Ins. Co. of Nowhere)? It would depend on the wording of the warranty, but are they assignable to the buyer if you sell your house?


7. Master of Cold elsewhere suggested I look into the XR14 qhixh qualifies for a 10 year warranty and I am going to do that. I haven't made up my mind, but preliminarily I am concerned that the XL16i is too complex. Elsewhere some have opined th\o Keep it Simple since the more complex systems have more to fail ("KISS"). On the other hand, the features of the LX16i are intriguing.

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Old 08-18-2011, 05:56 PM   #2
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Questions on replacing central air


I just had my sit down with a guy from a company that primarily installs Lennox, but also sells Trane.

He has to work up a proposal to e-mail me, but his charge on simply replacing the compressor was $1300 compared to the $2000 the first guy quoted.

He is going to give me a quote on a Xc14 compressor with a new ML180 furnace and another quote with that compressor (I should have said condesor) and new expansion coil and dryer on the current Lennox air handler (per below post of Yuri, it is a forced air heater and not an air handler).

It is eligible for a 10 year extended warranty from Lennox that he will include in his quotes.

They flush and use the original refrigerant lines for the new refrigerant.


Last edited by Klawman; 08-18-2011 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 08-18-2011, 06:29 PM   #3
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first of all you do not have an air handler but a forced air furnace, there is a difference. what type of furnace do you have now and how old is it and post the brand and model #. it probably does not need replacing unless it is old or in poor shape or has obsolete parts etc and then it may be worthwhile. how old is the AC post the model and serial #. if it is an older unit then the new 13 SEER evap coils won't work very well so a new AC is a much better idea. that is a VERY good and quiet AC which I sell a LOT of. the furnace is good too.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:15 PM   #4
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first of all you do not have an air handler but a forced air furnace, there is a difference. what type of furnace do you have now and how old is it and post the brand and model #. it probably does not need replacing unless it is old or in poor shape or has obsolete parts etc and then it may be worthwhile. how old is the AC post the model and serial #. if it is an older unit then the new 13 SEER evap coils won't work very well so a new AC is a much better idea. that is a VERY good and quiet AC which I sell a LOT of. the furnace is good too.
Thanks, Yuri.The present furnace is a Lennox model GS15Q4/5X-100A-3, serial number 4690K00683. It was original equipment when the house was built in or about 1991.

The AC is a Lennox model HS24-651-1P, serial number 5191M16679.

I just figured out what you were saying; even if a new 13 SEER coil unit is installed it isn't going to work very well with the older heater and blower.
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:40 PM   #5
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I would replace them both. At 20 yrs old the heat exchanger will have cracks and the AC is a 8-9 SEER and a new coil won't work with it and would be a waste of $$. That is the average life of those units anyway. Check for any rebates with your dealer and your utility co and govt.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:00 PM   #6
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I would replace them both. At 20 yrs old the heat exchanger will have cracks and the AC is a 8-9 SEER and a new coil won't work with it and would be a waste of $$. That is the average life of those units anyway. Check for any rebates with your dealer and your utility co and govt.
I thought the Lennox guy was replacing both the AC (the condensor outside the house) and the heat exchanger, which I understand to be stacked in line with the forced air heater.

He explained that they would cut into the plenum of the attic unit to remove the old evaporator coil and replace it with a new coil inside a plenum. I will ask if the new evaporator is rated so that it isn't going to reduce the efficiency of the new 13 SEER condensor.

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Old 08-19-2011, 05:51 AM   #7
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Pics of your indoor set up would help.
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Old 08-19-2011, 01:39 PM   #8
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Pics of your indoor set up would help.
I posted several pics on fick'r here http://www.flickr.com/photos/66553584@N03/6059757166/

Now that I literally focused on the attic unit, the install looks tight to me. I wonder if the rough capenters framed around the unit after it was dropped in place during construction.

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Old 08-19-2011, 05:33 PM   #9
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That will be a tight working space. So it will come with a bit of a price tag, for any good contractor to do it.

I'd probably try and redo your plenum, and use a cased coil. but it may not be possible.
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Old 08-19-2011, 06:05 PM   #10
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That will be a tight working space. So it will come with a bit of a price tag, for any good contractor to do it.

I'd probably try and redo your plenum, and use a cased coil. but it may not be possible.

I don't know if the sales guy that was out knows how much work it will be. The phase of this tract is over 20 years old and the established contracors are pretty familiar with the units. He did say he would cut the plenum to do it.

Thanks for looking at this stuff. I want a good job and certainly don't want a contractor promising more than it urns out he can deliver without losing his behnind.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:22 PM   #11
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I would stay with the established contractors who know your type of setup and can do it properly or you may end up with a horror show like this one:install line damage
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:21 PM   #12
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I would stay with the established contractors who know your type of setup and can do it properly or you may end up with a horror show like this one:install line damage
The guy who said he could cut the plenum and change the coil is from one of the larger area HVAC contractors and they mainly deal with Lennox.

I just got done meeting with a guy that I might use for maintenance, but I don't think I will go with him even though he will probably be the low bidder.

1. He and his 3 employees are the business. By itself not that big a deal but I agree about going with an "established" conractor.

2. He wants to sell me a Payne. I believe I read somewhere here that a Payne is the one system to stay away from.

3. He seemed more intent on selling price than quality.

4. This is also the guy that said checking for a compressor short by probing with either an ohm meter or megger from lead to ground is NOT a test for a bad compressor.

5. Upon first seeing the condensor, the guy pronounced the problem was a 3" deep crease in about a 2 foot run of the condensor's outer coil and it couldn't run with that. That crease is the result of being fit by a falling tree three years ago and it ran fine with the dent.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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"We'll call you...NEXT!"
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:53 PM   #14
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well, you got all the warning signs and why would you want him to do maintenance? Payne is the budget brand of Carrier. Carrier and Bryant are premier quality and Payne is the builders grade of their line. Go with an experienced contractor and you really do get what you pay for. There are dozens of problems that can go wrong with inexperienced or hacker contractors. hope you read the story in that link.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:54 PM   #15
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"We'll call you...NEXT!"
Yah Sure, and the cheques in the mail too.

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