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Old 09-01-2012, 09:01 AM   #1
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


This may not strictly be on topic for this forum but bear with me...I have a 12 year old 2.5 ton R22 Trane HVAC unit. The air handler coil went out around a year ago, it cost 1500 but was replaced under a home warranty I had which I no longer have.


The compressor just went out on the condenser unit, mechanical failure. Basically I have an option between replacing the condenser (5 year warranty) for $1600 with an R22 unit (which of course the refrigerant could get expensive in the future), or getting a full new R410A system (10 year warranty) installed for $3500.


Now naturally the installer is pushing me towards the full system, while I'm looking for an excuse to do the $1600 condenser. He claims there could be a lot of crap in the system, which may have cause the compressor to fail. I understand they vacuum the lines out when they put in a new condenser though so I have no idea if thats a valid excuse. Of course he claims the vacuum cant get everything out.

My Dad OTOH (who's not an expert but knows a little about handyman repairs) thinks since the air handler coil is nearly new anyway, that I should just do the $1600 R22 outdoor unit.

As of now I'm going with the $3500 full system. But I could change my mind in the next day or so so time is of the essence. Any opinions?


Last edited by shark974; 09-01-2012 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 09:16 AM   #2
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


6 one way, half a dozen the other.

Its a gamble on what r22 will cost a few more years down the road. Si if you were o have a leak 3 years from now. it could cost over a hundred bucks a pound to recharge it. R410A will probably stay steady price wise for a long time to come, and repairs would probably be some what cheaper.

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Old 09-01-2012, 09:25 AM   #3
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


how about just the compressor if it was a verified mechanical failure the condenser gets isolated recovered and new compressor is installed...how are the coils on the condenser now...since the coil change out how amany times was the freon topped off in the spring for a summer run.if a systemis piped tight and tested with microns check the freon won't leak out...just price just the compressor replacement...time is less and so is the bill that you didn't have a burn out cooking the freon then i would say change the system and 410A update.consider also the future sale of the place even 20yrs might get flagged by an engineers report as real old...and you'll have to do it then...get the info off the compressor tag and check the actual compressor cost vs unit change out.
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:05 AM   #4
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


As for just changing out the compressor, I've dealt with a few different servicers on this. The first guy I called, who came out to diagnose the unit originally when it failed, quoted me around $1700 for just a compressor. $2700 for a new condenser, something like 4300 for a new system.

At that point I asked him if there might be any cheaper options/brands out there. He told me it wouldn't hurt to shop around.

So I eventually found the guy I'm now working with who seems cheaper than everybody else. He quoted me 3300 on the new system, 1600 for a new condenser, which is less than the first guy/company wanted for just the compressor. Also the "cheap" guy said something to the effect he wouldn't put just a new compressor in (he thinks it's just a bad idea inviting future problems I guess).

I guess where I lack knowledge is just how likely future problems may be. The compressor alone would only have a 1 year warranty as well. The guy selling me the new system rightfully says something caused the compressor to fail. Basically hinting I'll just have more problems if I just replace the compressor. He also said there could be gunk up in the coils, as I noted in the 1st post. He went into a big thing about how the coils were probably freezing before I had them replaced the 1st time, contracting and expanding over and over, and who knows how much junk could be in the system.

In a way I he seems to be trying to sell me a new system, but OTOH most of what he says makes real good sense. These repairs are so ridiculously expensive, that if I have to even one more big repair to the air handler part (which wont be under warranty if I get the condenser only) the $1700 difference between condenser only and full system will be erased.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:15 AM   #5
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


went with the new unit and I feel good about wiping the slate clean.

Plus got a good price, $3300 for the whole system is excellent.

I guess there's only one thing I'm slightly worried about that I should ask here, one of the guys that looked at it initially with another company flat said the lineset was going to have to be replaced.

The guy who installed my new system, when I asked him about that, said he had a lineset and would put it in if needed, but they would test if the old one was ok first. He ended up saying the old lineset was fine so they used it.

Going from R22 to R410, googling, it seems kind of iffy if you can reuse the lineset. The lineset in place should have been installed in 2000 with the original R22 AC. Any opinions?
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:31 AM   #6
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


As long as it was nitrogen flushed and properly evacuated AND the line set is the correct size for the new 410-A system is it okay. Age doesn't matter, happens all the time.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:40 AM   #7
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


there's actually a solvent on the market that you can use to flush through the lineset, then blow it out with nitrogen
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:05 PM   #8
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


I think it's good that you made the choice to get a new AC.

The new ACs should all come with inverter compressors, which I think your old model did not have. So with the inverter your electricity consumption will also be less, since it is a bit more efficient in that regard. So over the life of the new unit you may actually spend less than staying with the old unit.

With regards to your refrigerant lines, as the other have mentioned, if the lines are the correct size, it should be ok. I think however, the wall thicknesses piping of R22 and R410a vary - R410a is thicker.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:38 PM   #9
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


Quote:
Originally Posted by shark974 View Post
went with the new unit and I feel good about wiping the slate clean.

Plus got a good price, $3300 for the whole system is excellent.

I guess there's only one thing I'm slightly worried about that I should ask here, one of the guys that looked at it initially with another company flat said the lineset was going to have to be replaced.

The guy who installed my new system, when I asked him about that, said he had a lineset and would put it in if needed, but they would test if the old one was ok first. He ended up saying the old lineset was fine so they used it.

Going from R22 to R410, googling, it seems kind of iffy if you can reuse the lineset. The lineset in place should have been installed in 2000 with the original R22 AC. Any opinions?

For that price....wonder what other shortcuts he took?
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:02 PM   #10
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Schniek View Post
I think it's good that you made the choice to get a new AC.

The new ACs should all come with inverter compressors, which I think your old model did not have. So with the inverter your electricity consumption will also be less, since it is a bit more efficient in that regard. So over the life of the new unit you may actually spend less than staying with the old unit.

With regards to your refrigerant lines, as the other have mentioned, if the lines are the correct size, it should be ok. I think however, the wall thicknesses piping of R22 and R410a vary - R410a is thicker.

He got a regular split unit. It doesn't have an inverter.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:03 PM   #11
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


As long as the line set was blown out with nitrogen properly, and its the right size, no problem reusing it.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:40 PM   #12
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technow, the first guy quoted me $1600 on just the compressor. Guy I went with told me that was rape, compressors cost 450-500. From googling seems they may cost even less than that, like 350. Guy I went with was going to give me an entire condenser for the price of the other guy's compressor alone!

I understand labor charges, profit and everything else, but give me a break, $1600 for a $500 part is just excessive. Seems a lot of these high dollar places just sit around and wait for money to roll in.

My house is small 1100 sq feet too if that helps, think I read somewhere the lineset can only be reused if it runs less than 50 ft or something. Pretty sure mine qualifies there.

I am also not concerned for these reasons:

-He said he had the extra lineset in his truck and would install it if needed with no difference in price. I cant see too much labor involved, he would only have had to pull it straight up out of the wall cavity, and run the new lines a little way through the attic. So I dont think it would have been a huge deal either way, so his incentive to "cheat" was likely slim.

-He seems very stand-up and even texted/called me the next day to check up how the new system was doing.

Anyways about the lineset, system has been in place a couple days now and seems to be working fine, but just in the interest of full investigation, at my leisure, is there anyway I can measure myself if the lineset is the correct size?

Going from a R22 2.5 ton Trane unit to a 3 ton Goodman R410A unit if that helps anyway.

Thanks for all the responses though. Seems the majority agree reusing is fine.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:14 PM   #13
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


Line set would have been harder to run then you think.

1100 sq ft, and you up sized to a 3 ton? 366 sq ft per ton, wow. Your duct work wasn't sized for a 3 ton unit. You'll never actually get the 3 ton capacity.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:39 PM   #14
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Hmm, well I do live in Texas.

The old unit (original with house) as stated was 2.5 ton. He stated that the manufacturer of the houses around here tended to put in units that were right on the borderline of being a little small to do the job. He said he could upgrade me to a 3 ton unit for $200 more, and that the ductwork in place would work fine (seemed natural to me as the difference between 2.5 to 3 ton doesn't sound that much). Of course he left the choice to me but a larger unit sounded better to me so I went for that.

Having had the unit for a couple afternoons now, i'm a little disappointed. For instance, right this very second at 4:30 PM it is sunny and 98 outside, the new air unit can only cool the house down to 74 nothing colder (i pushed the thermostat down to 60 just to see). It was similar the first afternoon. Of course in the evenings/nights/mornings it gets it as cold as you want AFAIK. Thing is I work nights so I sleep during the day/afternoon, and yeah 74 is a little on the warm side to sleep in.

This is about similar performance with my last, old unit, which I wasnt thrilled with either. I was hoping with the 3 ton thing, it being brand new and all, I'd be blown away. Not so.

I know some people claim AC can only cool 20 below outside temperature, not sure I believe that at all, seems I've had houses where the air could do much better. and I just read something on the internet that it wasnt true as well.

Could it be the lineset thing? Maybe not letting enough coolant through or something?

Last edited by shark974; 09-05-2012 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:46 PM   #15
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Repair older R22 system vs replace with new R410A unit? Need answers fast!


The builder, and the HVAC sub didn't splurge and put in bigger duct work then your old 2.5 ton needed. It actually was under sized for the 2.5 ton. And now its even more under sized for the 3 ton. And its probably the reason your 2.5 couldn't get your home below 74 during the day. Going from a 2.5 ton to a 3 ton. The air flow increase needed is 20% more air.

Its not the line set.

Call this guy out, and see if he can make it work better.

Remember, sometimes you get what you pay for. And since you paid a really cheap price, you may end up getting a really cheap performance from the over sized unit on under sized duct work.


PS: Even in Texas, thats over sized.

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