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Old 07-11-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


My condo has an HVAC closet off the balcony with an Armstrong "Direct Vent Forced Air Furnace with Cooling Unit". The Heating and AC work just fine. But the AC part is very very noisy (heat is quiet). I know that to replace the entire unit will cost between 4500 and 5500. So, instead, I just want to replace the Cooling Unit. It is the AC compressor that is making all the noise. I've had a couple techs out to look at it over the past few years, and they say is nothing that can be done about the noise. I have removed the Cooling Unit myself (it's pretty heavy, but not too hard) to acid wash the coils, but that did not help with the excessive noise.

I need help finding a replacement cooling unit that will fit this model. I don't even where to start looking. All the HVAC companies I talk to only want to replace the entire thing. I just want to buy a new/used replacement cooling unit, and I will install it myself.

Attaching some pictures of the HVAC system and the details. If anyone knows how I go about finding a replacement cooling unit, please help.



Thanks!

ACJ
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Last edited by acj74; 07-11-2012 at 07:32 PM. Reason: better title
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:19 PM   #2
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


No need to replace if not broke. The noise you are talking about is most likely fan noise, due to probably on a single stage cooling. You can replace the thermostat to allow the furnace to use the lower stage if a 2stage unit, to do the majority of cooling, then when needs to, will kick up to the higher stage to finish cooling.

It is a Lennox/Armstrong-Air unit, so with this being a packaged unit, how much are you looking in replacing it for a more quieter unit? Packaged units cost a whole lot more than split, so beware that you are talking a lot of money for something that is not broke, just pushes a lot of air.

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Old 07-11-2012, 07:12 PM   #3
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


You're talking about the heat pump outside only and not the internal components? I'm in the same position, my AC unit is very loud outside and need it replaced so we can actually use our patio instead of yelling over the AC unit.

I did some quick research and as long as it's a similar model you can easily replace the AC unit. Considering it only pumps and cools the Freon, as long as similar ton and able to connect without issues I don't see how anything else matters.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:13 PM   #4
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


Thanks for reply gregzoll,

I don't think it's fan noise, it's a really loud, dull, pulsating, growling kind of sound. Like I said, I've had a few folks out to examine it, one being a long time family friend who manages an hvac company. They've all told me there is simply nothing I can do about the noise. They say it is the AC compressor, and that there is no way to service it, I can only replace it. Some have even tried replacing some electrical parts and adding a voltage regulator, which all cost me hundreds of dollars and has had no effect on the sound. I've gotten used to it and can ignore more the most part. But some neighbors complain regularly and I'm getting ready to rent the condo, and am worried that since the AC will be running when I show it, it might scare off potential renters.

I don't don't to replace anything, but not sure anything else will work. I'm not sure I understand the single/second stage cooling you are talking about. Can you tell me how to check for that? I've disconnected, removed and reinstalled the cooling unit.. and it just looks like a standard AC to me. Compressor, inside coils, outside coils. I'm not sure what to look for.

Thanks,

ACJ
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:15 PM   #5
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


to Justinm001 - it's not a inside/outside unit, it's a all-in-one AC/Furnace/Blower unit, typical for apartments/condos. What you see in the picture is everything. The AC unit is housed in the lower half of the standing unit.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:26 PM   #6
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


to the right of the door is an AC unit correct? I can barely see it from the picture. Is that the loud part?
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:29 PM   #7
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


lol.. no. to the right of the door is a 120 foot drop. I'm on the 11th floor, that's my balcony. It's a packaged system, there is no "heat pump".
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


acj74, the noise you hear is most likely turbulence caused by the fan at a higher speed for cooling, which as I stated before, is why you do not hear it during Winter.
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:43 PM   #9
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


Can you post a picture of the wall to the right of the utility closet?
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Old 07-11-2012, 07:46 PM   #10
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


I now see it's bricks and not a heat pump. Wow looks a lot like a heatpump grill
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:04 PM   #11
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


3 pics
1st - right of the hvac closet door, just a brick wall and nothing.
2nd- looking out my window at the the vent for the 'outside' AC coils, its opposite side of the closet door
3rd - here you see the air return inside at the bottom, and the vent for the outside coils out the window, and theres the door to the balcony.

Sorry, it's getting dark and my phone camera sucks.
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:17 PM   #12
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


Update with your location, and that way, those that are in the trade, that may be in your area, can give you further info as to best option. I would say though, that you are looking at some costs, since those units are usually a one size fits all. If the unit is as old as the building, yes technology has changed in the past 22 years.

You can get a start by looking at what is out there at the various companies sites (trane, lennox, armstrong air, etc.) and then get bids from various companies in your area. I would guess that you would also have to have the plan drafted for the work, to present to the condo assoc. board also, so they can okay the major change.
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:27 AM   #13
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


Thanks gregzoll,

I'm in Northern VA, yup, the building is about 22 years old. How did you know that? From the Armstrong model #? I wasn't able to find anything on it. Everyone here seems to know that it costs a little over 5K to replace these HVAC units. That's why I was trying to go the cheap route and find a replacement cooling unit only, but I guess if the system is 22 years old, that could be pretty tough.

I did start to get my hopes up about the fan speed issue, was really hoping that a special thermostat to control the AC fan speed could work.
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:30 AM   #14
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


I bought this place just over 5 years ago, never really found out anything on the HVAC unit, so I really don't know how old it is. I assumed that is wasn't the original system, since the building was 17 years old when I bought, and it did and still does work pretty well. Just need to fix that noise issue.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:54 AM   #15
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Replace just the Cooling Unit for Condo HVAC System


Quote:
Originally Posted by justinm001 View Post
You're talking about the heat pump outside only and not the internal components? I'm in the same position, my AC unit is very loud outside and need it replaced so we can actually use our patio instead of yelling over the AC unit.

I did some quick research and as long as it's a similar model you can easily replace the AC unit. Considering it only pumps and cools the Freon, as long as similar ton and able to connect without issues I don't see how anything else matters.
The problem with replacing just one part of an older system and not the other is that the refrigerant may not be compatible. The R22 on the label in the OP's picture above is no longer being (nor legal here in the U.S. to be) used in new equipment. The current acceptable "environmentally friendly" types of refrigerant operate at different pressures at which your old air handler unit most likely cannot handle.

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