Hail Damaged Heat Pump Outdoor Compressor
In our hail storm last year, my outdoor compressor's fins were bent, badly.
The pictures of the unit and model information are attached.
The insurance company has cut a check to repair the fins on the unit, but with the age of the unit and the amount of damage, does it appear repairable or would it be cheaper to replace? I have straightened the fins on car radiator's before and have seen many novices get over-zealous with the straightening tool and puncture the fins. I think since the refrigerant is under higher pressure that would be more likely to happen in with the amount of straightening that needs to be done.
The compressor unit is a Bryant 661CJ036-A.
The electric Heat Pump it's connected to is a Bryant FB4ANF036. The insurance company only set aside one hour's worth of labor to straighten the fins, but I know to do it right will take several. After all is completed with the other repairs, I may be able to get an additional $3000 back from the insurance company.
Would I be over-reaching to replace the outdoor unit? And, does the Heatpump, itself need replaced at the same time? Will $3000-$3500 get me a setup that would suffice for the heating load of a 2500 sqft home?
Thanks for your assistance!
You have what appears to be very little damage so I'd just run it. If you wish to try and straighten, then go ahead, but overall it does not look too damaged. Since you have numerous areas that are not damaged, it would probably only take an hour or so to straighten. Me? I'd not worry about it.
Originally Posted by wahoo
Thanks, your advice is appreciated!
ive seen new units damaged worse than yours if it were mine id just run it.
you may damage it more trying to straighten them up.
A fin comb and a hour will fix that.
Originally Posted by second opinion
X4 its 14 years old "roll it till the wheels fall off" so to speak.
Everyday is like my first day!
Your condenser looks okay to me.
Nemo me impune lacessit.
How much blood do I have to bathe in to get clean?
Don't look down on anyone unless you're helping them up.
John, good picture......now THAT is hail damage and VERY hard to comb out!!
The picture doesn't do the bent fins justice. Granted, it doesn't look as damaged as the other unit pictured, it is pretty dinged up . . . the fins are bent an inch out from each ding.
My Electric Provider is offering a $300 rebate on replacement units and $600 on whole replacement (both parts of split-system) of working systems. I know the inside unit was replaced in 1998 and that the outdoor unit is at least that old.
If I could get by with replacing the unit with a higher efficiency and better heating potential with the least outlay of money that would be what I'm looking. My house is 2500 sqft and I am not sure if this unit is rated for the heating capacity.
My bills in the middle of the winter and summer are upwards of $600. The winter heat setting is 65 degrees and summer is 75. I am currently unemployed, but having insurance pay for some and my electrical supplier kicking in, I thought it would be a good time to upgrade?
Any Thoughts? Also, what tonnage, seer would be correct for the heating load of 2500 sqft with vaulted ceilings?
The outside is a 98 model. 3rd and 4th digit of the serial number for that manufacturer.
The fins being bent like that is a minor hit.
More insulation and weather sealing of the home may be a better investment.
A more efficient system may help, more efficient doesn't mean more capacity.
A more efficient system will cost less to produce that capacity.
Any time your requirements for heat are greater than the heat pump's capacity, the extra heat will be provided by the same sort of low efficiency electric heat strips. 3.412 BTU per watt. The heat pump can produce 2 to 3 times the heat per watt of electricity.
Insulation will reduced your home's heat loss in the winter and the heat gain during the summer.
Sealing leaky ducts will save money during winter or summer.
Power consumption issues with a heat pump.
1. Thermostat setback: Some people will use a digital thermostat to set back the indoor temperatures when the home is unoccupied during a winter day. Many heat pumps will bring on the auxiliary heat strips to recover back to the normal thermostat set point when the home is occupied. This can lead to higher heating bills as the auxiliary heat strips are less efficient that the heat pump. Sometimes it is cheaper to leave a heat pump at the occupied set point during heating season.
2. Dirty filters: A dirty filter will also increase power consumption during heating mode. The lack of airflow causes higher high side operating pressure which forces the compressor to use more power to move heat and can also reduce capacity of the system.
Sizing a system for heat pumps.
A lot of factors go into figuring the heat loss or gain of a building.
Size of the building. climate, insulation, air infiltration, the type and orientation of the windows are some of the biggies.
A correct analysis will tell determine the heat loss or gain of a building.
That being said, most heat pumps are sized for cooling. A system that is too large will be inefficient in operation and not remove humidity very well during the summer.
Some climates have a much greater heat loss during the winter than heat gain during the summer. Insulation and sealing of those homes are critical if you want a heat pump to operate efficiently during the winter. The heat strips will typically make up the difference and will cost a pretty penny during operation. For those homes a hybrid system that uses natural gas or oil during the coldest days may be less expensive to operate, depending on specifics of the cost of fuel.
Some utility companies have low priced financing available. Some also have weatherization programs where they insulate and seal the home and ducts.
When higher efficiency systems are installed with weatherization, you can have dramatic reductions in utility bills. The biggest complaints I'd heard were from customers who only bought higher efficiency equipment. I suspect most of the improvements reported have been from the insulation, sealing and duct sealing of the home.
Lack of maintenance will also increase costs. Worn or dirty components and excessive or insufficient amount of refrigerant will also increase heat pump operating costs in both heating and cooling.
No easy answers here.
Yes, your system is 14 years old. It's reaching the average life expectancy of an AC system.
Yes, Replacing it with a more efficient system will lower utility bills.
Yes, the rebates will lower the costs of replacement.
Doing it now will allow you to do it as a planned decision instead of a pressing emergency.
Will replacing your system dramatically reduce your utility bills? Probably not.
Replacing it along with an upgrade of insulation, sealing of the building and ducts has a greater chance of dramatically reducing your utility bills.
Last edited by allan38; 04-29-2012 at 11:47 PM.
“I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
― Benjamin Franklin
A more efficient outdoor and indoor section mated up to lousy ductwork will generally not net much, if any, utility bill savings. How many times have we read the lament posted here of: "I replaced my old system with all new high efficient stuff and my bills are still high!"? When asked if the ductwork was evaluated to see if it was the right size, or checked for leaks, the answer often given is no in either or both respects.
Good equipment can be hamstrung easily by poor ductwork. If you're after improving energy efficiency, don't forget the ducts.
Building Physics Rule #1: Hot flows to cold.
Building Physics Rule #2: Higher air pressure moves toward lower air pressure
Building Physics Rule #3: Higher moisture concentration moves toward lower moisture concentration.