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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    7

    Question Repair or Replace- 8 year old Carrier Unit

    hi everyone,
    I've been reading many posts on this forum and a few others trying to find answers and have decided to post and ask all of you knowledgable folks for opinion.

    Please forgive me for not knowing all the proper terms for parts....my job is to take care of the kids and to make the house freezing cold...how it gets cold wasn't my problem until the last couple of weeks.

    2 story home with upstairs unit and downstairs unit, and furnace in the attic built in 2004. We are the 2nd owners, bought in '07 and quite frankly, other than change the filters a couple times a year, the only time its been serviced is after a problem.

    The units outside are Carrier
    model 38CKC024340
    s/n 4104E10193 & 1096

    When we first moved in 5 years ago, one of the units had a small leak and got a charge (I can't remember which one).
    A year ago, we had the drip pan in the attic replaced because it was rusting out and dripping rusty water down the outside of the house.
    Two weeks ago, a friend replaced the fan & capacitor on the unit outside. I'm fairly certain he knew what he was doing because he works for an electrical/HVAC company and does this sort of thing every day.

    This past week, the same unit that got the new fan and capacitor froze up. My friend said that he couldn't charge it, but his employer could because of the licensing of the freon? He came out yesterday, checked up in the attic, went outside, had some gauges, etc.

    His answer was that the coil in the attic is shot. I had 3 options.

    1. charge it and next year I will need to charge it again & again (agreed that it was an incredibly stupid non-option)
    2. replace the coil in the attic and hope that nothing happens to the unit outside (because then I have to replace the unit in the attic and the one outside so they match???).
    3. replace both now with new a new system (I am guessing that both outside units are replaced??)

    We are leaning towards new, because we've had problems already, but have also read on some forum posts that 8 years isn't that old, yadda, yadda.....

    I am expecting a quote from him, and have 2 others coming on Saturday to quote new systems.


    thoughts/opinions/advice??

    Thanks
    Rhonda

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,603
    It depends on how much you use the A/C. The coil replacement is the cheapest option.
    Make sure they use a (Carrier) tin plated coil if you go that route.

    Since the A/C in question is the A/C that works the hardest (2nd floor, cold air falls) and you plan on staying in the home, then you might want to invest in a higher eff. system.

    Mid-September manufacture rebates/specials start. Also be on the look out for utility or union rebates. If you can hold on, it would be worth your while.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    7
    Yes, its the downstairs unit that is giving us all the trouble.

    We keep the house COLD....well, *I* keep the house cold, everyone else wears longsleeves. And I run the a/c about 9 months a year.

    I keep the downstairs around 70, and upstairs around 68...year round. I try to make it colder but someone changes the thermostat on me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    7
    OH! I just remembered!

    Last year on Labor Day weekend, a storm came thru town and took out half of our power. The electricians said we only had 'one leg' ?? Local electric company came out and put a 'service saver' on the electrical box outside. That idiot fried our box, sparks, all sorts of craziness. It was hooked up for a few days. Duke and Pike made a HUGE deal out of it, apparently when the guy came to take it off he could have been electrocuted and there was a GIANT stink made. They replaced the box, took lots of pictures, apologized a bazillion times (for almost catching our home on fire), and bought me a new MAC computer.

    its been a year since that happened, but could it have shortened the life span of our unit? I think it was running for awhile and our friend making a fuss about shutting it off.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,888
    I believe the model 38CKC024340 is a 2 ton, rated 10 seer, R-22 outdoor condensing unit; if I'm reading S/N right, manufactured in January of 2004.

    When installed & setup properly; plus with the same tonnage cooling coil, those 10-SEER units cooled well in high humidity zones.

    George2; Make sure they use a (Carrier) tin plated coil if you go that route.
    Depending on the cost; & that the condition of the rest of the system is real good, I'd go with a 2-Ton coil replacement with a TXV refrigerant metering device.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,829
    Once a system reaches the "magic" age of 8-years, I start counseling the customer to consider repair costs versus replacement, only because once the repairs start it can be a bottomless pit of good money after bad. Carrier makes a good product and 8-years is not old by any measure. But it is, in all likelihood past the mid-point of its life, that typically being about 15-years. Since you seem to enjoy the cold, one option is to move north! (Just kidding.)

    A replacement coil is not anywhere near the cost of a new R-410A system. However, 9-months of operation screams efficiency to me. By that I mean that upgrading a 10-SEER system with a 13-SEER system will improve the efficiency by some 30%. Going to a higher efficiency number would likewise be even more beneficial in electrical consumption. In addition, I'd highly recommend a 2-stage unit (or modulating heat pump) for all those moderate days when you don't need maximum capacity. Having a 2-stage unit under moderate demand conditions will allow the equipment to operate for longer periods, reducing electrical consumption, increasing comfort and reducing start/stop wear and tear on the equipment. Naturally a variable speed blower should be purchased with the 2-stage equipment under any circumstance but even if going with a basic 13-SEER unit, I'd opt for an ECM or variable speed blower motor for efficiency purposes.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    7
    Quote #1 received- this is from my friends employer and the one that said the coil is shot.--- no pricing posted here.


    1) To replace the upstairs evaporator coil with a new coil. The existing refrigerant will be reclaimed, the
    new coil will be installed and the system will be filled with new R-22 refrigerant. This includes parts,
    labor and refrigerant. The new coil comes with a one year parts and labor warranty.

    2) To replace the entire cooling system with a new R-410a based cooling system. The entire outdoor
    section as well as the indoor coil will be replaced. A new 14 SEER Goodman Model GSX14 unit and
    matching indoor coil will be installed. This includes only minor ductwork changes necessary for the
    replacement of the indoor coil. This unit comes with a ten year parts and labor warranty.

    3) To install a new complete heating and cooling system. This includes a 95% efficient Goodman®
    model GMH95 gas furnace as well as a 2 ton, 14 SEER Goodman® model SSX14 Cooling system. The
    new system will have an ASHRAE® calculated 15 SEER rating. This includes a cladlite condenser
    pad, primary and secondary safety switches and safety drain pan. The furnace and a/c system will come
    with a ten year labor, ten year parts warranty



    Thank you for the info on the tin plated coil- if we go that route I will make sure to ask about it.
    We are wondering if the savings are enough to justify the price tag for options 1 or 2.
    Is there a reason why we would need to switch out the furnace?
    Are there any other big ticket parts that could fail next week? buying a fan assembly and capacitor is one thing..but I really don't want to purchase another high priced part.

    Brand- I've been reading on these boards, that for the most part, all the brands are the same, but I also get the feeling (from reading these boards) that Goodman is like KIA is to cars....runs great-till it doesn't, and not up to par with Toyota & Honda, but looks like one. That its the "new tract builder basic" brand that is low priced and works wonderful -atleast until the neighborhood is finished. Or maybe I'm wrong??? It's just the vibe I get.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,157
    I faced this same thing when my 13yr old system started leaking. Went with option #2, except buying thermal zone (re-badged Rheem) equipment. IMHO Rheem is better than Goodman and other economy brands, but not as nice as Carrier/Trane/Lennox. The most important thing is the installation, it will make or break any system. For our area 14 SEER offers the best payback IMHO, your rates may vary. 14 SEER also gets you additional goodies like a larger fan that turns at a slower speed (less noise), TXV metering in the coil (better humidity control)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    winnipeg
    Posts
    1,330
    goodman ...... i dont recommend it..... carrier.... Lennox... or Trane .... is all would have in my home....
    it was working.... played with it.... now its broke.... whats the going hourly rate for HVAC repair

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,603
    It'll be a long payback in MHO, because it's the 1st floor system. There is so very little load on that system. You did say there is a 2nd floor sytem? That would be the system I would recommend upgrading when it fails.

    If the coil replacement is easier on your pocket book at this time, go that route.

    Ask for a ADP coil with a built in TXV...........carries (I believe) a 10 yr warranty. At least a 5 yr. warranty. Labor will always be just 1 year. A TXV is a superior metering devive than cap tube or piston.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    7
    Quote # 2

    Carrier 14 SEER
    parts 10 yr
    labor 10 yr
    compressor lifetime



    or

    Carrier
    13 SEER
    Parts 10 yr
    Labor 5 yr
    Compressor 10 yr

    He didn't put any model #'s on the quote..(just brand & SEER) ..the company has been in the area for ages. He says he's been in this line of work for 27 yrs, with this company 7 yrs. He spent a lot of time here talking about how we could save money (leaks, radiant foil in attic) and how we we could some of it ourselves, very personable and helpful. He and my husband cleared out the drains on the outside of the house that were dripping. We just asked for a quote on a new system, not a repair quote. He was with a sheet metal company. He very knowledgeable about the workings of systems, brands, etc. He said he did repairs for many years and then moved into the sales side. He said he checked the circuit boards to make sure they weren't damaged when last year when the electric company screwed up with the service saver.

    He said our furnace was fine (and would have a combustion analysis) done to make sure it is working efficiently. Also said they would be cutting holes in the sides of the furnace, making a box, and also making a special fitting for the plenum ? Sealing the ductwork, re-use the refrigerant lines, flush and clean drain lines, permits, programmable thermostats. it would come with ARI (?) certificate, dryer box in the line.


    Quote 1 option 3 (Goodman SEER 14 ac & furnace) was close to what this Quote was for just the 14 SEER Carrier. Is it typical to have that kind of difference in pricing? Is it because of the brands or is it because the guy who quoted #1 is a small company vs the one that did Quote #2 is a large company. What's going on?




    The 3rd guy we called rescheduled for tomorrow. I've asked the guy who quoted #1 to clarify if that price is for 2 a/c units and also asked if he could quote another brand.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    28

    repair or replace

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    Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 09-01-2012 at 01:31 PM. Reason: non AOP member

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,400
    jeremyg

    This is the Ask Our Pro's forum. In order to post a response here, you must have verified qualifications and have been approved by the AOP Committee. You may ask a question by starting a new thread.

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