Goodman Warranty Tech Out Of Ideas - Please Help Save My Hair
My heat pump is not keeping my house cool even in mild (22' C) weather and my warranty tech cannot find the problem and is ready to give up. Please read over the sequence of events and what I've observed and give me the benefit of your experience and ideas!
I have a goodman GSZ130241AB heat pump split between outside and the attic. It's a two-tonne unit and the area it cools is about 1700 sq ft. The house is 2 years old, the HVAC stuff the same. The first summer I was here the unit worked well. It developed a leak and stopped working at some point, but this was repaired and the unit kept the house cool again.
This spring, I noticed it would not cool at all. Because of unrelated complications (home warranty), someone did not come out until some time in June. That visit was productive and they found that there was oil leaking out of the outside heatpump onto its pad, and that one of the components there needed to be replaced (had a small hole in it underneath). I think it was "the dryer" but I could be wrong about that. They also did the compressor as a precautionary measure.
After this, the unit did not work properly (kind of intermittent), and the outside insulated copper pipe would frost up. The service person checked everything up and down and could not figure out the problem. This went on for for some time. He checked for blockages, restrictions, blew out the coil (s), etcetera etcetera. Then a month later he gets back to me and tells me the compressor that was put in was actually for another refrigerant type, and not the proper match for the rest of my R-410A? system. This is apparently bad to mix the two types of refrigerant as they become corrosive. So, the problem was found.
Next thing that happened was they replaced the whole outside unit because of no parts availability (took a couple weeks again), and blew out the rest of the system with some kind of special AC cleaning stuff.
Now its the end of the summer, and the unit does not keep the house cool when its even mildly hot - but it does mostly function. Today for example the house reached 23' C when set for 21.5' C steady. After I noticed that it had reached 23 it took about an hour or so for it to come back down to 21.5 where the set point was. It's only about 20 - 22.5' C outside, so you can understand that this behaviour ends up being unpredictable, and when the service person comes here he checks the pressures and temps coming out of the duct work and says everything is fine.
I know how this unit should behave though, and when functioning properly the temp never wavers even on a 30' day.
Basically its at the point where I know the service guy doesn't want to hear from me and they are asking me questions like 'did you kepe the door open for a minute'. But I need this fixed and I need it fixed before the hot weather completely disappears. I'm crossing my fingers for a day next week that might get to 25' and maybe the problem will show up more obviously and stick around.
The way I see it, sure everything was checked, but that was before this unit was replaced, and something could have changed, or something else could have been done improperly. Putting in the wrong compressor is a pretty big oops in the first place IMO.
I want to try and work with this service person to get this solved so "call somebody else" doesn't really help me. Can anyone see whats being overlooked here? I'm pulling my hair out over this.
EDIT: The outside insulated copper pipe does not frost, the air coming out of my ducts is ~ 54' F on my cheap crappy probe thermometer, and I looked for ice on upper and lower coil and didn't see any.
Thanks for reading
If the air coming from vents is 54F that sounds like it is cooling the best it can, it could be freezing up when outdoor temp gets lower at nighttime. Once it begins freezing up it impedes airflow which causes unit to freeze more and more. If they installed a compressor with the wrong oil in it then it will foul up all types of things in the system. Also if they used a cleaner to get the oil out and didn't remove all the cleaner from system that will really foul up components in the system. Tell the tech to check superheat and sub cooling. If he doesn't know what that is then its time for another tech. If he does then it should tell him what is wrong with the system (restriction, over/under charge, airflow, noncondensables, etc)
He did check superheat as a last thing to show me, and he said it was within the proper range. I didn't follow that explanation very well to be able to really examine his conclusion much. He didn't mention sub cooling to me so I don't know if that was checked.
The behaviour only seems to happen in the afternoon which is also the hotter part of the day. But today it was lagging 1.5' C for at least an hour, and now its working fine and outside temperature is very similar to what it was, so pure outside heat doesn't seem to be the whole issue. Its more like, some kind of intermittent problem that appears and disappears every day.
Also, one thing I forgot - when the wrong compressor was put in, part of the troubleshooting was to put in a thermal cutout? that shuts off everything if there is ice until it thaws. And this problem was still acting the same with that installed. I had them disconnect it yesterday so that a problem might be more obvious and also to eliminate a faulty cutout. I will try checking for ice earlier in the day before I actually notice the house not keeping cool though so I can at least point to something concrete to the service person.
EDIT: Yes, the compressor that was put in, did have the wrong oil in. But my service guy says between replacing the whole outside unit and blowing out the rest of the system that it should be fine. ? If there was still cleaner leftover in there, would that behave like this does?
Thanks for your response jtrammel!
If there is still traces of the other oil and/or flush in the system then it could be wearing out components and overheating the compressor, then it would shut the compressor off and not cool until it cooled off enough to close the switch and come back on. The compressor may need a start accessory to help it start a little easier. I would talk to the company about giving you an entire new system or giving you a settlement and finding another contractor to install a completely new system. The company should have insurance to cover mistakes such as this, if not I would not let them work on my house. I wouldn't let them work on my house after installing the wrong compressor. Are you going through a home warrant service?
Time to replace the service tech
Thanks for the comments guys. This does involve home warranty, (sortof), but the service person has been called by the builder of the house. I'm told by the service guy that he is the person goodman dispatches for this area. Today and the next few days are going to be a little closer to summer weather so I'm going to monitor closely to see if I can gather any better info on when this lags behind for cooling.
On the issue of the R-12? and R-410a oil mixing and then being cleaned out - if the whole outside heat pump has been replaced, system blown out and cleaned, (and assuming that some cleaner was not left in) then the only thing not replaced is the coil in the attic and the lineset, right? I'm told these two things could not have been damaged by the mixing, can someone correct me if I'm wrong about this?
One more note - tech told me it was goodman who specced and delivered the wrong compressor with R-12 in it.
Perhaps you could post model numbers of indoor and outdoor equipment and any technical data that was provided by technician, such as pressures,temperatures, voltage, airflow in cfm etc, we would have a better chance of helping.
Originally Posted by bluenote73
There are no r12 compressors for residential use, r22 and R410a and in some applications R134
Thanks SC. I was told what the other refrigerant was but I wasnt sure if I recalled correctly. The unit model is GSZ130241AB
Originally Posted by second opinion
Im afraid I did not note down pressures or temps he used to calculate the super heat, but I was told they were proper.
I'll try to be even more nosey and write down more details next time. The next 5 days are predicted to be 25 - 30'C so I'm hoping to gather some decent data of how much and when it lags.
Unfortunately a lot of consumers get told "the pressures are fine". You would not be here if that was the case. The indoor model number is also needed along with technical data. Just measuring temperatures is not going to tell you a lot about what the system is doing. You may need to go with a different service provider even if it under warranty by others. If "others" can not determine the problem then they are useless to you. Require all data listed in previous post. Air flow being the most pertinent along with pressures.