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  1. #1

    Being told I need to replace entire system because coil in air handler is bad

    Hello, my family just moved into a new house a few months ago. We were told that the A.C. was new-ish when we purchased the home. Well, we noticed that the central A.C. would freeze up every 2-3 weeks. We'd clean the filter, thaw it out and it would run again for another 3 week period and freeze up again.

    So we called a repairman out to take a look. He told us that the previous owners had only replaced the big outside unit which contains the compressor and that the outside unit looks to be installed a few years ago and was manufactured in 2003.

    But he said they didn't replace the inside unit which was built in 1996 and has rusted coils and is totally filthy/gunked up. Repairman suggested that we buy a new inside unit since outside unit is relatively new and skip replacing coils.

    But he couldn't give us an estimate as what anything would cost.

    His boss called me today to give me a quote and said that the coil in my air handler is bad. He said that I could either replace the air handler and modify it to work with the old kind of refrigerant my unit takes - or - replace both the inside and outside units. He said that replacing the air handler is a bad idea because it has to be modified to fit old refrigerant and if either the outside or inside unit breaks the costs to repair would be astronomical due to this refrigerant issue.

    Seems like it shouldn't be such a big deal to just replace the rusted coils and clean the Unit but he definitely did not agree with that plan of action. He also insisted that I replace the outside component as well, not just the inside, which dismayed me because I was under impression it was relatively new.

    Am I crazy for thinking that there's a simpler solution other than replacing everything inside AND outside?

    Hope that made sense, thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
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    5,060
    Quote Originally Posted by mgs9988 View Post
    Hello, my family just moved into a new house a few months ago. We were told that the A.C. was new-ish when we purchased the home. Well, we noticed that the central A.C. would freeze up every 2-3 weeks. We'd clean the filter, thaw it out and it would run again for another 3 week period and freeze up again.

    So we called a repairman out to take a look. He told us that the previous owners had only replaced the big outside unit which contains the compressor and that the outside unit looks to be installed a few years ago and was manufactured in 2003.

    But he said they didn't replace the inside unit which was built in 1996 and has rusted coils and is totally filthy/gunked up. Repairman suggested that we buy a new inside unit since outside unit is relatively new and skip replacing coils.

    But he couldn't give us an estimate as what anything would cost.

    His boss called me today to give me a quote and said that the coil in my air handler is bad. He said that I could either replace the air handler and modify it to work with the old kind of refrigerant my unit takes - or - replace both the inside and outside units. He said that replacing the air handler is a bad idea because it has to be modified to fit old refrigerant and if either the outside or inside unit breaks the costs to repair would be astronomical due to this refrigerant issue.

    Seems like it shouldn't be such a big deal to just replace the rusted coils and clean the Unit but he definitely did not agree with that plan of action. He also insisted that I replace the outside component as well, not just the inside, which dismayed me because I was under impression it was relatively new.

    Am I crazy for thinking that there's a simpler solution other than replacing everything inside AND outside?

    Hope that made sense, thanks!
    Post the model and serial number of indoor and out will help. Labels are on the equipment

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Western KY
    Posts
    1,221
    I understand your frustration. It should be simple but unfortunately it is not. EPA regulations and energy efficiency requirements, which seem to change yearly now, have muddied the water. There are to many to try to cover here but what you may be facing is you have an R22 system with a SEER rating that is no longer produced due to the before mentioned regulations. And in order to replace one piece of your system you may indeed need to replace all of it. There are, as far as I know still some "dry units" available from some manufacturers that may be applicable to your situation. However since R22 is being phased out, EPA regulation agin, it's cost will indeed sky rocket. I recommend having a second company evaluate and give you options and compare, always a good idea, and ask questions. A good tech or manager will take the time to explain your issue so that you understand the why. Oh ya then call your congressman and ask him too.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by second opinion View Post
    Post the model and serial number of indoor and out will help. Labels are on the equipment
    here's what I could find thanks:

    Inside unit:

    Top/Upper Half :

    Rheem / M# RCGA 48A1A521 / S# M1096

    Lower Half:

    Rheem / M# REBA21J10NUEAI / S# T M1096 05038

    Outside Unit:

    Rheem

    M# RAND 048JAZ

    S# 7303 M2406 19892

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    King Ranch Texas
    Posts
    216
    so no one has diagnosed a leak, so lack of airflow from a dirty coil is one option causing your issue. I would have the coil pulled and cleaned before replacing it if there has not been an actual diagnosis of a leaking coil. When you look at the coil does it appear dirty or clogged enough to restrict airflow?
    Sic semper tyrannis

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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Integrity Aire View Post
    so no one has diagnosed a leak, so lack of airflow from a dirty coil is one option causing your issue. I would have the coil pulled and cleaned before replacing it if there has not been an actual diagnosis of a leaking coil. When you look at the coil does it appear dirty or clogged enough to restrict airflow?
    not sure. The repairman that came out did not say anything was wrong with anything that was in the Outside unit. the coils inside the Inside unit were freezing up. The coils themselves don't look dirty but there is certainly a ton of gunk up in the inside unit.

    Repairman said that the coils in the inside of the unit are rusted.

    but they're not rusted through and there was no diagnosis of leakage. the issue that he seemed MOST concerned about was the dirtiness of the Unit.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Western KY
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgs9988 View Post
    not sure. The repairman that came out did not say anything was wrong with anything that was in the Outside unit. the coils inside the Inside unit were freezing up. The coils themselves don't look dirty but there is certainly a ton of gunk up in the inside unit.

    Repairman said that the coils in the inside of the unit are rusted.

    but they're not rusted through and there was no diagnosis of leakage. the issue that he seemed MOST concerned about was the dirtiness of the Unit.
    I missunderstood your problem. If there was no leak diagnosed and only a dirty coil issue stated as reason to replace call them back and ask why the coil was not cleaned first of all. Then bite the bullet and call a reputable service company to come service the system properly before any thought of replacing. As I said earlier replacing may require whole system and will be very expensive. If its just dirty it should have been cleaned not condemned.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,123
    I'd get another company in to clean the indoor coil. Since you don't say that any refrigerant had to be added any of the times it froze up.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    4,710
    with somewhat vague info relayed, a second opinion would definitely be in order.
    The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and stamps EVER.
    Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals". Their stated reason for this policy "... the animals become dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Tallahassee, FL
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    Rheem coils are just impossible to clean without removing it.

    If it ain't pulled (coil and fan) than it ain't clean. IMHO.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    michigan
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    677
    Quote Originally Posted by SBKold View Post
    Rheem coils are just impossible to clean without removing it.

    If it ain't pulled (coil and fan) than it ain't clean. IMHO.
    Right on!
    I am the "Wally". All others are meer imitations of the original.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
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    2,132
    First optioin I would try cleaning the coil. Second option repalce the air handler with a new Trane. They have a couple models that change for different refrigerants with a switch. So if you need to change the outdoor unit in the future all that needs to be done is fllip the switch and flush the coil to remove residual oil, etc. It saves the hassle of changing TXV's the having ot change it back later if refrigerants are changed.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    2,663
    Quote Originally Posted by kls-ccc View Post
    First optioin I would try cleaning the coil. Second option repalce the air handler with a new Trane. They have a couple models that change for different refrigerants with a switch. So if you need to change the outdoor unit in the future all that needs to be done is fllip the switch and flush the coil to remove residual oil, etc. It saves the hassle of changing TXV's the having ot change it back later if refrigerants are changed.
    what is the model num. of that unit please.

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