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Today, 12:47 AM #1New Guest
- Join Date
- Jun 2013
Whole new outside unit? Or just replace compressor?
I just returned from a 2 week vacation to find my A/C not cooling. It did this in 2011 after the house was vacant, but turned out someone had tried to steal the unit & cut the coolant line. I checked, not the same issue. After changing the filter & opening up the unit & doing a thorough cleaning of the intake section at the coils, I finally called the guy who installed the interior unit in '08 & who repaired the exterior unit in '11.
He thought it just needed coolant. Nope.
Then he thought maybe some sort of blockage in the line. Nope.
He was here for 1.5 hours and literally tried everything, trying to make it an easy fix. Now his suggestion is that the compressor must be going out. It's puling 24 amps, vs. 18. He washed down the entire outside unit and got it down to 22 amps, but it's still not cooling. Everything outside & inside appears to be functioning. No funny noises or anything. He's now suggesting just replacing the whole outside unit and leveling the concrete slab under it.
I was in sticker shock & failed to ask these questions (I do plan on calling in the morning, but it's too late to call tonight so I thought I'd ask here):
- Why can't we just replace the compressor vs. the whole unit? The exterior unit was installed in summer 2000. So it's right at 13 years old. He did mention R22 being "liquid gold" & being expensive, but wasn't offering to just replace the part. What would be the reasoning for wanting to replace the entire unit?
- The slab is not a huge incline, just a slight drop on the back side. Is that really a big deal? It's not in danger of sliding off or anything. It's just a minor incline.
I've asked around & gotten a few referrals from friends on other companies to call for a price quote. The one I used is very reputable. Everyone I know who's ever used them has a good recommendation for them. They are pretty popular in my city as being the company to use. So I don't think they are being deceptive or trying to over-charge.
I do know that we need to maintain the same sized unit ... that it has to match the interior unit in performance ... but that's about as far as my knowledge on HVAC units goes. I'm pretty illiterate on this subject. So please keep your answers at a beginner's level so I can understand what you are saying.
Here's the specs on the unit if it helps:
Today, 05:32 AM #2
I'd call for a second opinion.
A compressor replacement is an expensive job and I haven't seen many fail where they draw a slightly higher amperage than normal.
Either they lock up or the valves fail, causing lower than normal amperage.
Today, 05:50 AM #3Professional Member*
- Join Date
- Feb 2009
- Tallahassee, FL
These problems are not easy to diagnose so id hate to see you pay another company to come out and say heck I dunno - replace the unit. We can help you though but we need the tech to write down all the freon pressures, the copper line temps, and the air and humidity indoors and airtemp outdoors.
Also a little tip for the service guy - he needs to install a pressure tap in the compressor discharge line and compare that reading to where he was already reading his pressures.
Sounds like its not the compressor either at this point. But its definitely shortening its life running at the amps you posted. Good luck. Oh and luckily your unit only holds about 6 lbs of r22.
Today, 05:58 AM #4
Changing a compressor is very labor intensive with no real warranty. If the compressor is replaced best warranty would be 1 year. You can spend have the cost to 75 percent just replacing the compressor only to have warranty on it for 1 year.
You can look at dry shipped R-22 unit that will give you in most brands 5 years on the coil, parts And compressor. Sure it's more up front but the warranty is better compaired to just changing out the compressor.
Might even want to have a load cal done to determine proper sizing of the system needed compaired to what you have now. Then get a comparison estimate to replace the whole system vs just the outdoor unit.
At least look at that option as what he told you is correct with the price of R-22 refrigerant is high. Any warranty still left on the air handler installed in 08? Usually just one part of the system installed only cares 5 years but I would suggest checking into that.
If no warranty left on the newer air handler. You might want to just bite the bullet and install a new complete system with R-410 a. As most brands/manfactors now have 10 year parts, coil and compressor warranty when registered. Just ask for all the options along with a load cal. Weight the pros against the cons and see what makes the best sense.
Today, 10:00 AM #5
If it has a discharge line muffler; they can breakdown & caused a discharge line restriction which would drive up the amps & reduce cooling capacity.
To test for a restriction, use a infrared thermometer to check the temperature at both ends of the line. A temperature drop of 5° F or more indicates the line is restricted and must be replaced.
The R-22 can be recovered & reused...during any work on the system...
Today, 04:55 PM #6New Guest
- Join Date
- Jun 2013
Thanks everyone. I appreciate your willingness to help!
I found a husband of a friend who does A/C work (didn't know that!) and he's coming over this evening to look at it free of charge. He says if it does need replacement, he just happens to have a 3.5 ton unit that he pulled off another house when they switched to an R-410 system. He says it's 6-7 years old, but does work. It might be our short-term solution until it crashes. Maybe it will last long enough that we can just convert the whole system to R-410.