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  1. #1

    condenser and coil

    I need to replace my Ruud Achiever 9 condenser. The unit was manufactured in 1990. I live in the San Francisco Bay area where the weather is quite nice. I don't really need a lot of A/C. My wife and I work and we would only use this on weekends and perhaps very hot days.

    Do I really need to replace the existing coil? I understand that I may not get the efficiency that is advertised but I don't think that it an issue given my situation. Are there any other risks besides lower efficiency?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,586
    I always tell people to do the most they can afford to. It will save you money down the line. If you also have an 18 year old coil, my experience tells me it will start leaking soon. It will be cheaper to have the company out once and do it than coming out twice. A large part of the price is the labor and tying up one or 2 guys for half a day. Is it cheaper to have them out for half a day once, or half a day twice?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,299
    Why do you need to replace anything?

  4. #4
    When I turn on the A/C I hear a loud squealing noise coming from the condenser and the fan doesn't rotate. About 3 or 4 years back my wife had a cover on the unit and then proceeded to run it. After an hour or so load noises came from the unit and it hasn't worked since.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,962
    Your indoor coil is 18 years old, why take a chance on it? Despite it not being of the same physical capacity as newer coils, it may have been affected adversely by whatever is happening in your outdoor unit. Keep in mind that the indoor coil is an integral part of the entire system. The indoor coil is not some completely remote part that is not connected to the outdoor unit, it is part of the same system. Whatever is going on with your system includes the indoor coil being part of the problem.

    You would be taking a chance by keeping the indoor coil. Why do that?
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  6. #6
    Seems like the consensus is to change the coil as well. I appreciate the help. I have a related question. I had two HVAC professionals come out to bid. One said that changing the coil is labor intensive as it sits under the heater and he needed to remove the heater to change the coil. The other said that he would use the same case and just solder a new coil in the existing case. He said it was not labor intensive. They seem to have different opinions. Any guidance on this one?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,586
    There is a better than average chance that the coil that is recommended and matches your new condenser will be physically larger in size than your old one. I would be afraid that the guy who says he can slide it in will be putting in a coil that fits the box you have rather than the one that should go with the new condenser. Without seeing your setup, knowing what you have and knowing what they are installing, its hard to say for sure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,299
    If you don't use it that much, might be worth slapping a fan motor in til it dies. Just a thought, probably not a popular one though

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,308
    If the contractor thinks he can fit a new matching coil in the case, he's right that that way isn't labor intensive.

    Not to beat a dead horse.
    You saind your not wooried about efficiency loss. What owners like youself don't realize. That efficiency loss isn't that it just uses more electric to provide the same amount of cooling. It may use the same amount of electric to provide less cooling. And its possible it may use more elctric to provide less cooling.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Valdosta Ga
    Posts
    847
    You may want check on mini split units and get rid of the heater / air conditioner and duct work. Use the furnace room for storage and be able to heat or cool just area's of the home you are using

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,308
    That'll cost more then the condenser and evap coil. And put a unit in almost every room.
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  12. #12
    Lots of feedback. Thanks to everyone. I guess if I try to summarize it looks like this:
    • Get a matching coil for the condenser. I will gain efficiency, have fewer problems and probably be cooler.
    • Validate that the matching coil will fit in the current case. If not I may be in for extra costs.
    • Sorry I can't use the idea about mini split units as I don't think I will be in the house more than a 2 - 3 years.
    • The idea about the new fan motor is an interesting one but I think it depends on what the problem is. It seems most professionals want to replace rather than debug and fix. At least that is the impression I got. I am sure that is easier and probably cheaper for me, but I am just guessing.

    If it helps the outside dimensions of the case for the coil is 20" wide, 18.5" high and 22" deep. I was quoted a 3 ton compressor that was a SEER 13. One suggested a Bryant and the other a Carrier.

    What am I missing and what other questions should I be asking?

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