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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Confused Compressor and contaminated lines?

    My local HVAC tech just diagnosed my Heat Pump compressor as being "shot". Fan will not spin and Circuit breaker will not turn on. This is a 20 year old Carrier 8 Seer unit! However in addition to replacing the unit he says that my lines are also contaminated now and the indoor unit needs to be replaced.

    Last year when the Fan motor was not working he said that it was possible to just replace the outside unit without doing anything else, I chose to replace the Fan motor piece.
    However, this year he says that because the compressor died, my lines and indoor unit needs to be replaced as well. He says that there is now CONTAMINATION in the lines and the indoor coil is burned!!

    Does this sound right? Is that possible?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,760
    yes it is possible, replace it all.

    you don't want to put a new 13 seer unit on any coil that old, especially a contaminated one.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Portland.OR
    Posts
    316

    Arrow All things are possible two bad parts in a row....

    If your outside unit fan motor was replaced last year, its 99% OK, course if the breaker wont work, it cant run either...

    20 years is a blessed compressor! time for much higher efficiency. You'll save much $$$ with them now on your electric bill, but they arent cheap either!!
    When compressors croak, they often short out [burnup] and make acid. Sure you could keep the old one but after that long its time to replace it.

    Would you put 3 new tires on a car, when its smoking and wont past DEQ?
    Its important to KNOW when to get new, and that was his advice..

    Since I ASSUME the coil is also 20 its time to change it too.

    So do you TRUST him??? Has he keept it going for much of that life and changed the contactor, added a hard start kit or put some freon in it before?
    Did he treat you fair then?.....Or need a 2nd opinion?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,535
    Last year he may have had a lower SEER unit in stock that he could have used. But now doesn't have one anymore.

    Best to replace both. You'll get better savings that way.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,794
    mabee the fan motor is grounded but at 20 years it is time for a new system

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    56
    You know, last year when your fan motor stopped running last year, you likely sustained a fair amount of damage to your compressor as it ran against thermal safety devices. That can break down the oil and damage those old windings in your compressor, but leave it limping along once the fan is replaced and running.

    It will be a bitter pill to swallow to replace those copper lines, given the cost of copper these days. And some contractors don't want that part of the project because it is so time consuming compared with using the old pipes over and blowing some cleaner through the old pipes. I think you heard good advice, assuming his diagnosis of compressor burnout is correct.

    I replaced a SEER 7-8 window unit with a whole house system that cooled my entire home instead of the living room, while operating cost dropped.

    I've cut open copper lines after a compressor burn out and it smells like fire in there months later. Washing even a short pipe out with solvent doesn't take out the contamination, regardless of claims. You still smell the fire after the solvents "clean" it. You don't want to pump that contamination into your new equipment and cause it to burn down early. New copper lines and a new system will set you up for fifteen or twenty more years with lower operating costs.

    I'm not sure what your contractor means by "indoor coil is burned". More likely he means your indoor coil is filled with contamination from the burned windings in your compressor.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Hmm Compressor and Contaminated line?

    Thanks to all who responded, you guys are great. This is new to me and I would not know what to do without your advice. I think the way to go is with a new 410A system that will give me another 15 - 20 years since I am not planning on going anywhere!

    There is still one decision to make: a brand unit such as Lennox or Carrier or an off brand such as Goodman or Gibson?

    Any thoughts or comments? The off brand is being offered to me by a few different contractors. One swears they are just as good and the other still feels the brand names are better and stronger long term.

    What do you guys think from your experiences?

    many thanks!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,535
    Get quotes on the same grade for each of those brands, and then compare what you get for your money.

    Gibson is builder grade Nordyne.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Compressor and Contaminated lines

    Currently getting quotes. The off-brands are cheaper but my concern is the quality. Are they just as good and comprable to the name brands?

    Some people say yes others tend to not even offer the off-brands.

    For example: a Carrier 14 SEER is $1,000 more than a Goodman! That is a big differnece, 20%.

    Any experience with the off-brands?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,535
    Goodman's ok.
    But, that may not be the difference in the price.
    What other things are included in the estimates.
    Using new or your old thermostat, duct alterations, new OD pad, new OD disconnect.
    Type of air filter, how long is the labor warranty. Type of air filter.

    What do teh actual proposals say your getting, or not getting for the money.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chelmsford MA
    Posts
    1,518
    If you have read through here at all you will see that the brand is nowhere near as important as the install. Choose the contractor you feel will do the best job, then take his recommendation for equipment. We install both name brands and off brands and have no more problems with one or the other.
    We only want to do it, if we can do it right.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Compressor and Contaminated lines?

    Ok. That makes sense and I have gotten 3 estimate that are somewhat different. One company is very adamant about replacing all the lines which means running lines on the outside stucco of my house. The other 2 companies are saying that it is OK to replace all the lines that ara accessible and re-use the lines in the wall which they will blow/clean out.

    But here is where I get confused. If the lines are contaminated as stated previously by the contractors why would I want to re-use any portion of them? Two of them say that they will get cleaned and blown out which is satisfactory according to Equipment Manufacturer standards and we can leave the lines inside the wall alone. One says absolutely not!!!

    What do you think? Can they really be blown out and cleaned so they do not cause long term equipment damage? that is what the one guy says who insists that I should get new lines (by the way his estimate is not the most expensive and seems fair for a Lennox XP13 systems and Air handler).

    thanks in advance guys!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    11,347

    *

    Quote Originally Posted by gutvlad View Post
    Ok. That makes sense and I have gotten 3 estimate that are somewhat different. One company is very adamant about replacing all the lines which means running lines on the outside stucco of my house. The other 2 companies are saying that it is OK to replace all the lines that ara accessible and re-use the lines in the wall which they will blow/clean out.

    But here is where I get confused. If the lines are contaminated as stated previously by the contractors why would I want to re-use any portion of them? Two of them say that they will get cleaned and blown out which is satisfactory according to Equipment Manufacturer standards and we can leave the lines inside the wall alone. One says absolutely not!!!

    What do you think? Can they really be blown out and cleaned so they do not cause long term equipment damage? that is what the one guy says who insists that I should get new lines (by the way his estimate is not the most expensive and seems fair for a Lennox XP13 systems and Air handler).

    thanks in advance guys!
    imo, the time and material needed to clean up badly contaminated lines

    would be better spent on replacing the lines, its a common sense thing!



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