Match new air-handler to 17 y/o Trane Heat Pump?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    10

    Match new air-handler to 17 y/o Trane Heat Pump?

    I'm in the process of buying a house, and the heat pump is a 17 y/o Trane which appears to be working fine (AC at least...its nice and cold). I'm hoping it'll last another 5-6 years.

    The air-handler however is 27 years old and is rusted and damaged as you can see in the picture linked below.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2776004...87196/sizes/o/

    How important is it to match a new air handler to the Trane I have in place now? If they use whatever builder grade unit they find and it's not matched, what will be the result for me? Higher electric bills? The Trane will die sooner? Since the current 27 y/o handler is original, it doesn't appear to be matched to the 17 y/o Trane...and it seems to be working fine.

    Secondly do the pictures of those ducts look pretty bad? Should I assume they are leaking or something? The inspector is recommending that they be replaced.

    Also portions of the newer ducts are touching the ground in the crawlspace. Is it a pretty big deal that they aren't hung properly? I'm assuming it is since my inspector said something about water accumulating in them if they dip to the ground.

    Thanks for any info. I'm pretty new to all this.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Las Vegas,NV
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    744
    You dont want to mate that thing to a new air handler. Second, that heat pump has lasted seventeen years and has worked year round, it has done its time. You really need to replace the whole thing at once, and I'm sure everyone else will probably give you the same advice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    10
    Well if it's not broken why do I need to fix it? (the heat pump)

    Maybe I should just ask for a concession, have them give me the cash for a new air handler and save it for when the pump finally dies? It says the handler is currently sucking in crawlspace air though so I can only guess that that's adding at least 10-20/month to the electric bill.
    Last edited by synapse88; 06-17-2008 at 02:12 PM. Reason: more info

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Zelienople, Pa
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    2,965
    That damaged duct needs replaced.

    If the outdoor unit is 17 years old, expect problems any day.

    I recognize that company sticker!
    How tall are you Private???!!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Hell Hole Swamp
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    Quote Originally Posted by synapse88 View Post
    Well if it's not broken why do I need to fix it? (the heat pump)
    The new air handler will be for R-22 refrigerant which is being phased out, they wont make an outdoor unit compatible with it after Jan 1, 2010, keep that in mind.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    smalltown VA
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    15
    You dont want to mate that thing to a new air handler. Second, that heat pump has lasted seventeen years and has worked year round, it has done its time. You really need to replace the whole thing at once,
    Ditto.

    That damaged duct needs replaced.

    If the outdoor unit is 17 years old, expect problems any day.
    Ditto.

    The new air handler will be for R-22 refrigerant which is being phased out, they wont make an outdoor unit compatible with it after Jan 1, 2010, keep that in mind.
    Double Ditto

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    67,597
    Yep, that duct work is toast.

    You can match a new airhandler to that 17 year old outdoor unit. It may not have as warm of an air in the winter.
    If the outdoor unit dies after 2010, you can get a new coil for the air handler. Sort of paying twice, but saves you up front, cost you more in the long run.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    SouthEast NC ICW & Piedmont Foothills
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    7,635
    if it's sucking crawlspace air somebody better take a look at that coil.


    T/BWH........she's been a goodun
    It`s better to be silent and thought the fool; than speak and remove all doubt.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandyme View Post
    if it's sucking crawlspace air somebody better take a look at that coil.


    T/BWH........she's been a goodun
    What would you check the coil for? Leaks or something else? Whats T/BWH mean?

    So recently I've been thinking about just asking for an allowance to change out the air handler ($1k or something), then sitting on that money until the outside unit dies and replacing both at the same time. Could I make any temporary repairs on the damaged air handler to prevent it from sucking crawlspace air? Would it be as simple as running the AC, then crawling down there and sealing up any obvious holes/gaps where air is coming in?

    I'm going to ask them to replace those ducts. Do I need to make sure they don't put in crappy ducts? Will they try to put in un-insulated ones or do they all come with insulation these days?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Lancaster PA
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    A seller won't be using the most expensive company. And will want anuy repair done, to be done as cheap as possible. Don't have the seller do the repair.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
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    Northern Wisconsin
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    I'd ask for an allowance to replace the entire system, equipment and ductwork at your convience and choice of contractors and then up your loan to cover a full system replacement and get it done right after closing.

    With the age and condition of what the pictures showed you'll save on your energy costs, maintenace costs, possibly health costs (if it's sucking in air from the crawlspace) and the difference in you house payments will be minimal. I'm betting you'll save more in energy costs than you'll pay in increased loan payment and that will only get better year by year as energy costs continue to rise.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    10
    Quote Originally Posted by firecontrol View Post
    I'd ask for an allowance to replace the entire system, equipment and ductwork at your convience and choice of contractors and then up your loan to cover a full system replacement and get it done right after closing.

    With the age and condition of what the pictures showed you'll save on your energy costs, maintenace costs, possibly health costs (if it's sucking in air from the crawlspace) and the difference in you house payments will be minimal. I'm betting you'll save more in energy costs than you'll pay in increased loan payment and that will only get better year by year as energy costs continue to rise.
    I think that would be a little optimistic at this point, considering the heat pump works fine at the moment...and I asked for $550 for a home warranty, which I realize isn't the best thing in the world, but at least it does provide some degree of protection for me. Also I don't really want to add more $ onto the loan at this point.

    I'm hoping to be able to make some temporary repairs to the air handler (a-la metal tape or something like that) to prevent it from sucking air from the crawlspace. And then bide my time waiting on the heat pump to fail at which time I'll replace both the pump and handler. What do the experts here think about that strategy?

    Also would it be worth paying the $100ish to have a HVAC guy come out to look over the heat pump (prior to me closing)? I assume with the exception of a major leak (found by a pressure test?), he probably wouldn't be able to point out any huge issues with it since it's working fine at this point. What do you guys think about that? Worth it considering it's working fine now (the AC at least).

    Thanks for everyone's input here so far. I'm pretty new to this and all the comments have been very helpful to me.
    Last edited by synapse88; 06-18-2008 at 02:09 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    Home warranty companies usually won't cover a mismatch system. So that warranty may end up being worthless if you have a problem.
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