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  1. #1
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    Jun 2008
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    Advice: high efficiency worth it yet?

    Newbie here.

    The connection terminals on our 1996 York Stellar Plus A/C compressor fried the other day. There's nothing left to connect the wires to.

    The cost to fix the compressor is around xxxx. The cost to replace the A/C system ranges between xxxx to xxxx depending on the brand I've looked at so far.

    Since the furnace is a 1993 Trane XL 80, I inquired about replacing it as well with a two-stage 92% efficient model.

    But here's my problem. I've been reading a lot of negative things about these newer high efficiency models that have come out. For example, in A/C, Bryant (aka Carrier) seems to have problems with their coils, and I'm not sold that R410 isn't causing its own set of problems in other brands. In condensor furnaces, Carrier has had problems with their secondary heat exchangers, and Lennox seems to be difficult to service. It appears after all the years there have been problems, Carrier has yet to redesign their heat exchangers, instead opting to give new owners a 20-year warranty. I'd rather they fix the underlying problem by using stainless steel.

    Is this information fairly accurate? Instead of jumping into the high efficiency game quite yet, I'm thinking of just replacing the compressor in my current York and waiting a few years for things to get ironed out. I clean our furnace every year, and it seems to be working just fine, so if it ain't broke...



    NO PRICING IN POST
    Last edited by Senior Tech; 06-28-2008 at 10:53 PM. Reason: Removed pricing

  2. #2
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    Nov 2000
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    There is nothing inherently wrong with today's higher efficiency equipment when properly matched, sized and installed. Sizing is more important with staged equipment. Despite what some believe, it is more important NOT to oversize multistaged systems.

    I would not put that much money in a 12 year old system. However, if there are even nubs remaining on the compressor terminals, there is a relatively inexpensive repair for them.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
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  3. #3
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    Jan 2008
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    Check out Hybrid/ dual fuel. Up there in MN, I'd think you'd want a 90%furnace whichever way you go. Nothing wrong with high efficiency furnaces, unless you like dumping 20% of your natural gas out the chimney, vs. about 5% with high eff.
    Nothing wrong with 410a either. Unless you find a contractor who is scared of it.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2002
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    All of the problems you mentioned have nothing to do with efficiency.

    410a most likely won't give you problems if it's installed properly.

    Quality in general has gone down, and many clamshell heat exchangers are notorious for cracking and popping crimp rings. (From what I have read/seen here and other sources at least)

    If your existing system is in otherwise good condition repair is probably your best option.

    To me replacing the 80% furnace to save 10-15% makes no sense; the money could be better spent draft proofing and adding insulation.

    As for the york condenser, if your cooling season is moderate and it's in good condition, repair is probably your best option; just be aware that changing a compressor won't make even the best unit new; it's only a matter of time until other components have to be replaced. (Could be something cheap like a contactor, or expensive like a fan motor)
    General public's attitude towards our energy predicament: "I reject the reality of finite resource depletion and substitute it with my own; energy is infinite, we just need an alternative storage medium to run the cars on. The economy can grow indefinitely - we just need to "green" everything! Technology is energy! Peak what?"

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by amd View Post
    All of the problems you mentioned have nothing to do with efficiency.

    410a most likely won't give you problems if it's installed properly.

    Quality in general has gone down, and many clamshell heat exchangers are notorious for cracking and popping crimp rings. (From what I have read/seen here and other sources at least)

    If your existing system is in otherwise good condition repair is probably your best option.

    To me replacing the 80% furnace to save 10-15% makes no sense; the money could be better spent draft proofing and adding insulation.

    As for the york condenser, if your cooling season is moderate and it's in good condition, repair is probably your best option; just be aware that changing a compressor won't make even the best unit new; it's only a matter of time until other components have to be replaced. (Could be something cheap like a contactor, or expensive like a fan motor)
    Why in the world would you state that quality has gone down? That is simply not at all true. And Carrier is the only company I know still using clamshell heat exchangers and I am unaware of any major issues with them.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    Crimped clamshell HXs are still out there. Bryant/Carrier, A-S/Trane, the Lennox brands, ICP...

    I think most of today's stuff is not nearly the product of 10 years ago. How can it be? Prices have remained fairly steady, especially on furnaces. The price of cars has gone way up. So the only way to build a furnace for the same price is cheaper components. That's why we have so many problems and push the he!! out of extended warranties.

    I have a 1994 XV80 and along with my 1995 WeatherKing heat pump, you're gonna have to pry them outta my hands! They are here as long as they work! I can see yanking that 22 year old Yorkie but that XL80 was a great furnace. Back then, we could put them in and not expect to be back for anything. Then came the Intell-ignition board

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    I think most of today's stuff is not nearly the product of 10 years ago. How can it be? Prices have remained fairly steady, especially on furnaces. The price of cars has gone way up. So the only way to build a furnace for the same price is cheaper components. That's why we have so many problems and push the he!! out of extended warranties.
    I don't have any insight into quality trends, but it is a basic principal of economics that keeping an item in production results in a lower cost of production, especially if production rates go up over time. That lower cost can be offset from other factors- inflation, raw materials, etc., but the primary reason an older part gets more expensive is if demand falls off and production volume with it.

    -HF

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Crimped clamshell HXs are still out there. Bryant/Carrier, A-S/Trane, the Lennox brands, ICP...

    I think most of today's stuff is not nearly the product of 10 years ago. How can it be? Prices have remained fairly steady, especially on furnaces. The price of cars has gone way up. So the only way to build a furnace for the same price is cheaper components. That's why we have so many problems and push the he!! out of extended warranties.

    I have a 1994 XV80 and along with my 1995 WeatherKing heat pump, you're gonna have to pry them outta my hands! They are here as long as they work! I can see yanking that 22 year old Yorkie but that XL80 was a great furnace. Back then, we could put them in and not expect to be back for anything. Then came the Intell-ignition board
    BaldLoonie's thoughts validate much of what I was thinking, not because of any direct knowledge like you folks have, but more based on some of the horror stories I've heard from co-workers and friends who have installed the newer equipment.

    As a point of clarification, our York is actually 12 years old rather than 22, so in a way I feel like it just gained 10 years of life!

    My wife and I have been discussing this and, thanks to your input to validate some of my concerns, we are leaning heavily towards spending the xxxx bucks to fix what we have rather than xxxx to replace the A/C, or xxxx to replace everything. We only get about a dozen or so days a year where the dew point and temperature get to where we really need the A/C, and our Trane XL 80 furnace is running well enough that it doesn't need replacing yet.

    Even though we can afford it, we just don't have confidence in the new stuff. Warranties don't mean a thing if the repairman is always coming out to fix something. One can only hope the quality will improve as time goes by because what we currently have isn't going to last forever.

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    Last edited by Senior Tech; 06-28-2008 at 10:55 PM. Reason: Removed pricing

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Crimped clamshell HXs are still out there. Bryant/Carrier, A-S/Trane, the Lennox brands, ICP...

    I think most of today's stuff is not nearly the product of 10 years ago. :
    I think it is more the case of todays products doing so much more , with way more electronics and boards, and taking away the simplicity of older units, that the tech considers them inferior.

    Not that they are , its just a case that there are a lot more things to go wrong, its gonna cost 10 times more for parts, and at todays labor rate ...... well you know

    Years ago you needed very little with you to fix a unit, and not a lot there to troubleshoot.

    If it were that same situation now , that you needed very little to fix a unit, and with younger people seeming a lot cheaper now, and with the internet ........... we probably wouldnt even have much work on furnaces. DYI's would be doing it all, for each other.

    They definatly wont last 30 - 40 years like the old units. You also have to figure that nowdays pretty much every tech out there is going to recomend a new unit , if its over 10 years old .......... commision on sales

    OK so maybe not about every tech ......... but a lot more then there should be. Its just the way things have changed , wether it be right or wrong ....... thats just a matter of each others opinion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenNoVac View Post
    BaldLoonie's thoughts validate much of what I was thinking, not because of any direct knowledge like you folks have, but more based on some of the horror stories I've heard from co-workers and friends who have installed the newer equipment.

    As a point of clarification, our York is actually 12 years old rather than 22, so in a way I feel like it just gained 10 years of life!

    My wife and I have been discussing this and, thanks to your input to validate some of my concerns, we are leaning heavily towards spending the xxxx bucks to fix what we have rather than xxxx to replace the A/C, or xxxx to replace everything. We only get about a dozen or so days a year where the dew point and temperature get to where we really need the A/C, and our Trane XL 80 furnace is running well enough that it doesn't need replacing yet.

    Even though we can afford it, we just don't have confidence in the new stuff. Warranties don't mean a thing if the repairman is always coming out to fix something. One can only hope the quality will improve as time goes by because what we currently have isn't going to last forever.
    Installation is everything.......those that are always having the repair man out probably got a substandard installation and thats causing all the problems.


    As far as repair, you should get a second look at it from another company. As stated earlier, there is a product available that can repair your current compressor at a fraction the cost of a new one. Can't go into much more detail but before you drop xxxx, get a second opinion. Its very possible that your first technician missed something or didn't complete a full diagnostic.

    I would hate to see you spend all that money if its not worth it. Get a second opinion and go from there. You may be suprised at what you get out of it.

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    Last edited by Senior Tech; 06-28-2008 at 10:56 PM. Reason: removed pricing
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    If you don't know, then don't do. If you don't know and still do, then be prepared to pay someone else a lot to undo what you did and then do it right.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by iraqveteran View Post
    As far as repair, you should get a second look at it from another company. As stated earlier, there is a product available that can repair your current compressor at a fraction the cost of a new one.
    Okay, so I get into Craigslist and e-mail a couple of HVAC moonlighters who love to earn some extra $$ on nights and weekends. One responds and comes out. Puts ohm meter on condenser. (You know, the first guy who came out from the company who installed our unit 12 years ago didn't do that. I wonder if he gets a commission on those XXXX compressors he installs.)

    Anyway, the ohm meter reads proper resistance, so my new guy finds a way to temporarily connect the wires so we can test the compressor. Wa la. It works. He puts a pressure guage on the coolant line, and it works, too.

    But he doesn't have the permanent repair kit with him, so he undoes his work and turns off the circuit breaker. He'll get the kit on Monday and stop out again. No guarantees, of course, and the fix might not be the overall cure, but if it doesn't work he can get me a whole new condenser for a lot less than XXXX.

    This 12-year old York is really in pretty good condition. I clean it regularly and use a custom-made cover in the winter. It would be a shame to give it up. We don't use it all that much to begin with as there aren't that many days here in Minnesota where the dew point and temperature are that uncomfortable, so to me it seems there should still be a lot of life left in the ol' girl. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong and I'll do what needs to be done to make it right. But if this works, well, maybe we will get a few more years of good service out of it, and I will owe a lot of gratitude to this forum.

    Thanks for the wonderful advice everyone, and all the best.

    Ken

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    Last edited by Senior Tech; 06-28-2008 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Removed pricing

  12. #12
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    If there is anything left of those compressor terminals, it is an easy & very low cost fix. I ran into quite a few, & never suggested replacing the compressor.

    Use a file & the right emery paper to get down to the good conduction area, there are a number of ways to make solid connections, that if done right won't burn off.

    They should never have outlawed the manufacturing of 10 & 12-SEER equipment, there will be a lot of folks that cannot afford the big coil units. Everyone loses when that happens.

    As long as it is legal,
    I would rebuild the 10 & 12 units & make them work for all those who cannot afford the new equipment. I would not throw clean equipment systems away. I could say a lot more but won't! - Darrell
    Last edited by udarrell; 06-28-2008 at 07:35 PM. Reason: the manufacturing of -

  13. #13
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    A. Why would you spend that kind of money on a compressor that you think is made of lesser quality and only comes with a 1 year limited warranty. Its made with todays fast production, cost cutting methods. And if it fails in 13 months, you have a nice expensive conversation piece.

    B. How come everybody is posting prices, in a no pricing forum.
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