Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1

    1990 York w/Evaporator leak - Whole system or just air handler?

    Hello, I have a 1990 York E2CS03 2.5 ton heat pump system that has been diagnosed with a fairly rapid leak in the evaporator coil.

    13 days ago I woke up to poor air flow with almost no temperature drop from the registers. I discovered the evaporator and the lines inside the access panel of the condenser iced over. I check the filter, it was not clogged. (I had a permanent electrostatic filter which I clean monthly, but, after this incident and some research, have switched to a 3-M disposable pleated filter.) I shut the system down, let everything thaw out, restarted it, and found the temperature drop to be only a few degrees. Now beyond my expertise and assuming low refrigerant, I called the local service company.

    The technician confirmed the coolant charge was low (none has been added in the 8 years I have been in the home). He felt that it made the most sense to fully charge the system and see what happened before looking for leaks. The system functioned well for at least 5 days. On the 6th day I went out of town for 4 days. Returning on day 10, I found the system not cooling at all, but it was not iced up this time. A different tech came out from the same company. He says that the evaporator coil is leaking and the air handler assembly needs replaced. He is recommending a Goodman 14 SEER air handler with heat kit for $xxxx installed. However, he also commented that the compressor/condenser is undersized.

    This leads me to lots of questions.

    The home is 1800 sq-ft or 14,400 cu-ft single-story home and is well insulated. It is located about half way between Houston and Dallas. To complicate matters further, I am planning an addition in the next 12-24 months that will add a 360 sq-ft room with a cathedral ceiling for and additional 4500 cu-ft. My complaints with the current system are: Temperature is uneven with noticeable changes when the system cycles off and on in both heating and cooling modes. Also, duct-work does not seem well balanced, as some rooms are always cooler/warmer in cooling/heating modes than others. Some reliability issues, but from reading other horror stories they’ve been pretty mild – 1 new contactor, 1 new capacitor, 2 condenser fan motors over 8 years.

    Other than general advice/opinions, I have the following specific questions:

    1) I am leaning towards upgrading the entire system to account for the addition next year. Another option would be to add a second system with the addition and split the systems at that time. I’ve had spilt systems on larger 2-story homes and been very pleased with the results, but it doesn’t seem to make as much sense on a smaller single-story - yes/no?

    2) Are the top of the line 18-19 SEER dual speed compressor, variable speed air handler systems worth the premium, or, like new computers, is the sweet-spot one step down the food chain so that you don’t end up being a beta-tester. Reliability is, by far, my first priority, followed roughly equally by efficiency, quiet operation, and serviceability.

    3) The 2nd tech commented off the top of his head that the unit was undersized based solely on square footage of the house (no Manual J Load Calculation). Is this obvious to someone with experience, or should it be a warning sign regarding the contractor? Also, if the unit is undersized and 18 years old, shouldn’t he be recommending replacement of the entire system rather than just the air handler?

    4) What about the Goodman product? Research indicates they have about average repair history, while their high-end Amana line appears to have excessive reliability problems. I’m currently leaning towards sticking with York. Even though I’ve had some problems, they seem pretty minor compared to what I read other people going through. Also York seems to have efficiency, quietness, and warranty that equal or exceed every one else. I’m also considering Carrier/Bryant, Trane, and Rheem.

    5) York use a 2 stage compressor, but I have not been able to determine if it is a Scroll, or something else. It appears that the Scroll is the best out there right now, yes?

    6) York has a feature they call “Hot Heat Pump”. Are they just employing the aux. heat coils, or is this some advancement in technology?

    6) Is there any difference between York, Coleman, and Luxaire other than the name plate (price, warranty, etc)?

    7) I’ve also noticed that, to get the best warranty (in some case lifetime compressor), it appears that you need to install a complete, matched system all at once (I can see the importance of this from the manufacturers’ position). Am I missing anything here?

    8) What is the best configuration of the air handler? IE: vertical/horizontal, blower & aux heat before/after evaporator.

    9) What about options like a second evaporator coil to control humidity, and media air cleaners? (I am already using a Honeywell VisionPro 8000 Thermostat with humidity setting.)

    Sorry to be so long winded, but I have to make a decision pretty quick and there is a lot to consider. In closing, let me say that I am a perfectionist who values high quality and durability more than gimmickry and I’m willing to spend the extra money as long as I’m getting a good value.

    Thanks for the help.
    Last edited by zlinski; 06-29-2008 at 05:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,943
    Quote Originally Posted by zlinski View Post
    Hello, I have a 1990 York E2CS03 2.5 ton heat pump system that has been diagnosed with a fairly rapid leak in the evaporator coil.

    13 days ago I woke up to poor air flow with almost no temperature drop from the registers. I discovered the evaporator and the lines inside the access panel of the condenser iced over. I check the filter, it was not clogged. (I had a permanent electrostatic filter which I clean monthly, but, after this incident and some research, have switched to a 3-M disposable pleated filter.) I shut the system down, let everything thaw out, restarted it, and found the temperature drop to be only a few degrees. Now beyond my expertise and assuming low refrigerant, I called the local service company.

    The technician confirmed the coolant charge was low (none has been added in the 8 years I have been in the home). He felt that it made the most sense to fully charge the system and see what happened before looking for leaks. The system functioned well for at least 5 days. On the 6th day I went out of town for 4 days. Returning on day 10, I found the system not cooling at all, but it was not iced up this time. A different tech came out from the same company. He says that the evaporator coil is leaking and the air handler assembly needs replaced. He is recommending a Goodman 14 SEER air handler with heat kit for $xxxx installed. However, he also commented that the compressor/condenser is undersized.

    This leads me to lots of questions.

    The home is 1800 sq-ft or 14,400 cu-ft single-story home and is well insulated. It is located about half way between Houston and Dallas. To complicate matters further, I am planning an addition in the next 12-24 months that will add a 360 sq-ft room with a cathedral ceiling for and additional 4500 cu-ft. My complaints with the current system are: Temperature is uneven with noticeable changes when the system cycles off and on in both heating and cooling modes. Also, duct-work does not seem well balanced, as some rooms are always cooler/warmer in cooling/heating modes than others. Some reliability issues, but from reading other horror stories they’ve been pretty mild – 1 new contactor, 1 new capacitor, 2 condenser fan motors over 8 years.

    Other than general advice/opinions, I have the following specific questions:

    1) I am leaning towards upgrading the entire system to account for the addition next year. Another option would be to add a second system with the addition and split the systems at that time. I’ve had spilt systems on larger 2-story homes and been very pleased with the results, but it doesn’t seem to make as much sense on a smaller single-story - yes/no?
    I usually prefer seperate systems due to the fact that the addition will have different heat gain/loss factors and that two systems are easier to balance as well as more economical to operate.
    2) Are the top of the line 18-19 SEER dual speed compressor, variable speed air handler systems worth the premium, or, like new computers, is the sweet-spot one step down the food chain so that you don’t end up being a beta-tester. Reliability is, by far, my first priority, followed roughly equally by efficiency, quiet operation, and serviceability.
    My preference in moderate temperature areas is a 16 SEER system, single or two stage, with a variable speed blower. If you are in a lower southern clime, the 18+ SEER systems may be beneficial and if you are in more northern climes, a 14 SEER system could very well be the most that will be beneficial. No matter what the area, a variable speed blower is going to allow for better efficiency year round as well as be able to be set up for many comfort factors that a standard psc blower motor simply cannot provide.
    3) The 2nd tech commented off the top of his head that the unit was undersized based solely on square footage of the house (no Manual J Load Calculation). Is this obvious to someone with experience, or should it be a warning sign regarding the contractor? Also, if the unit is undersized and 18 years old, shouldn’t he be recommending replacement of the entire system rather than just the air handler?
    Undersized? Only if your system does not satisfy the temperature requirements is it undersized. The rest would be conjecture about the contractor.
    4) What about the Goodman product? Research indicates they have about average repair history, while their high-end Amana line appears to have excessive reliability problems. I’m currently leaning towards sticking with York. Even though I’ve had some problems, they seem pretty minor compared to what I read other people going through. Also York seems to have efficiency, quietness, and warranty that equal or exceed every one else. I’m also considering Carrier/Bryant, Trane, and Rheem.
    While there is nothing wrong with the Goodman brand (the Amana and Goodman air handlers are virtually the same), I would not put a Goodman air handler with any other brand heat pump unless I were planning on replacing the heat pump with a matching Goodman heat pump in the near future. Since heat pump components should never be mis-matched, whatever brand heat pump you plan on having put in in the future should be the brand of air handler you have put in now.
    5) York use a 2 stage compressor, but I have not been able to determine if it is a Scroll, or something else. It appears that the Scroll is the best out there right now, yes?
    Not necessarily. There are units that use the Bristol 2 stage recip compressor that are just fine. Some of the Yorks used to use the Bristol 2 stage (York used to own Bristol), but I don't know if they still do. Scroll compressors have allowed the HVAC industry to progress in ways that recip compressors would not allow, but there is nothing wrong with either technology.
    6) York has a feature they call “Hot Heat Pump”. Are they just employing the aux. heat coils, or is this some advancement in technology?
    I'm not familiar with this.
    6) Is there any difference between York, Coleman, and Luxaire other than the name plate (price, warranty, etc)?
    Not much. The internal functions are identical.
    7) I’ve also noticed that, to get the best warranty (in some case lifetime compressor), it appears that you need to install a complete, matched system all at once (I can see the importance of this from the manufacturers’ position). Am I missing anything here?
    To have anything but a complete matching, ARI rated system with any of today's systems is just foolish. Heat pump systems are just that; SYSTEMS. The final manufacturing of all split "system" heat pump systems is done on site at your home. The outdoor part of the system and the indoor part of the system need to be matched for proper operation.
    8) What is the best configuration of the air handler? IE: vertical/horizontal, blower & aux heat before/after evaporator.
    Unit configuration does not much matter. In all conventional heat pump systems the aux heat is after the indoor coil (only an evaporator during cooling). There are only a few specialty heat pump systems that have the aux heat before the indoor coil. On those systems, the aux heat cannot be operational at the same time as the heat pump. It must be one of the other.
    9) What about options like a second evaporator coil to control humidity, and media air cleaners? (I am already using a Honeywell VisionPro 8000 Thermostat with humidity setting.)
    Second evaporator coil? You may have been told about something called reheat coils, which are not used in residential systems other then some usages with at least one brand of geothermal unit. Not something that is available for your situation. Air filters need to be able to keep the HVAC system clean while not restricting the air flow. If you are looking for heathier air quality, it is best to go with some sort of HEPA by-pass system.
    Sorry to be so long winded, but I have to make a decision pretty quick and there is a lot to consider. In closing, let me say that I am a perfectionist who values high quality and durability more than gimmickry and I’m willing to spend the extra money as long as I’m getting a good value.

    Thanks for the help.
    Nothing wrong with being a perfectionist as long as your realize this ain't no perfect world
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,089
    York is using the Copeland unloading scroll in their 2 stage equipment now.

    The "hot" heat pump is just slowing the blower to get a higher discharge. Personally I don't see that as efficient and more strain on the compressor but does make for more comfort.

    I seem to think Bristol is not under the York/JCI umbrella anymore but their website doesn't address.

  4. #4
    I usually prefer seperate systems due to the fact that the addition will have different heat gain/loss factors and that two systems are easier to balance as well as more economical to operate.
    I can see how it would be easier to balance the systems, but it surprises me that 2 systems would be more economical than 1. Is it enough of a savings to justify the initial purchase price of the 2nd system?

    To have anything but a complete matching, ARI rated system...
    What is ARI?

    Second evaporator coil? You may have been told about something called reheat coils, ...
    I may be using the wrong terminology. What I was referring to is something Lennox calls Humiditrol. (http://www.lennox.com/products/overview.asp?model=HD) It appears to be a 2nd evaporator coil in the air handler. Lennox says humidity is removed at the 1st coil and temp is regulated at the 2nd one. Humidity is a big issue in my location. If I set the thermostat at 78, it stays comfortable in the daytime, but at night, when the outside temp drops, I sometimes have to bring the thermostat all the way down to about 70 to dry the air out enough to sleep comfortably.

    Nothing wrong with being a perfectionist as long as your realize this ain't no perfect world
    Yea, but I can still shoot for that goal, knowing I'll never quite reach it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    va
    Posts
    800
    Quote Originally Posted by zlinski View Post
    I can see how it would be easier to balance the systems, but it surprises me that 2 systems would be more economical than 1. Is it enough of a savings to justify the initial purchase price of the 2nd system?



    What is ARI?



    I may be using the wrong terminology. What I was referring to is something Lennox calls Humiditrol. (http://www.lennox.com/products/overview.asp?model=HD) It appears to be a 2nd evaporator coil in the air handler. Lennox says humidity is removed at the 1st coil and temp is regulated at the 2nd one. Humidity is a big issue in my location. If I set the thermostat at 78, it stays comfortable in the daytime, but at night, when the outside temp drops, I sometimes have to bring the thermostat all the way down to about 70 to dry the air out enough to sleep comfortably.



    Yea, but I can still shoot for that goal, knowing I'll never quite reach it!
    [what is ARI]...american refrigeration institute. Go to ari.org....All equipment and systems are ARI rated such as electrical equipment having the UL rating. Properly matched systems carry an ARI rating.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event