New homeowners need AC advice - repair or replace
We moved into our house a month ago. When the home was inspected it was too cold to test the AC (mid Feb in PA). The sellers offered a home warranty so we thought that was enough. A few weeks ago when we turned on the AC it appeared to not be working properly. We set the thermostat to 70...the AC turned on, ran for about a 1/2 hour and turned off. We thought it was a thermostat issue but reset it and still had the same problems. Last week we called our home warranty company and they sent out a technician. The technician determined that it was the compressor. We have a 2 ton Goodman system that was installed in 2001. The compressor is no longer under warranty so the home warranty company will partially pay for the compressor to be replaced. The technician also stated that the returns and ducts in our basement were not installed properly and should be replaced in order for the system to operate efficiently. We decided called another company for a quote. The 2nd technician also agreed that the compressor needs to be replaced but suggested upgrading to a 13 seer condenser instead (currently we have 10 seer). First because it would be more efficient but second because the warranty would be 10 years versus 1 year on the compressor. Which one should we replace? He also stated that the returns and ducts in our basement were not installed properly. He stated that our system required 800 CFM and it was only set up for 300. Is that important? Being new home owners we are trying to keep our costs to a minimum but also get our AC back up and running properly. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Have you concidered looking at a replacement system (use the goverment rebates to off set the cost ) being a new home owner you may want to invest now. Depending what furnace you currently have you could replace with a much higher efficent unit and heat pump or ac. Go to a few hvac dealers and let them show you the options.
Would this solve the problem with the returns though? Or would that only solve the problem with the equipment?
Resubmitting in hopes of getting more advice today...thanks in advance!
If you're gonna be there awhile then
replace it. Get the highest EER/SEER you can afford. Main thing is make sure you get a good install.
Few other things I've learned here and on my own:
a) kill all outside air intrusions (windows, door seals, intrusions from attic)
b) make sure your insulation is more than adequate
c) have someone check the ducts (ours was weird)
300 CFM on a 2 ton system- yes, that would be a large problem. 800 CFM is good. It sounds fishy to me though. What could be that far wrong on the return ducts? Did a truck squash them flat? How did he measure air flow without the system running?
As far as upgrading to 13 SEER, is he going to replace the evaporator coil too? A 13 seer condenser on a 10 seer coil is a debateable configuration, although I do it and have never had an issue. Maybe it works here because them outside temp doesn't change much. I've even seen 14 seer on a 10 seer coil with fixed orifice and it was working beautifully.
To be safe, and get the most out of your new home, I would have a reputable company replace the condensing unit and the evap coil. If the ducts are a problem at that point then address it, but it worked for the previous owner.
It would be best to have a new system properly installed.
you will be happy with the results if it is done proprely.
Ok, sounds to me like you need to replace the compressor minimum. That the system was not up to snuff seems to be without dispute. If you have a home warranty company then I would hold their feet real close to the fire. They have warrantied your house and said they would guarantee that it was or is in "good condition". Well it is not and they need to fix the problem. The problem is that you have no air conditioning and the ducts are in poor condition. Do you live in a city with codes and inspectors and if so would the ducts pass a city or local authority inspection?
Now the air conditioning system itself is 8 years old, that is about halfway into its expected life span. If you are going to replace only the compressor your warranty will be limited. However, most compressors can be expected have a life span of 12-15 years, properly maintained of course.
If you decide on upgrade your air conditioning system you need to look at a minimum of a 14 seer unit with R-410a, the new freon that will be mandatory after the new year. The old r-22 will get more and more expensive to find and have put in.
Too expensive, look at financing plans and talk to your local air conditioning contractor. I recommend BBB as a place to start.
Last edited by quickcat46; 07-03-2009 at 11:10 AM.
Reason: poor spelling