Compressor Replace or Unit Replace
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Yardley, PA
    Posts
    11

    Compressor Replace or Unit Replace

    I have a 10 year old Lennox 5 ton unit in my residential house. It is a heat pump with propane back up heat. Last winter I noticed a considerable increase in propane usage, where 2 times I actually ran out. Didn't think anything of it since we were warm all winter.

    Come spring, I find out no A/C. Call the tech who says system is empty and adds 8lbs of R22. Three weeks later the tech finds a leak and adds 4 more lbs R22 after repair. He of course offered me a chance to replace before he repaired, I politely declined due to economics. Now the outdoor unit runs but no cooling, and after 3-4 min the circuit breaker trips.

    My question is, did I ruin the compressor, which in hindsight means it probably ran for several months with no freon (until the back-up source came on)? I ask this question before I call for service as I am uncertain whether to even try replacing parts (not me but professionally). Can you replace just the compressor? Is that a common repair? Is this possibly the capacitor?

    Your advice is welcome, also since the energy credits may make it worthwhile to replace and offset some cost.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    New unit ,higher SEER ,operating savings,10 year mfg warranty parts and labor,likely better off in the long run,then the cost of a compressor replacement,if that's what it is.Compressor today,coil next year,and you've spent a lot towards a new system.

    I'd have it checked out to see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Pan Handle, Fl
    Posts
    599
    I'd call a contractor and find out what the problem is. He will be able to give you options from there. I've changed out more compressors in the last year than I have in the 3-4 years prior, combined. People are trying to save money anywhere they can. To me a 10 year old Lennox should still be in pretty good shape. BTW make sure there still isn't a leak. If it's still leaking that should be factored in to any repair or replace decission.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,606
    You can change out the compressor.
    But, its a crap shoot weather or not you'll have to replace other expensive parts this year or next year. making keeping this unit running an expensive option.

    See if you can find a contractor that has same as cash financing.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    205

    Burn-out..?

    Quote Originally Posted by spudman9 View Post
    I have a 10 year old Lennox 5 ton unit in my residential house. It is a heat pump with propane back up heat. Last winter I noticed a considerable increase in propane usage, where 2 times I actually ran out. Didn't think anything of it since we were warm all winter.

    Come spring, I find out no A/C. Call the tech who says system is empty and adds 8lbs of R22. Three weeks later the tech finds a leak and adds 4 more lbs R22 after repair. He of course offered me a chance to replace before he repaired, I politely declined due to economics. Now the outdoor unit runs but no cooling, and after 3-4 min the circuit breaker trips.

    My question is, did I ruin the compressor, which in hindsight means it probably ran for several months with no freon (until the back-up source came on)? I ask this question before I call for service as I am uncertain whether to even try replacing parts (not me but professionally). Can you replace just the compressor? Is that a common repair? Is this possibly the capacitor?

    Your advice is welcome, also since the energy credits may make it worthwhile to replace and offset some cost.
    If the compressor was burnt-out and shorted it would trip the circuit breaker immediatly...! If its in locked rotor it could take longer. Checking the start components is a must, it could be a bad start capacitor or relay. Loss of refrigerant can mean loss of oil which could cause a locked rotor condition. In my experiance once a compressor locks it will do it again with very few exceptions, (I've had one or two that didn't). Being that the compressor is the heart of the system with proper dehydration and good clean up, including finding the leak(s), compressor replacement would be my first choice as that the system is not that old. I,m not sure about the new tax credits but I believe you must replace the ENTIRE system includng a matched air handler and evaporator coil.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    279
    Anytime a compressor takes a dump and burns out its like throwing paint thinner in your Car engine and expecting to FLUSH it out and be okay for 10 years to come.

    Nope no way in hell !!!

    Personally IMO your compressor has no warranty at all because of how it was ran with a known leak, to add all that R-22 was NUTS !!!

    A/C is a want not a need, shut it off save your $ and get a unit next year that will not suck you dry like your current system.

    5 tons of cooling you say ? what is the SQ ft of your home.

    Just being totally honest !!!

    I would also recommend a new company to deal with, anyone who adds that much R-22 in a empty system does not use there head
    I forgot my Pen !!!

    Quote Originally Posted by RoBoTeq View Post
    Think of the old stuff as dumb and strong and the new stuff as smart but just not so tough.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Yardley, PA
    Posts
    11
    My house is a 3,000 sf colonial in a mostly sunny area. The first tech added that much r22 to get the system operational prior to leak test. I paid mucho $$ for the R22 but I assume he weighed the tank properly and tested. BTW, original install company did the work and has been around a long time.

    I'll talk to my new company today, but I think I'll be better off with a new condensor, coil and evaporator, even though that will be mucho $$.

    I guess the root of my questions is whether compressors fail that often and are they usually replaced?

    Again, I appreciate all of you knowledge and advise, knowing that my decision ultimately rests between a trusted tech and myself.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Yardley, PA
    Posts
    11
    Any recommendations for a contractor in the Bucks County, PA area? I live just west of Trenton NJ in Yardley, PA.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Yardley, PA
    Posts
    11
    Well I spoke to what I hope is a reputable company. They agreed that replacing the condensor and evaporator with a 15 SEER Trane unit is the best. I dabbled with changing the furnace for the Tax credit but it was not available (see a different thread).

    While I will be out mucho $, I think this will hopefully give me 18 or so years of comfort.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    658
    Quote Originally Posted by spudman9 View Post
    While I will be out mucho $, I think this will hopefully give me 18 or so years of comfort.

    18 years.....? dont know about the PA area but around here the average is about 12-15 yrs tops. and most units die way before that.

    Good luck....
    You're only as good as your customer will allow you to be.........If they want junk, sell them junk, but make your junk look neat!!!

  11. #11
    Hey SPUDMAN9 I live in yardley PA and I had a new system installed about a a yr ago that was done by Christain heating & air 215-357-5012. They did an outstanding job. Give them a call if you are still looking for a great outfit to take care of your AC needs.

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