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.