have no clue... need some opinions
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    8

    have no clue... need some opinions

    i had an olsen unit installed 5 years ago which just died. i've had a few quotes for replacing the unit and i'm just lost as to what is the best deal for me.

    so far, i was offered an american standard seer 14 . i asked about higher efficiency units but according to our installer i'd need a new coil to be replaced and that would cost a lot more.
    i don't mind getting a lower end unit to save money. we're in Toronto, Canada and in an old house. we only use the AC during heatwaves.

    i was told by another installer that goodmen and keeprite are also good brands and warranties might be better... 10 yr vs 5 yr.

    it next to impossible to find accurate info on the brands and everyone seems to have their own opinion. i just don't want to get ripped off like i did 5 years ago.

    if anyone has an opinion of what brands they prefer i'd love to hear it.

    also- is changing the coil that much more work?

    regards,
    christine
    Last edited by xtine; 08-10-2009 at 10:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    Posts
    250
    remove your price before a mod locks the thread

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,315
    Christine please remove your prices they are not allowed. Next do a search here and you will find that brands are not nearly as important as the contractor. Equipment, especially in the lower SEER entry level lines, is pretty much the same.

    I have never heard of Olsen but if it failed in 5-years it is related to the install not the equipment. Do your homework on the Contractor, ask for references.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Buffalo NY
    Posts
    3,078

    Cool

    Most likely it was not your unit but a crappy install that killed your unit. Also you can't have prices in your posts.
    Join http://scopeny.org/ Shooter’s Committee on Political Education

    The world is full of sheep,try not to join the flock.

    Support the Skilled Trades, Don't DIY

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Auglaize County, Ohio
    Posts
    55
    I hope the quotes did come from the installer from your first unit.
    Semper Fi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    8
    wow. thanks for the response. i never would have thought it was the installer.

    so- if we just get the unit replaced, then we'll still have bad instalation?

    what would the installer have done wrong?

    TIA

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,633
    In some ways installing an air conditioner is supposed to have clean-room like procedures.

    The installer is responsible for connecting the refrigerant lines to your new condenser. Within those lines there should be a pure environment of refrigerant and oil. In reality all systems have miniscule bits of contamination. But a sloppy installation on the part of the installer will result in there being a lot of contamination. The foreign material will cause acids to form. Those acids will slowly kill the motor, sometimes years later. Poor brazing causes excess scale to buildup within the pipes. That scale feels like sand and gets flushed into the compressor and/or TXV where it wears on those items and can cause failure.

    The installer is also responsible for making sure the equipment is properly matched. A really bad mismatch can cause a failure. There are "not so bad mismatches" that may not result in failure. In some cases a mismatch can work better than the original design. There's some pretty intense debate on that issue. Some contractors vehemently disagree with any mismatch.

    The installer is also responsible for checking other aspects of the system to ensure that the compressor will live a long life. If the furnace and/or cooling coil and/or ducts aren't up to snuff then a lack of airflow can result. You can have very poor airflow and not necessarily know it. Poor airflow can also slowly kill a compressor.

    There are more things to talk about. It can be a lot to process for the lay person, but it's good to get some basic understanding of these things so you can make sure the contractor you hire also has an understanding. As others have said, forget the brand. The brand is irrelevant IMO. It's all about the contractor.

    BTW... your unit "died'? What about the unit died? Do you trust the person making the diagnosis? A great many crooks are clean shaven, love mother, salute the flag and eat apple pie. You'd be amazed at how many times a year I fix supposedly dead units inside of 60 minutes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    147
    Are you aware of the rebates available to you? I'm in Markham and just replaced my system. You are eligible for a $500 rebate through the ecoEnergy program, $400 from the OPA, and you can also claim the home reno tax credit which is 15% of anything over the first $1000.

    In order to get ecoEnergy, you need to replace both indoor and outdoor units with a minimum of 14.5 SEER and you need to have an energy audit of your house before the a/c is replaced.

    The OPA rebate gives $400 for a 15 SEER or better system or $250 for a 14.5 SEER system. The contractor you use must be a member of the OPA program to qualify.

    Make sure to ask all contractors about the rebates available. You may be able to get a more efficient system for the same cost. Also not changing the indoor coil can lead to problems as you can read about on this site.

    Let me know if you have more questions about the rebates or eligibility.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    8
    thanks for your response. you've given me lots to look into. the whole HVAC process seems to be shielded from the public and thus seems to be easier to get ripped off. it sort of reminds me when i went out to buy a mattress... most complicated purchase ever! and the manufactures make it impossible to price shop.

    i am getting a second opinion tonite as to the condition of our unit. the first installer said the compressor was gone and he tired to rewire parts of it without success. he does stand by his installations and offers maintainence so i feel pretty confident with him. i was also told that our unit is a builder's grade and is pretty faulty. no one mentioned installation tho... which worries me.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    147
    Quote Originally Posted by xtine View Post
    i was also told that our unit is a builder's grade and is pretty faulty.
    If the contractor believes this is the case, why would they recommend reusing the inside coil?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,841
    It is always better to replace the entire system when possible. Most mainufacturers WILL NOT warranty a condensor that is installed in a mismatched configuration. Myself, I would opt for an entry level complete system as as opposed to a higher end condensor coupled with an old coil and line set. Your Olsen most likely failed as a result of poor installation practices, not because it was an inferior product. I handle the Olsen line of furnaces as well as a couple of others and have for 20 years. Although the company has gone through several revamps over the years I have always known their equipment to be reliable. Choose your contractor wisely and the rest will take care of itself.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    853
    Quote Originally Posted by xtine View Post
    i had an olsen unit installed 5 years ago which just died. i've had a few quotes for replacing the unit and i'm just lost as to what is the best deal for me.
    What's the exact root cause of the unit's problem?

    There's no way I'd fall into the potential scam of having a 5 year old system replaced until I knew exactly what the problem was and the cost of getting it repaired. Get a second, third or even a fourth diagnosis if needed.

    Contractor's are too quick to try and sell new $ystems when the fixes could be relatively inexpensive.

    I don't understand why he's rewiring the compressor?? On the surface this makes no sense if the unit was operating fine before the failure.

    P.S. Someone posted some recent statistics regarding compressor failures. The summary was that only a tiny fraction of compressor failures were valid failures. Most of the time contractors were turning in perfectly good compressors due to poor diagnostic skills.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,633
    "he does stand by his installations and offers maintainence"

    There's nothing especially remarkable about that. If you have it in you to do so, digger deeper than that.

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