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  1. #1

    Hmm Leaking Evaporator Coil

    My AC unit isn't cooling properly. Had someone come out and tell me the evaporator coil has a leak and needs to be replaced. My question is whether I should simply replace the evaporator coil or replace the entire system. I have a 4 ton Trane system that is 11 years old. He didn't say there were currently any problems with the compressor/condensor. He did say that the new coil would have to be retrofitted to work with the Freon in my existing unit. Considering the age of my system, if my compressor goes out in the next couple of years and I have to get a new one, am I going to have to replace the coil again or have issues with the fact that at one point it was retrofitted to work with Freon? Any recommendations would be appreciated - thanks!
    Last edited by greeneyedgirl05; 06-24-2010 at 03:22 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    CHICAGO SUBURBS
    Posts
    464
    I just discussed this very situation with a customer. Your older unit uses R22 and the coil will be difficult to find due to this equipment is no longer being manufactured in the USA. They can still be obtained and are very expensive. So the total cost of the repair could be up to half the cost of a new system. It is quite possible to have some other sort of breakdown in a couple of years that will cost the remainder of the price for that new system today. If you're not going to live in the home more than a couple years, the repair may be what you want to do. If your staying in the home for a while, I'd suggest a new modern efficient system that comes with a warranty and tax credit. This is just my opinion and the decision is ultimately yours. By the way, my customer went with a new Rheem 14.5 SEER system.
    Some people swear by me and some at me

  3. #3
    Thanks for the info. My impression from the tech who came out was that they would not look for a coil that matched the old system, but rather install a new model coil that would be adjusted to use the R-22. I guess my main question is - does making that adjustment to the coil prevent it from (or cause issues with) being used with the new 'freon' if in a couple years I do have to get a new compressor? If it's a problem to retrofit and then unretrofit, I would probably just replace the whole system. But if it's not a problem, I would prefer not to replace a compressor that works perfectly fine at the moment... Sigh
    Last edited by greeneyedgirl05; 06-24-2010 at 03:23 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    OMAHA, NE
    Posts
    130
    There are plenty of R22 evap coils available. The problem is when you have to replace that 11 year old unit a few years from now you will may have to replace the coil again, to be compatible with R410a.
    I've never seen an armored car following a hearse.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Bennington, Vermont U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,864
    Quote Originally Posted by greeneyedgirl05 View Post
    My AC unit isn't cooling properly. Had someone come out and tell me the evaporator coil has a leak and needs to be replaced. My question is whether I should simply replace the evaporator coil or replace the entire system. I have a 4 ton Trane system that is 11 years old. He didn't say there were currently any problems with the compressor/condensor. He did say that the new coil would have to be retrofitted to work with the Freon in my existing unit. Considering the age of my system, if my compressor goes out in the next couple of years and I have to get a new one, am I going to have to replace the coil again or have issues with the fact that at one point it was retrofitted to work with Freon? Any recommendations would be appreciated - thanks!
    The evaporator is a major component of your system. You are right to ask the question that you are asking.

    You could change the evaporator but if it is not sized and compatable with the manufacturer's specification then you could lose efficency. The system would cool but you'd be paying more for electricity.

    My question to you is , Do you own the house and if yes, do you plan to move in the next 10 years or so.?? If you are staying put and you can afford it then now is the time to change the whole system.

    Question the tech. and find out what SEER rating you have now on your system.
    If you are at 10 or 13 SEER then by changing out the entire system you can improve your SEER rating up to 16,18 even into the 20's. The higher the SEER rating the less money you pay for electricity for the same amount of cooling. If you live in the South/south west get the highest SEER rating that you can afford.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Guam
    Posts
    168
    Pay me now or pay me later is what it boils down to. As the others have asked are you staying in your house for awhile? if yes then you are better off replacing the whole system.
    Are you selling moving in the next few years? if yes then replace the evap.

    Bottom line if you retro fit an evap and it is not correct you will be paying more to get the cooling you are used to. so you will be paying more monthly.

    If you were my customer I would be honest with you and tell you that replacing the system would be the way to go.
    Love makes the world go around but cash pays the bills

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Dothan, Al
    Posts
    3,453
    Greeneye,

    Nobody has asked, but, how bad is the leak...
    Did the tech top off the system?? ( recharge system completly)
    If he topped it off - how much refrigerant did it take ( did he charge you for )?
    My thought is simply that, if the leak is not too large, & if it takes only filling it up once a year or less, then you can go for many years simply having your system 'topped-off' when it needs it.
    Then if ( when ) the compressor dies or the leak becomes too great to continue filling it up, you can replace the entire system.
    It could last many more years by simply adding refrigerant once or even twice a year....

    Richard
    Lets get H.I.G.H. http://www.theletsgethigh.com
    Honesty, Integrity, Gallantry, Honor

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Bennington, Vermont U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,864
    Quote Originally Posted by bornriding View Post
    Greeneye,

    Nobody has asked, but, how bad is the leak...
    Did the tech top off the system?? ( recharge system completly)
    If he topped it off - how much refrigerant did it take ( did he charge you for )?
    My thought is simply that, if the leak is not too large, & if it takes only filling it up once a year or less, then you can go for many years simply having your system 'topped-off' when it needs it.
    Then if ( when ) the compressor dies or the leak becomes too great to continue filling it up, you can replace the entire system.
    It could last many more years by simply adding refrigerant once or even twice a year....

    Richard
    GAS And GO!!!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
    Posts
    2,481
    As a Trane dealer I think I know what he is proposing. All Trane coils have TXVs on them, by switching the TXV you can easily change the coil from R-410a to R-22. If you are not inclined to go very high efficiency when the unit finally goes you can reuse the coil for the new system just by changing the valve back when the new system is installed. As stated by Bornridin you may want to consider just toping off the system for a few years and then change the system.

    Good luck

  10. #10
    Thanks for the input everyone. I plan to move within 5 years, but I am concerned the compressor may not last that long since it's probably been overworked for a while now (bought the house within the last year as a foreclosure).

    In November, I think I had 2 lbs of freon added right after I bought it. Then the AC went unused until mid spring. And after just a couple weeks of the Texas summer heat, it's having issues again. So I'm guessing the leak is pretty bad. I think my current system is a 10 seer, so I would definitely get some energy savings with a new system.

    I feel like getting a new system is the better thing to do - even if I sell within the next 3-5 years, that will be a good selling point. Just tough to shell out that much when the system is technically still working.

    And I know price can't be discussed on here, but can anyone give recommendations on a site where I might be able to find some reference points? I have received two estimates so far, and the prices seem exorbitant...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Bennington, Vermont U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,864
    Quote Originally Posted by greeneyedgirl05 View Post
    I have received two estimates so far, and the prices seem exorbitant...
    Geez.... that's what all of my customers say.

    Seriously, since you are not under the gun to install a new system you are in the drivers seat.

    First thing is to get educated on this site about what exactly you should be buying. SEER?. Varible Speed?. Wiring?. Condition of the Ductwork?. Zoning? Questions to ask a perspective Contractor? These are all things you can learn "legally" on this site.

    When you have a handle on what you actually should be buying then sit down and write up some specifications. " The equipment will be Trane or Carrier or Lennox etc. Model #xxx with a Model #xxx air handler. Or equal." To include new thermostat model xxx. New return air ducts in each bedroom. ETC ETC.

    After you and the contractors know exactly what YOU want then you will be getting some pretty even pricing. Also try to shop in the off season. (If Texas has an off cooling season )

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by benncool View Post
    Seriously, since you are not under the gun to install a new system you are in the drivers seat.
    I probably should have mentioned that during the afternoon/evening it's struggling to keep it in the low 80s. Considering we've already hit the 100 degree mark this year, waiting until the "off season" isn't really an option

    Good thing I'm a quick study (with the help of Google)! I think I surprised one guy when I asked him what the cost difference would be for a slab coil instead of the A coil he proposed.

    Thanks again for all the help!

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