I apologize for the length of this email. Let me set the scene. I’m a financial planner; my mechanical abilities are limited at best and I have regularly had “maintenance agreements” with a local service company rather than trying to be an AC “do it yourselfer”. I live in San Antonio, TX. I have a split level 3,300 sf home with three Carrier split system AC/heat pump units (all 10 SEER). One 2-ton for upstairs only, one 2-ton for our large master BR and one 2.5 ton unit cooling the rest of the lower level of the house. All were builder installed when we had the home built 8 years ago. No problems at all until now.
The upstairs unit was not maintaining temp so I called our service tech. He says we have a leak in the evaporator coil but can’t determine specifically where without pulling the coil. He stated his company’s preference is to replace rather than try to repair. He gave us the option of just replacing the coil or replacing the entire unit.
In doing my research, it seems like this system should have lasted at least 12-15 years. Is it unusual for this problem to surface after only eight years?
The tech provided the following:
1.R-22 was to be phased out by 2020 but recent legislation has accelerated that date. I can’t find anything to substantiate this claim. As time goes on R-22 will get progressively more expensive.
2.There are numerous rebates being offered by Carrier, our local utility company and his company for installing high efficiency AC units.
3.The replacement coil has a 1 yr warranty while the new units have a 10 yr warranty.
4.He gave us a “Repair vs Replacement Score Card” that evaluated 8 areas. A score of 61+ indicates replacement. We scored a 90 of which 30 points was for estimated repairs exceeding $1,000, 10 points for R-22 and 10 points for a SEER rating of 8-10.
I was leaning towards replacement but after reading the forums I’m not sure what to do and I’m more confused than ever. The financial planner in me says it doesn’t make sense to spend 1/3 the cost of a new system to just replace the coil. Some of my questions:
1.They seem to push higher SEER systems (15-18). I understand the higher the SEER, the more efficient but at what point am I paying for overkill?
2.Is a variable speed system really that much more efficient than a single speed system?
3.In my research, I’ve read that Goodman systems are relatively good systems at a lower price. I’ve read pros and cons but that is to be expected. (Ask any Chevy owner about Fords.)
4.From my research, it appears all the major brands are about the same and the critical issue is the quality of installation. True?
I’m at a point of “paralysis by over analysis” but know I need to make a decision. This site is the best I’ve found. I sincerely appreciate any advice you can provide.
[Edited by isc (i'm so confused) on 07-04-2005 at 11:11 AM]