Previously posted by hallis1
We bought a house in mid-June 2005. Our inspector noted problems with the A/C, which the sellers agreed to fix during our negotiations. At closing, the seller's agent accidentally gave us papers from the technician showing that he only added freon and recommended they hire someone else to check out the problems with the A/C. Needless to say, we are planning to investigate legal options.
Long story short: we were in the house for 2 weeks when we realized the A/C wasn't working. It was running all day and night, but never getting under 80F (seems to be a common problem on these boards!). Since we have a home warranty, we called them first and they sent out an A/C guy.
Of course the A/C guy found it was preexisting and not covered under the warranty. He wrote: "Found evap coil 60% restricted - fins are smashed - not allowing proper air flo - has no filter on liquid line - causing internal restriction in coil - condenser needs cleaned."
He recommended two ways of dealing with this problem:
1. fix the 4-ton Rheem unit we currently have: "install new Carrier 4-ton 12 seec evap coil with txv valve, install 3/8" liquid line drier, clean outside unit"
2. he said our home (2050 sq.ft. with 12-foot ceilings and a huge skylight) is too many sq.ft. for a 4-ton unit. so his second option is replacing the unit with a new 5-ton unit: "install 5-ton 12 seec complete system, condensor, coil, furnace, NO duct work" and then quoted us full parts and labor prices (not including duct work) for three units (low, mid, and top range).
so! I thought he seemed very knowledgeable and trustworthy. he spent about 30 minutes going back and forth between our attic and the outside unit.
but what I want to know is this:
1. the price to fix up our 4-ton unit is about 1/3 of the price to just replace the whole thing with a 5-ton unit. if the 4-ton unit is never going to cool our house very well, it seems like we'd be better off just laying out the money for a new unit...right?
2. as I read through some of the other posts, I noticed a couple of people mention that a bigger, newer system may not fix the problem if it's actually in the ducts. From this A/C tech's description of the problem, it doesn't sound like a duct problem...but I'm concerned that since duct work isn't covered in his prices, it could suddenly turn out that "oh look, the problem actually WAS the ducts." legitimate worry?
3. I do not understand what features are improved on a more expensive unit over a cheaper one. we are talking more than $1000 difference between the low and top quote they gave us. Generally speaking, what does the extra $1000 get you?
4. Is it a good idea to get quotes from a couple other A/C places? or am I just wasting time?
Last night we started having warm air come in through the vents, so we are now living in Houston's bay area in the middle of July without air conditioning. I know I'm asking a lot of questions that may have detailed answers...so thank you in advance for any help and perspective you give me. And if these questions are already answered somewhere that I've missed, please just let me know where to look.