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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    906
    Hi -

    I'm replacing my central A/C. Most contractors are recommending higher-end systems, which do interest me (to save energy, and have better dehumidification - we're in MA where it's often not too hot, but humid).

    Anyway - I like my current (18 yr old York) system, it has virtually NO electronics. Thermostat is an old mechanical Honeywell. The only part that fails (every 5 years or so) is the one piece of 'electronics' in it - the delay timer that keeps it from turning back on right after it's turned off. Other than this, the system has NEVER failed.

    My FHA furnace is 45 years old, and also has no electronics (it's not direct vent), it too, has never failed.

    What I like about my A/C and Furnace is that they don't fail. I see my neighbors having (relatively) a lot of problems with their furnaces because they have direct-vent and electronics - So periodically a circuit board, electronic thermostat, or sensor fails, bringing down the whole system until a part can be procured from the manufacturer, typically a few -days- later.....

    So, as I contemplate replacing my system - How trustworthy are the electronics in modern high-end A/C systems??? ( for example - I'm looking at Bryant Evolution)

    Are they designed for 'graceful degradation' (I.e., a failure doesn't bring the system to a screetching halt)?

    How often do these electronics fail???

    thanks
    /j

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,743

    Talking

    more stuff in them more places to break. overall electronics are pretty reliable but stuff happens.
    relability is overated anyway, if stuff did not break we would go broke!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    4,970
    18 year old York.....well that sounds like a later model then Yorks horseshoe shaped one. Boy were those a piece of crap. put in quite a few of those ......LEAKERs at the compresson fittings. Once you eliminated the compresson fittings and silver sodered, they were not too bad.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    906
    wasn't a horseshoe - hasn't leaked in 18 yrs

    Someone mentioned that even a -low- end model has a lot of electronics in it to meet SEER - are the higher end models any worse?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,584
    Most of the Bryant/Carrier systems have good boards, but what usally makes the board fail is the chemicals we use in our homes,the small relay for fan, and flue relays have been better in the newer units.

    But, they don't build cars like they used to either and they have electronic parts in them also.

    Remember to have unit sealed well, installed to design and inspected by local mechanical inspector within your city.
    "Everyday above ground, is a good day".
    "But everyday that you have made a difference in someones life, may insure you stay above ground a little longer".<aircooled>

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    906
    we have no mechanical inspector in our small town. 8-}

    Do the lesser units (like the Bryant Preferred 556) really have much LESS in the way of electronics, or risk-of-failure thereto?

    When there's a failure, does everything stop working?

    thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    99
    Newer furnaces and top notch A/C units have lots of electronics. They are built well, but if one little part breaks, it will usually make the entire system stop working.

    On the bryant evolution or carrier infinity system the blower motor is DC drive variable speed. If your motor module or motor itself goes, you cannot hook up an aux blower assy and cardboard off the front of the furnace like in the old days. So heres my advice, buy a brand that has a good inventory of parts.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    906
    does bryant/carrier have a good part inventory?

    if I bought a mid-range product (lower-end bryant, gibson, etc), would it have mucho electronics as well?

    /thanks!
    /j

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    Get whole house surge supression. An electrician, or your electric provider, can put it in for you.
    It will protect all your electronics from failures caused by voltage problems and lightning strikes.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    906
    interesting thought - I wonder if the electronics have a separate supply that I can put a surge suppressor on?
    /j

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    71
    I have two 3-ton York units, over 15 years old.....never had a problem except for normal wear and tear parts needing replacement (contactors, motor, etc).....I like the KISS concept (keep it simple, stupid!), and my systems now are about as simple as split AC can be.....I dread the day I'll have to replace my systems, and also was wondering about the tradeoffs between reliability and having the latest bells and whistles: when the time comes I'll probably try and keep it as simple as possible, but deep down I want all those cool extra features......

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    906
    dread it you should. My york 4 ton is 8 years old. Unfortunately it doesn't cool as well as it used to and it's working even harder than usual to keep the house cool, so it's time, I guess.

    If you're ok with a direct replacement there are simple systems out there, but the new low-energy-sucking, humidity-managing nifty ones are awfully attractive, and not a lot more expensive (since lots of the install cost is labor)

    /j

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    NE PA
    Posts
    698
    Interesting that statistically, over 95% of all electronics failures are mechanical. This is from a study of automotive and aerospace electronics. What fails in not the electronics per se, but contacts, moving parts, etc. This means relays, switches, motors, connectors. If you think about is, when a board ia bad, it is usually the connector ar a relay on the board. The actual electronic components are rarely the fault point.

    In my experience with HVAC stuff, it is the sensors that are the most reliable - switches, thermocouples, thermistors, pressure switches, etc. rarely do I find a board that is bad.

    paul

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