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  1. #1

    Broken Condenser; Repair/Replace; R22/R410a

    Hi Everyone,

    New to the forum, but have been poking around for the last couple of days. Thanks for having me!

    Anyway, I have a 16 year old outdoor R-22 A/C unit with a broken condenser unit. I am trying to weigh my options between repairing and replacing. If I do decide to replace, whether to go with R-22 or R-410a?

    First on the repair side, I was wondering since I already would have a contractor working on the unit if I just replaced my condenser, is there anyway to retrofit my unit to a new type refrigerant, since the supply of R-22 is probably under pressure given EPA regulations? Or is there any type of compatible refrigerant that can just be thrown in instead of R-22? On average, is it just cheaper to go with a new unit than retrofit? (Can I ask that or is that too close to pricing related? Sorry Mods if it is....)

    Secondly, R-22 vs. R-410a. I know you can't talk about cost, but I get the impression R-410a replacements are more expensive than the R-22 units (dry of course ). But trying to be an informed consumer, is there something other than the price of the unit that makes switching to R-410a more expensive like extra components within the system that need to be replaced for compatibility?

    Finally, money is a little tight given the state of the economy. Is there financing available for either purchasing an R-22 or R-410a unit? Are you usually allowed to finance the install costs as well or just the price of the unit? Does it tend to be a credit card type interest rates?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I appreciate your help. THANKS!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    22
    There is replacement refrigerants out there. I have yet to use them, no help there. As for swapping to 410a the evaporator coil would have to be replaced too, adding to the cost. But by swapping to 410a you can get a more efficient machine.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    south al.
    Posts
    111
    If your system is 16 yrs old chances are you have to replace both indoor and outdoor units if you decide to replace anything. most air handlers over 7 yrs old are not compatable with the new higher seer ratings and it is better when going to the new R410a refridgerant to replace as much of the freon related equipment as possible, copper tubing and coils. thats its best with a system that to replace all. Also with the freon aspect of the R22 will evetually be gone and im not sure how the drop in replacements work or what will become of price. But the R410a is what we have for now so to make easiest on yourself just go wiith the 410a and no worries.
    The new systems have the higher seer ratings which will help you out on your power bill, you should see it drop some. the higher the seer rating the more the savings.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Wake Forest, NC
    Posts
    352
    I would not recommend replacing the condenser on a 16 year old system. The evap coil may fail in a year or two and availability of parts may start to get iffy at that point.

    It is "illegal" to install a new, complete dry charged R-22 system. The R-22 dry charged components are for "repair" only, not "new installation".

    Based on what you are telling me I would recommend replacing the enitre system for a R-410a system. The upfront cost obviously will be higher, but ROI on the energy efficiency increase will offset that over time. Also, almost all new manufacturers have 10 year part and compressor warranties with product registration, so if you figure on a few hundred dollars of maintenance and repair per year on a 16 year old system plus the decreased energy usage a new 410a system will be less costly in the long run.

    I know the numbers can be scary on the front side of the equation, but if you start to run the math into the long term there is no smarter option than to replace with new, high efficiency equipment.

    Hope this helps.
    It's not rocket-science...

    It's electromechanical thermodynamic engineering

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL.
    Posts
    4,313
    Why in the world would you want to install a complete "dry-charged" R22 system? That doesn't make sense!!

    First of all, they are NOT cheaper (at least where I am, they're not) &, secondly, R22 is being phased out so if a repair involving the components in the sealed system is ever needed you're up the proverbial creek.

    Look, I'm a proponent of "if you're gonna do something then pay to have it done right". In this business not only is it true that "if a deal seems too good to be true then it probably is" but it's also true that "you get what you paid for".

    Get the 410a system & be done with it.
    WHY?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    698
    While the dry units may not be less expensive than the R-410A units, the price to replace a condensing unit vs replacing the entire system...no comparison.

    That being said, a 16 year old system needs replacing.

    If it were a 13 Seer R-22 unit, there are many budgets out there who would be grateful for a dry unit as an option.

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