Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Replace entire air handler or just the evaporator coil?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Posts
    1
    Post Likes

    Replace entire air handler or just the evaporator coil?

    Outside: 7 year old - 2.5 ton / 13 SEER condenser unit.

    Inside (attic): 20 year old air handler. No idea if the evaporator coil inside it is as old or if it was replaced subsequently.

    Problem: Air is flowing fine, but unit is not cooling.

    Diagnosis: Total refrigerant loss (No pressure in the system - running on vacuum).

    HVAC company pressurized it with nitrogen to see if it retains pressure - it did not. They are recommending I replace the entire air handler unit. (the outside condenser unit looks ok).

    Is this overkill? Do I really need to replace the ENTIRE air handler or will just replacing the evaporator coil do? (this is doubly puzzling because my house has another level with a separate, also 20 year old air handler AND a 20 year old external condenser unit, which are working fine!)

    Also what is the very rough of cost of replacing (parts+labor) an entire air handler? I was quoted $***** which has me questioning my existence. (I was thinking around $*****)

    Pricing is not allowed by forum rules. Please refrain from adding them to your post - Thanks.
    Last edited by rundawg; 06-23-2022 at 06:51 AM. Reason: removed pricing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Dover, DE
    Posts
    13,087
    Post Likes
    You failed to mention if they verified the leak was in the coil.
    I havent failed. Ive just found 10,000 ways that wont work. - Thomas Edison

    Its not whether you get knocked down, its whether you get up. - Vince Lombardi

    "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics" - Homer Simpson

    Local 486 Instructor & Service Technician

  3. Likes Bazooka Joe, STEVEusaPA, pacnw liked this post.
  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    42,314
    Post Likes
    The first registered owner, if you meet both criteria, has a 10 parts warranty which would make for changing the coil to be less.

    Sad to say, the stuff these days doesn't hold up.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    5,280
    Post Likes
    I would say go for the coil. The equipment is going to be changing in the next couple years. So, locking yourself into 410a is not the best idea unless you have to.
    I can't see pricing, but it takes significantly more labor to install an entire air handler than it does a coil. If the prices are similar, then it's going to be a crap installation done in a couple hours. In order to install an air handler properly, ducting transitions are the most time consuming. Then you have a new drain pan, electrical, float switches, dealing with insulation, etc. Much easier to swap an exact match coil. I would be looking at 8 hrs. on an air handler, opposed to 3.5 hours labor on a coil replacement. The cost on air handler replacement coils is absolutely ridiculous. In many cases it's double the cost of what a brand new boxed coil would be for a furnace. While the cost is still high, it's about 2/3 the cost of the entire air handler. That said, I'm about 1/2 the cost to replace a coil opposed to an air handler.
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" Socrates

  6. #5
    R600a's Avatar
    R600a is online now Professional Member*/Membership Committee
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Hanging out with the mice behind the fridge talking bad about the roaches in the oven.
    Posts
    19,474
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by mgenius33 View Post
    I would say go for the coil. The equipment is going to be changing in the next couple years. So, locking yourself into 410a is not the best idea unless you have to.
    I can't see pricing, but it takes significantly more labor to install an entire air handler than it does a coil. If the prices are similar, then it's going to be a crap installation done in a couple hours. In order to install an air handler properly, ducting transitions are the most time consuming. Then you have a new drain pan, electrical, float switches, dealing with insulation, etc. Much easier to swap an exact match coil. I would be looking at 8 hrs. on an air handler, opposed to 3.5 hours labor on a coil replacement. The cost on air handler replacement coils is absolutely ridiculous. In many cases it's double the cost of what a brand new boxed coil would be for a furnace. While the cost is still high, it's about 2/3 the cost of the entire air handler. That said, I'm about 1/2 the cost to replace a coil opposed to an air handler.
    What if the coil is several hundred dollars more expensive than the whole air handler? It's not uncommon for it to be that way.
    "Is this before or after you fired the parts cannon at it?" - senior tech
    I'm tired of these mediocre "semi flammable" refrigerants. If we're going to do it let's do it right.
    Unless we change direction we are likely to end up where we are going.

  7. Likes ksefan liked this post.
  8. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    867
    Post Likes
    Are you sure the coil is even still available for a 20 year old air handler? That was the days of 10 SEER equipment, which was phased out back in 2006 - many coils of that era are no longer manufactured.

  9. Likes R600a liked this post.
  10. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    5,280
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by R600a View Post
    What if the coil is several hundred dollars more expensive than the whole air handler? It's not uncommon for it to be that way.
    Yeah, I agree that's an issue in some cases.
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" Socrates

  11. Likes R600a liked this post.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •