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Posted: 5/13/2004 9:51:21 AM EST
Need Help with home Air Conditioner Problems


My 10 year old upstairs air conditioner started putting out hot air. My wife called my BIL, who’s in the HVAC business. He told us that the heat exchanger is starting to go (leaking) and its not worth repairing it or replacing it. He gave me a quote of ~$1200 for a new Heil air handler, 2.5 ton plus 7.5KW strip heater unit.

I talked to another HVAC guy and he said that replacing the upper air handler with another low efficiency unit would not be cost effective because the government is going to mandate a minimum of 13 efficiency rating for new A/C units next year. If I replaced the upstairs air handler with low efficiency unit and the lower goes out next year, he says I’d have to replace both the upper and lower units since I would not be able to get a low efficiency lower unit that would work with the low efficiency upper.

I’m not sure I’m getting a straight story from either of them.

Here are my options as I understand them:

- Replace/repair the upper air handler heat exchanger. Cost = ~$500. Advantages: low cost. Disadvantages: may not last when rest of unit (10 year old Goodman Mfg.) fails.
- Replace the upper with a low efficiency Heil. Cost = $1200 (I think my BIL quoted me a low efficiency unit, I’ll have to check). Advantages: new upper unit. Disadvantages: If low efficiency, won’t work with a new high efficiency unit when the lower (10 year old Goodman) eventually fails.
- Replace the upper with a Heil high efficiency unit. Advantages: Highest reliability and efficiency; will work with a high efficiency lower when it eventually fails. Disadvantages: Cost, which is what???? High efficiency units cost more right now, should go down when they are mandated next year.

What does the Arfcom army HVAC experts say?

Current HVAC details: 10 year old Goodman units; upper model number = CPE-1AB; lower model number= A30-10.

Thanks

Merlin
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 3:07:25 AM EST
Shameless BTT.

Any HVAC experts in the house?

Thanks,

Merlin
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 3:27:01 AM EST
When you say "heat exchanger". Are you talking about the condensing coil? Or are you talking about your furnace?

I assume you mean the condensing coil. Because you said "leaking". As in leaking the freon out.

Also on, The quote of "$1200 for a new Heil air handler, 2.5 ton plus 7.5KW strip heater unit". Does this include a new condensing unit? Why would you use a strip heater instead of gas? Is this the installed price? Or just for the parts?

And finally, If the outside compressor unit is the same age. It is reaching the end of it life cycle as well. So you really should replace it also.

Food for thought. It really is a simple job to replace the A/C yourself. And since your BIL is a A/C guy. He can buy the parts with his license.

I did this last year myself. I replaced a 3 1/2 ton A/C compressor and condenser as well as the furnace and all new ducts for $1300.00
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 3:40:23 AM EST
My qualifications - Master HVAC Mechanic since 1987. Trade school instructor for 10 yrs.
Goodman is the cheapest equipment you can find. 10 years of Alabama summers would be about the service life from a Goodman unit. IMHO the leaking coil is a sign that the whole system is nearing the end of its service life. Bite the bullet, and replace the entire system. While I have cobbled units of different makes in the past, it rarely works well enough to justify the little savings made.

Having said that, I would go for a Heil heat pump (MUCH cheaper to operate the heat as opposed to using toaster coils) with a Copeland scroll compressor. I installed one of the first 1000 Heil units with a Copeland compressor in 1990 and it is still going strong almost 15 years later.

What you do is up to you, if it was my house this is what I would do, knowing what I know. Ops
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 3:58:09 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 7:10:36 AM EST

Originally Posted By Diss_ipator:
When you say "heat exchanger". Are you talking about the condensing coil? Or are you talking about your furnace?

I assume you mean the condensing coil. Because you said "leaking". As in leaking the freon out.

Also on, The quote of "$1200 for a new Heil air handler, 2.5 ton plus 7.5KW strip heater unit". Does this include a new condensing unit? Why would you use a strip heater instead of gas? Is this the installed price? Or just for the parts?

And finally, If the outside compressor unit is the same age. It is reaching the end of it life cycle as well. So you really should replace it also.

Food for thought. It really is a simple job to replace the A/C yourself. And since your BIL is a A/C guy. He can buy the parts with his license.

I did this last year myself. I replaced a 3 1/2 ton A/C compressor and condenser as well as the furnace and all new ducts for $1300.00



Yes, the coil is the one leaking. The strip heater is what's in the current version, there is no gas to the upper unit. The lower unit uses gas but frankly, we use mostly the downstairs ventless heater for heating pretty much the whole house.

OK, the info on the Goodman units jives with what both told me. The $1200 quote from my BIL is to totally replace the upstairs unit. I don't know if this is the new high eff. unit or the lower 10 eff. unit.

Ops, when say replace with a Heil with Copeland scoll compressor, is this the high eff. 13 unit? If so, will this work with the original Goodman lower? Or are you saying replace both upper and lower now?

What's the story on the move to high eff. 13 units only? Sounds sort of like the typical gun shop "buy this gun now before they ban them" line, but what the heck do I know?

All help and suggestions welcome.

Thanks!

Merlin
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 7:14:56 AM EST
I'd replace the entire system. A 10 yr old Goodman is on its last legs.

The Copeland scroll compressor should be standard equipment on the 13 SEER unit. Ops
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 7:39:08 AM EST

Originally Posted By Merlin:
Yes, the coil is the one leaking. The strip heater is what's in the current version, there is no gas to the upper unit. The lower unit uses gas but frankly, we use mostly the downstairs ventless heater for heating pretty much the whole house.



Are you saying that you have 2 independent systems? Or are you confused?


Originally Posted By Merlin:
Ops, when say replace with a Heil with Copeland scoll compressor, is this the high eff. 13 unit? If so, will this work with the original Goodman lower? Or are you saying replace both upper and lower now?



The lower "outside" unit is the compressor.


Originally Posted By Merlin:
What's the story on the move to high eff. 13 units only? Sounds sort of like the typical gun shop "buy this gun now before they ban them" line, but what the heck do I know?



It is a on going move to reduce energy use by requiring more efficient appliances.

look here--> www.standardsasap.org/press14.htm
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 8:26:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 5/14/2004 8:28:49 AM EST by Merlin]

Originally Posted By Diss_ipator:

Originally Posted By Merlin:
Yes, the coil is the one leaking. The strip heater is what's in the current version, there is no gas to the upper unit. The lower unit uses gas but frankly, we use mostly the downstairs ventless heater for heating pretty much the whole house.



Are you saying that you have 2 independent systems? Or are you confused?


Originally Posted By Merlin:
Ops, when say replace with a Heil with Copeland scoll compressor, is this the high eff. 13 unit? If so, will this work with the original Goodman lower? Or are you saying replace both upper and lower now?



The lower "outside" unit is the compressor.


Originally Posted By Merlin:
What's the story on the move to high eff. 13 units only? Sounds sort of like the typical gun shop "buy this gun now before they ban them" line, but what the heck do I know?



It is a on going move to reduce energy use by requiring more efficient appliances.

look here--> www.standardsasap.org/press14.htm



Ok, I'll try to unconfuse it again. I have 2 systems for the house: a lower AC/gas pack for the downstairs. It uses gas for heat (but we use the unvented gas logs for heat, this is North Alabama, it works here). This unit was replace within the last 2 years with a low eff. Heil AC/gas pack equipment.

The other AC/heater system consists of a lower outside unit with the compressor and the upper unit consisting of the air handler and heat exchanger/condensing coil plus electrical heaters (which we hardly ever use); this upstairs unit cools the upstairs. The condensing coil in the upstairs/attic unit is the one leaking.

The quote I have now from my BIL is to replace the upstairs air handler with a Heil 2.5 ton w/7.5KW heat strip unit. I would assume this is the low eff. 10 equipment from Heil.

Can I replace the upper unit now, planning on replacing the lower unit later when it fails? If so, can I use high eff. 13 equipment in the upper unit along with the old lower unit?

Thanks

Merlin
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