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Posted: 3/7/2006 4:09:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/7/2006 4:12:20 AM EDT by JDC_VA_USMC]
I'm hoping there are some HVAC techs out there that can give me some advice on some issues I'm having with my RUUD heat pump in my condo. The heat pump is three years old, and is under a parts warranty, but I'm not the original owner, so I'm not positive I'm covered under the warranty and still need to find that out from RUUD. Anyway, here is my situation. I'll try to keep it short.

I have a heat pump problem that started about two weeks ago. The compressor wouldn't come on, and my inside circuit breaker was buzzing while the compressor attempted to come on. I reset the breaker, didn't help. I left the breaker off, and put my system on emergency heat. The air handler and emergency heat worked fine. I had the initial installer of the heat pump (a RUUD which is 3 years old) come out. He replaced the start capacitor, didn't help. He then added a hard start kit, which allowed the compressor to start. It didn't run smoothly, the temperature of the compressor climbed > 200 degrees according to his Fluke thermometer, and the amperage was unsteady, climbing up to 15 amps and then coming back down, and climbing again (I was outside watching him and asking questions, and he was explaining things pretty well). He said it seemed to him the entire compressor was shot, but the hard start kit might give me a few more days. He said the company would research a new compressor w/ RUUD under the warranty (I am not the original owner...), and get back to me. He also gave me an estimate of the labor to install a new compressor (warranty is parts only) which seemed very high to me, around $1200 in labor and materials not including the compressor itself. The company never called me back. I called another company two days later to explain the situation. The technician on the phone said that hard start kits were not an out of the ordinary repair, and that could solve my problem indefinitely if the start coils were the problem, which is not uncommon. He also said RUUD might not give a new compressor under warranty if they swapped it out while it was still working with a hard start kit. He gave me a slightly lower estimate of labor and materials for installing a new compressor ($900) if it did finally go and was covered by RUUD. Neither gave me a solid estimate, saying they bill by time and didn't know exactly how long it would take. I called RUUD directly, and they said the same thing about a hard start kit being a normal repair, and said to just leave it as is and see what happens since I still have 7 years on the compressor warranty. Well, last night I came home to a 54 degree condo. Air handler was running with aux. heat on as well. I went outside, the fan was going, the coils were frosted over, and the compressor was making a louder than usual noise. I gave it about an hour (thinking maybe it was in a defrost cycle or something?) , and still no heat, so I went back to emergency heat to give it a break. The air handler/emergency heat seem to work fine. About two hours later, when my house was back up to 68 degrees, I went back to normal heat, and just got cold air. Now I'm back to emergency heat from the air handler.

Right now I'm mostly pissed off that RUUD's compressor went after only 3 years, and while it's nice they cover their equipment with a parts warranty, their bad compressor is going to cost me $1000 or more.

So, I'm hoping to get an opinion from some of our heat pump/HVAC experts and/or RUUD distributors on this board. Of course, they're probably all out on service calls right now but we'll see what happens. If you've gotten this far, thanks for your time.

ETA: I live in Alexandria, Virginia

JDC
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 5:11:48 AM EDT
free bump
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 6:09:49 AM EDT
Do you think Rudd should eat the labor too? I'm missing the point. They give you(not the original owner) a FREE compressor and you're still not happy. What will make you happy then?. Everyone has to put food on the table.Recovery costs money,freon costs money ,solder costs money, and the guy who gets to install it gets paid. I'm not aware of any appliances that will give you a ten year parts warranty. If I have $500.00 in parts then how do you expect me to make money?If you think this is a hundred doller repair then you're wrong. The emergency heat is electric heat strips. If you can't afford the repair then just run the electric heat and pay the electric company.
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 6:45:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By vombismarck45J:
Do you think Rudd should eat the labor too? I'm missing the point. They give you(not the original owner) a FREE compressor and you're still not happy. What will make you happy then?. Everyone has to put food on the table.Recovery costs money,freon costs money ,solder costs money, and the guy who gets to install it gets paid. I'm not aware of any appliances that will give you a ten year parts warranty. If I have $500.00 in parts then how do you expect me to make money?If you think this is a hundred doller repair then you're wrong. The emergency heat is electric heat strips. If you can't afford the repair then just run the electric heat and pay the electric company.



Easy big fella, I'm just trying to gauge whether what I'm being told sounds about right and the labor charges are about right, since I'm not very familiar with heat pumps. I also haven't been told yet by the original installer if RUUD covers a second owner, so that's why I asked about that. The po'd at RUUD part was a side note; although sure it would be nice if they picked up the labor but I know that's not going to happen. I know everyone needs to make a living wage, especially in Northern Virginia, and I'm fortunate enough to have the cash on hand so you can save the lecture. But, if you have any constructive advice I'd appreciate it.
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 7:23:46 AM EDT
Labor cost where I'm from range from $80 to $100 per hour. There are also truck charges, cost of recovery, freon, etc etc.

There could be multiple reason your compressor is going out. Crappy installation, bad compressor, dishonest technician, etc. etc.

If you have 7 years on the compressor, let it ride with the hard start kit and see what happens. keep the coils clean, the filters clean and keep your setpoints in the comfortable range 67-68 heating 74-75 cooling. Re-tighten all your electrical connections.

Downside is, if the compressor burns, it's more expensive to repair.
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 8:50:55 AM EDT
If the outside coil is iced over you may have a problem with the defrost controls. The coil ices over and liquid refrigerant gets back to the compressor causing all sorts of problems including failure. I don't like hard start kits; if the compressor will not start with new oem start components then I would consider the compressor scrap.
You could cause more problems by letting the compressor fail. Compressors burn out and contaminate the refrigeration circuit. This crap in the system is hard to get out and can cause premature failure of the new compressor.
Find sombody to replace the compressor and locate problem with defrost controls.
Better yet, buy a new outdoor unit and save yourself grief. It will cost more but the problem will go away.
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 9:47:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By clutchsmoke:
If the outside coil is iced over you may have a problem with the defrost controls. The coil ices over and liquid refrigerant gets back to the compressor causing all sorts of problems including failure. I don't like hard start kits; if the compressor will not start with new oem start components then I would consider the compressor scrap.
You could cause more problems by letting the compressor fail. Compressors burn out and contaminate the refrigeration circuit. This crap in the system is hard to get out and can cause premature failure of the new compressor.
Find sombody to replace the compressor and locate problem with defrost controls.
Better yet, buy a new outdoor unit and save yourself grief. It will cost more but the problem will go away.



Thanks for the info. What's ballpark for a 2 ton heat pump, installed? Also, any brand recommendations? This Ruud was there when I bought the place. I've really only heard of Trane and Carrier, mostly through their marketing and not experience. I didn't like the hard start kit idea either; I was kind of expecting to come home one day to a broken heat pump, but both Ruud and another company told me it's part of the troubleshooting/repair process.
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 12:19:57 PM EDT
I think wholesale on a 2 ton is right around $800. Your're probobly lookin at $1600- $2000 installed. I know it's alot but if you want to avoid problems.... Carrier and trane are both good units but overpriced. Look for a unit with a copeland scroll compressor. The scroll compressor is very tough and uses less power. I installed a tempstar in my house and have had good luck with it. The ruud unit is not a bad choice either, they have pretty good pricing.
Too bad you are not in Ohio, I could set you up for cheap...
Link Posted: 3/7/2006 12:28:04 PM EDT
Yep $800 is right around the price of the unit. Where I used to work (HVAC Firm) multiply the cost by 3 and you get a rough estimate of your cost. Rudd/Rheem is not a bad unit. Carrier, Trane are good too. If you like Carrier then get them to qoute you Bryant when they qoute you carrier. Same damn unit, comes off the same damn line but sold cheaper then carrier. They used to ship the units with a carrier, bryant and day and night badges so you could change it to what ever brand you sold the customer.
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