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Old 07-27-2011, 02:15 PM
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,878 posts, read 17,549,920 times
Reputation: 5134


Howdy folks,

our 2-story Ryland home was built in 2004 and is zoned with two SEER 10 Carrier Puron a/c units. We just had everything checked on them less than two months ago, and the capacitors were replaced, fluids topped off, etc...all was well. However, my neighbor who is supremely diligent about maintenance on her home, just came over to tell me her very same a/c (though she is in a 2000 sq ft one-story home) just crapped out on her completely and she is having a SEER 16 unit put in for...gulp...$10K. She warned me that mine are probably next. Do you think she might be right? I thought these were supposed to last a little longer than...uh...7-8 years? Being in a two-story, my units aren't working as hard as her one, or is that flawed logic? Do I need to be saving my pennies, er, gold bars lol, now?

Thanks for any advice or words of wisdom.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:26 PM
Location: North Central S.A.
1,221 posts, read 2,222,292 times
Reputation: 955
Good question. We just bought our house last summer. Two story, 2400 SF and two older AC units. Nervous when said unit will crap out! lol
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:28 PM
1,066 posts, read 3,040,194 times
Reputation: 729
Your Carrier should have 10 year warranty. A/Cs in Texas can last up to 25 years, but most cease being efficient around 15-20 years. Carrier is decent brand and should last. Some of the cheaper brands probably only last 7-8 years. Other factors at work...do you have your unit professionally serviced twice a year? Is it in full sun(either the unit or the entire house)? Do you keep your house extremely cold in the summer where it is running non-stop? Is your house poorly made or not energy efficient? All of those will cut your A/Cs life
And yes your logic is flawed. Your A/C units should be prescribed to your square footage that each one covers. So just cause you have 2 and she has one and you have the same sq/ft house, doesnt mean each one of yours is only working half as hard.

I think your neighbor is over paying. Around a 3 ton 14-16 seer top shelf inside and outside unite should be $4K-$6K.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:56 PM
Location: San Antonio/Houston
32,033 posts, read 49,519,493 times
Reputation: 79829
Premium quality A/C is backed up with a great warranty and will last very long.

10 Best Central Air Conditioners
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:24 PM
Location: New Braunfels, TX
5,752 posts, read 8,208,432 times
Reputation: 5393
It's quite likely that your neighbor got sold a bill of goods - there's NO way that an a/c unit would be broken to the point of requiring replacement in 7 years. Normal life is a good 15-20 years on one of any decent quality to begin with.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:44 PM
Location: San Antonio
2,260 posts, read 4,767,227 times
Reputation: 1488
There are apparently some really disreputable a/c companies out there, preying on our collective fear of a San Antonio summer sans air. I say get a second and a third opinion before replacing a 7 year old unit.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:54 PM
Location: San Antonio, Tx
6,897 posts, read 7,222,885 times
Reputation: 8003
Really anything mechanical/electronic works until it doesnt. As a rule an AC unit will last years and years (we got 23 out of ours) but it is possible that the most expensive top of the line unit lasts a month. Sometimes you get bad one. I wouldnt let anyone freak you out just because theirs died early.
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Old 07-27-2011, 05:42 PM
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,456 posts, read 16,271,322 times
Reputation: 2584
I replaced mine last year after 17 years. I think that should be the norm. Your neighbors price of $10,000 sounds high and not right after only 7 years. Tell her to get a second opinion. I only replaced the compressor outside adn it was $3500 total.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:45 PM
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
6,878 posts, read 17,549,920 times
Reputation: 5134
well, she's pretty much done. The guy has been there two days. I can't remember the name of the company but I will find out...
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:15 PM
Location: Texas
5,342 posts, read 11,120,749 times
Reputation: 9890
Well Moms, you might have a real dilemma with your A/C system. You might want to go outside to the unit and see if the lines are exposed. If they are copper, you need to call Jeff at Ryland and have him come out for an inspection. Any builder defect, known or unknown, is warrantable in Texas in perpetuity. The defect will be the copper line, IF they used copper lines. Puron is better known as R410A refrigerant and is highly caustic to copper meaning leaks will be rampant. Considering that a Puron unit runs at much higher pressures than an R22 unit, the condition is made worse. Another issue with Puron is that it is hydroscopic meaning it absorbs water out of the air. The tech has to be careful not to expose any of the lines or gas to any open air/oxygen. They also use a polyol ester as a lubricant for the compressor. This is an ester produced by combining a fatty acid with an alcohol. This ester does not handle any moisture at all and will fail if exposed to much of it. Because you have a heat pump, it's running twice as much as a gas fired heating unit. A heat pump is an A/C unit that runs in reverse during the winter absorbing heat from the outside and releasing it in the house. The balance point on your unit is about 35-40F degrees before the heat strip comes on to help it heat the house. I don't remember any gas being in Westover so I assumed you have a heat pump.

I'm also in the group that thinks your neighbor is getting hosed on their replacement unit. If yours should fail, I'd research exactly what unit you want and find an installer of that brand. I'm not a fan of Carrier and wouldn't have one unless there was nothing else. I've seen far too many issues with their units- like capacitors, fan motors, non-warrantable LEAKS, etc.
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