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Old 08-03-2012, 12:12 PM
dgz dgz started this thread
 
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My house has two hvac systems, one for each side of the house. The house is 2300 sq ft. and it's in north Texas, so it gets a lot of use.

One system went down yesterday due to a large freon leak. It was totally out of freon that had been added only a few months earlier. The HVAC person said the leak was at the inside of the coil, so the coil would have to be replaced.

He said that with the unit I have 'the coil and plenum are one piece,' so the coil was not accessible for repair and the plenum would have to be replaced too. (His guess is that the builder went with this 'one piece' approach because it was cheaper than installing a coil and plenum as two separate components.)

Also, the condenser, which uses freon R-22, will probably have to be replaced in 5 years and the coil that is being installed now will need to be compatible with the R-410A coolant that a new condenser will require. So, I've asked him to make sure this coil is one that is designed for the higher-pressure R-410A coolant.

The short of it... the HVAC person is charging me $2200 to replace the coil and plenum, and add 8-10 gallons of R-22 freon (at $50/pound).

I haven't seen a unit before where the coil and plenum are one piece. Is this common? And suggestions on how I can verify that an R-410A compliant coil is installed? And does this seem like a fair quote?
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Old 08-03-2012, 12:59 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,376 posts, read 69,780,396 times
Reputation: 37459
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgz View Post
My house has two hvac systems, one for each side of the house.
The house is 2300 sq ft. and it's in north Texas, so it gets a lot of use.

The short of it... the HVAC person is charging me $2200 to replace the coil and plenum,
and add 8-10 gallons of R-22 freon (at $50/pound).
What did he quote you to ALSO replace the condensor at the same time?
And whatever he quoted you... get ANOTHER price to do the whole job.
Then DO the whole job with all new R410 components.
---

If you have a furnace (gas? oil?) below the AC system more than 15years old...
Consider doing this at the same time as well.

Quote:
He said that with the unit I have 'the coil and plenum are one piece,'
I haven't seen a unit before where the coil and plenum are one piece. Is this common?
Post a few pictures... but this aspect of the question is just a distraction from the real issue.
See above.

fyi:Below are pics of an evaporator coil and a cased coil.
Attached Thumbnails
Cooling went down - HVAC cooling / cost question-opencoil.jpg   Cooling went down - HVAC cooling / cost question-casedevaporator-coil.jpg  
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
6,272 posts, read 12,570,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgz View Post
My house has two hvac systems, one for each side of the house. The house is 2300 sq ft. and it's in north Texas, so it gets a lot of use.

One system went down yesterday due to a large freon leak. It was totally out of freon that had been added only a few months earlier. The HVAC person said the leak was at the inside of the coil, so the coil would have to be replaced.

He said that with the unit I have 'the coil and plenum are one piece,' so the coil was not accessible for repair and the plenum would have to be replaced too. (His guess is that the builder went with this 'one piece' approach because it was cheaper than installing a coil and plenum as two separate components.)

Also, the condenser, which uses freon R-22, will probably have to be replaced in 5 years and the coil that is being installed now will need to be compatible with the R-410A coolant that a new condenser will require. So, I've asked him to make sure this coil is one that is designed for the higher-pressure R-410A coolant.

The short of it... the HVAC person is charging me $2200 to replace the coil and plenum, and add 8-10 gallons of R-22 freon (at $50/pound).

I haven't seen a unit before where the coil and plenum are one piece. Is this common? And suggestions on how I can verify that an R-410A compliant coil is installed? And does this seem like a fair quote?
The terminology you're using makes it a little difficult to determine what you are describing - I'm guessing that the Hvac guy is putting in a new "air handler" with an integrated coil - as opposed to a separate coil & air handler. If that's the case, the builder didn't "cheap out", the prie of a separate coil & air handler is about the same as an integrated unit. - just guesstimating what you have, a typical Goodman integrated air handler might be in the range of ~$900 for just the part - so your quote isn't too terrible. The good news is, the air handler will have a new blower motor on it, some of those cost $500, so just as well to have a new one.

Personally, I'd insist on replacement of the outdoor condenser as well, the difference in labor would be negligible, & you would have a matched system with a warranty.

Your installer is lying if he says you need "8-10 pounds" of r22, more like 3-4 pounds for a residential unit.

Get the model number he's planning to install & you can google the installation manual which will give you a ballpark figure for refrigerant amount & clarify that the unit is suitable for r410
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:37 PM
dgz dgz started this thread
 
806 posts, read 3,154,611 times
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Thanks everyone for the feedback! I think I'm going to go ahead and get the condenser replaced at the same time. It's a 4-ton system; the system for the other side of the house is for 2 tons.

So, the final quote I got for the whole system replacement (4-ton, condenser, coil, plenum, 8 lbs coolant (now R410, not R22)--and not including furnace and air handler (because this is a gas system and doesn't have an air handler)-- was $4700. He said the outside will get a 13 ACX Lennox. I hope that's a decent price?

I also asked the HVAC person about a 4-ton unit requiring 8 lbs of freon and he insisted "yes, that's what it needs. Some need more than that." I'm going to look for the specs online though and see if I can find out more.

My decision on getting the condenser replaced at the same time is based partly too on learning that the current one needs a cleaning ($300) and he said that getting a R410 coil now for a R20 unit would require some parts, including a regulator valve, that would have to be refitted later if I waited til later to get an an R410 unit outside.

Last edited by dgz; 08-03-2012 at 02:47 PM..
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:22 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
31,376 posts, read 69,780,396 times
Reputation: 37459
Quote:
Originally Posted by dgz View Post
So, the final quote I got for the whole system replacement.. not including furnace
and air handler ...was $4700. He said the outside will get a 13 ACX Lennox.
1) does the quote DESCRIBE what they will do about the copper refrig lines?
2) does he describe what BRAND the coil is
3) will he use a cased coil this time or replace all sheetmetal from the furnace up?
4) Did you call in a second company for a comparable quote?
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:52 PM
dgz dgz started this thread
 
806 posts, read 3,154,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
1) does the quote DESCRIBE what they will do about the copper refrig lines?
2) does he describe what BRAND the coil is
3) will he use a cased coil this time or replace all sheetmetal from the furnace up?
4) Did you call in a second company for a comparable quote?

He said it's a Lennox CH33 coil - C33, CR33, CH33, CH23 Indoor Coils | Lennox Commercial

I'll ask him if it's cased or not. Is that important? (I'm still on a rapid learning curve here :-) )

I have a 2nd company that is going to give me a quote tonight.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:15 PM
 
19,699 posts, read 59,595,835 times
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If complete new refrigerant lines can be run without having to patch into existing ones to get through a wall, I'd want all new, with an absolute minimum of joints. The cleaner and more complete an install is, the better chance it has of lasting. Mid-summer, Texas, I don't see anything wrong or unusual in the quote, but getting a second one is usually a good idea. Verify WRITTEN warranty terms (READ the darn thing and ask questions ) , make a package of the paperwork, and keep a second copy package in a plastic sleeve taped to the air handler, for easy access.
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:39 PM
 
27,965 posts, read 36,074,983 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgz View Post
Thanks everyone for the feedback! I think I'm going to go ahead and get the condenser replaced at the same time. It's a 4-ton system; the system for the other side of the house is for 2 tons.
Good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgz View Post
So, the final quote I got for the whole system replacement (4-ton, condenser, coil, plenum, 8 lbs coolant (now R410, not R22)--and not including furnace and air handler (because this is a gas system and doesn't have an air handler)-- was $4700. He said the outside will get a 13 ACX Lennox. I hope that's a decent price?
That's not a terrible price but price shouldn't be your only restriction.

The 4 ton 13ACX comes with 7 lbs 12 oz of refrigerant already in the system. this should be enough of a charge for the outdoor unit, 15 ft of refrigerant lines and a matching AC coil. There may be a little tweaking of the charge based on your actual line set length. If he's adding another 8 lbs of refrigerant on top of that I hope your outdoor unit is about 218 ft or so from the indoor unit. If that's not the case then you need to find someone else because he's trying to charge you for the refrigerant that comes already pre-charged in the unit. For every 5 ft of 3/8" liquid line you'll add 3 oz of refrigerant to the total charge.

He shouldn't be charging you anything for refrigerant removal since the atmosphere already took care of that for you.

Gas systems have cased coils which sit on top of the furnace. These coils can be cleaned they just have to be taken apart and removed from the casing just an FYI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgz View Post
I also asked the HVAC person about a 4-ton unit requiring 8 lbs of freon and he insisted "yes, that's what it needs. Some need more than that." I'm going to look for the specs online though and see if I can find out more.
Yeah, that's about what it need but since they come pre-charged for the OD unit, a matching ID coil and 15 ft of line set this shouldn't be an extra charge on your itemized bill/quote that you're going to ask for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgz View Post
My decision on getting the condenser replaced at the same time is based partly too on learning that the current one needs a cleaning ($300) and he said that getting a R410 coil now for a R22 unit would require some parts, including a regulator valve, that would have to be refitted later if I waited til later to get an an R410 unit outside.
All that's true. You may want to ask him, or whoever you choose, what it will cost to add a TXV metering device. This typically increases the efficiency of the system by .5 SEER and is added protection for the compressor. I personally like TXV's because they change the amount of refrigerant being fed to the evaporator coil based on the heat load going across it. It's a mechanical device that simply makes sure that all of the refrigerant is boiled off to a low pressure gas before it leaves the evaporator to return to the compressor. That is after all what the point of the evap. coil does and TXV's do it better than all other type of metering devices around. The typical wholesale cost to a dealer for a TXV is around $80 - $100 so I would see if you can get them to throw that in or see what they want to charge to put one in. In terms of ROI they have one of the largest paybacks of the entire HVAC system because of their relatively low cost compared to how much it increases the efficiency.

I'd suggest reading over some of the material at the ACCA website for consumers. They have an entire section dedicated to informing you as the consumer:

https://www.acca.org/consumer
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Old 08-03-2012, 06:46 PM
 
27,965 posts, read 36,074,983 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
If complete new refrigerant lines can be run without having to patch into existing ones to get through a wall, I'd want all new, with an absolute minimum of joints. The cleaner and more complete an install is, the better chance it has of lasting. Mid-summer, Texas, I don't see anything wrong or unusual in the quote, but getting a second one is usually a good idea. Verify WRITTEN warranty terms (READ the darn thing and ask questions ) , make a package of the paperwork, and keep a second copy package in a plastic sleeve taped to the air handler, for easy access.
I agree. Only in worst case scenarios should the refrigerant lines be reused when switching from a mineral oil lubricant (R-22) to a polyester oil lubricant (R-410a).

Unless DuPont has changed the specs, and I haven't gotten any information regarding that, there should be a maximum of 5% mineral oil left over if the refrigerant lines must be reused.

The OP'er is going to need a 3/8" liquid line and a minimum 7/8" vapor line for his system. If his line set lengths are much longer than 100 ft or so he should really up the vapor line to 1 1/8" for refrigerant/oil return to the compressor for lubrication and also add a TXV at the bare minimum.

For anyone that would like to read about TXV's you can go here:

Sporlan Online » Thermostatic Expansion Valves
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:28 PM
dgz dgz started this thread
 
806 posts, read 3,154,611 times
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Thanks BigJon3475 for some great information! He had mentioned adding the TXV device but I didn't know that one of its advantages was getting an extra .5 Seer. Also glad to hear that the coolant and line come with the system. I'll check out the ACCA site. He's also going to send an itemized list with his quote--as we've been going back and forth on the details all day, and I don't want any 'surprises' when they show up next week. :-)
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