AC Compressor out - Repair or Replace Unit

mikeinazApril 18, 2008


It seems there is some great information here. I have an 11 year old 3.5 ton 10 SEER York AC and the compressor is dead. I was given an estimate of $1512 to replace plus the single pole contactor and a new quick disconnect which put the total at $1765.

I got two estimates to replace that unit as well as the 4 ton unit next to it. The first bid said he used a computer program that had the blueprints to my house and it was sized correctly, the second bid just copied what the builder did. So far, no has done a manual J.

I live in Scottsdale, AZ and have allergies and 3 dogs. Cooling is my only concern since we rarely ever use the heat. I had no idea it was so expensive to replace and I would love to have some of the items I see recommended on this forum. (Variable speed air handler)

So, bid one was for Lennox XC13 and a 1 speed furnace, the 3.5 ton was $8355 and for the 4 ton also, it was $15498.

To get the variable speed furnace it was quoted with the XC15, the 3.5 ton was $10995 or both (3.5 & 4) for $20789.

From there it only went up.

The second bid was for American Standard and we decided on one package.

3.5 ton and a 4 ton Heritage 14 series(I think he meant the Allegiance 14) with the Ultimate Freedom 80 variable speed furnace and the Ultimate 800 thermostat for $14703 plus tax.

Both bids were putting in a new drain pan with a float valve to shut off the unit if it filled, plenum boxes and leaving the existing duct work alone. The air handlers are in the attic and the ac units are on the side of the house (not visible and noise is not a concern.)

I know this is a long post but my question is

Is it true that a replacement compressor will only last about 2-4 years if I decide to get it fixed?

How are those bids so far?

Would I be crazy to attempt to purchase the equipment online and hire a contractor (NATE certified) to install it?

I appreciate any information and thank you for your time.

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The compressor replacement should last a good long time if it is properly done but what you need to consider and what they should have asked you is what are your priorities (how long are you planning on staying, is efficiency more important than price, how concerned are you with resale value) I always tell people they should buy the highest efficiency they can afford, remember there is no better way to green up your home than to properly upgrade your Home Comfort System

Here is a link that might be useful: Air Conditioning Repair made easy

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 8:16AM
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If you rarely use heat, why are you getting gas furnaces with the a/c? Why don't you get a heat pump instead and nix the gas furnace? A heat pump is a central a/c system that can also provide heat by reversing the refrigerant flow thru the system.

Your American Standard prices look good for 2 units.

I would get at least 2 more quotes.

FYI: Your true cooling costs (especially on hot summer days) are determined by the Energy Efficency Ratio (EER) and not SEER. Whichever SEER rating you get, you want a 12 EER minumum. In my opininion, a 14 or 15 SEER (12 EER) offers the best combination of purchase price and true operating costs.

You could also think about 1 unit with a variable speed fan and the other with a fixed speed fan. This will save you at least $500 on the purchase.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 9:43PM
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