Air Source Heat Pump replacement

rosweetApril 18, 2011

I live in a condo in Pasadena (100F High & 35F Lows) and I��m not a heavy user of either heating or cooling. The current system is as old as the condo itself, a GE heat pump from 1970s (split: compressor on the roof and heat pump in the unit). Everything works fine, and the electricity bills were no so bad either. However, the maintenance suggested considering replacement. Does anybody know how much the average cost for such thing? Do they come w/ free maintenance? What��s a good brand for such? Should I wait until the system give in then replace it?

Thanks!

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tigerdunes

rosweet

what size are you replacing?

any problems on heating and cooling your condo?

these are my minimum specs for a new HP system. both outside and inside units should be replaced to have a properly matched system.

15 SEER, 12.5+ EER, 9 HSPF
best matching VS air handler
full BTUs in both cooling and heating for your rated size
R-410a refrigerant(same as Puron)
scroll compressor preferred
electronic demand defrost preferred
thermostat with "dehumidify on demand" feature
staged backup heat strips
new and correctly sized refrigerant lineset

you want a thorough inspection of your ductwork system. size, overall condition, supply and return lines, insulation qualities, leak test, etc.

any hot/cold spot issues in your home should be addressed.

I would only use authorized dealers for the various brands that provide quotes. see mfg websites.

I would look at Trane/AmStd,Rheem/Rudd,Carrier/Bryant.

I would not purchase a new HP system that did not have electronic demand defrost.

California is an expensive HVAC market, more so than other areas of the country. It's just an expensive place to live.

minimum cost est $2500/ton. that would not include any crane lift. with a system that old, you would see some good operating cost savings. If not a var speed air handler(which I would recommend), at least get a high eff air handler since Cali has such high electric rates.

If you are willing to accept current operating costs and a breakdown with associated downtime to either have system repaired or replaced, then wait before replacing.

don't kid yourself. there is no such thing as free maintenance. you want at least a strong warranty and perhaps consider purchasing the manufacturer's ext warranty on labor for additional protection. that's usually around 10% of purchase cost.

IMO

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 3:47PM
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tigerdunes

rosweet

with a system this old, It would be foolish to spend any serious money on a repair.

IMO

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 4:07PM
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rosweet

Thanks IMO, I have no idea what size that GE thing is. But my neighbor just replaced it with 2.5Ton EverRest from Goodman. The condo size is around 1300 sqf, does that efficient? and does replacement always includes all inspections you mentioned or they are extra services and are performed at my request and my cost? Finally, it seems all local air conditioning guys I contacted only carries specific brands, for instance, one only does Carrier, another one only do York,etc. Does brand matter? or installation/inspection matters more?

Thanks again for the suggestions, I won't bother to fix it if it breaks down; but things like this always break when one needs it the most.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 5:37PM
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tigerdunes

rosweet

I do not subscribe to the notion that brand does not matter. trust me, it does.

there are three equal components of a successful new HVAC for a home.

1.quality HVAC equipment
2.quality installation by dealer
3.an above average properly sized ductwork system.

IMO

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 6:09PM
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rosweet

Thanks again for your advise IMO. Do you have an opinion toward brand such as York or Amana?

Thanks,

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 6:59PM
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tigerdunes

rosweet

I have given you my best advice on brands in my first post. go back and re-read it.

also, seems to me you would have learned something from the longevity of your existing system. GE residential heat pump division was purchased by Trane/AmStd in early 80s-something to consider. Those HPs were workhorses. Your existing system is over thirty yrs old. Wonder why...

and pay attn to "electronic demand defrost" feature.

and good gosh almighty, no Everest.

find out your existing size-a homeowner should know this.

IMO

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 7:24PM
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rosweet

Thanks IMO for your good advice. I finally found out the current GE is a 2ton sytem. and I had 3 people came in to take a look. Most of people mentioned First Co for the coil Fan. And first proposal I got back is roughly 7K for Coil Fan and Lennox 14-HPX 3ton system, and all installation work. Does that sound expensive? or its an average quote? Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 2:18PM
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weedmeister

replacing a 2 ton system with a 3 ton system is a bad idea on the surface. Therer would have to be a darn good reason to do it.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 6:28PM
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ionized_gw

If your climate is such that you use the system little, there is little economic incentive to replace it if it is not broken. With a little time investment you should be able to come up with how much you will save with a more efficient system. You might decide that you should stick with what you have.

Your decision might hinge on how long you will live there. If you plan on being there 20 years, you might be better off replacing it now and reaping the benefits of a replacement system for that length of time. If you are going to be there for 2 years, I expect you would not be asking! If it is somewhere in between, well, the decision is tougher.

Certainly, it does not hurt to do a little research to find out what is good and how much or how little it will save you.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 7:26PM
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rosweet

The issue is that the summer in Pasadena is quite hot, and running some 30+ yr old heat pump is probably not a good idea. And it may always break on the day you need it the most. Anyway, just got another quote in 4 handle in a very similar system. I guess there is alot markup in labor...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:14PM
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