Goodman R22 compressor died. Upgrade or replace?

abwhitneyJune 5, 2011

We just moved into 9 year old home and because of cold weather could not test the air conditioning unit. We turned it on for the first time and it died within a day. A friend recommended an ac technician he's used for years who came out, spent an hour with me and felt bad charging anything after what he found. Turns out the freon was leaking inside the compressor and outside. It's a Goodman CLK60. He said Goodman uses same compressor as other high end units but keeps prices low by not advertising like the others. He suggested we just replace the unit and he'll add the freon since they can't sell them with freon. He's a registered distributor for many different brands but said Goodman is good if installed correctly and it's best to match with the unit in the attic. The rooms square footage adds up to 2200 but the house was listed as 3200 square feet (2 floors). it's a 5 ton, 60,000 BTU system. I have a few questions:

1. is the size of the unit good? I was concerned it had to work too hard and that led to breaking.

2. he said the cost of labor to take apart the compressor and find the leak and then order the part, replace, etc may make it not worth it compared to getting a new one. it's my call. should I replace or spend to find out where leak(s) is happening?

3. he said it would cost a ton more to go to R410a system. he would flush the copper line if we went that route, not re-run copper. but we'd have to replace the attic unit (forgot what that's called). we plan on being here 40+ years. does that length affect our decision? Goodman has the optional lifetime warranty program which is appealing.

4. We only have 1 unit for a relatively large home. Does the desire to someday convert to 2 zones affect our decision making process?

I know most people are skeptical of technicians, but I totally trust him. My friend is a seasoned builder and has used him for years. He's an old timer who seems to know his stuff.

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mike_home

Goodman's usually have a 10 year parts warranty if the unit was registered at the time of installation. Someone would need to contact to local distributor to verify if the unit is covered. It's a young unit and may be worthwhile fixing.

If you are going to replace it, you should not stay with the R22. A R410 unit does not cost more. Could it be the old timer does not want to get involved with a R410 unit?

To answer you other questions:

1. I think 5 tons is oversized for a 2200 square foot house that is 9 years old.

2. I think you should find out the cost of a repair espeically if the warranty is in effect.

3. If you are going to be there 40 years, then you definitely don't want an R22 unit. If possible the line set should be changed.

4. If you are planning on zoning, should consider doing this now. It will affect the installation.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 6:43PM
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abwhitney

Thanks for your reply. I like lists, so forgive the format:

- I thought Goodman warranty was only for original owner? I can see the serial number, but should they allow it still?

- The unit that is in the attic, does that need to replaced (plus any additional duct work, etc) if we replace the outside compressor with an R410 unit? I don't think he's shirking the work away but rather thinks it's not necessary to upgrade. There's added costs in the labor.

- the 2200 square feet is the inside the walls dimensions. It doesn't take into effect the high ceilings, especially the cathedral ceiling foyer and family room. In any case, wouldn't I have to replace the attic unit if I wanted to go smaller? are you thinking it's a waste of energy?

- Any further thoughts on zoning? We have 1 zone for upstairs and downstairs. I thought of zoning to save on costs over time, but if it costs thousands to add 2nd furnace, split off the duct work and get another unit, is it really worth it? all bedrooms are on same floor, so this would just be an upstairs vs downstairs zone thing.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 7:16PM
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weedmeister

2. the evaporator will most likely need to be replaced in the attic, not the blower or furnace.

3. Volume is a better measure than square footage. The rules of thumb for sq. ft. presume 8ft ceilings. If the unit is too large, it will short-cycle, leading to humidity problems (cool/clammy).

When you go to a 410 system, chances are very good that you will need to run a new lineset. This is because the new unit(s) will require a larger size.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:39PM
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abwhitney

thanks weemeister. with all the work needed, plus cleaning out the pipes, it sounds to me like it may not be worth upgrading to the R410. I'm not seeing the ROI aside from the environmental benefits. our ceilings are definitely more than 8ft. I think they're ten. the foyer is 2 stories high and the family room is probably 1.75 stories high at the v peak.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 12:27AM
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mike_home

I don't know the limits of the Goodman warranty. Do some research and don't assume anything.

R22 refrigerant is being phased out. Over time it will become expensive.

You will have to replace the coil if you change the size of the condenser. Talk to additional contractors and see if they will do a load calculation.

Zoning will help even out the downstairs and upstairs temperatures. The duct work will need to be evaluated to determine how difficut it would be to separate the downstairs and upstairs duct work. Are you going to replace the condenser and then find out upstairs is much warmer than downstairs?

You can take the inexpensive approach and then do a total replacement in 10 years. How much is the quote to swap the condenser and charge it with R22?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:03AM
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abwhitney

Checked on their site - out of warranty. Figures.

The quote is somewhere around $1400 installed. I should have more information today or tomorrow. I'm in Massachusetts, so I'm not sure what regional costs are.

I think the idea of doing a total replacement in 10 to 20 years is where I'm going to go. I'd rather have a fresh system install with any additional duct work done rather than hoping all the adaptation work is done correctly.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:11AM
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