Replace compressor with same or change out R-22 condensor

savannahcoolJune 21, 2010

Compressor burnt out (maybe lightning) in 6 year old Coleman 10 SEER(model BRHS0421CD)unit in 1800 sq ft 2-story townhome in GA. I'm stressing trying to decide what to do. The initial options (and approx estimates) from the repair service are:

1. Remove & replace compressor - $1500

1 yr warranty, 90 days labor

Don't know if any other components are damaged (ex, reversing valve or charge level haven't been tested)

2. Replace with new R-22 condensor - $2200

Probably Lennox or Rheem depending on what's available & compatible with inside system

5 year parts warranty

3. Replace with 3.5 ton 13 SEER R-410 Lennox system - $3900

10 year parts, 2 years labor warranty

My concerns are price (of course), phasing out of R-22 systems possibly affecting parts availability if there are future issues, liklihood that there will be repair issues needed soon if only compressor replaced, rising cost of R-22 vs R-410 refrigerant cost.

In case, the below facts would influence your advice:

Evaporative coil was replaced in 2007 after freon leaks.

Townhome is for rent, not owner-occupied (and not cash-flowing)

I would appreciate any useful advice!!!

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a nice user name and great city.

sorry for your trouble.

what size is existing system? just to be clear, this is a heat pump system with inside air handler, not a furnace?

any warranty on old system?

this townhouse is a rental unit?

sorry for all the questions.

post back. definitely not #1 option.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 7:03PM
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Thanks for posting to my inquiry (I'm a new member, so it's exciting to get an answer!). Ask as many questions as you need & I'll try to get answers

Size - not sure of the size. I'll see if I can find out size info & post it.

Heat pump - Googling the model shows: BRHS SERIES - 10 SEER - X3 - SPLIT HEAT PUMP. Inside air handler unit is model F2RP042H068 (no info with Google but that is the model# I was given when the evaporative coil needed replacement in 2007)

Warranty - expired (was 5 years)

Rental unit - yes

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 8:34PM
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Since this is a rental, do you intend to sell it down the road at some time, and if so, when?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 10:16PM
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There's alot of profit,labor & overhead built into these options. For a rental-unit you might think about one of the less expensive brands that every manufacturer has, and also consider other installers - Heil, Payne, Goodman, etc all make a decent product with a decent parts warranty period - ten years is common.

R22 complete systems can be had on ebay for $1500 delivered, R-410 isn't much more expensive - and the labor to install one will be whatever you'll pay - personally, I'd think $500~ish if you're resourceful and negotiate well.

Although there is always a problem or difficulty on an install, 95% of them are done in ONE day - How much do YOU make in a day? No need to pay the HVAC guys like they are rock stars.

I doubt you'ld be pleased to pay $2200 for a mismatched condenser & labor, and then realize you have a marginal, mismatched and un-warrantied system, and you've paid (conservatively) $250 PER HOUR for the labor to install it. I'll eat my shoe if a condenser-only replacement takes more than 4 hours. Likely TWO hours if they cut some corners.

As for R-22, it is going away, but it's still being manufactured for NINE more years. There isn't a huge tax on it like R12 had, and it's WIDELY used, both commercially and in residential situations. Right now, many Hvac guys charge $100 for the first pound of freon - their cost is closer to $10 - this is just taking advantage of consumers that don't know how much it really costs. It isn't rare or difficult to procure, but they charge alot because consumers allow them to.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 2:35AM
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To answer tigerdunes - size is 3.5 ton 10 SEER

To answer weedmeister, I will sell it at some time but have no plans in the immediate future (maybe 8-10+ years unless expensives increase too much while rents & property values decline)

To zippyvac - thanks for the pointers & info re R-22 costs. I live out of state & am a bit concerned about ordering independent of the HVAC repair person but may check it out.

I've recently been told that it might be difficult if not impossible to find a 10 SEER R-22 condenser to match to the inside unit. Potential problem with 13 SEER outside unit + 10 SEER inside unit is that the coils for the 10 SEER are smaller & may not dissipate the heat sufficiently in winter, causing the heating mode to trip out. I believe the repair tech said he'd put a R-22 expansion valve upstairs to regulate refrigerant flow to the coil (I'm assuming to deal with the coil size issue)
Any thoughts on this & other mismatch issues?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 1:34PM
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the indoor coil is the cheap part of the unit. If your old compressor "grenanded" itself getting the shrapnel out will be difficult if not impossible.

I wasn't telling you that you should buy off Ebay, just that you should have some idea of the dealer's cost before deciding. Your replacement compressor likely costs the dealer under $400 - the other $1100 you were quoted was labor, overhead and profit. Is that reasonable? You'll need to decide that for yourself.

As much as the industry denies it, these units are appliances not "magic boxes" - performance doesn't have to be expensive.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 3:16PM
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