Help with R22 vs R410 & SEER ratings

cluelessinazJuly 31, 2010

I am needing to replace a 10 year old R22 Carrier 10 Seer unit (split system, heat pump). For multiple reasons I am am unable to replace the air handler at this time (also 10 seer as I am told)I am aware it is the ideal thing to do, but it is just impossible financially at this time. I would like to replace it with a Trane unit. 2 questions please, can I replace the outdoor unit as an R22 but a higher seer like 14 to get better efficiency? I was told I cannot as it has to match the 10 seer air handler. My parents did this years ago with no issues, but they said no, max I could go is maybe 12, but better to keep it at 10. Really, that seems ridiculous if the idea is to get better energy savings and efficiancy? 2nd question, I was told I cannot change to a R-410 unit outdoors without replacing the R-22 air handler. Is this true? Is there no way to get an R410 unit to work with the R22 air handler? I really have no idea and no one I know has recently had to deal with this. Any assistance is greatly appreciated. I have little time, I am in AZ and my old unit is about ready to breath it's last breath.Thanks!!

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Why does the Carrier unit need to be replaced?

13 SEER is the minimum efficiency for outdoor units made today. Likely won't get 13 SEER when paired with a 10 SEER coil, so don't look for energy efficiency when doing it this way.

R-22 units are no longer manufactured and harder to find. You'd certainly want to avoid R-410A if you're reusing your existing indoor coil.

If you can find a 13 SEER R-22 unit, preferably Carrier, this might work, but you can't expect any real savings or enhanced performance when mismatching equipment.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 10:29PM
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ryanhuges is partly correct
Your asking for trouble on a heat Pump
13 SEER is the least efficient available and only 410A.
If you can find a R22 Condenser and install it you wont get near 13 SEER and more than likely your heat will suck when in heat mode. You will not qualify for any rebates. Code enforcement has gotten real strict with matching systems. You now have to have an engineering firm certify that you did not diminished the SEER rating of a existing unit. Good luck doing that!

You are not the only one who is finding out that the EPA is creating a greater $$ burden on the consumer. This is only the beginning

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:19PM
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Code enforcement has gotten real strict with matching systems. You now have to have an engineering firm certify that you did not diminished the SEER rating of a existing unit. Good luck doing that!

Perhaps where you are, but certainly not everywhere, and probably not most places.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 10:28AM
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Thanks a ton for the fast replies!!

ryanhughes "Why does the Carrier unit need to be replaced?"

The heat pump(outdoor condensor unit)needs to be replaced as the compressor is going. Started making terribly load noise, making the walls vibrate with this pulsating sound, extremely loud. They checked "everything" else and said it was the compressor. I was told it alone can be replaced for $1500-$1700, and hence figured it may be best to just get a new one, until I found out about all this R22 vs R410, mis-matching etc. The tech who said it needed to be replaced is from my regular AC service company who does my 2 x year prevent. maint. on the units.

My parents have a 9 Seer Air handler that is going on 20 years and they replaced their condenser several years back (2002) with a 14 seer, no change to the air handler, he saw huge savings on their electric bill and has had no trouble with the unit. How is that explained?

Due to the tight space where this one air handler is and poor lay out up there, it is going to be extremely costly to get down and get a new one in. May need dry wall work and reinforcement up there. Dad is adament that I do not need to change the handler, but hey, he's not an HVAC guy just someone who didn't replace and is seeing great benefit and no problems. The first HVAC guy who came yesterday said he could replace the outdoor unit with a 12 seer max (if he can find one) but not to expect much of any savings, but better to replace with a 10 seer again. ($2400) Why spend that kind of money and see no efficiencies? Having 2 more estimates on Monday. He said he could also replace just the compressor for $1500.00. This is why it seems like it may be best to take a plunge and replace everything, but really I do not have 6K.

If I get another R22 outdoor unit, what happens if the air handler goes in 3 years, then what? I have to replace this new 3 year old condenser and an air handler? There went the $2400 out the door. Or are there air handlers that can handle both, just not condensers that can?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 11:47AM
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