Condo heat pump trouble--long story!
I am looking for advice. Background:
2100 sq. ft. high rise condo in Atlanta metro area. 33rd floor of 35 floor building....concrete construction with several floor to ceiling walls of double pane glass. NE wraparound exposure, only gets direct sun in early morning hours. 4 ton Bryant condensing unit on roof, 4 ton Rheem air handler in a small closet perched above a "low-boy" 40 gallon electric water heater. Refrigerant lineset is in a utlity chase / conduit up to the roof. No idea why the mismatch of equiment. Everything is 12 years old. When things are working right, the heat pump system cools and heats fine as required.
In May of this year, a/c system began freezing up. Service technician at that time diagnosed an minor evaporator leak. Tech advised to replace entire system rather than replace the evaporator. To get things working and buy time; R-22 refrigerant was added and all was well until recently when the evaporator icing returned.
Had 2 local a/c contractors stop by to inspect and estimate. I learned that new high SEER units are physically larger than current equipment. Coils are said to be larger---more surface area. This poses 2 problems:
*available vertical space in closet for air handler is 54"
*in order to obtain roof access; stairwell & door opening limits condensing unit width to 33"
Both companies promoted Trane equipment, but have yet to provide estimates due to space constraints as new 4 ton equipment is physically larger. One rep said a crane or helicopter may be required to get the new condensing unit up onto the roof. Major, major cost upcharge. I couldn't believe this. Matching air handlers are taller than the 54" available.
Over the holiday weekend, I scoured the websites of the brands commonly recommended here. All I can seem to find are Rheem & Ruud systems that have 4 ton components that will fit within the physical size constraints.
Their websites provide very comprehensive information, (especially Ruud). Both brands appear to share similar specs and apprearance. From what I have heard they are good brand that offers a lot of value for the price.
In speaking with 1 of the a/c companies today, I was told with the issues I am faced with; I will most likely have to settle for basic bottom of the line equipment. I suggested Rheem-Ruud and was told they are still trying to come up with a Trane package that will work.
Bottom-line......is Rheem-Ruud as good as I believe it to be? Are certain models preferred? Are there other recommended brands that will work with my size constraints? Advice is deeply appreciated.