Help with AC and Furnace Problem and Quotes
I live in central NJ and am in the process of getting quotes for a new system. Here's the deal I have a 5 ton unit which is 11 years old in a 3000 sq. foot house. It is builders grade quality that I got with the house which was put in by builder (I am 2nd owner). The reason I am looking to replace...first issue my 5 ton Lennox AC was not working (2 weeks ago). I called a tech and he said the pressure was low and needed to be charged. Next he began charging it with no discussion about looking for leaks, putting in dye to find leak, etc. He put 6 pds. of refrigerant R-22 into my unit which holds 8.5 to 9 pds and charged me only for 4pds. saying that I could possibly have a leak to the tune of $380 bucks! (after reading web realized that he should have said that I definitely have a leak and he knew it would leak out again--isn't this an EPA violation?!) Well by the next morning the house was hot and I went to investigate finding an ice block on the pipe leading to my AC unit. Upon further investigation, I realized all the pipes were frozen and dripping condensation in the basement! I turned off the AC unit and called the company. They said that the tech couldn't come back until Monday (3 days). Well he came back and used hydrogen gas to find the leak in the coil and said that it could not be repaired. I am wondering if running the system when it was leaking and then all night not realizing there would be a problem damaged my AC unit? Well the tech told me that I have 3 options...#1 replace the coil, but hard to find coils using old refrigerant ($2,000) #2 replace AC unit only ($5-7K), but won't get efficiency with old furnance (also 11 years old), or #3 replace the whole system ($12K). I am totally confused with all of this and wondering what to do? I have gotten quotes on many systems...carrier, lennox, haier (never even heard of--orginal company with the loser tech quoted me this system), and have another guy coming this week. Some of the sales guys seem sharp with good company reputations, but I feel like I was taken advantage of with that first tech so I am apprehensive about jumping into this. I did call that first company and complained that the tech should have known at some point that I had a major leak in the AC unit. They said, not so that the first thing they always do is charge the system and see what happens. I still said I was unhappy with all of this and they said that if I purchase a new system with them they will credit me the amount on my bill. But now I don't trust them and feel ripped off. How can I get my money and move on? The other issue is that I want to move out of this house in 5-7 years. This has a bearing on what I invest in since I may not get my money back out. I would appreciate any insight or information that you can provide to help me with my decision. Thanks!