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which to pick?

Posted by ebyflk (My Page) on
Thu, May 24, 12 at 16:25

A bit of a long post, appreciate your patience

I turned on my AC last week and noticed that there was air coming out the vents but it wasn't being cooled. I looked at the unit outside and noticed that the fans weren't running. Right after I called up 2 companies in the neighborhood and asked them to take a look.

The first technician looked at the unit, ran his diagnostics and told me that there is a massive leak somewhere and most likely its the evaporator coils. Showed me some areas in the coils where there was rust but didn't identify the exact area of the leak as it would be difficult. He suggested that I replace the evaporator coils on my Rheem RCGA-37A1G for a cost of $2400.

The second technician came in, ran the same tests and confirmed that there is a leak and said that while it most likely may be the evaporator coils there is no way to identify if its the coils or the condenser. He also told me that if I replace just the coils now, I may have to replace the condenser in the very near future. In his words, "why replace the the current old wife (coils) with a hot girl, only to service an old man (condenser)" He suggested that it would be better to replace the coils and condenser and upgrade them to R410a refrigerant as it would future proof it from price increase related with the R22 refrigerant.

I then proceeded to call the first technician to ask him his opinion on this. He said that if I wanted to save cost, he would suggest just to replace the coil using R22 and if the condenser fails in the future I could replace it with R407 which is apparently a newer type of refrigerant used in the newer condenser. This is apparently backward compatible with R22.

Now this brings me to my conundrum. Should I replace everything now or do it piece meal? Cost for both will be pricey so rather than focus on that I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on what's a better approach. Thanks in advance for all your help.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: which to pick?

You stated the fan in your condenser was not running. Is this correct? Did either tech explain how a leak could cause the fan not to turn? You may have a bad fan or capacitor. I am not an expert, but I doubt it is a refrigerant leak.

What equipment do you have and how old is it? It still make more sense to do a replacement. Your best option is to replace the coil and condenser.

RE: which to pick?

Neither of the techs explained why the fan wasn't running. I naturally assumed that the unit has a some sort of safety in place in the event there is no freon. I definitely looked at the gauge while the tech was checking to see the freon levels and it was at zero.

I have a Rheem RCGA-37A1G which is about 12 years old. Apparently these models aren't made anymore hence even the replacement parts are tough to come by hence the increase in price as well

RE: which to pick?

Zoro pds pressure. should be easy to find the leak. Get ride of the second old man pervert tech and get a company to replace that antiquated equipment now!!!! Forget everything else go with the R410a.

RE: which to pick?


I don't have confidence in the two techs.

Rheem certainly supports a 12 yr old condenser. The price you were given on new evap coil was absurd.

Not all leaks are expensive to repair. Depends on where the leak is and from your post, I am not certain the location or whether it is the condenser or evap coil has been identified.

I personally think you need another opinion from someone to correctly diagnose the problem and give you a cost to repair before purchasing new HVAC.

Having said the above, I would not spend more than $500 on a repair for a 12 yr old system.


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