Replace whole thing or just evap and cond


  #1  
Old 04-26-07, 04:31 PM
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Replace whole thing or just evap and cond

I was going to replace my 20 year old Ruud split-system
central air/electric furnace after the evaporator coil
started leaking freon. Someone told me that since I
already have the airhandler connected to my ductwork
I could just replace the evaporator coil and the outside
match of condensor unit and just replace the blower

motor and heating element as needed and so save money on
labor(tearing into the old air handler and replacing
with a new one) not to mention the savings on parts.
Is this correct thinking or is it counter-productive in
the long run? Thanks in advance guys.
 
  #2  
Old 04-27-07, 04:52 AM
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You will spend more money replacing parts! Plus don't know what seer you are going with so it could cost you more in electricity. You will most likely need a new line set, new coil will probably not fit. Replace it all.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 05:03 AM
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At 20 years old I would 1st say just replace it all. If all you have there is an air handler with a blower and electric heat element and it's been maintained you may be ok but it's on borrowed time at that age. The blower wouldn't be a big deal but the heat element may be very costly if not unavailable.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 01:30 PM
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Is there anyway to save money on this?

I notice that all of these contractors jack the price of
their central air units way up. If all I NEED is an
evaporator coil and outside condensor unit (split sys)
replaced can't I just buy them myself and just call
the contractor to come and take out the old stuff and
install the new hardware with some sort of paperwork
stating that it was installed professionally so that
the guarantee on the parts will hold? I just want some
way to isolate the labor so that they won't rip me on
that--when the hardware and the labor are merged they
might assume that you don't know the price of that
hardware. I can always buy a motor to turn the squirrel
cage later on for about 90 bucks and install it myself and
these heating element units are about 150.00. The aluminum
casing (air handler sans blower) is already there why go
through the trouble of tearing it out and putting in a new
one. Do you think anyone would give me say a one
year guarantee on their labor or would they be so
boiling mad that they wouldn't even consider it even
though it might be an entre into becoming my regular
yearly maintenance servicer? Your answers and input
are greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 01:56 PM
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How long do you expect to continue living in this house? At this stage of the game all you need is a new evaporator coil. If you replace just the coil, make sure they use a higher SEER rating coil with a TXV [thermostatic expansion valve]. That way you'll have a matching coil already in place when the outdoor unit dies and has to be replaced with a higher SEER outdoor unit.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 06:12 PM
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You buy the equipment and you get no warenty.
 
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Old 04-27-07, 09:25 PM
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Wink

to replace my 20 year old Ruud split-system
central air/electric furnace

Well first you dont want a new coil on that old of set up. You cant get the seer out of it.
Now electric furnace . You will cut your fuel bill way down if you go with a heat pump here for sure. You need the blower coil unit to match the outdoor unit so you can get a higher SEER and also a HSPF. If you will stay in the home for 10 years or more go for a seer of 15 are better. This way you can get a Tax credit from the IRS on it. Also with all new inside and out you can get a 10 year warranty on the whole thing.

Be sure and get 3 bids for the job.
 
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Old 04-28-07, 06:50 AM
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One of the reasons a contractor marks up the equipment is for warranty reasons. If a piece of equipment fails, it's the contractor who has to come back and repair or replace it. While the manufacturer will usually provide replacement parts at no cost, they usually don't pay anything for labor. So, it's the contractor who has to do it for free.

If you keep looking, you may find someone who will do exactly what you want. But you will have to assume all risk if problems occur down the road.

Another option is take a course, learn the trade, and do the work yourself. You will learn a lot by working on this system. (I'm not trying to be rude)
 
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Old 04-28-07, 10:43 PM
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this is for a house I'm renting out in another city

This is for a house I'm renting out in another city so I am
going for the minimum SEER of 13 for the two matching units
-- the condensor outside and the uncased evaporator coil
inside. Doesn't it make sense not to tear out the aluminum
housing(air handler) and just replace the bare evaporator
coil matching it with a new outside unit? Why do I have to
replace perfectly good housing? The blower and the heating
apparatus can wait.
 
  #10  
Old 04-28-07, 11:19 PM
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No I don't think it makes sence not to replace all of it. It sounds like you have made up your mind what your going to do.
 
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Old 04-29-07, 01:20 PM
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Mismatched equipment can be a real nightmare when things go wrong.
 
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Old 04-29-07, 01:52 PM
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Good money after bad

Sounds to me like your trying to talk yourself into wasting good money while thinking you are actually saving.

Replace the whole system, shop around and get estimates. Remember the cheapest is just that cheap all the way around.

If you just monkey around and replace parts you get no warranty. Replace the system and you get a 5 year warranty and maybe up to 10 years.

Chris
 
  #13  
Old 04-29-07, 11:15 PM
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I am putting in matching evaporator coil and condensor units

If the inside evaporator coil and the outside condensor unit
match as far as manufacturer, tonnage, and SEER --How is that
a "mismatch"? The blower is basically a thermostat-controlled
fan whose motor can be replaced for about 90 bucks and the
heating element piece is about 150.00. The heater has nothing
to do with the AC -- you could yank that out and stomp on it
and it wouldn't affect the AC. The blower is just a fan --
you couldn't possibly mismatch it with the AC maybe the thermo
-stat which would control it but not the AC. The manufacturer
will waranty the evaporator coil if I use it in combination
with the condensor unit they're going to sell me for 10 years
-- if I get them BOTH professionally installed with paperwork
proving so. Does the aluminum casing housing the evaporator coil and the blower turn into Swiss cheese if you install an
evaporator coil into it from another manufacturer? What am I
monkeying with with all due respect?
 
  #14  
Old 04-30-07, 05:34 AM
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sugarbexar You can replace the coil and condenser and if the fan is moving the correct amount of air and clean you should be OK.

You stated a 20 year old ruud. Chances are you will not find a coil to fit in the existing cabinet so will have to modify your duct system. Many times it is actually less labor to replace the complete air handler than to retrofit the evaporator. Get some estimates and opinions of doing it both ways and compare them. If only a few hundred or so more for the air handler I would go that way as you get new fan, sequencers, heat strips, transformer etc.
 
  #15  
Old 04-30-07, 05:59 AM
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You could remove the heat coils and stomp on them, as you say. Air handlers are sometimes installed without heat in really warm climates. That is really not the problem.

You say the blower is just a fan. Not really, it too is matched for the coil as far as pressure drop and cfm. Let's say it's close enough. I would then be concerned with the items CovTiger mentioned.

Another question: If you have no problem with the cost of replacing the evap coil and condenser, why do you have a problem with replacing the air handler which is the lowest cost item in the system? In many cases, there is little difference between the cost of an electric heat air handler (with internal coil provided) and the cost of just the coil.

Perhaps other technicians on this forum have had this experience, depending on brand of equipment, of course.

If total cost is an issue, you may be better off with a matched system of a lower cost brand.
 
  #16  
Old 04-30-07, 12:29 PM
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It's more the labor involved of taking out the old handler

It's more the labor of tearing out the old airhandler and
installing a new one that I'm trying to avoid. If all they
have to do is hack saw out the old evaporator coil, pull it
out, and insert the new one and braise it and reconnect the
wires to it on the inside of the house. And all they have
to do outside is hack saw the old condensor's copper tubing, braise ithe new condensor, and thenreconnect the wiring: I figure that's a lot less labor which is what is the most expensive part of the deal.
 
  #17  
Old 04-30-07, 02:11 PM
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Rheem [same as Ruud] should have a coil to fit. However, use a tubing cutter to sever the refrigerant lines, not a hacksaw.
 
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Old 04-30-07, 04:22 PM
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Hacksaw????????????

Never use a hacksaw on refrigerant piping.

You need to get very clear with your installer! Replacing the evap coil is considered a PART which usually gets a 1 (one) year warranty. If you get estimates you might find that for an extra 100 bucks over the evap coil cost you'll get the entire airhandler. And a full warranty. Manufacturers want to sell equipment not parts, which is why part cost so much.

You came to us for advice. Mine is to replace both the condenser and the airhandler. You maybe able to use the not stompted on electric heat in the new airhandler which is also considered a PART.

You can just change the coil. In fact I just did that today, but in a commercial application with is a different warrany situation than residential. If your installer will give paper work to warranty the new coil for 10 years as you say, maybe go for it.

Labor costs are labor costs. You may be paying $100 an hour but the tech working for you is only getting $14 to maybe $22 an hour.Your also paying for the truck, the cas, the insurance and all sorts of other stuff in the labor.

Suck it up and do it right, avoid future headaches.

Chris
 
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Old 04-30-07, 05:37 PM
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Your only looking at a couple extra hours for the new AHU!
 
  #20  
Old 05-02-07, 01:03 PM
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Is 100 dollars an hour the norm for reconnecting a few things

I've looked into it and insurance for a license is only
between 400.00 and 1000.00 for the whole year. A lot of
techs must use their own van or truck and even must
have a lot of their own tools. Sounds like some people
want to be paid rocket scientist wages without having
to become a rocket scientist. If this house was nearby
I would buy the books and stuff and do it myself --
one website even sells a DVD that shows step by step
how to reinstall a central air. Dudes were not sending
a man to the moon here we're just reconnecting copper
tubing and some wiring what's with the 100.00 per hour.
It's not like I'm paying someone to get me out of a murder rap.
Some guy who is not with a company right now-- unemployed because he's taking care of his newborn son since his wife makes more money than he does wanted
1000.00 for labor. When I asked him how long it would
take him once I had all the hardware for him -- he said
"about 8 hours or so". He's unlicensed anyway but is
that a norm -- after a few months of study these guys
feel like they deserve the world on a silver platter --
is that just human nature? Well because of this egomania the do it yourself industry is exploding.
Excuse me for not wanting to be well...Rheem-ed.
 
  #21  
Old 05-02-07, 01:59 PM
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I haven't posted a lot here but if you read my posts you will see that I am very pro DIY. Your last post doesn't qualify for any response other than buy the books, the licenses and DIY I will not be offering any more advice or helpful hints to you other than I hope you never have to pay a lawyer for a murder defense.
 
  #22  
Old 05-02-07, 03:43 PM
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I, on the other hand, like posting to this thread

I think your posts are pretty funny.

First I agree with you, $1000 is too much for a guy to do this as a side job.

When I did side work in Virginia Beach I charged $40 an hour (my wife thought I should have charged more) plus the cost of equipmet and parts and such. Because it isn't rocket science and my customers deserved quality service at a fair price. Wife just said I still should have charged more.

I'm in central VA now and work for a commercial company. We charge $70 per hour for labor. Residential is different though. Back in the beach I know of companies that charged anywhere from $80 to $130.

In VA Beach the company would provide big ticket tools for me, but hand tools, gauges etc I had to have. No problem for as I had everything, even what the company provided.

Here in Central VA the company buys literally everything. Still getting used to that.

Now back to your thinking you can do this yourself. I used to teach homeowners how to maintain the sytem them selves because it really is easy. No need to pay $49.99 for some tech to come over and "find" something wrong.

Now here's the break down DIY style. Oh, before that, let me say that I changed an outdoor unit and relocated it for my wife's girlfiend for the cost of equipment, dinner and a case of beer.

First, you'll need your EPA 609 certification. That'll cost from $120 to $150. This is easy, your taught to take the test, then you take it and your done. But pay attention because you need a Universal Certification.

Your going to need a Recovery Machine. This will cost around $700. You'll use it one maybe two times. Can't sell it to anyone without 609 cert without faceing a $10000 fine.

You'll need a vaccum pump, $350 and you'll only use it once. Again resale can bring a $10000 fine.

You'll need a Micron gauge, somewhere around $120. No fine for resale.

You'll need a recovery cylinder at $150 or so. EPA fine here also for resale.

You'll need a gauge manifold, another $100 and a fine like I said before.

You'll need nitrogen. You'll have to buy the cylinder outright $120 for 60 cuft (should be enough) and nitrogen in the cylinder about $30. You can sell it when finished, no fine.

You'll need an oxy/acetelene rig for brazing. Thats about $250. Plus buying the bottles, about $100 and gas $50. You'll use this about 20 minutes provided you do a good braze job and don't have any leaks and have to fix them.

Last your going to need R-22. With a 609 Certification you'll be able to walk into an HVAC supply house (provided they sell to homeowners without a company account) and pay around $100 for a 30 pound cylinder. For your situation you may use a pound or so. And you'll need to learn how to correctly charge the unit so stuff doesn't break over time because of an incorrect charge.

So, there you go. Spend around $2190, I only spec'ed the big stuff but I assume you have some tools yourself, and you can DIY. But, if you do it wrong and get a fine from the EPA add $10000.

When you get all that stuff completed, I'd be happy to tell you how to do the job step by step.

Dude, your right in $1000 for a side job is getting Rheem-ed. But at the same time your trying to be cheap and Rheem yourself. Ever heard of tax deductions for maintinance of rental property?

I look forward to your next post. Makes me laugh.

Chris
 
  #23  
Old 05-02-07, 04:56 PM
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So I guess on labor I just have to go with what the market will bear at this time.

I'll have to call up as many contractors as possible and see
who'll give me the best deal with the right balance of price
and labor guarantee. Maybe someone will give me a one year
labor guarantee. Who knows maybe I'll have to let them sell
me the evap coil and condensor at their jacked up prices to
get any type of a labor guarntee.
Hey I'm trying to get a square deal Covtiger so that I wont
need that type of legal help.
All kidding aside many of the comments here have helped
me tremendously in planning a strategy for this repair.
Ill probably go with Helpingsis's advice and put in a new evaporator coil after measuring and making sure it fits and a new condensor outside. Both are guaranteed by the company if installed by a licensed rocket scientist...er I mean HVAC tech. Maybe they guarantee
them if you buy the two corresponding inside and outside
units but this company does do that. If it was my own
house I'd probably buy the whole thing new with the
highest SEER I could afford but this is for renters who
are going to run it into the ground anyway -- who knows
I may wind up selling since its so far away. Anyway I
thank everybody for their input especially Jarredsdad,
helpingsis,jim-connor and yes even Covtiger.
I just pulled my son out of MIT and enrolled him in the
local HVAC program.
 
  #24  
Old 08-07-14, 02:39 PM
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Sugarbexar, I'm replying to a very old thread here.
I'm a newly registered member to this forum (YAY!), facing the same dilemma as your original post with my 15 year old Ruud unit. I'm wondering what your decision was and how it worked out for you in the long run.

BTW, I found this post very helpful and I learn a lot from the multiple point-of-views.
 
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Old 08-07-14, 02:49 PM
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Hello and welcome to the forum! Sugarbexar has not been back in almost 8 years, so you will not get a reply from them.
If you have a question and need help, I would suggest you start a new thread and explain your problem!
 
 

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