A/C out for Memorial Day weekend! Best timing ever!


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Old 05-30-10, 11:20 AM
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A/C out for Memorial Day weekend! Best timing ever!

First post, so I will try and make it a good one!

My A/C stopped working yesterday. The house panel breaker keeps tripping.

I called a local repair guy because it was Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend. He came out this morning and said "your compressor is grounded". I work on computer electronics so I know how to use a digital multimeter. And I thought it was weird that when he was checking (i assume) continuity he touched one of the leads to the A/C units metal body to make it beep. I would think you need to touch connection points of the different components...

Then he said he would check if the compressor is under warranty on Tuesday, but a new one would cost around $3600 installed. My system is a "3.5 Ton York Split System AC Condenser 14 SEER 208/230/60/1Item Number : H2RE042S06A". Only work I've ever had done was the blower motor replaced in the attic.

After he left, I found this site and did some reading on how to test some of the components myself. I get outside, take off the panel, only to discover that one of the wires on my old analog multimeter was completely chewed in half (thank you cat!). When I stuck the disconnect breaker back into the box, I heard a slight pop and the fan motor powered up for 1/2 second and the blades spun freely, so I guess it's motor isn't bad.

Just looking for advice. I'm not an electrician, but I know how to put my meter in Ohm mode and check for continuity. My house was built in 2003, Houston, TX and this is the original unit. Anyone I talk to say $3600 is way too high to replace a compressor...

Here are some pics I took while I had the cover off.
a-c pictures by supaphr33k - Photobucket

Whatever happens, glad I found this site! Can't wait to go offer help with things I am actually good at in the other forums!
 
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Old 05-30-10, 11:29 AM
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I'll let a Pro tell you how to test...but as to the $3600, he was probably talking about replacing the entire outside unit...though that seems high as well. Maybe he meant new inside AND outside units?

He may have been checking from one of the hots to the exterior body.

If you feel like looking...try the advanced search option from the toolbar. Might find how to test there.

Welcome to the forums...sorry it had to be for this reason.
 
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Old 05-30-10, 02:18 PM
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The continuity test that is done is to test from the 3 pins on the compressor to metal, like the copper. Yes, it is shot if that shows continuity. $3600 is rip off. An entire outside unit should not cost that. Find an a/c man that works out of his house(lower overhead). Get at least 3 bids for both compressor replace and outside unit replace, or the same SEER rating and tons, to compare apples to apples.
 
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Old 05-30-10, 02:58 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

Since my unit uses R22, if I wanted to replace the entire unit, I assume it would have to be a r410a unit. Does that force me to replace any of the upstairs components?

My house is a two story 2300 sq ft house. Is a single 3.5 ton unit big enough or should I upgrade? The upstairs always seems warm in the summers...
 
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Old 05-30-10, 03:26 PM
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Was your continuity test performed at the compressor terminals to eliminate a burned wire or the fan motor as a possible cause?

I would recommend also replacing the evaporator coil if you replace your condenser.

The cost of replacement will increase with higher efficiency units.
The tax rebate available this year will help offset the cost of a higher efficiency system.
3.5 tons seems very small for a house at least 14 years old in this area.

I recommend a licensed contractor.
 
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Old 05-30-10, 05:05 PM
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No, you do not have to use r410a, r22 is still available, and I bet York part is not hard to find either. Since your house is only 7 years old, the upstair unit should be still OK. So, just go ahead replace the compressor & you should be OK. should cost you some where around $1400-$1700. a few hundred more if you replace the whole outside unit. Good luck to you.
 
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Old 05-31-10, 10:22 AM
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Thanks again for all the replies!

I think my plan is to hear what the original service guy says about the compressor being under warranty or not. Unless someone on here knows how to check a York compressor's warranty status? (Compressor, Hermetic P/N: 015-02764-004)

Then get another couple quotes on replacing the compressor and take the cheapest one.

Anyone know a good person to call in SE Houston area? (League City)
 
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Old 05-31-10, 10:30 AM
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I wouldn't even consider replacing only the compressor unless it is under warranty.
 
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Old 05-31-10, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Houston204
I wouldn't even consider replacing only the compressor unless it is under warranty.
In a perfect world I would call one of those 24hr emergency places and have already had them replace the whole thing. But it comes down to money.

In my mind the costs are:
1) replace compressor - $1500
2) replace everything - $3500

Is that approximately correct? Normally I can swing 2k but not right now due to our baby being due in one month. Which is also why we are in a hotel and not just roughing it in the Houston heat...
 
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Old 05-31-10, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Houston204
I wouldn't even consider replacing only the compressor unless it is under warranty.
I think you meant compressor versus outside unit... I was thinking you meant compressor versus entire outside/inside unit...

From the people I have talked to, you might as well replace the whole outside unit due to labor costs.

Is it bad to mix brands between the inside and outside units if you keep the same size (3.5 ton)?
 
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Old 05-31-10, 02:57 PM
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We had a second guy come out and look at it. He said the compressor was grounded also and I had him show me the terminals. Both the pos and neg wires were showing OPEN.

He said it was a price difference of around $400 to replace just compressor versus condensor. But he said he probably wont have a compressor in stock versus a 3.5 ton condensor unit. He said they dont have any of the high end R22 condensors anymore because people have bought them up. He most likely has a "Grand Air" brand unit in stock. $2250 installed by noon tomorrow.

I mentioned that the other guy who looked at it wasn't sure if the York compressor was a 5yr or 10yr warranty unit, he said he could tell by the "E" in the model number (H2RE042S06A) that it was a 5yr warranty. I figure it's most likely 5yr since Lennar put the cheapest of everything in the house! lol
 
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Old 05-31-10, 08:46 PM
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I have never heard Grand Air brand ???????
 
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Old 05-31-10, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by clocert
I have never heard Grand Air brand ???????
Grandaire Heating and Cooling Products perhaps...

I think he also said "Goodman" brand...
 
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Old 05-31-10, 10:10 PM
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Goodman brand is fine, made in Houston. In fact, the brand is not important, the person do the job counts, So, if you think that guy knows what he is doing, go ahead. $2250 for the whole outside condensor unit is about right. (you can get a little cheaper(say $1800-2000) from a guy work behind the truck, another words, he does not have a company, but unless you know this person, don't go to that cheap route)
 
 

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