New HVAC needed; advice please


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Old 07-20-19, 07:53 PM
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New HVAC needed; advice please

Hi guys, I have a question regarding my central air conditioning. I have two zones for A/C. I have two Rheem HVACs outside and two compressors in the attic. The HVACs are 13 years old. I just moved into my house nearly 2 years ago, so I am new to all of this.



Last summer, we noticed the A/C was not coming in strongly into the master bedroom and one of the kid's bedrooms, but cooled the rest of the house fine.



We had the HVACs maintained two months ago. We told the technician about the two bedrooms not being cooled down as well as the rest of the house. The technician told us the freon levels were low and it was most likely due a leak, especially due to the age of the HVACs. He told us that the freon levels should be rechecked in a few months and to see if the a/c worked better in the two bedrooms. It didn't. The company came back (their return visit was free) and noticed the freon levels in one of the HVACs was lower. They went up into the attic to check the ducts and said they could not really do anything to improve the air flow without making it into a big job. In fact, they recommended to remove the existing duct work and put in new ducts (especially if the HVACs were going to be replaced). The reason they recommended that is b/c they said the duct work has components from the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s, when previous work was done, which created a mess of things. They also told me that one of the HVACs was failing (it wasn't blowing out hot air and the mechanism that attached the wires to it wasn't ice cold...it was just a medium temperature).



So, here are my questions:



Does it sound like it's time to get new HVACs? I'm concerned since freon will be much more expensive on January 1, 2020. Also, both HVACs are 13 years old each. My understanding is HVACs last 10-15 years and I'm pretty much approaching toward the end of the lifespan of an HVAC.



2) What they said about the duct work...does that sound right? I'm not sure why it has to be redone, rather than a repair or adjustment.



I have not yet gotten an estimate from the company. One of the two managers of the company is supposed to come next week to explain further to us and give us an estimate.



I do not believe this company is trying to rip me off or convince me to do a job that's unnecessary. They came very highly recommended by many people in my neighborhood. The owner of the company lives in the same town as I do and the word on him is that he's honest, fair, and doesn't try to up sell people on things they don't need. He wouldn't be in business long if he ripped off people in his own neighborhood.



Thanks for any advice you can give.
 
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Old 07-20-19, 09:02 PM
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If you have two units I would assume one is for upstairs and one for downstairs?

The ducts for the upstairs is in the attic? Where are the ducts for downstairs..

And what part of the country do you live in?
 
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Old 07-20-19, 10:55 PM
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The compressors/condensers are the part that is outside. The inside part is the air handler.
Are both of your air handlers in the attic ?

13 years old is not a valid reason for replacement. Typically a check is made for the leak. If it shows up in the evaporator coil inside the air handler..... then it may be time for replacement based on the condition of the coil.

You've been in the house two years...... how was the performance last summer ?
Don't judge system performance based on this excessive heat as this recent high heat is not considered normal in NY.
 
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Old 07-21-19, 11:13 AM
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Two air handlers in the attic. Two air condensers outside. Sorry for the mix up, I'm new to the terminology.

Yes, we had an issue with my bedroom and one of the kids' bedrooms being cooled down. It's not as cool as the rest of the house and the other bedroom.

I'm not judging it based on the heat here in NY. No matter what the temperature is, my bedroom and my child's bedroom does not cool down as well (my bedroom is 4-6 degrees warmer than it should be).

I have two zones. One zone is exclusively for the family room while the other zone is for the rest of the house. I do notice the AC struggles to cool down the family room. For instance, I had it set to 69 degrees, and it wouldn't go below 71. That's the one the HVAC company told me was dying.

It makes sense to me that one of the HVACs may need to be replaced, but I need to see if a repair can be made and at what cost. I do think something needs to be done to the ducts b/c it seems to be an airflow issue to my bedroom and one of the kids' bedrooms.
 
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Old 07-21-19, 10:53 PM
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I'm guessing no basement as it is rare to have two air handlers in an attic.
That makes for long ductwork to the first floor.

One zone(unit) for the family room and the other for the rest of the house ??
That doesn't make a lot of sense.

How is the airflow in the second floor rooms where it's not as cool ?
If the airflow is not as strong then it would point to a ductwork problem.
 
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Old 07-24-19, 08:07 PM
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I do have a partial basement.

I have a split level home. The zone is for the main level/upstairs for the bedrooms. The other zone is for the family room and office downstairs.

The air flow into my daughter's room and my bedroom does not feel strong at all. Any suggestions on what kind of duct work issue it would be?

Thank you.
 
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Old 08-22-19, 11:06 PM
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IF you decide to go with a new dual system.. be sure to get quotes from at least 3 different companies.. in writing so you can compare.. be sure you understand what equipment they will be installing and size like 2 ton 3 ton etc.. find out if any discounts are available due to environmental upgrades.. some have great tax write offs.. again if you do get quotes post them here and ask for recommendations...and do not commit to anyone till you study all of the quotes.
I have had many units run for 30 years.. so 10-12 years is not too bad unless you are having regular problems...leaks cause that specific ac to perfom badly and in all rooms so something does not sound right about that... leaks cannot cause some rooms to be bad.. they all suffer..
If you get a complete new system including ductwork...throw them off balance by asking something like..
1. Do you do Manual J to determine the ac load and Manual S to determine the equipment used and finally Manual D to design my ductwork.. you may find that only the top performers do any of those measurements.. as they simply guess by the seat of their pants.. most just swap it out one for one... hoping the original install was what you needed... but if it was not great to begin with you will get another bad install if they do not run those 3 Manual tests.. j, S , D..

IF you can figure out which flex feeds the two rooms that are not getting enough air.. you could inspect the flex from the air handler to the vent to make sure someone has not piled a box in the attic on the flex choking it so walk along it to see if it has any choke spots.
Be careful do not fall thru the ceiling stay on the 2x6...
 
 

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