Heat Pump Compressor

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  #1  
Old 03-13-03, 06:31 AM
MeInAZ
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Heat Pump Compressor

I have Lennox heat pump, model # CH16-311-1P. The house is single-story, 1500 sq ft, and has heat pumps. The Carrier has been fine, but the Lennox has not. The reason for the two units, I guess is that the house has a large add-on and the Lennox is on the add-on side of the house. The add-on is probably 5-10 years old, but I really don't know for sure. The house is 19 years old. I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Lennox unit has been serviced by 5 different companies (a total of 8 visits) in the past year, under my home warranty (which I just renewed, thankfully). I've only owned the house for just over a year, and I've had nothing but problems with the Lennox. Each company that comes out says they've fixed the problem, and each time I they have not - seems more like a band-aid, the unit works OK for a while, then when I try to switch from heating to cooling or the opposite, I realize they only fixed part of it.

I had a new AC company come out yesterday, because the last one wired the new thermostat incorrectly and I got heat when I switched to air. The new company tells me I need a new compressor, and that I should really just replace the whole unit. They said the compressor rotor is worn and pulling high AMPs. They also wrote a note about "dual run CAP s--p for fan motor" - I can't read their writing very well, so I'm not sure what letters are between the s & P after the CAP.

I don't know anything about AC units, but I've heard that I could just end up having to replace the whole unit within a few years.

So, my questions are...
Should I look into having the entire unit replaced, or is a compressor replacement a reasonable solution?
Should the home warranty cover the entire unit replacement (I wish!)?
If I only have the compressor replaced, what else do I need to be concerned with?

I am really getting tired of having to deal with this unit, but I don't want to spend a bunch of money if it isn't really necessary. Any info would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thanks!!
 
  #2  
Old 03-13-03, 03:54 PM
H
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Hault....

If its drawing high amperage, this is because of a few things... A bad capacitor,.. Could be overcharged also...especially if it was charged in the cold weather...too high a load. Wrong air handler...wrong fixed orifice...start to look at the simple stuff first, is everthing clean..
The dual cap can be easily replaced with two separate ones or replace the defective side only if one side works. I'm not a big fan of dual caps. These caps are used to reduce the amps while running. Start with clean coils inside and out and a clean air filter. You can't tell if the rotor of a hermetically sealed compressor is worn unless you take it apart! Have you had that funny feeling that smoke has been blown up your &%$...
Call the Lennox rep and tell them you want him there when the tech shows up.... coordinate a date. Your Warranty for the compressor stops at 5 years so don't daudle... get your bill and facts together. The rep will be your specialist. Don't get depressed, Lennox makes a good unit!
 
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Old 03-13-03, 06:02 PM
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It would be easier for us to give you helpful advice if we knew what tree the last seven techs were barking up. Sometimes it is easier for the same tech to follw up on his own call because of knowing the history of his service work. If you did not have the same company back twice, the first call by each of the succesive companies may have been of the exploratory nature. To inspect and asess components and look for problems. What are the symptoms? If it was a problem when switching from heat to cool (or the opposite) it could be a sticking reversing valve. It might not stick every time and could be a little tough to diagnose. I'm not trying to make excuses for the techs because you did get some bull from them too about the compressor. Some people think because the compressor can is welded together, they could tell you anything about a part inside it and you could never prove them wrong. Rest assured, if it isn't the real problem, they will be back again and now you have too much money in the unit to replace it so you spend a little more. I agree with hvac01453 that you should repair the unit. After the winter we are having, I'm tempted to come out and do it myself. Someone needs to systematically operate and troubleshoot each component in heat and cool modes and it would be advantageous to recover the entire system charge, pull a deep vacuum on the complete system and weigh in a new charge. Repair instead of replace.
 
  #4  
Old 03-13-03, 06:25 PM
MeInAZ
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The first tech came out because the air was blowing heat. But he wouldn't get on the roof - too steep (he was forewarned). The second tech, same company, did get on the roof and found the conductor was bad (this was after I was forgotten for a few weeks, and left to sit without air in quite warm weather - 100+!). He did finish the repair, after 3 visits. He also told me he was leaving the company because they were so awful - I was his last call.

Then a couple days later, the A/C wouldn't come on at all - third technician (second company) came out and found time delay relay was bad. He said the unit had time delay at the thermostat, and he just re-wired it in the unit.

All was well (finally) through the summer, then came winter. Not that it is that cold here, but the unit would run heat just fine, until it hit the correct temp, then it would start blowing cold air. I would have to turn it off, because it just kept going.

So, company 3 came out (company 2 was too busy). The technician said the thermostat needed to be replaced. After a few weeks, I called back and guess what - they also forgot about me. So, finally, he came back again and put in a new programmable thermostat. Great - all was well, until I need the air last week. I turned on the air, and got heat. I was pretty sure the guy had wired the tstat wrong.

So, company 4 came out (because if #3 came out, it was unlikely they would admit to wiring it incorrectly, which I needed them to do so I can get my service call fee back). They said the tstat was wired wrong and fixed it. They also said that the compressor was bad and needed to be replaced. So, I still have no air (getting warmer by the day!!), because they left it off until they get done fixing/replacing it.

(I seemed to have lost the paperwork (mis-filed??) one of the companies, I can only find four of the five that have been here. )

Thank you all for the info on repair/replace. That helps much!!
 
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Old 03-13-03, 07:07 PM
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All that service history does sound believable. When a new thermostat is installed, you need to know if the reversing valve is energized for heat or for cooling mode. If you don't know because of being unfamiliar with brand, you try one or the other. If it works, you SHOULD change mode and check again. That caused 2 call backs. At least it doesn't seem to be the reversing valve. (They can be a bear to replace) I would get a second opinion on the compressor.

I just looked at one last week that had been condemned by another company. They were planning on replacing the indoor and outdoor unit because the compressor was drawing high current. I found the compressor to be 3 years old and a scroll (good design) to boot. An expansion valve was defective on the outdoor unit and someone had overcharged the unit to try to get pressures to normalize. Repaired for under $300 and it works like a charm. Better than $6000 which was the other estimate to replace.
 
  #6  
Old 03-13-03, 08:25 PM
H
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Wow...

Sounds like Kfield's bloodpressure is out of control!!! Ha! Ha!
I take it this is a split system??? You said it's mounted on a steep roof....I'll bet no-one wants to volunteer to do that service call...quite a few guys are scared of heights to boot! Heat pumps are designed one of two ways...the reversing valve fails into the cooling mode in the south.....and into the cooling mode up north, mainly because these are the critical modes required for the region. The first thing I think you should do if your willing is check to see if the lowvoltage transformer is wired properly. Too many times I find that you have 208 volts but the units come shipped for 230 voltsIf you look at the back side of the cover with the wiring schematic it will tell you how to convert to the proper voltage under notes...this might be causing alot of your control issues...I'd still call a Lennox Rep though...
 
 

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