Any HVAC folks out there?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by charlie chitlin, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A single lady friend called me for advice and exposed the one area of home engineering I know nearly nothing about.
    I've never had a heat pump
    Here's the Q.
    2 of the elements of her heating system are, a heat pump and a bunch of crap up in the attic that it's attached to.
    It's all maybe 20-25 years old.
    The heat pump has gone bad, like anything that sits outside for that long.
    The problem is, nobody wants to replace just the pump and claim that the whole system needs to be upgraded...estimates in the 8-$9k range.
    Of course, she assumes people are trying to hose her because she's a woman and clearly has some dough.
    BTW...the attic is accessible by a 2'x3' hatch in the ceiling of a closet.
     
  2. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    If its 20-25 years old the efficieny rating is probably so low that modern components may not be compatible.
    Assuming its a 3-4 ton unit then $8-9K does seem a bit high.
    Around here a complete changeout usually goes for about $1200 per ton.
     
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  3. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire

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    So....you're looking for a wingman?
     
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  4. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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  5. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Contractors and tradesmen live like lawyers around here.
    Huge houses with F150s with ladder racks in the driveway...and they ain't the workmen.
    So much new construction around here, folks want top top coin to do the dirtier jobs.
    And...help me learn something here...3-4 ton of what?
     
  6. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ton= size of unit. Dependant on size of house. 3-4 ton is about average.
     
  7. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    As in...the thing WEIGHS 3-4 tons?
     
  8. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Start at the beginning.
    What are the Symptoms?
    Do the Fans work?
     
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  9. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Somebody will correct me probably but I believe an A/C ton = 2000 BTUs. Something like that.
    I'm not an A/C guy but as an electrician I work
    ith those guys a lot.
     
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  10. lammie200

    lammie200 Friend of Leo's

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    Energy efficiency requirements may make retrofitting what she has now impossible.
     
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  11. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Motors, pumps and, their Start/Run Capacitors go bad over time.
    They Can be replaced.
    Circuit Breakers, Fuses, Wiring Lugs can go bad as well.

    With that in mind, these things can cause a Cascading failure as well.
     
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  12. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You need a decent Volt/Ohm meter to get started.
     
  13. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I think she said there is some sort of coil inside the heat pump that has rotted/broken.
     
  14. Dave Harmon

    Dave Harmon TDPRI Member

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    I have one that had to be serviced recently.
    The repair guy told me that in 2020 the freon used in today's units will be outlawed and taken off the market.
    This means that any serious money spent today will have to be re-spent for a completely new pump (outside) and air handler (in attic) if the thing has to be recharged after 2020.
    After 2020 the older units cannot be serviced because of the change in freon....so the entire system outside and in the attic will have to be replaced.
    This may go as high as $15k.
    I ain't lookin forward to that!!

    I would say....get the existing unit repaired now as cheaply as possible....then if it breaks down after 2020....
     
  15. Driver3

    Driver3 Tele-Meister

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    A ton is 12,000 btu/hr capacity. Easy rule of thumb is 500 sq. ft. per ton.
     
  16. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The word "heat pump" is kind of a misnomer. It's still just a compressor and condensor, it's just that there's a reversing valve that switches the function of the evaporater and condensor. If it's that old as stated, the refrigerant will be expensive and parts are probably obsolete as well. You can spend a lot of time trying to save some money but what you wind up doing is throwing money away. That does sound kind of high but I don't know the details...
     
  17. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Afflicted

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    .........
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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  18. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Afflicted

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    ........
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  19. JazzboxBlues

    JazzboxBlues Tele-Afflicted

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    Both units need to be replaced for 2 reasons. The first is that the new outdoor unit uses R410a refrigerant. The old unit is R22. The old unit is simply not compatible with the new refrigerant. Even if it was it will not deliver the same energy efficiency that the new one is rated at. The second reason is it’s 25 years old and past its useful service life.

    As far as cost it doesn’t sound completely out of wack with prices here in Chicago. The outdoor unit costs more than a typical air conditioning condenser because it has a reversing valve and defrost capabilities. Essentially a heat pump is an air conditioner that reverses the coil operation on the inside and outside unit. Depending on whether it is heating or cooling. Another thing to consider is that the inside unit is in the attic. they are usually difficult to work in and it will not be easy to get the old and new in and out. The line set should also be replaced or at the very least be flushed. The old one will be contaminated from the old unit. The 2 refrigerants aren’t compatible.

    I haven’t heard anything about R410 being outlawed or no longer being produced after 2020. I believe R22 will no longer be produced after 2020. I have been out of the trade for about 6 years. I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  20. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    While my HVAC is NOT a heat pump, this may apply.....I JUST had my inside and outside units replaced. Inside "furnace" unit was ancient, I couldn't find any date of manufacture, outside was newer, but still about 25 years old. It was mainly inside that was giving trouble, but BOTH had to be replaced because of "Freon"(refrigerant) compatibility. My HVAC guy's team came in and completely changed out both in about six-seven hours.....five guys working like "worker" ants, each seemed to have and execute their own tasks......very efficient. Total cost? $6300. Don't know tonnage, but a 1600 sq. ft. house. Haven't used A/C yet, but heater is working VERY well and house is WAY MORE comfortable than in recent years.
    BTW....my understanding is heat pumps are OK until outside temp goes below 32degrees F. At that point you will need auxiliary heating unit to be comfortable.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
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