HVAC Problems

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by Abouthadit, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. Abouthadit

    Abouthadit New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Ca.
    I'm all knew to this , so please bare with me ..
    R22 is no longer ?
    R-410 will probably be going in the next 2-3 years ? at least was just told that.

    Reason why I ask is;
    (Its all electric no gas)
    I bought this house this past summer as a short sale, had a local HVAC guy come (last June) and check the HVAC system out.
    He said the pressures looked good, everything else seemed ok.
    We go through with the purchase, once moved in noticed the AC had to run a long time to cool down the house just set at 78.
    Now that winter is here , set the heater at 65-67 at night and maybe 71 when we are home during the day.
    Notice same thing runs along time to heat ...

    Had a neighbor today having some problems with his unit, so I walked down and talked with him and asked if and when the tech was done there could he come down to my place.
    I told him what is happening with my unit and he checked the pressures , high side was 180 , low was 0 with the heater on.
    He did some more testing and we went inside and pointed his infared pistol unit at the air intake and it read 69 , then pointed at a few ducts and they read 71 , heater set at 75 .
    Turned the unit off for a few minutes then turned it back on in a/c mode set at 65 once again air intake read 69, duck read 67 after 3-4 minutes of running.
    He showed me where the ac comp wasn't pulling enough amps, label said something like max 11.9 ?? and his gauge was only showing 5.6 ?
    He tells me the comp is not working properly ..

    He quotes me total price just for a 2.5 ton comp replacement $2236.00 total price but that it would still be R22 and they are pretty much obsolete ?
    He then quotes just for the unit outside= Rheem $5688. total 10yr parts and labor warranty which would be R-410.
    OR
    Rheem R-410 Split heat pump whole system for $7897 total price including permits , seal the ducts through out 10 yr parts /labor


    What I have in right now is;
    Inside is a Magic Chef model H4A24P Serial A 09239CAC
    Out side unit appears to be a Goodman Model CPKE24-1AB serial 9801418805.

    The house was built in 1980 , so I know the Magic Chef inside is the original, but the outside unit I can't find any dates on it but I know it isn't original.

    Do these prices seem right ? The prices include $1600 rebate from local electric comp.. And since they are working 5 houses down he said I didn't have to pay $1200 on another permit ? so actually the prices would be $2800 higher ?


    Thanks for any help advise on this !
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, there is some smoke being blown here. First, R22 is not gone. Today you cannot build a new A/C installation with R22 equipment. BUT, you can repair an R22 unit, including replacing the entire outside condensing unit with what is called a "DRY22" unit. The installer has to put the refrigerant into it. And although the rumor does float about R410 being temporary, don't take that to the bank.

    NOW, the problems. Your Goodman unit is made January 98, and is 10 SEER. The indoor unit is I assume 10 SEER max. and might be less. Any new unit will be 13 SEER minumum, and you just cannot mismatch a heat pump like that. Won't work right at all.

    SO, I see your options as either replace the compressor in the CPKE or upgrade your whole system to R410 (indoor and outdoor).
    The original compressor in your unit was a Bristol H23B22, but the replacement called for by Goodman is a Copeland CR22K6PFV875. That is running $500 or so wholesale. Your contractor will have to mark it up a lot, and add labor. $2200 seems a little high for that. But true enough that you still have a very old system with a new compressor!


    Your CPKE24 is a 2 ton heat pump ( not 2½). I would have your guy double check whether he could get away with installing a new 13 SEER R410 heat pump on an old air handler. Big ???? in my book.
  3. Abouthadit

    Abouthadit New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Ca.
    Thanks for the reply
    Is there anyway I can look / see or read any numbers on the tags on the inside unit to tell what SEER it is ?
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Not positive, but I think your magic chef unit is 1980! Which if that is correct, it is probably 6 or 8 SEER. No possibility that could EVER work with a 13 SEER unit, and for sure it is not rated for R410 at all. Probably has capillary tubes for flow metering. I think it is time for all new stuff
  5. Abouthadit

    Abouthadit New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Ca.
    Sounds like :(
    The house is 1175 sq ft.
    The tech that was here today his company sells/installs all brands.
    He quoted me on both Goodman and Rheem.
    Ok without starting any wars ! lol
    Is one brand any better then the others ?

    I was told to stay away from Goodman from more than one person saying that was the bottom , Rheem is about middle


    Thanks again
  6. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Get at least two more quotes.

    Sounds high to me, but I didn't have heat pumps quoted. I had a 4 ton R410 Rheem/Ruud AC unit installed a year ago (with 95% two stage gas furnace, two stage compressor, new indoor coil ECM blower) all for about $6500. It was the top end unit. (This included $1000 back from the manufacturer on the unit, another $225 from the utility.) Applying the tax credit brought my total final cost in at ~$5000...although I paid close to $7500 cash waiting for my manufacturer rebate check and tax refund.

    I had some higher quotes for other brands, don't think I held onto the quote info though. This guy did a better job of sizing up the retrofit than the other two (who are respected local vendors), and he's done good work for me in the past, so it was a no-brainer.

    $1200 for a permit? Must be some sort of "environmental impact fee" for the installation or something. Wow! And the part about doing multiple existing homes on one permit seems fishy to me...but I'm not in the business and not in CA.

    That old unit is such a low SEER type that you might expect your electric use for AC to drop by half with a minimum SEER unit today. I saw a 1/3 reduction from my old 10 SEER unit.

    Carefully examine the warranties, most of the ones I read indicated that you had to install coil/air handler/compressor all from the same manufacturer (and matched of course) for various parts of the warranty to actually be in effect. Plus you need to be able to trust the installer and for them to be around for the next 10 years, because questions to Rheem/Ruud will go through them...but you must still register all the model and serial numbers with the manufacturer yourself.
  7. Abouthadit

    Abouthadit New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Ca.
    Thanks for the info !

    The guy seemed nice, but then don't they all , the thing on the permit was I had to jump on "his" deal in the next day or two or poof it would be gone.
    I don't have the foggiest idea how long it takes to get a permit ? But the guy was at my neighbors house this morning at 11:00 their work truck was there this afternoon at 3:30 and was replacing his unit outside.

    I moved here and know absolutely no one ! Roseville area just out of Sacramento..
    Sucks big time , ya don't know who to trust or believe for that matter.
    I will get a few more estimates and see where they come in at.

    Just one example;
    I needed some flat concrete work done a few months back approx. 7 yards L shape with a 26inch wall one one end . I had bids from $1800 all the way to $5500.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    If someone tells you that, just show him the door. That is NOT a legitimate business practice. A permit to replace an air conditioner is a walk-in at city hall. ( Do you live in some anal retentive community association where he has to get 'permission' to park his truck?)

    It is not unusual to get a bid spread as you describe. Some companies do better work, and you pay for it. But also, some companies for whatever reason are not interested in your particular job ( size, location???) but will do it for a price. Some may really need a job to stay busy and are willing to do it for much less profit , just to keep working. It's a jungle. But your first guy sounds like a scammer to me.

    Nothing wrong with either Rheem or Goodman. Go to any manufacturer's website and search for a dealer. It can always work well to use a dealer with factory backing. Price wise, this is not going to be cheap. You are looking at ~$2k in equipment, wholesale, which needs to be ~$3.5k+ to you, plus his labor and overhead. I suspect you will be in the 5 to 8 thousand region.
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,112
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    That sounds like the price increase for arresting and deporting all of the "WORKING" illegal immigrants.


    Sounds like the guy is a Automobile Salesman.


    I would do as Jimbo Suggest;
    Go to any manufacturer's website and search for a dealer. It can always work well to use a dealer with factory backing.
  10. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    When I get an "act fast" sales pitch like that I run away. Very rarely will it actually be a good deal. I suggest calling city hall to ask what a permit for HVAC installation costs.

    That is one of the hardest parts about relocating. It takes a few years to find vendors who do good work for a reasonable price. Doesn't matter if it is doctors, dentists, auto mechanics, plumbers, HVAC contractors, whatever--when you move you have to start all over again. And even very good honest acquaintances will too often hook you up with someone who is incompetent, overcharges, or is fly-by-night, etc. simply because they don't know any better.
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    The permit is NOT $1200, even in San francisco. And why buy one anyway?
  12. Abouthadit

    Abouthadit New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Ca.
    Thanks for the tips and replies , I'm going to have to do something pretty soon . Its going to start getting cold here in the next couple of weeks ? At least that's what the weather man tonight on the news LOL... yeah when are they ever right ! lol

    But what should the air temp difference be between the air intake and whats coming out the ducts ?
  13. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    In heat mode, something like 10 to 15 degrees; in cooling mode 15 to 22 or so
  14. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    1. There could be many reasons why you aren't getting heating/cooling and why the compressor isn't pulling full amps. Could be a problem with the metering device or charge. I don't fully trust his numbers as it sounds like he was trying to push you into a sale. I would get someone else in there to take a look at it. Don't mention what the other guy said. Have the tech record and provide the numbers to you (low/high side pressures, compressor amps, duct temps, blower speed, etc.). You may also want to post on hvac-talk.com. They don't like DIY or for you to post prices, but you can mention what the tech said (and the numbers that he gave you) and they could help to tell you what the problem could be

    2. $1200 for a permit is crazy and would have nothing to do with the other houses on the block unless the permit is like $200 and the guy charges another $1000 to run down to city hall to pick it up. A $1200 permit might be okay if you were building an entire house. :)

    3. I didn't catch where in CA you were, but it seems like you are probably somewhere with mild winters. Even so, I imagine that your heat pump should have heater strips for emergency heat and for when the heat pump defrosts. If it gets cold, you can just turn your t-stat to emergency heat. It'll cost a bit more to run, but better than being pressured into a new heat pump when it might not be needed.

    I would first see what the problem is. If it turns out to be the compressor, you can 1st see if your compressor is under warranty. If may not be, but would be worth checking. If you need it replaced and it isn't covered, you might replace the whole thing. At a minimum, you would want to replace the indoor and outdoor coil. Replacing the air handler also may not add much to the cost. Get several quotes. I would go for several quotes and see what you come up with. If going R-410, there are a few more things:

    - refrig lines should be replaced (if possible). It is possible to flush the lines, but isn't ideal. R-22 uses a different oil and R-410 has more issues if there is any moisture in the system

    - the refrig lines need to be brazed (with silfos) and they should flow nitrogen through the lines when brazing. Otherwise, a black oxide forms on the inside of the joints and this can be washed off by the refrigerant and can clog the metering device

    - the metering device should be a TXV (thermal expansion valve). These are standard with higher SEER heat pumps, but can help even on the lower SEER models (they aren't expensive).

    - they should attach a vacuum pump and pull the system well below 500 microns (make sure they use a micron gauge and not the standard gauge set, also make sure they don't do the "attach the pump and let it run for xx minutes/hours and say good enough (without a gauge)"). This is important as you need to pull a strong vacuum and show that it holds after shutting of the pump. This will help to detect leaks, but also will tell you if you got the moisture out of the system. Moisture can create an acidic condition and destroy your new compressor.

    I installed my own 17.5 SEER York heat pump (w/ ECM air handler and indoor coil). You have to be careful, do everything by the book, and it takes awhile to do it (I did it during spring where heat/cooling wasn't needed). Works great and is very quiet.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,112
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Nice explanation Nukeman.

    For the guy that was reading , "high side was 180 , low was 0" seems a little fishy to me.

    I think he needs a new set of Gauges.

    A car salesmen should not be working on HVAC systems.
  16. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

    Messages:
    892
    Location:
    Midwest
    Yep, I would expect it to pull fewer amps if it needed a charge, because the compressor is going to run unloaded. Don't the low pressures indicate just that? I thought the suction and discharge should be a lot higher than what he listed...but I'm not an HVAC tech.

    I would be more concerned if it had been running at max amps.
  17. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,112
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    That is correct.

    I think that a leak is most likely, and if you add more refrigerant, You are suppose to fix the leak first. By Law. Now a days they would rather sell you a new unit.

    I have never seen a system that read Exactly 0 on the low side. I guess it could if the temperature was just right. But Only in a vacuum, then it would be negative and not 0. lol
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  18. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,792
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    a partial clog in the TEX valve or other metering device at the air handler will cause suction pressures to be much lower than normal, and head pressure can be not excessive if the charge is low at the same time:)
  19. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,831
    Location:
    01609
    In most states it's illegal to do refrigerant charging without a certification (not that it stops the mini-split DIY enthusiasts from assuming the pre-charge is always right :) ), but good on ya, nukeman that's well beyond the typical DIY heat pump install!
  20. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    711
    Location:
    VA
    On the federal level, R-410A does not really fall under Section 608 of EPA. There are no sales retrictions (although many wholesellers may still not sell to you without a card) and how EPA defines a technician is in regards to someone who could be expected to release CFCs or HCFCs (R-410a is an HFC).

    Anyway, like everything I do, I study, research, and do everything needed to get the job done (such as study and being able to pass the EPA certification tests as well as performing a Manual J). The trick with R-410 (even with it not being so bad for the environment) is that you are still dealing with high pressures (higher than R-22) as well as very cold temperatures (if you open a connection without low loss fittings + gloves, etc., you could easily freeze the tips of your fingers and get frostbite).

    There is a lot to doing a proper install yourself (as well as the right tools). It is possible to DIY, but isn't a good idea for everyone. You have a lot going on (electrical, some plumbing, controls, etc.). There are many areas where things can go wrong if you aren't careful and do things in a precise order.

    In my case, I DIY more for knowledge than to save $$$. This was a good learning experience and I got to get into things that I may not learn otherwise (outside of automotive A/C units). The inspector commented on how neatly the lineset was put together and the fact that the unit was so quiet. He mentioned that he has installed a few himself for some rentals that he has, but it sounded like he was used to more of a budget system.

    One thing that I do like about the higher end equipment is the extra compressor protection and diagnostic abilities that comes with it. If pressures are too high, too low, etc., it will shut itself down to protect the equipment. Also, being able to run the compressor and blower on a lower speed in summer really helps to dehumidify and is also very quiet (inside and out). My unit before was AC only (~8 - 10 SEER) + electric furnance for heat. My summer electric bills dropped by about 25% or so (I was suprised as AC isn't a huge portion of the bill for us). Our winter bills should really drop (last month was about $100 lower, but it is hard to tell the real decrease yet as this is our 1st winter with it).


    Anyway, that's my experience. BTW: if you do install a new system, make sure that they do a Manual J and not just make the system the same as before or go larger "because bigger is better". Oversizing the system is about the worst thing you could do.
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