A/C unit coil

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Hi,
I moved into this (new) house just under 9 years ago and the air conditioner has stopped blowing cold air. A repairman came out a little while ago and said that the coil may need to be replaced (for $1,800) and that coils typically only last 5-7 years. I know that A/C repairs tend to be expensive, but is that a reasonable price (the unit is a Lennox 10AB48) and is it true that coils only last 5-7 years? That doesn't seem very long to me, but then I don't know much about it. Anyway, he couldn't do the work tonight because the coil was frozen (?) but is planning to come back tomorrow morning. I'd appreciate it if anyone who knows about these things can give me their opinion based on what I described.
Thanks in advance.
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Typically coils last alot longer then that. Call another tech.
Sally wrote:

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Typically coils last alot longer then that. Call another tech.
Sally wrote:

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Dear Sally, I suggest another opinion from a different company. Frozen coil could be one of several problems. Including dirty filter, low air flow, low on freon, or some other causes. But at this point, I'd wonder if the coil really needed replacing. Maybe, but not sure yet. Can't see the application from here, but 1800 sounds high priced.
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Sally wrote:

The coil is frozen? As in "full of ice"? There's nothing wrong with the coil--it's chilling just fine. Air flow maybe? Clogged filters? The coil itself is just dirty?
I"d get a second opinion for that kind of money, especially when his comments don't add up. Even if he's right, he owes you an explanation. Take notes, and ask around.
Also for what it's worth, if the unit is 9 years old, it's likely not nearly as efficient as something you could invest in today. If you run it a lot, getting a higher SEER rating could pay you back in a few years.
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snipped-for-privacy@cox.net wrote

Maybe not. I had one yesterday. Frozen solid. Nine year old Carrier coil with a leak and severe corrosoin. I'm replacing it tomorrow.
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Bob_Loblaw wrote:

OK, I'll have to trust you on that one. But if it's leaking refrigerant, how can it be working well enough to ice up? Maybe the leak is real new and most refrigerant is still in there? My admittedly limited knowledge would indicate that if the system is leaking refrigerant it will burn up compressors, not ice up coils.
Also, the OP said the ice was in a ball on one of the pipe connections. That makes sense--I see it a lot in systems at work. The moisture condenses there where it is very cold, not much air blows across to melt the ice, and the ball forms. I expect that this would be independent of any leakage. It would also indicate that some insulation might be in order.
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Oddly, a low charge makes it run colder and ice up:
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/msg/0420eda678cc180f
Don't confuse temperature with heat. The fact that part of your evaporator is below freezing temperature doesn't mean that it is moving much heat.
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I would play it safe and get another opinion. My a/c is still running after 15 years and it was not top of the line.....nothing has been replaced. It's checked yearly...
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Richard J Kinch wrote:

That was interesting. I never knew that. Dang, learned something today, and the week isn't even over yet.
Thanks.
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Nothing odd about an evap freezing on low charge. For every pressure, there is a temp...how do you think we measure superheat?
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"aka-SBM" wrote:

with a super thermometer?
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Sally wrote:

Don't let my 20 year old unit hear that.
I know that A/C repairs tend to be expensive,

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CJT wrote:

Mine was almost 30 yrs old when it gave up - and the complete replacement cost only $1100 (2 ton).
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Post some pics of your tits!
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First of all, I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback and would welcome any additional thoughts / opinions.
Regarding the ice, all I saw was a ball of it around some kind of hose coming out of the compressor (?). Despite having an appointment for 2:30, he didn't arrive here until 8:00 in the evening so it's possible that the ice wasn't the real reason he wanted to wait until tomorrow. That's just as well, though, since this has given me time to ask you folks for your opinions, for which I'm grateful.
I should add that he didn't say that the coil definitely needed to be replaced -- he simply listed that as one of the possibilites. He did mention other possibilities such as the coil simply being dirty or having a minor leak that could be fixed relatively cheaply. The part that concerned me was his claim that coils normally only last 5-7 years, although the consensus here seems to be that that's not true.
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Sally I typically work on commercial and residential ac systems up to 30 years old that have never leaked a measuarable amount of freon.
Ask your friends and neighbors how often they replace their coils.
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They SHOULD last 20 years, but do they always? No. Carrier had a rash of bad coils in the 90's. I'm replacing one today, only 9 years old. Your tech should be able to narrow things down for you as to roughly, if not specifically, where the leak is. He should be able to ascertain whether or not the coil is dirty by measuring the air flow across it. As for the cost to replace it, it's fairly labour intensive if done correctly, and coils aren't cheap. Go with someone you trust, not necessarily the cheapest guy.
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They only last 5-7 years when they were incorrectly installed in the first place. And without seeing the installation, there is no way I can even guess as to what a reasonable cost is.

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Sally writes:

The part will cost him about $300.
The labor will likely take less than a full day.
The AC trade considers $1500/day profit reasonable. They whine about how much it costs to run a pickup truck and pay some high-school graduate ... as if you didn't need transportation to get to your $20/hour job.
This is what you get by allowing politicians to license tradesmen and legalize the restraint of trade.
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