Rheem Replacement?

Hi everyone, I've been reading through this group trying to pick up some advice.
I have a Rheem system that is 16 years old. The a/c gave up on me about 2 weeks ago. I'm in Southern California, and it's been super hot and running now for more than 5 weeks.
I have American Home Shield, and I know many of you are down on them, but it seems to have worked for me. The service provider came out a week ago, and changed a capacitor, fuses, and got it running, for about an hour. It then just started blowing warm air. He came back, and said the compressor was out, and AHS agreed to replace it.
He told me, however, that that was just putting a bandaid on the problem, and it still, probably, wouldn't last me through the rest of the season, which out here is into November. He quoted me $5600 for a new 13 SEER system, furnace and 5 Ton a/c system. He said it was a Bryant or Goodman system. Trane, through Home Depot, quoted a 14 SEER system at $11,490.00. A big difference. My home is about 2700 sq ft. Sears is quoting over a month before they can even come out and give an estimate.
I guess I thought the compressor pretty much WAS the system. If that's replaced, shouldn't that part of the system be like new? The furnace and blower seem to be working fine. Being in So Cal, I don't use the furnace much, but do rely on the a/c.
Is 16 years pushing the time limit anyway, and I'll need to replace everything shortly anyway? Is the first guy just trying to get me to buy that system from him, and, last, any thoughts on why the big price difference between the Bryant and the Trane?
Thanks for any advice you might have!
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John wrote:

5 Ton appears slightly low on capacity for the size of the house unless correctly zoned. A heat load should be performed to correctly identify the required unit size.

The compressor is the heart. However, there are other important items that support the compressor and determine the expected unit life. They would include metering device condition, coil condition (both), corrosion, etc.

I had a Hitachi that gave 30 years. If the majority of the plant is in good nik, and has performed well, get quotes to replace the compressor and service the unit (including coil cleans) and you should get many years reliable service (if the tech does a good job).

YES. Get other opinions and prices.

He (the tech) gets a better deal from Bryant and could have lower overheads than the other contractor. Decide on a unit make and capacity and ask several contractors for a price on that brand (apples and apples).
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If you have a Home Warranty and they are paying for the repairs, why would you buy a new system? Yes 16 yrs is on the old side but let them keep replacing chit. Maybe you will get lucky and it will all take a crap and THEY will be paying for your new system and NOT you. Live with it till the Home Warranty is up, then replace it all on your dime. Its kinda like gambling. Bubba
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Bubba AHS has a buyout plan....after a certin amount of money they put in. They then decide to buy out that portion of the warranty contract. And you now it is to their favor not the homemoaners.
wrote:

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Yep, and thats kinda what I mean. Keep using their repair money they give you and THEN get the new unit when you run out of all their money. If you're lucky, yours will have died completly and they will give you a whole new unit. IF, I say, IF! Bubba

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Guess what John....your duct system is also at least 16 yrs old, and according to the State of Ca, they say that in every tract home built in Ca prior to 1996, the attic duct work leaks an estimated 30%-40%.

he's full of bullshit. a replacement compressor comes with a full 1 yr warranty. Additionally he could have sold you a replacement condensing unit (yes they're still available) that would work just fine with your existing system.....he REALLY isnt a tech, think salesperson.....disguised as a tech.

You might ask yourself....why the huge difference in pricing..... one person plans on doing the job to current building codes, and one is merely going to install new 'boxes', ie furnace, coil & condenser. Do not, under any circumstances, allow an hvac contractor to install a goodman system in your home.
I strongly suggest you learn ALL of the new building codes that relate to hvac, such as the fact that ALL ductwork must be insulated to R-8, that the duct system MUST be pressurized and sealed to an acceptable 15% leakage rate (retrofit construction). New construction is 6% leakage rate. Here's the kicker....some areas are exempt from the duct pressurization, especially if your duct system has asbestos. Even more reason to have it replaced!! Word on the street.....some 'shady' contractors claim the ducts have the required amount of asbestos, just to get away from the mandated pressurization/retrofit, regardless if theres asbestos or not!!
For a job done correctly AND to current codes, a contractor will pull a building permit, do a load calc, and seal insulate and verify the duct system is within State mandated tolerances.
PS: Sears doesnt install, they contract with brain-dead contractors who are unable to generate their own sales, and must rely on Sears for any installs that they do do. They make their money by slamming jobs in and cutting every conceivable corner possible, and Sears makes trhe killer commissions on the equipment sales.
PS#2: Neither Trane nor HD sell hvac to homeowners, however a Trane DEALER has an exclusive arrangement with a particular HD store (or more than 1). HD generates the leads, the contractor makes the sale to Joe Homeowner, and pays HD a percentage of the sale for the lead. More succinctly, HD SUBTRACTS their cut off the top before paying the contractor.
If you go thru HD vs going directly to the Trane DEALER, you end up paying MORE, cuz you're also paying for the HD sales commission!!!

Here's the link you need to learn all you can about the new Title 24 regulations that went into effect Oct. 2005.
http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/2005standards/2004-11-04_400-03-001-F.PDF
Scroll down to Section 124, which begins in the middle of page 76. Section 124 deals with the duct work issues....
PS#3: I too live in SoCal.....AND I'm an hvac contractor and know WTF I'm talking about.
13, 14, 15+ seer means absolutely DOGSHIT, when connected to a leaky, under sized, poorly insulated duct system.
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John, Can you see one of the reasons why some of us don't like American Home Shield. I don'r believe they sent their best HVAC technician to your home. Instead, I believe they might have sent you their best saleman. Cha-ching!
Jabs
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Thanks for all the advice everyone, I'm more confused than ever!!!
The only thing about AHS, is that you have someone to back you up. The company they sent out, the one with the low bid, is a local company. Without AHS, I might have called them any way from the Yellow Pages and would still be at their mercy. As a consumer, we never know who is going to rip us off, and every one of my neighbors has a horror story or two about contractors they've hired. You look for state ID numbers, or Chamber of Commerce members, or if you can, word of mouth. Aside from that, especially during extreme conditions like now, what more can you do?
Home Depot sent the Trane guy out, and he gives a high bid, or people here complain about Sears and their high priced Carrier dealers. Do they think we are suckers who'll bite in extreme situations? How do we know who to trust? At least with AHS, I'm covered to, hopefully get my system running again, but am I in need of a new one or not? Who can I call to give me an honest opinion, without fear they are trying to sell me a platinum system at top dollar??
I hear you about the contracted companies AHS might use. I've worked with securing independent contractors in another line, and you rarely get the best, but we always had to stand behind the work they did. At least this is some help to us unsuspecting consumers.
I appreciate all of your thought and dialog on this. It's a big help.
John
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John wrote:

Where do you live in the East Mesa Sand Hills desert area between El Centro, CA & Yuma AZ?
Only a 2700 sq. ft. home and they tell you it needs 5-Ton to cool it!
Today, here in SW WI at 5:45 pm, according to the weather report the "Heat Index was still 111-F due to very high humidity, yet my HALF-TON Whirlpool window unit cooling a 1937 home over 900 sq. ft & had it down to 73-F & close to 50% Relative Humidity, Talk about comfortable!
That is 1800 sq. ft per ton of cooling! My brother is a witness & I can demonstrate this units performance to anyone anytime! Here is how: http://www.udarrell.com/airconditioner_current_temperature_btuh_charting.html
Therefore, why do you need 5-Ton to cool; a mere 2700 sq. ft. home in what is probably a dry climate? A 1.5-Ton is exactly 1800 sq. ft. per ton of cooling for your 2700 sq. ft. pad. Have a genuine Manual J heat-gain calc done, then do NOT oversize the matched system. What I stated is the absolute truth
I lived for 3.5 years in La Mesa a suburb of San Diego and I seldom needed any air conditioning. Summer design is 80-dry bulb, 69-wet bulb, that's about 57% Relative Humidity, however, SD is right along the ocean!
If you live in SD, CA downsize to get better performance and utility savings. Educate yourself and save your money, & send part of the savings to me, I have important uses for it - to help other people succeed in life. - udarrell
--
Air Conditioning\'s Affordable Path to the "Human Comfort Zone Goal"
http://www.udarrell.com/air-conditioning-total-heat-enthalpy-latent-heat.html
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John wrote:

Where do you live in the East Mesa Sand Hills desert area between El Centro, CA & Yuma, AZ?
Only a 2700 sq. ft. home and they tell you it needs 5-Ton to cool it!
Today, here in SW WI at 5:45 pm, according to the weather report the "Heat Index was still 111-F due to very high humidity & high temperature, yet my HALF-TON Whirlpool window unit cooling a 1937 home over 900 sq. ft had it down to 73-F & close to 50% Relative Humidity. Talk about comfortable, perfect!
That is 1800 sq. ft per ton of cooling! My brother is a witness & I can demonstrate this units performance to anyone anytime! Yes, it's even difficult for me to believe! I'm an HVAC/R contractor from way back in the 1970's. Here is how it's done: <A HREF="http://www.udarrell.com/airconditioner_current_temperature_btuh_charting.html">
Therefore, why do you need 5-Ton to cool a mere 2700 sq. ft. home, in what may be a rather dry climate? If it's humid it needs run-time for comfort!
A 1.5-Ton is exactly 1800 sq. ft. per ton of cooling for your 2700 sq. ft. home.
Have a genuine Manual J heat-gain calc done, then do NOT oversize the matched system. What tonnage is your preset system? What I stated is the absolute truth.
I lived for 3.5 years in La Mesa a suburb of San Diego and I seldom needed any air conditioning.
Summer design is 80-dry bulb, 69-wet bulb, that's about 57% Relative Humidity, however, SD is right along the ocean!
If you live in SD, CA downsize to get better performance and utility savings.
Educate yourself and save your money & send part of the savings to me, I have important uses for it - to help other people succeed in life. - udarrell
--
Air Conditioning\'s Affordable Path to the "Human Comfort Zone Goal"
http://www.udarrell.com/air-conditioning-total-heat-enthalpy-latent-heat.html
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

Interesting that you would say 5 ton is too big.
I live outside of Los Angeles, inland. The current system is original when the house was new, 16 years ago. I can't imagine a builder would have put in a larger, more expensive unit than needed. It's usually the opposite. It's a two story home with very high ceilings in every room if that makes a difference.
All estimates so far, even online assesments I've checked, all confirmed that 5 ton is correct.
Question everyone, would a whole house attic fan make a lot of difference?
Thanks again.
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They work good in the Spring but remember when you have all your windows open and running the fan, you are drawing in all that dust and dirt.
--
Moe Jones
HVAC Service Technician
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