$1800 for a heat pump compressor? Seriously?

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The compressor in my 13-year old Lenox heat pump died yesterday through an internal short. The repair guy told me that I could expect to pay from $1700 to $1800 for a new one.
While I'm no HVAC guy, I do understand basic mechanics, and I know that there is nothing either technologically or mechanically wondrous about compressors. I can't get my head around why this part should cost more than a replacement car engine or a nice riding lawn mower.
I had a good read on the technician. He was very candid and frank in our discussion and he took the time to show me what his troubleshooting steps were. He helped me explore possible alternatives to save a buck, but he could not tell me why a new compressor cost so much.
Am I being severely up-charged by the reseller, or is this the going rate. If this is the going rate, then could anyone tell me why they're so expensive? If it helps, the repair guy said my unit was a 4-tonner. I don't really know what that means, but I assume it indicates the general size.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.
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trbo20 wrote:

Sounds like you haven't priced things in a long time.

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How so? I purchased a riding lawn mower this spring for $1700, and replaced my Honda Civic engine with a rebuilt one for $1600.
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trbo20 wrote:

At age 13, unless the replacement is higher efficiency, you're probably better off replacing the whole unit.
I would guess the cost is at least partially owing to the age and the changes in that time. I presume the new will also include switchover to new refrigerant and if so, the sizing difference is part of the equation as well. 4T is a good-sized unit as well...
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I would think you could buy a whole new outdoor unit for that amount.
s

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Wow. $1800? I paid $2400
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trbo20 wrote:

Installed, or is that just the parts?

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Installed
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trbo20 wrote:

Doesn't seem out of line to me.
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And now the new one is chugging away and you're not standing there shivering in the cold. What can this mean?
Steve
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Yeah, I've gotten that feedback from a lot of people now. Seems like my expectations were pretty off.
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trbo20 wrote:

Alas ... and such prices make updates difficult to justify based on energy savings.
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trbo20 wrote:

I look forward to someone telling *why* they're so expensive. If anyone has so far, I missed it.
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Have you been to the store in the last year? EVERYTHING is getting expensive.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

which resulted in gutting industry has enabled the next dominant world power. China has been buying commodities (metals, oil, cement etc) like mad and we need to compete with them.
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It won't happen as long as we have environmental laws, they don't, and we reward american companies who operate overseas to bypass the costs of our environmental laws.
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wrote

So, realistically, it won't happen. You're an adult. Cope.
This is not Utopia, and you're not Pollyanna. The real world is ugly, and it's about to become unbearable.
We are standing on the brink of the precipice we have created.
For spiritual types, there is the comfort of the afterlife. For the deep thinking realists, we're just a social experiment run amok.
Enjoy.
Steve
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AZ Nomad wrote:

I didn't mean the overused and ridiculous "we need to compete with them on price...". My comment regards that we need to compete with them on the world market for commodities.
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wrote

That's good. But how do you compete with dishonest people who don't even recognize common laws re: trademarks, copyrights, intellectual property or ASCAP?
Answer: You don't.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Those "common" laws aren't immutable, nor even common. And don't get me started on ASCAP.

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