Advice on 8 year old Trane HVAC

TIA for any help.
Geez, there's a ton of spam in this group, sorry for the pun...
Well, I have a 8 year old house with a unit that was described as a builders grade 3 ton Trane by the service tech that was at the house today. The house has been getting overpowered by the heat in the afternoon and I called my regular guy who does the PMs to check it.
He says I have high head pressure and was 3 pounds low of freon.
My options were.
1- Evacuate, clean and refill. 2- Leak detection 3- Just add freon, hope it lasts the season. 4- Replace the unit.
He says he wouldn't waste money on #1 because the unit is 8 years old and it's a builders grade. He says he's seen a lot of them go after 8 -12 years. Leak detection would probably chase the leak to the evaporator, which again, he wouldn't replace because I've got a 10 SEER unit and if I replaced it with another 10 SEER unit that would screw me if the condenser outside went. I asked him to add the freon and the house immediately cooled down and even though it was 96 degrees today, the house stayed comfortable. I'm happy but I know it won't last. He said he was able to get almost a full charge of freon in the unit without the pressure getting way high.
He explained the high pressure is being caused by a dirty control valve between HS/LS. He says evacuating, cleaning and refilling may help or hurt and then you still have the leak...
Question is. Is 8 years enough for this "builders grade" 3 ton Train unit or should I consider getting the system cleaned, recharged and find the leak. If the leak is in the evaporator, should I then consider replacing the whole shebang.
Thanks Much.
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this is a budget question for yourself. you will be replacing and upgrading if the payback is right. and see also 5 minute free Home Energy Analysis: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_index_tools
Michael-NC wrote:

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buffalobill wrote:

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hm_improvement_index_tools
Those are interesting options given that it's illegal to just recharge a system with a leak. I'd say you need to get a service guy in who understands the law and knows what he's doing.

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I thought Tranes were better than low end, Goodman is the pits, but Trane? Research it and its Seer, if you replace only 13 seer is made now but for savings more is better if you use the AC alot, 8 yrs is not old for a unit.
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The unit is 10 SEER. What would be the fix for high pressure? He says if they have to replace the outside unit, it would have to be a 13 SEER and that would not be compatible with the evaporator in the attic without "modifications."

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Generally the fix for high head pressure is to clean the outside unit. Due to the Fed regulations, 13 seer is the lowest available at the moment.
I read the original list of choices. I would have gone with leak detect. If leaks were easy enough to find, then clean the outside unit. But I wasn't allowed to c choose t hose. Too bad.
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It's still cooling down the house very well. Just like when it was new. I'll see how it behaves through the season. If it happens again, I think I'll have the system evacuated, cleaned and freshly charged along with checking for that leak.
Thanks to all for the help.
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Yep, you can buy a lot of freon top offs for the price of a new system. Please keep us posted as to how things go.
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Christopher A. Young
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i have found that high head pressure can mean something is clogged,,usually the evap coil in the house and/or the coil outside. it seems suspect to me that you are low on freon with too much pressure. lucas
http://www.minibite.com/america/malone.htm
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I don' t know who you called, but you need another repair person. It is difficult to have low freon and high pressure, then add freon and it starts to cool again. Sometimes if the freon is low the cooling coil will freeze up and you can see ice on it. That is not normal. I know it sounds wrong to be low on freon and get more cooling for the coils, but it is what hapens. If the control valve is stuck or has some trash in it, adding more freon would not help it, but raise the head pressure more if anything.
Also as someone said, it is against the law to just add freon and not check for leaks. It is not consumed in the system, but just circuated around. Not real sure about the law now, but there could be a big fine for a company that just recharges a system without a leak check.
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On Fri, 23 Jun 2006 14:15:01 GMT, "Ralph Mowery"

Bullshit, at least on residential. Suggest you read up on EPA 608.
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Really depends upon how often you have to top it off. I could liv with getting it topped off at the beginning of the season each year if it delayed getting a new system. Mors often thna that and I would want it fixed if I could. Is it possible to fix a leaking indoor coil if you can't get a new 10 SEER one?
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I just 2 months ago had almost the exact situation as you.
My unit: 8 y/o Trane 3 ton heat pump, 10.5 SEER (XL1000). Same contractor billed, supposed to last about 10 years.
House would not cool properly in the afternoon when temp here in Orlando got over 90. Called a service tech that found my Freon was low due to a leak in my evaporator coil.
After speaking with the contactor about the evaporator coil I was offered other options, the options were: 1-    Replace Evap coil, for $1280.00. Evap coil would have a 1-year warranty. 2-    Replace the air handler with a new variable speed Trane unit. This would be about $1,700.00, have a 3-year warranty and the SEER rating would remain at 10.85 3-    Replace the whole system including the thermostat. There were several choices of course but in the end we thought the 3.5-ton XL15i (rated at 15.85 SEER) with the Trane Humidistat and a 10 year parts & labor warranty would be the best fit for me. Price after rebates and incentives $5,450.
I debated this and did TONS of research for about 10 days and decided to replace the unit, it just seemed to make the most sense when you look at the above options.
Anyway it's been 2 months since having it done and I could not be happier. I have no problem getting 72 on a 92+ day, my electric usage is slightly down and I have no worries for the next 10 years. That was the big selling point in my decision.
Felix
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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I would think that a system should last more than 8 years--My house paint lasts more than that. I know that I am opening the door to a lot of flack but I installed a GE system in 1973 and it's still working. I get the same air temperature out of the last register as I did when it was new (54-56F). I do a bit of maintenance on it at the beginning of each season-take the top off and clean out all the debris, vacuum the coils, oil the fan motor and run some bleach and water into the A coil pan and let it clean out all the algae. I know it's not too efficient but I'm just North of Boston and AC is not on all the time and the AC req'd season is a short one. I'm keeping it until it breaks. BTW, since my town has it's own municipal electrical plant we get a 20% discount off our bill if paid within two weeks. Kinda ends up being a bit of an equalizer for the extra cost due to the age of the unit. MLD
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I'm sorry but, I think your in a no win situation.
The problem is that as of January of this year the EPA passed a law that airconditioners have to be more efficient. With this comes a higher price for the consumer.
I believe that if you do replace the evaporator inside the house, it may not properly match outside. You might be able to find an older unit made prior to January of 2006 but, it will be tough.
If you do have a leak it will likely be cheaper to replace the unit than fix it. There has got to be moisture inside the unit and that will cause pitting on the compresser. In the long run replacement is cheaper.
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