Air Conditioner Question

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My air conditioner is a Trane. It was installed in August 2007 and we have had a routine maint. service call every year - no problems until now. It stopped working sometime Saturday P.M. I noticed that it was running constantly but the house was warm -- so I cut it off. A man came yesterday afternoon and the problem is in the part that sits indoors (as opposed to the compressor which is outside). It will cost $1200 to fix....parts and labor. The temp here was 94 in the house with the windows opened - and I'm not brave enough to have them open at night. Anyway, we only paid a little over $5,000 for the a/c when new. The service dept is going to call me today and set a time to come out and work on it - providing they can get the part without a problem. Question -- when is it more economically smarter to just buy a new a/c and not try to fix the old one. The part (I was shown) is a copper part that looks o.k. - it just stopped regulating the freon). One thing that did tick me off -- the service man who came out was more interested in selling me a service agreement that would take a discount off future service calls and parts and include routine checkups. I have no idea if I will stay here (recent widow) after the market improves but I am thinking about trying to get smaller place, less upkeep, and really don't want a three year service agreement. Just wondering what you'll thought.
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You can buy a whole new high efficiency R410 cased coil for a 5 ton unit for $700. Assuming it failed, and leaked, you'd also need to refill with R410. The rest would be labor. So, $1200 could be a fair price. But we don't know the details. But at 5 years, it should not have failed in the first place. Did you read your warranty?
The compressor unit cost could be $1300 to $1800 or more, again depending on the size and efficiency. Probably not worth changing that out. Again, what's the warranty on that? If it's working and still covered, I probably would not get a new one. The real question here is what failed and why. Two main possibilities are it was defective or incorrectly installed.
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On Mon, 11 Jun 2012 06:08:55 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Was it the "a" coil or the thermal expansion valve (TXV)? Some units have them, some don't - but from the OP's description it sounds like the valve. A Danfoss TR6 TXV should cost you between $65 and $90 for the "aftermarket" unit. Most good OEM TXVs are made by Danfoss.
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On Jun 11, 1:50 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I missed the part about the failure being the part that regulates the freon. You're right, that would suggest it's the TXV valve, not the coils. If that's what it is, then the repair cost is ridiculous. And if the TXV valve failed that soon, it's probably because the unit wasn't installed correctly, ie they got crud in the system when brazing.
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Sounds like you should open the phone book, and call two or three local (to you) companies out to look at it. My gut sense is that the Trane guy isn't looking after your best interests.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
My air conditioner is a Trane. It was installed in August 2007 and we have had a routine maint. service call every year - no problems until now. It stopped working sometime Saturday P.M. I noticed that it was running constantly but the house was warm -- so I cut it off. A man came yesterday afternoon and the problem is in the part that sits indoors (as opposed to the compressor which is outside). It will cost $1200 to fix....parts and labor. The temp here was 94 in the house with the windows opened - and I'm not brave enough to have them open at night. Anyway, we only paid a little over $5,000 for the a/c when new. The service dept is going to call me today and set a time to come out and work on it - providing they can get the part without a problem. Question -- when is it more economically smarter to just buy a new a/c and not try to fix the old one. The part (I was shown) is a copper part that looks o.k. - it just stopped regulating the freon). One thing that did tick me off -- the service man who came out was more interested in selling me a service agreement that would take a discount off future service calls and parts and include routine checkups. I have no idea if I will stay here (recent widow) after the market improves but I am thinking about trying to get smaller place, less upkeep, and really don't want a three year service agreement. Just wondering what you'll thought.
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The inside unit assembly is called the A-Coil, the outside unit is the compressor. A replacement A-coil assembly and labor to install it and then to recharge the system with new Freon for $1200 does not seem out of line. Ask the installer to leave the old A-Coil. At the price of copper these days, you might make some serious $$ if you try to sell it yourself as scrap metal.
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wrote:

Thank you! And I will ask to keep the old one. I could sure see a lot of copper in there and my neighbor makes frequent trips to the recycling center that buys old metal. She can help me with the copper.
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On Mon, 11 Jun 2012 08:27:55 -0700 (PDT), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

If it is just a bad TXV about $650 and a competent repairman should do the job. No need to replace the whole "A" coil for a bad TXV - which should have a 5 year warranty from Trane, meaning you should have 3 month's warranty left.
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On Jun 11, 1:53 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The valve that controls the freon is the problem. The company I bought it from and use for service - said there was a problem finding the part. Anyway, the price for part and labor is going to be $1104. Nothing was said about warranty. I did not buy an extended warranty -- but I know that certain parts are covered by a 10-yr. warranty. I checked the original contract and the date is Nov. 5, 2007. The girl I talked to didn't mention the warranty so I assumed it wasn't covered -- should I call back and ask? The last two times I have had dealings with these people they were far more interested in selling me a service agreement contract than in fixing the a/c. I am sure I am at the bottom of the list since I told them I didn't want an extended service agreement.
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I called the girl back and she said that because I did not buy an extended warranty from Trane the part is not covered by the original agreement. And the new part will not come with a warranty either. At this point I am sitting here in 90 degree weather wondering if I am about to make an expensive mistake. That seems like a lot to spend on something that may or may not work.
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Two or three days ago, I suggested to chat with your friends, see who they hire for AC work. Then, call two or three other companies to come out for estimates. The advice stands.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
I called the girl back and she said that because I did not buy an extended warranty from Trane the part is not covered by the original agreement. And the new part will not come with a warranty either. At this point I am sitting here in 90 degree weather wondering if I am about to make an expensive mistake. That seems like a lot to spend on something that may or may not work.
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I would not be listening to them as to what is or isn't coverd. You should have a copy of the warranty that you can read yourself. Or go to Trane's website, find a similar system and see what is covered. Call Trane.
As others have pointed out, if it's a TXV valve, this repair price is 2X what it should be. The valve is under $100. The rest is some refrigerant, labor, etc. And if the TXV valve failed at 5 years, the most likely cause is due to how it was installed. To do the install properly, you have to flow nitrogen while brazing. Same thing with removing and installing this TXV valve. But the nitrogen costs a few bucks and half-assed guys will skip it. The result is you get oxidation crud inside the copper pipes, which later clogs the TXV valve. Make sure whoever is going to do this repair uses nitrogen while brazing. Just asking them that, they'll at least know you have your eyes open and will be less likely to try to scam you.

If you go with these guys, from what I've heard so far, it will be a big mistake.
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On Tue, 12 Jun 2012 06:28:01 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

A good tech can braze it without nitrogen using SilPhos 15 if he sets up the joints properly - which a GOOD tech WILL do.
That said, using nitrogen (or argon, or even CO2) never hurts. It's called "back gassing" - which is REQUIRED with welding stainless steel.
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On Jun 12, 5:45 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

BS. Take a piece of copper pipe and heat it up to brazing temps. Take a look at all the black oxidation crap that winds up inside. And that's where it stays, insider the brand new system. Until some of it eventually screws the whole thing up and results in a huge repair bill on a system just a few years old. That gunk winding up in the TXV valve is a classic symptom.
When you flow nitrogen, it stays perfectly clean because no oxidation can take place. Pros do it. The hacks that want to save a few bucks and don't care what happens, don't.

That said means you shouldn't be giving advice on repairing an AC.
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On Wed, 13 Jun 2012 06:30:02 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Trader, you are an asshole.

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On Jun 13, 7:29 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Why? Because you don't know what you're talking about? The issue is simple. I pointed out that you need to flow nitrogen when brazing AC lines. You claimed that was unneccesay. Which unfortunately is WRONG. If you don't flow nitrogen, the copper oxidizes inside the AC lines, forming black junk that contaminates the system. It can wind up in the TXV valve causing it to fail with the type of problem the OP is apparently having in a system that's only a few years old.
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On Sat, 16 Jun 2012 05:42:57 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Many years ago, I supervised a department of a major HVAC company that made all the coils. All AC coils were brazed with nitrogen flowing through them. Before putting the return bends and headers on, they were dipped in a chemical tank for cleaning, then an ultrasonic, and only they final assembly and brazing with nitrogen flow. .
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wrote:

Call Trane and ask them about the warranty. Sounds to me like there's some friggin' in the riggin'.
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I stopped to talk to a man down the street today - he was having his a/ c serviced by a different company. I told him I was having reservations about investing $1100 in a five year old unit -- He said he knew something about a/c units. (He is retired from the county and used to work with the people who inspected them I think) ... anyway, he explained that there was a difference between my Trane and his Trane. His was less expensive because I had the heat pump kind and he had a different one. And he said that the price I was being charged was in line with what everybody would pay to fix that part. Made me feel a little better.... it's 94 degrees in the house most days and I am getting really down about this. He thought it was worth fixing and said if there had been a problem with installation it would have shown up before now. Anyway, with any luck the service people should show up by 11 a.m. today.
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wrote:

Ask them about warranty - it should be covered for 5 years. If it is not, get a quote from someone else to have the TXV replaced. It does NOT need to be a Trane part. It should be about a $650 or $700 job including the part.
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