Central AC Advice

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The Carrier heat pump / air conditioning unit (model 38YMA036300) installed on a 2700 sq ft house 15 years ago has stopped cooling. On the unit outside, the fan is blowing and the compressor is working, but the air after the radiator is not warm/hot. The copper pipe coming out of the compressor is hot and remains hot going into two parts of radiator, but none of the other copper U elbows feel hot or even warm. It seems the radiator is clogged. Is there a simply way to further verify that this is the problem?
Should I have the outside unit repaired or replace the entire system? Which brand provides a good value and above average reliability? Thx
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jay wrote:

When was the last time you had a professional maintenance check on that system?
If you haven't bothered to have that done, then have you checked and cleaned the air filter and or the coil fins?
I'm assuming that thing you're calling a "radiator" is the evaporator in the air handler. They don't "clog", but the metering device in the high side line feeding them can and does.
I'm going to make a WAG that you're in over your head already. Ask around and learn who your friends and neighbors trust and call in a pro.
15 years is a reasonable lifetime for a home HVAC system so it's probably time to think about replacing both ends of the system. The improved efficiency of today's equipment will reduce your electric bill a noticable amount. I've had good luck with Trane equipment.
HTH,
Jeff
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Most recently about two years ago. He added some freon.

I replace the air filter inside the house approx every 3 months. On the unit outside, no leaves or debris are obstructing the air flow.

Sorry, for my terminology. By "radiator" I meant the condenser. In reference to the diagram shown at www.energyquest.ca.gov/how_it_works/air_conditioner.html, I am talking about the "outside unit". The orange tube comming out of the compressor is hot upto the first entry point of the condenser.

:)
So far local dealers quoted me REEM RAN13 for $3700 or Lennox 14ACX for $5000. I'll check on Trane. Thx.
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Why? Did he find and repair the leak at that time too?

No need too, the installer is far more important then the brand name!!!
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Assuming that the technician really did add some refrigerant then you had (have) a leak. Refrigerant doesn't get "used up" in a closed system. If the technician added freon without offering to fix the leak then they are a hack. In either case, avoid purchasing a new system from the company that did the previous sloppy maintenance.

I'd recommend Trane / American Standard.
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I'd recommend Arcoaire, Comfortmaker, Heil, Tempstar, AirQuest, Keeprite, Maratherm, Lennox, AirEase, Armstrong Air, Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Rheem, Ruud, Weathermaker, Gibson, Frigidaire, Tappen, Maytag, Goodman, Janitrol, York, Coleman, etc...
Anything but Trane / American Standard!!!!!
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Goodman?
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I don't own one but I've read that they are better than in the past.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Last I looked they were still dead last in the CR reliability charts (and by no narrow range, either). That, of course, is _possibly_ biased by older units that drag newer ones into the same mudpit as there's no separation by age/model/etc., which is a complaint I've voiced before... :)
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Travis Jordan wrote:

attract hatred only because they don't offer as much markup to the "professionals" who would prefer a higher profit margin.
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Yes, Goodman...
I'm tired of people that continue to rate their products by name... it's a joke to rate HVAC equipment by name alone.
Who spec's the job? Who's the end manufacture? Who's the guy that tunes the equipment?
It's the HVAC company and their personnel.
So, until the day that HVAC products become "plug and play" devices... the name is only a small part of the complete installation.
Anyone who doesn't understand this, doesn't understand HVAC... PERIOD!!!! So, for the guys that rave on Trane/American Standard (being the best)... are usually the one's that don't understand what it takes to make today's equipment operate with-in the manufacture's specifications! And why one brand will outlast another (it's not because one is better than the other).
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I've had excellent service from my 1989 Trane, Don't know about current ones.
Much depends on installer/servicer.

I'd recommend Arcoaire, Comfortmaker, Heil, Tempstar, AirQuest, Keeprite, Maratherm, Lennox, AirEase, Armstrong Air, Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Rheem, Ruud, Weathermaker, Gibson, Frigidaire, Tappen, Maytag, Goodman, Janitrol, York, Coleman, etc...
Anything but Trane / American Standard!!!!!
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newman wrote:

I think I may know what it might be. - udarrell
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My beef with Trane / American Standard?
It's that every dealer that uses this equipment THINKS it's the best equipment manufactured and that no other equipment comes close.
I will take any brand of unit that is proper sized, installed and tuned over a POS Trane/American Standard any day of the year. The other fact, is that while they rave their brand, they're normally the ones that don't understand why one brand last and another fails. You and I both know that the equipment is a small piece of the pie when it comes to longevity, efficiency and overall comfort.
The bigger piece is the designer, installer, serviceman and the overall service level of the HVAC contractor!
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kjpro @ usenet.com wrote:

Way to go Man! - udarrell
Reality Is Not An Easy Thing To Be Confronted With, or to Accept!
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But you just finished saying: <quote> "No need too, the installer is far more important then the brand name!!! <end quote>
I take it you're an installer, and I can see why you'd say that, because it's good for business. OTOH, I prefer to purchase brands that have a decent history of quality. While that's no guarantee that I won't have trouble, I'm _less_likely_ than the buyer of the Yugo-quality item.
I like my regular vehicle mechanic, and he does a bang-up job, but I don't want to see him any more often than I have to. The best tradesman can't make a low-quality item a good product, and EVERY manufacturing sector has its quality brands and it's also-rans.
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xModem wrote:

The competency level of the installer will be the major factor in the life & service of central AC equipment. The major components in air conditioners are made by other companies & most companies use the same ones, with a few exceptions, and that does not mean that their compressor or other component is better than what the other AC companies are using. The Copeland Scroll is installed in many brand name ACs; are they better in your AC brand; me thinks not.
A bad install can ruin the best equipment on earth, and that includes the equipment you are boosting about! Additionally, the price differential on new Brand XX AC equipment, when equipment is properly installed with matching ductwork, etc., will NOT provide the buyer "with as good a payback" on the higher SEER. I am talking about the HIGH END of a Brand NOT the low end of any Brand! I firmly believe that the high end Models of, for example, Goodman condensers' with scroll Copeland compressors will perform & last with any other Brand.
I am a Retired HVAC/R Contractor and am not selling or promoting any AC Brand for monetary gain. - udarrell
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At no time did I argue that the installer isn't an important element. It is extremely important. However, anyone claiming that equipment quality doesn't factor into it, and that the only important factor is the installer, is being disingenuous.

No argument there. By the same token, a great install on a low-end piece of crap still results in a low end piece of crap.

I wasn't advocating any brand of equipment. That was another poster.

So you're saying that there's a difference between high end and low end equipment? That puts us on the same page. That's always been my point.

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And all this information comes from someone OUTSIDE of OUR industry.
Now I'd sure as hell take your advice over a professional any day. <rolleyes>
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So a professional who owns a piece of equipment, knows better than any other homeowner how much *trouble* he's had with his equipment?
Wow, that's the dumbest thing you've said yet.
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