Central Air Condenser busted, is the repair service being honest? Can I obtain and install a condenser myself?

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Hello, A central AC repairman found that the compressor inside my condenser (fan b ox that sits outside) has a short. Current system is a Trane. My choices ar e to have them try to locate a replacement compressor or buy a whole new co ndenser. The price savings for compressor is not that much so I was plannin g to just get the whole new condenser since its a 2003. I'm without AC until it is fixed so I can't wait around for too long. They explained that they have to find a freon condenser in a warehouse, since th ey are not made with freon anymore, because it must match my inside unit (w hich is freon and is not being replaced) They have found a Luxaire Guardian unit, but I read the reviews (for luxaire in general) and there seem to be alot of problems with the coils leaking.
Does anyone know about Luxaire or have an opinion about replacing broken co mpressor vs. whole condenser?
Thanks
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wrote:

that is what he is doing here.
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On Mon, 2 Jun 2014 09:06:10 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Normally I would say to replace the whole thing but since this is an R-22 unit and you can't find another Trane I would just consider the compressor. Is the enclosure in good shape? (rust etc)
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On 6/2/2014 12:55 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The older units are still sold "dry" and work fine. The tech has to put the refrigerant in, instead of having it already in.
Freon is a brand name, one brand of refrigerant. Also can be found are Forane, Isotron, and Genetron. And others.
When you say Freon, it's like saying Sunoco. Is that gas or diesel? What's the octane or cetane rating?
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On Monday, June 2, 2014 12:06:10 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

box that sits outside) has a short. Current system is a Trane. My choices are to have them try to locate a replacement compressor or buy a whole new condenser. The price savings for compressor is not that much so I was plann ing to just get the whole new condenser since its a 2003.

y explained that they have to find a freon condenser in a warehouse, since they are not made with freon anymore, because it must match my inside unit (which is freon and is not being replaced) They have found a Luxaire Guardi an unit, but I read the reviews (for luxaire in general) and there seem to be alot of problems with the coils leaking.

compressor vs. whole condenser?

You don't say what else the system consists of, ie nat gas furnace? Or how many SEER the existing system is, what prices you've got, how big it is, etc. But if you're at the point of replacing the whole condenser, then I'd probably get a new coil too and then you'd be R410A. Especially if you can move up in efficiency. The coil cost is about $600. Depending on the condition of the furnace, I might consider replacing that too. I'd look into any utility, tax credits etc that are available. They can bring the cost of a new system way down.
The cost of the eqpt for a 3.5 tom complete system, ie condenser and coils, is around $2000 -2500 for a company like Rheem. If you want Trane, you're going to get more and it didn't work for you before. I looked at Consumer Reports ratings a few years ago, and there wasn't any major difference. In fact Rheem has less service calls etc than some of the well known brands. Also, a good install is more important than the equipment choice.
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On Mon, 2 Jun 2014 10:09:42 -0700 (PDT), trader_4

I just got a 3 ton Bryant 127ANA36000 condenser and the FV4CNF003, installed for $4k after the FPL rebate. That is 17 SEER.
They were able to reuse my line set and duct work. The other bid was $4800
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On Monday, June 2, 2014 1:48:34 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

fan box that sits outside) has a short. Current system is a Trane. My choic es are to have them try to locate a replacement compressor or buy a whole n ew condenser. The price savings for compressor is not that much so I was pl anning to just get the whole new condenser since its a 2003.

They explained that they have to find a freon condenser in a warehouse, sin ce they are not made with freon anymore, because it must match my inside un it (which is freon and is not being replaced) They have found a Luxaire Gua rdian unit, but I read the reviews (for luxaire in general) and there seem to be alot of problems with the coils leaking.

en compressor vs. whole condenser?

at too.

$4k sounds about right, ~2x the equipment cost.
Realized I didn't answer two of the OP's questions:
Is the repair guy honest? No way for us to know.
Can the OP install a condenser? Most likely not. Not only are there skill issues, but also you can't legally evacuate the system without being licensed and having the proper eqpt. There are ways around that, eg doing some of the work yourself, getting someone else to do the rest, but for most people, not worth it. And you almost certainly won't have a warranty if you DIY.
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On 6/2/2014 1:56 PM, trader_4 wrote:

Stormy and Trader, said mostly the same thing.
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Oren wrote:

Agreed , get more quotes , it ain't that hard to find a replacement compressor . And R22 is still in use , though newer equipment is using something else <I ain't an AC/R guy , but I do know a little> . I don't know anything about Luxair , but my Goodman system has been chuggin' away since like '00 or '01 with nothing more than a start/run cap in the condenser . I did have some minor problems in the furnace/evap section , but nothing more serious than a bad temp sensor . BTW , they should be able to filter and reuse your refrigerant gas , or recycle it to their vendor for credit , so don't let them rape you on charging the system .
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On Monday, June 2, 2014 1:59:25 PM UTC-4, Terry Coombs wrote:

The refrigerant gas that may be contaminated from the burned compressor? Reuse that? And if they don't reuse it, you expect them to give you credit for the old R22 they evacuate and recover? That's a new one.
Plus there's the fact that if he buys a new condenser, it comes pre-charged....
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On 6/2/2014 2:07 PM, trader_4 wrote:

I like Goodman brand. They tend to be simple, and work well. Parts can be found, unlike for example Trane who sometimes uses circuit boards that are specific to their machines.
If the compressor is burned out, very likely the R22 is contaminated. New systems are "dry", they no longer sell pre charged systems. EPA rules, helping save the planet. If the system is not sold with refrigerant already in, that helps the environment some how.
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On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 7:28:14 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Can you even buy an R22 "system"? I thought they stopped making them years ago and all you can buy are parts?
I agree on the over valuation most people seem to have with the well known name brands that do a lot of advertising. I have almost 3 decades experience now with Ruud/Rheem. A condo I was living in years ago had a Ruud system that was installed new by the builder. It's the only failure I had, with the compressor going at about 7 years. I got just the compressor replaced back then and it cost me about $500. House I'm in now had Ruud too. It was 10 years old when I bought the house. Only thing I put in it was a hard start kit. It never had another service call for the rest of it's 18 year life. Replaced it with a Rheem, made by the same company, 3 years ago. So far no problems with it or the gas hieff furnace either.
With any of these the quality of the install work is more important than the equipment. I'd much rather have a Goodman or Rheem that was correctly installed, instead of a half-assed install of a Trane.
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On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:15:28 AM UTC-4, trader_4 wrote:

You can still buy r22 components. The outside unit is considered a "component". But they do not come pre-charged, they come with a little nitrogen in them. So you have to vacuum the unit as well as the lines and inside coil.
The epa was not happy about this apparent "circumvision" of their phase out rules. But couldn't do anything about it.
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On Mon, 02 Jun 2014 21:04:27 -0400, Stormin Mormon

Except everbody who knows anything about refrigeration KNOWS what he means.
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On 6/2/2014 10:52 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Yep. Freon is R-12 (r twelve), everyone knows that. R-12 was used in car air conditioners until 1994, and was used in refrigerators and freezers. Everyone knows that.
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On Mon, 02 Jun 2014 21:05:51 -0400, Stormin Mormon

Do what I did. Find someone upgrading from a perfectly good system to a new high efficiency unit and snag the old one. I had mine drawn down, I cut the old one out and brazed the new one in, vacuumed it down, and called in a tech to re-gas it. Cost me less than $100 all told. (used system was less than 10 years old - my old one was 40 - and still working but getting pretty tough looking)
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(Text inserted, following my initials, inline:) On 6/2/2014 12:06 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

inside my condenser (fan box that sits outside) has a short.
SM: Very possible to have a shorted compressor. Yes, it does happen. The condensor is the tubes and fins in the outdoor box. The outdoor box is called a condensing unit. Also contains compressor and some electrical and a fan.
Current system is a Trane. My choices are to have them try to locate a replacement compressor or buy a whole new condenser.
SM: You can put on a Goodman or other brand condensing unit, and I'd go that route.
The price savings for compressor is not that much so I was planning to just get the whole new condenser since its a 2003.
SM: You'd be wise to go with the entire outdoor unit. That way you get a new fan, contactor, condensor, and so on. Well worth a few extra bucks. Also factory braze joints less likely to leak than if the local guy does the compressor replacement.

for too long.
SM: Window AC from Walmart about $100.
They explained that they have to find a freon condenser in a warehouse, since they are not made with freon anymore, because it must match my inside unit (which is freon and is not being replaced)
SM: I don't think Freon has been made in years, but Forane, Isotron, Genetron, and a few other brands are made. Freon is a brand name, like Sunoco or McDonalds burgers. If you can't get Freon (BTW, I do have most of a 50 pound container of Freon 22 here) you can use Isotron R-22 which is literally the same product. I'm told that "dry" units are still made. We are saving the environment by selling the unit with no refrigerant, and the technician has to buy the refrigerant separately.
They have found a Luxaire Guardian unit, but I read the reviews (for luxaire in general) and there seem to be alot of problems with the coils leaking.

replacing broken compressor vs. whole condenser?
Sm: I've no experience with Luxaire. Yes, replace whole condensing unit.

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On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 7:36:22 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

When you're already replacing the condensing unit, why not replace the coils too and go with a modern, higher efficiency R410A? The coils only cost about $600. And in many cases there are rebates, utility credits, tax credits, etc that you can get for a new system that you won't get for replacing the condenser. Those credits could make the added coil free or cost just a couple hundred more.
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On 6/3/2014 9:20 AM, trader_4 wrote:

Possibly the customer has only X dollars to spend, not X + $600. Also, the old stuff works fine. Might be a real PIA to redo the inside.
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On Tuesday, June 3, 2014 9:28:11 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

I wouldn't call it exactly working fine if he can get a new complete system that's 30% higher efficiency, with a good chance that rebates will close a good part of the price delta. Depends on how much you use it of course, but the price delta may be recovered in just a few years and then he's ahead. And I think having R410A going forward is a good thing too, instead of R22 where the price of that continues to go up.

That could be an issue. But for sure I'd look at the cost/benefit of a system versus just replacing the condenser.
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