central air conditioner trips breaker/ need to replace outside unit

We have a Luxaire 10 SEER 36,000 BTU unit. We keep the Temp at 76 deg. We live in Southeast PA (near Allentown, not Philly). The house was built in Fall of 1998. The house is 2100-2500 sq.ft. Friday the outside unit tripped the breaker. Cleaned the filter and reset the breaker. Wednesday it tripped again. Had a HVAC guy check it out. $60 diagnosis fee. Really like the service. Answered all my questions, although I have limited A/C knowledge. Amp draw at condensor 13 amps. Refrigerant pressure: Low 72, High 235. Supply Temp 57 deg. Three terminals: run and common 400Mohms, start 150Mohms. Guy said if the start windings gets down to 100Mohms it won't turn on again. He said we could try a start assist if it happens again. $125. No guarantee how long that would last. He quoted a Goodman 12 SEER unit. After Jan 1, 2006 we would have to install a 13 SEER (or higher?) and would need additional work inside - coil would need to be bigger. Checked the net and didn't find good words on Goodman. Makes me wonder about the HVAC guy. My brother-in-law was an electrician (now he is a NYC cop). He suggested Carrier or Trane. I plan on getting quotes for 12 and 13 SEER. (Replace Fall vs. Spring). Should I expect to pay for quote/cost analysis? Suggestions? Comments? I hate being at the mercy of an unknown service/installation company. I prefer to handle repairs myself. Plus this is a big ticket item. I would appreciate any tips or words of advice. Thanks!
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domestic engineer wrote:

highest priced equipment. Goodman gets bad mouthed for a lot of nefarious reasons. Buy whatever you feel you an afford; don't count on much of a difference in performance or longevity.
When a typical HVAC contractor quotes the efficiency of the Air Conditioning equipment SEER & Btu/hr and leads you to believe the new equipment will automatically deliver that efficiency & Btu/hr, think again. Typically, installed equipment only operates at 55% to 70% of rated capacity. It’s important to understand that "equipment ratings are only the potential efficiency of that component of the system under perfect conditions." Over half of the system's efficiency depends on the duct system and the field-installation. - udarrell - Darrell
--
Crank Your Air-Conditioner Up To Specs
http://www.udarrell.com/air-conditioner-capacity-seer.html
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Darrell,
Not much we can do about the ductwork, I don't think. The house is built and everything is in place.
I understand the ratings are only the potential the unit can deliver. It may be delivering 12 or 13 SEER to the house ductwork, but what the house ductwork does with that has a big influence on the quality that is received inside the house.
Thanks, Mo
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domestic engineer wrote:

<SNIP>
DISCLAIMER!! I am NOT the HVAC expert.
Hmmmmmm. Let's see. The Amp draw is ~normal. Megger tests the windings OK. Unit cools OK.
And you are going to be sold a new unit??
Did anyone attempt to find out *why* the breaker tripped? Is it the correct size according to the mfr specs? Is the breaker rated HCAR? to carry starting curents. Is the compressor simply failing to start at times due to low line voltage or high compressor head pressure?
The tech could well be right about a Hard-Start kit relieving the problem; I would want some questions answered first.
Flames and other qualified technical input welcomed:-)
Jim
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Speedy Jim wrote:

Right on, Jim! The compressor may not be causing the breaker to trip. Some like to sell equipment and others just don't know how to troubleshoot. - Darrell - udarrell
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Crank Your Air-Conditioner Up To Specs
http://www.udarrell.com/air-conditioner-capacity-seer.html
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Jim,
He gave a quote for a new unit because I asked how much one would be. Weighing my options. He said once the windings went, the unit wouldn't start and replacing the unit would be the way to go.
We've been in the house since 1998, so I would think the breaker is the correct size. How do I check if it's rated HCAR? How does one determine if the unit is failing to start at times due to low line voltage or high compressor head pressure?
Is it better to use the start assist (just a capacitor, no mention of a relay) than to just keep flipping the breaker back on if it trips again?
Thanks, Mo
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domestic engineer wrote:

The breaker should be marked (maybe on the side). As suggested, breakers are cheap; just replacing it may be simple.
If it's high head pressure, adding a start time-delay may help.
Low line voltage would have to be checked with a meter. The Hard Start kit (cap) is a good remedy if this is the case.
Jim
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Most breakers now days are rated. They cost about $20 or so, and any HVAC guy or electrician oughta be able to put one in.
As to low voltage, you'd have to put a VOM on the high power contacts, and then start the condensing unit. See if the voltage drops more than 10% or so.
The hard start kit is a LOT more convenient than doing the reset.
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Christopher A. Young
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"Most breakers now days are rated. They cost about $20 or so, and any HVAC guy or electrician oughta be able to put one in. "
You are so far beyond pathetic, mormin.
So very far.
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I had a glance at the numbers below, and none of them jump off the screen at me, as being abnormal. I'd suggest a couple things. Like Speedy Jim reccomends, how about a new circuit breaker, they are a lot cheaper than replacing the entire AC.
Another thing to do is to have the condensor (outdoor unit fins) professionally cleaned. That makes a world of difference, in efficiency, and also in lower energy usage.
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Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon,
The start windings number is OK? 150 Mohms? I was under the impression it should be 400Mohms.
Cleaning the fins: Professionally done. Any idea how much and how long?
Thanks, Mo
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Mo, First of all, anything over 100 M ohms is acceptable. Next thing to mention, start , run and common are all connected together inside the compressor through the motor windings, which are less than 10 ohms. The megohm readings should all be the same!!!! He either measired wrong or he is blowing smoke in your face! Get a new tech.
The start assist, if it has 2 wires should not cost $125.00! If he is installing a TRUE hard start kit with a start relay and start capacitor and all the wiring would cost that much.
Stretch
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Candidly, I don't know about the megohms.
The couple condensor cleanings I've done, have taken about an hour. Of course, different companies have different rates. I use a pressure washer, and non acid coil cleaner. If it's not complicated, I figure $50. Though, I'm way too cheeeep.
I take the unit apart, and use water, and coil cleaner. And then use my pressure washer to be sure I've got it all.
Other companies use chemicals, and the customer's garden hose. Blowing out with compressed air is ineffective.
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Carolina Breeze HVAC posted for all of us... I don't top post - see either inline or at bottom.

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Tekkie


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Out of his damn mind to charge that.....for a freaking $30 part thats gonna just make it fail faster..

Going from a York bottom line unit to a unit below that....wow...what was his price if you dont mind me asking?

WRONG....dead wrong.
After Jan 1, 06, the MIN SEER that the companies can MAKE is 13SEER..I have serveral jobs for builders lined up for the next two years that will have 12 SEER equipment on them, and they will all be legal to install. If in Jan 07, a guy has a 10 SEER unit and you need one, its fine to install it.

For starters...

Suggestion.. One, the brand name, even Goodman, means nothing if the units installed wrong. Goodmans are cheap...they are HUGE money makers for the installers. They can be had for a song and a dance. Now...the best unit is a POS if its installed wrong.
Might suggest you look into something other than ICP products...Carrier that is.. As far as the Tranne goes, look for American Standard, if you want a Trane...same unit...Amereican Standard owns Trane.
Also, we are having great luck with the Affinitys York offers.....and if you are looking for a lifetime warranty, they have that too... Something to think about.

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