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!
When properly installed Goodman equipment will cool as well as the
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
Its 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
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.
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:-)
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
The breaker should be marked (maybe on the side).
As suggested, breakers are cheap; just replacing it may
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.
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
The hard start kit is a LOT more convenient than doing the reset.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
One, the brand name, even Goodman, means nothing if the units installed
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
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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