Does this price seem high

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Ac unit on the roof stopped working at a rental house. Called an AC company to go look and fix. $74 flat charge to show up and diagnose - that seemed in line. So they call me back and say the condenser motor wasn't starting but once they gave it a nudge it worked ok. Said it might stop again tomorrow or last another five years. The motor is still under warranty (whole unit is only 2 years old) but the labor is on me. So he says it will cost $275 for the labor to replace the motor. Sounded like a rip off so I told him to just bill me the $74 (why don't they charge $75???) and I"ll take my changes. For $275 in labor I'll go buy the motor for $111 and put it in myself. Based on doing this in the past it should take me no more then a couple hours total including taking it out, bringing it to the parts place, and going back and putting it back in.
How do these guys justify $275 for an hours worth of work (in addition to the $74 I've already paid them)???????????
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On 8/31/2009 10:03 PM Ashton Crusher spake thus:

Like I always say about myself: you're in the wrong line of work ...
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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Ashton Crusher wrote:

Not rhe motor. Suspect starting capacitor first.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

And in my working days my rate was 250.00/hr, minimum 2 hours plus T&L.
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I'm with Tony, sounds like the motor is fine. Replace the cap.
--
Christopher A. Young
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wrote:

He said he tested it and it was good. When I buy a new motor I always get a new cap.
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Tony Hwang wrote:

Condenser fan motors don't have starting capacitors. The motors have a "run" capacitor with a capacitance of 5-7.5 uf typically and voltage rating of 370-440 volts AC. The run capacitors are oil filled. The start capacitors will often but not always be for the compressor and those are electrolytic capacitors with a wide range of capacitance values. The compressor will have an oil filled run capacitor with a typical value of 35-50 uf and 370-440 volts AC. Not all AC condensing units have a start capacitor or a start assist device from the factory, it is an option. Most of the AC condensing units for homes have a three terminal oil filled capacitor for the fan and compressor. It will be marked "C" common, "F" fan and "H" hermetic with hermetic meaning the compressor.
TDD
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Since I don't know all the facts, I am only guessing. The service call is ( $74) separate travel and time involved to diagnose.
Are you confusing condenser motor with compressor motor? If you are, there is one big reason for teh costs. If you're not, there is additional travel time, man hours to fix problem. It may have only taken one man to diagnose, whereas it will take 2 men to fix. How hard is it to get on the roof? How dangerous is it to work onthe roof? How far up is the roof? All these are factors that affect pricing.
Also, like another poster said, it could be the capacitor. Or, it could be a corroded switching mechanism, loose wire, bad circuit board or a long list of things that are not the motor itself. But, if you trust this companies diagnosis, go replace the motor if you have the time.
Personally, I'd let it go to see how long it runs.
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On Tue, 1 Sep 2009 01:35:39 -0700 (PDT), "Hustlin' Hank"

I'm going to let it go till it's cooler and hope it keeps running. When the weather is nicer I'll replace it. I'm pretty sure he said condenser motor but you raise a good question. When I was over to see if it had blown a fuse nothing on the roof was even trying to start. My past experience has been that when it's a condenser motor the compressor will kick on till it kicks back off from high pressure but nothing kicked on so I figured it was not the condenser fan. And it was so hot I didn't want to mess with it. Live and learn.
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Huh, What kind of AC unit do you have that you can replace just the compressor motor on. Do you mean the condenser fan motor? If it is the fan motor I think they are a little high. The labor on mine was about $150 and the guy was here about 45 minutes of which he spent about 10 minutes doing paper work. Like you the motor was under warranty. I would have replaced it myself but that would have voided the remaining warranty on the unit. $275 to replace a compressor would be a GOOD DEAL..
Jimmie
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Sounds high. Sounds like a bad run capacitor.
I installed a run cap, a couple weeks ago. $70 trip charge, $50 labor, and $20 for the cap. Doesn't add up any where near $274, I must not charge enough.
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-snip-

I'd say they shot an hour coming to your place & checking it out. They give you a break on the price because that's how they get their foot in the door.
If they come back and replace the motor that's another 2 hours- getting there, doing the work, doing the paperwork & packing up.
So for 3 hours it's $350. Less than $120 an hour. That's what my mechanic gets & I go to his place. I'd shudder to see what either one has tied up in tools & education to keep up with all the newfangled contraptions.
Seems reasonable to me.
Jim [and if it didn't, I'd buy all the tools I needed, study up on how it's done & do it myself.<g>]
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Instead of considering a fan replacement, please consider that they likely mis diagnosed the problem. And aren't competent to do the job properly.
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wrote:

I agree that it's not at rip off level and if he had said the motor was frozen I would have gone ahead and let him do. It would have taken me another day or two to handle it and my tenants were sweltering in the heat.
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Im no ac guy but just how do you give a Condensor Motor a "nudge"isnt it completely enclosed. Once I noticed my outside unit wasnt running , my tech put in a new Capacitor. He said I was lucky o find out quickly or I would have caused serious damage to the compressor. I think I would not pay anything and get out someone else, pay his call if he didnt lie to you or clarify what you
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You free up the bearings when you "nudge" it. Many times the grease in the bearings may dry out a little. Or, it may delvelop a little rust on the shaft at the bearings. Either way, nudgeing it will free it up.
My AC on my motorhome quit working after sitting all winter (just like homes). After investigation, I discovered the squirrel cage inside wasn't turning. When I tried to turn it lightly by hand, it didn't move. After using a little more force it moved and ran fine. I found out that the same motor turns both the condensor fan and the evaporator fan and it sits on the roof and is exposed to the weather. After checking with the RV repair department, they said I needed a new motor and installation was very high from what I can remember. After calling the manufacturer and told them the problem, they said I need a new motor also. Well, the following year it did the same thing after running good after I "nudged" it. Then I shot some WD40 on the area where the shaft meets the bearings and I turn the fan on (not the compressor) every month. It has worked flawlessly for the last few years without the "nudge".
That's how you "nudge" a motor. :-)
Hank <~~~~wouldn't replace anything.........yet.
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My experience is that WD is nearly useless as a motor berring oil. But, I'm glad it's worked for you. As I understand, motor makers don't use grease. Grease is what you get after the proper oil dries out, many years later.
The repair guys sell new motors, cause the old ones just keep drying out. And then you have unhappy customer who wants you to fix it for free every now and again for the rest of your life.
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On Sep 1, 7:59�pm, "Stormin Mormon"

I agree about the WD40. It will (and did) free it up. Now that I run it more often, the grease/oil that is in there gets moved around and it stays free to spin. Not because of the WD40 tho. It is because of it not sitting still for months. Just my opinion.
Hank
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On Tue, 1 Sep 2009 19:59:37 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

The last condenser motor I replaced, several years ago, had little oil cup/channels with a small red plastic plug in them. I assume that if one was so inclined they could oil the things yearly. For the most part I've found condenser motors to last a long long time, anywhere from 5 to 15 years. This unit was only 2 years old.
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I believe Ransley's point is that the poster said "condenser motor". So, it's unclear, as there are two motors involved. The big one is sealed inside the compressor, which you obviously can't nudge. Assuming it's the fan motor, then yes, you could nudge that and spray it with lube. However, since it's only 2 years old and still under warranty, it would seem that it might be better to replace it.

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