Heat pump died

Well, my heat pump died overnight and the service tech said it is the compressor and he would recommend I replace the unit. It is a 17 year old package unit and the pitch is that the newer units are far more efficient and it is showing a lot of rust and wear in areas other than the compressor.
I've done a little research sorting out the basic features for comparison, SEER, HSPF, noise ratings, etc.
The thing I'm not quite sure about is the difference between the scroll compressors and the traditional piston compressors. Why would you choose one over the other? Seems like the higher end models that use the R-410A refrigerant use scroll compressors. Is there enough time on these things to asses their reliability over time?
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Scrolls have been around for quite a while now and, WHEN INSTALLED PROPERLY, are pretty much indestructable. Some people shy away from R-410, but you may as well get used to it. It's inevitable........
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Scrolls are definitely quieter. You got 17 years from a recip, that is on the high end of use. Most crap out starting about 5-7 years. Ya the scrolls are usually on the above builder class of machines. Since your doing an replacement you will be looking at a SEER 13 or higher, new standard since the new year.
http://www.hvacopcost.com /
This page should help
I replaced a 8-9 seer package with a 12 Seer York in July. August bill was 50% less than July's. About a $60 buck savings. I am not staying more than a year or two so I did not spend a lot on the system. Less than $3k
R-410a takes a special license and more training for all the mechanics. R-22 will be around for the foreseeable future. I tend not to be on the bleeding edge of technology.
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SQLit,
410a does NOT require a special license. Some manufacturers require that you attent special training before they will sell you a 410a unit, but not all manufacturers are this way.
In 4 years, it will not be legal to manufacture R-22 units any more, but the gas will still be available for service.
Stretch
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The technician is right about a new unit, but with a heat pump, you must also replace the inside unit. If the tech didn't recommend this, then find another company. Scroll compressors are virtually indestructible. Scrolls come in both R-22 & R-410A (aka Puron) units. I'd advise against R-410A, unless you're the type of person who likes to beat his head against a wall. Finding someone other than the installer to service it can sometimes be difficult. R-22 is going to be around for a long time, and when it's no longer available, they will have a compatible substitute.

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Thanks to all for advice.
Bob, the unit is a packaged unit (everything outside in one box) and the tech said it all needs to go. In 17 years I've had to replace only one contactor, two condensor fan motors and a two speed blower motor and my average annual service/repair cost has been about forty bucks but he says and I believe it aint worth it to keep it going. Condensor fan mount/grill is ragged from metal fatigue (I rebuilt it once) and the factory service part is abut $250.
and SQLit, that web page on relative energy savings certainly is convincing.
He also conviced me that R-22 vs R-410A not too big of a deal right now as R-22 service refrigerant and components will be available through the life of any equipment installed today. In a few years, maybe not. He is experienced with and able to service both.
And you can still install a 12 SEER until manufacturers stock is depleted if that is what you want to do. I'll probably go 14.
I trust these guys, they have always treated me honestly and will buy the replacement from them. They sell other lines but are pushing Trane and that is what I will likely go with.
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Was just talking with my Carrier rep this morning. There are NO more 12 SEER (at least in our area) units left AND only 13 SEER units will be available with R-22. Any SEER unit above 13 will have R-410A.
Now that's Carrier. Your mileage may vary with other companies. (Still getting plenty of Armstrong 10 SEER units)
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