Heat Pump Problem

I have a 13 year old heat pump (rheem) that was never properly taken care before I bought this house. Last summer the AC wouldn't start so I called the service worker out and he got it working again and told me that he would be very surprised if it lasted through the winter. Instead of making service calls he suggested that I save up the money for replacement and don't put another penny into it. Well, here is winter, and whenever it rains or snows the unit outside makes a very loud clanging/ticking noise. Right now there is freezing rain falling and they are calling for a lot of rainfall tomorrow. The temperature inside has fallen 3 degrees in the last few hours. I fear that the heat pump is dying a slow death. What do you all recommend? Paying for a service call when it is quite possible that nothing will help, or just ride this out and hope it keeps working. I have an equity line to pay for the heat pump if necessary but I was really hoping to save up the money and pay cash for a new one by November. By the way, what would be an average price for getting a new heat pump installed professionally? The worker who was here this summer told me he would charge $4000-4500. Thanks for your help.
Jennifer
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Start looking so when and if it does die your not in panic mode to buy just anything, the price you quoted on replacement sounds high, but you never said exactly what you were getting does that price include a new furnace inside the house?
Some utility companies offer a rebate back to you when you install a heat pump.
Mine was replaced this yr and I received a $800.00 dollar rebate, new furnace, 3 ton h/p A coil installed $5500 after rebate.
Tom.

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Funny...just started working on one like that today... Really....it was REAL bad...5 inches of crap in the A (actually in this ones case, W coil)

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Its a Rheem, now you have been too..
I dont get the noise when it is raining. There is nothing to those units....the only good part about them is the compressor. They have, literally, nothing but a defrost board, a defrost fan control relay, a capacitor, or two, a reversing valve, a contactor, a high pressure switch, the compressor, and the coil. Now, the chances are that the contactors shot, and thats a common problem on the old units.

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or you can at least find out if its a $50 fix, or a $2500 fix.

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Depends. The unit we started on (notice..started on) was 12 years old. We told the real estate person that owned it, that it needed more work than it was worth, and that the ducts were too full of toys, trash, old food, etc, than was worth us cleaning out. Started off as a fan relay, ok..now it shuts off, but no heat...so we checked and the contactor in the outdoor unit and the sequencer for the strips was bad....the coils filthy, cleaned....cleaned the blower and checked to see if the unit was caught up in the big recall on some units, (not) and put it back together. After all that, ran the unit in the rain to see if it was going to run, and run correctly. Added 34or 35 oz of R22..and bingo, all was fine, but the ducts still bothered us. Just real bad design, and she wasnt gonna put more into it. So...we test the units defrost cycle, its working.....its up to 87 in the home...ok...we are done. About 6 hours later, the worker that is there to paint and put in new carpet calls and says the units frozen. We go back and look and sure enough...the reversing valve and defrost relay is toast. Total for the repairs to be complete on Monday for a 2.5 ton (upsized half ton for the home..sized wrong to start with, another reason to ALWAYs run the Manual D or T...) heat pump, 10SEER (its real estate...no 12s for this woman) with complete duct system, new thermostat and registers? $3900. IF you are being priced 4 grand for ONLY the outside unit, you are getting screwed in a big damn way. Unless thats 4 grand for a 4 ton, 18SEER unit, and then, its pointless since you are not getting the indoor unit....however, if the price is for a new heat pump, and airhandler, its damn close to average for a 3 ton system complete, wiht no ducts installed in most areas.

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