Heat Pump Repair

All, I have recently been told my Heat Pump is Toast - 17 year old Ruud unit..... I would like to only replace the heat pump and not the electric air handler under the house. Can this be done?.... If so what questions should I be asking the HVAC contractors?
Thanks
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Heat pumps are sold as a matched set. If you use your old indoor unit over, it's like putting a chevy engine in a ford truck with a toyota transmission and a dodge rear end. Nothing matches up. It may run but it won't work right.
Get a new load calculation done. Measure the existing air flow with a flow hood or other accurate instrument, NOT a "HAND_O_METER". Make proper duct modifications as necessary to install new indoor unit. Make sure Freon lines are sized right. Make sure power wiring and breakers are correct.
Ask the contractor about SEER & HSPF (SEER is cooling efficiency, HSPF is heating efficiency)
Ask about load calculation for proper sizing, NOT 500 or 600 square foot per ton. If he just measures square feet of floor area, FIRE HIM!! Then get a new contractor.
Ask if you have proper air flow and have him measure it with accurate instruments. If he just uses his hand and says he has experience doing that, FIRE HIM!!, then get a new contractor.
Ask about scroll compressors.
Ask if his techs are NATE certified.
Ask about Variable Speed Blowers for better humidity control (Set to enhanced mode).
Ask about two stage compressors. (Lennox has two stage Copeland Scroll with 18.6 SEER efficiency!!) How high an efficiency you want depends on your local electric rates, the size of the load and your local climate. Unless you have very cheap electricity or very mild climate, you want at least 13 SEER (Which will be low end next year!).
Stretch
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Agreed, until this....LOL

Tranes got ya beat...so does York...19.2 and 18.7, respectivly..LOL BTW...those super high end SEERs, are jokes. They are ONE unit, and may, or may not be what the customer needs, and that includes the rating by Lennox....

Umm...yes and no. You did get the notice about the 13SEER ruling from the board didnt you? We can sell 10s, 11, and 12s till they are gone. I do agree that he should get at least a 13, but with some guys prices now on them, it might be only in his budget to get a 10...and if its out there and can be had, its going to be cheaper to run than his 17 year old unit, and might even be surprised how inexpensive a new matched set is. He might also find, that if hes got one of the old 4 wire Rheems, hes gonna have to match the indoor unit to the outdoor, since most now are a min of 6 wires to control it and more and more are 8.

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Yes and No. Depends on what kind of toast you prepared.
If the compressor did not burn out. Causing the freon to contaminate the system then yes you could replace just the compressor unit (outside). If the compressor was a burn out then you probably need a new line set and coil (inside) It is impossible to clean them out. You would not put used motor oil in your new car would you?
17 years old usually means pretty ineffeciant. Putting a Porsche out side with a Model T inside will not get you high on the SEER meter. If you staying in the home for 5 or more years then think about an upgraded system. If your not then contact several contractors and find the price your confortable with. New units are sold as matched pairs so that the customer can get the advertized SEER.
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