Need Advice on Heat Pump Replacement

Just got the news that my 12-13 yr old Rheem heat pump compressor went out. Recommendation is that the whole unit be replaced and they are working up a quote. I would gretaly appreciate some help with a couple of questions.
1. Does the whole outside unit need to be replaced? Why not just the compressor. What are the risks of doing that?
2. If I replace the whole outside unit should some of the inside unit be replaced too?
3. Do I need to stay with Rheem or can I go with another brand without replacing the whole air handler unit? Recommendations on manufacturer?
4. Should the air handler also be replaced? I run the fan constantly to keep the temperature even and make use of the filter to eliminate pollen in the house.
5. What is a realistic cost? I have a single unit for ~3000 sq ft house. The current heat pump is a double fan unit. (Not sure of the model, I can provide if needed)
6. While going to this expense should I have any testing done on the house to make sure I have the best system?
Additional details: First couple of compressors did not last very long ~1 -2 years, but the current one has been around for 9-10 years. I went out to look at the unit when it stopped working since sometimes pushing the reset button got it started again. When I went to hit the restart button, it was gone, looks like it disintegrated. Fan runs but compressor does not. I have always had an occasional thumping noise when the compressor started. Technician never seemed to be too concerned about it.
Appreciate the help and input. Randy
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In line....

You can just have the compressor replaced, but why? Maybe a 1 year warranty on the 'can' and 90 days on the labor. Besides, your 12 year old unit is probably inefficient by today's standards.

It should be to get the full benefit of the efficiency of the outdoor unit.

It's best to stay with and ARI matched system. You can get 2 different 12 SEER parts by different manufacturers, but that won't mean you get 12 SEER. I'd go with the unit your HVAC company suggests. They'll have to install it and work on it if there are any waraanty issues. They may get a better price on their brand than the pone they'd get at another supplier.

In my opinion, yes, the air handler should be replaced. I'd look at a good media air filter like a Honeywell F150 series or a SpaceGuard.

Cost? I could tell you what it would be around here if I had done a complete heat loss on the house. Just because the unit may be a (insert tonnage here), dosen't mean it's correct.

You could. I have offered it to my customers at an additional cost and one took me up on it in 4 years. I installed a 2.5 ton system and had it tested. It came out to be 2.52 tons.
Good luck.
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HeatMan,
Thanks for the feedback. Looks like it makes sense to do a larger project than I had originally hoped.
Thanks for the input on the filter, I also use a humidifier in the winter that I am not sure necessarily works all that well with this type of system. I think it is an Aprilaire that is basically a piece of foam that spins inside the horizontal duct. Any recomendations in this area?
Thanks Randy
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Aprilair makes good humidifiers, but I'd stay away from the spinning foam units. You can get all kinds of algae and bacterial growth in them unless the unit has a purge timer on it to blow the crud out of the system. I install the bypass humidifiers. The model 560 come to mind, but I think that's the old number.
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the compressor is likely to be the most that is needed to be replaced, if you truly need a compressor, the problem is finding someone competent to do it:
someone who will flush the system with solvent someone who will install a desicant filter/dryer inline to protect the new compressor someone who will pull a hard vacuum for a couple of hours to dry the system out, so that the new compressor will last 10-20 years someone whose vacuum pump has recently had it's oil changed, so that it is capable of a low micron vacuum someone who knows that weighing in the freon chearge is the only true way to get the level precisely correct

No
any brand will do for an entire new unit, but unnecessary, replacement compressor is likely the most you need, and a good chance you don't even need that
your original compressor was likely made by Copeland probably similar to this one: Copeland ZR34K3-PFV-930 wholesale cost: $350

No
how long a compressor lasts in almost 100% dependent on whether the technician does the things I mentioned above, your first two were installed by idiots, most likely, the one that lasted 9-10 years, by a more competent technician.
if the only problem is that it starts sometimes and sometimes doesn't, there is a good chance that nothing more than an evac/recharge (using a scale) and a new capacitor ($8) is all you really need
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cowboy wrote:

Could be. So you put in a new compressor and the reversing valve is bad, what then? The owner should have been made aware that there could be additional problems that cannot be diagnosed until a running compressor is installed, problems that could easily run the price up to more than the cost of a new unit. This is the most likely reason, that and the age of the unit, that the company recommended a new condensing unit.

Get the fuck outta here!

Standard practice.

Incorrect. On a split system the factory charge is just supposed to be close to correct. You'll find in the installation guide (that comes with every new unit) instructions for setting the charge. On a package unit there are no field installed dryers or line sets to take into account, and thus usually no need to adjust the charge. If OTOH the you change the blower speed from its factory setting you should adjust the refrigerant charge. >

That depends upon whether the new outside unit is properly matched to the inside components.

Can I borrow your crystal ball sometime?

Where did you get this info?

An off chance, probably slim to none.
hvacrmedic
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see, this is what I am talking about when I rant in this group about the incompetence of the typical HVAC tech (who has never had the first college course in basic thermodynamics or organic chemistry)
when a compressor burns up, hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid is formed, as well as other corrosives, as well as the HCl and HF formed when water is left in the system due to insufficient vacuuming.
H2O + CHF2Cl ----> HCl + HF + CO2 + chlorine and fluorine salts water + R22 freon -----> hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid
the only way to completely protect the new compressor from these acids is to complete flush the system with an inert solvent such as Kwik-Solv, using a pressurized flush gun
probably only 1 in 50 HVAC techs do this, because they have a financial interest in you buying a new unit every 10 years or so.
a quality HVAC system can run 25 years just fine, if you don't let the condenser get physical damage from kids etc.
most HVAC techs will never tell you this!
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You've been smoking too much cow droppings....
In line.

as
Right so far.

to
WRONG! Nothing goes into a closed refrigeration system except for the proper oil and refrigerant, unless it is specifically approved by the compressor manufacturer in writing.

Not always so.

True, but as the years wear on, the operating costs and energy cost will go up.

Most customers don't care. They want the AC working.
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no, YOU are wrong
Kwik-Solv is a combnation of n-heptane and 2-propanol, it evaperates with ZERO residue, it is one of the more volatile compounds on earth, and of course you always follow the flush with a thorough evacuation anyway (due to it's extreme volatility and extremely low vapor pressure, the Kwik-Solv is gone within a minute of starting the vacuum pump, and you are supposed to be vacuuming for an hour or more, if you are conscientious )
when properly used as a power flush, it only contacts the inside of the condenser or evaporator, it is approved by ALL major HVAC manufacturers as a flushing agent, because it has no reaction with copper, aluminum or any other metal. -- it is even safe for paint, rubber and printed circuit boards!
it will, of course, remove all of the oil from the coil your flushing, which is necessary to remove the acid, so always be sure to replace the oil that was in each coil - and do NOT smoke around it, or you will land in the next county.
you can learn about Kwik-Solv here: http://tinyurl.com/doeyx
PS - if you are this clueless about proper HVAC procedures such as flushing, I suggest you purchase the following book, among others: (Amazon.com product link shortened)
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is
using
to
a
Okay, even though I don't go to links posted on NG's, prove it. Post the links for the manufacturers that okay your Kwik-Solv stuff.
If you can't or don't, we will all know that what you say IS cow droppings.

which
next
In a perfect world, should be no oil in a coil at any times. If there is any, it should drain back to the compressor during shut down times.

Like I said, I don't click on links.

flushing,
If you want me to look at a book, even on Amazon.com, send the title and/or the ISBN number. I'll find it.
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Hi cowboy, hope you are having a nice day
On 23-Jun-05 At About 10:07:18, cowboy wrote to All Subject: Re: Need Advice on Heat Pump Replacement
>>> the only way to completely protect the new compressor from these >>> acids is >> to >>> complete flush the system with an inert solvent such as Kwik-Solv, >>> using a pressurized flush gun
>> WRONG! Nothing goes into a closed refrigeration system except for >> the proper oil and refrigerant, unless it is specifically approved by >> the compressor manufacturer in writing.
c> no, YOU are wrong
No you are wrong. NOTHING should go into a closed system but the proper refrigerant and oil. on a burnout if it is bad enough you do drier changes to clean it up. I don't know where you are getting this wrong info but you really should talk to someone who knows what they are doing.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. I may have my faults, but being wrong ain't one of them.
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Trane and Lennox only approve Oil & Refrigerant. Trane approves Acid Away, but NO other additives. Trane does not even allow UV dyes. Where did you come up with ALL Major Manufacturers Approve Kwik-Solv???
Stretch
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cowboy posted for all of us... I don't top post - see either inline or at bottom.

I usually evacuate then wipe then flush. I've been doing it wrong?

How clean do you want your house to be doing all this vacuuming?

Is is oft like Charmin?

Hmmm, reading material while I be evacuating, wiping, flushing!

--

Tekkie


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look, Beavis, the system is NOT closed while you are servicing it, you are putting in a new compressor, that is one end of the condenser open.
you should also be installing a new inline filter/dryer, so you would have the other end of the condenser open
now you flush the isolated condenser, while it is open, replace the oil that was in the coil, and then install your new filter/dryer & compressor
flushing the indoor coil or works exactly the same, and kwik-solv even has a wonderful pleasant scent to make your customer happy
the fact that you "HVAC techs" seemed to have missed the first day of tech school is really scary for the homeowners out there.
do you want them to have to replace a compressor every 2-4 years, just so you can make a boat payment?
PLEASE do your customers a favor, buy a book, and learn what you are doing, it is the right thing to do! (Amazon.com product link shortened)
if you can't afford the newest edition book, you can get an older edition, for much less (basic HVAC 101 doesn't change that much, except for new refrigerants and a couple other things, so a 5-10 year old book is fine for theory and procedures)
it is a cheap alternative to that thermodynamics course you never had in college, since you never graduated college!
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Another a-hole that thinks he knows what he is talking about....
*PLONK*
(into the kill-file bin you go)
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are
have
compressor
has
tech
so
edition,
Plonk him all you want, but be sure to keep an eye out for the bad information he likes to give out.
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Hi cowboy, hope you are having a nice day
On 23-Jun-05 At About 12:05:11, cowboy wrote to All Subject: Re: Need Advice on Heat Pump Replacement
>> No you are wrong. NOTHING should go into a closed system but the >> proper refrigerant and oil. on a burnout if it is bad enough you do >> drier changes to clean it up. I don't know where you are getting this >> wrong info but you really should talk to someone who knows what they >> are doing.
c> look, Beavis, the system is NOT closed while you are servicing it, c> you are putting in a new compressor, that is one end of the condenser c> open.
Wow, you don't even know the proper terminology!! LOL
c> you should also be installing a new inline filter/dryer, so you would c> have the other end of the condenser open
c> now you flush the isolated condenser, while it is open, replace the c> oil that was in the coil, and then install your new filter/dryer & c> compressor
As another tech said, there shouldn't be any oil in the Evap. but I guess you didn't know that :)
c> flushing the indoor coil or works exactly the same, and kwik-solv c> even has a wonderful pleasant scent to make your customer happy
as I stated before there should be NOTHING!!! added to the system.
c> the fact that you "HVAC techs" seemed to have missed the first day of c> tech school is really scary for the homeowners out there.
You seem to have missed them all :)
c> do you want them to have to replace a compressor every 2-4 years, c> just so you can make a boat payment?
Sorry to burst your bubble but I have installed units that are running now for more than 25 years :)
c> PLEASE do your customers a favor, buy a book, and learn what you are c> doing, it is the right thing to do!
You need some serious help. you have 3 or 4 techs all telling you the same thing but you still insist on throwing out bad advice. and BTW. I have been a tech for more than 30 years now. and as I said before, some of the systems I put in more than 25 years ago are still running.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. URA Redneck if you think cow tipping should be an Olympic sport.
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Hi HeatMan, hope you are having a nice day
On 23-Jun-05 At About 11:44:58, HeatMan wrote to All Subject: Re: Need Advice on Heat Pump Replacement
>> no, YOU are wrong
>> Kwik-Solv is a combnation of n-heptane and 2-propanol, it evaperates >> with ZERO residue, it is one of the more volatile compounds >> on earth, and of course you always follow the flush with a thorough >> evacuation anyway (due to it's extreme volatility and extremely >> low vapor pressure, the Kwik-Solv is gone within a minute of >> starting the vacuum pump, and you are supposed H> to >> be vacuuming for an hour or more, if you are conscientious )
>> when properly used as a power flush, it only contacts the inside of >> the condenser or evaporator, it is approved by ALL major HVAC >> manufacturers as H> a >> flushing agent, because it has no reaction with copper, aluminum or >> any other metal. -- it is even safe for paint, rubber and printed >> circuit boards!
H> Okay, even though I don't go to links posted on NG's, prove it. Post H> the links for the manufacturers that okay your Kwik-Solv stuff.
This guy is either a clown or a troll. I went to the link and this stuff is nothing more than electrical contact cleaner. I sure hope he doesn't put this in systems. I highly doubt he is even in the trade though as none of the answers he gives makes any sense.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
... But I thought YOU did the backups...
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Hi HeatMan, hope you are having a nice day
On 24-Jun-05 At About 06:20:13, HeatMan wrote to All Subject: Re: Need Advice on Heat Pump Replacement
>> *PLONK*
>> (into the kill-file bin you go)
H> Plonk him all you want, but be sure to keep an eye out for the bad H> information he likes to give out.
It's way beyond bad, this cowboy guy doesn't have a clue :)
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
... "I'm going to get a tatoo over my whole body of me but taller..."- s.w.
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