Should I replace my 3 ton AC

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JenTra wrote:

Assuming you plan on living there for a long time...
Definitely junk it and get the highest efficiency model and best installation you can get if you're in a place like Texas or Arizona.
Don't bother doing anything to it if you're in a place like the Pacific NW where power is ~8 cents/kWh and you only use it lightly weeks out of the year.
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Everyone that has replied has some good points. You could say "if it ain't broke....", but what if it breaks during the hottest time of the summer? 9 times out of 10 you are only going to get a hack or dishonest company (I guess they are one in the same) to put in a new one with short notice. If you are willing to sweat it out, you should take the time to get 3 different contractors to give you a QUOTE (NOT an estimate). Ask your friends and neighbors who they would use, and remember: The brand means very little compared to the installer.
Then you have to look at how much you use it. Do you live in a hot and humid area where it gets used a good 4 or 5 months (or more) out of the year? If so, you COULD save quite a bit of money on your electric bill per month. Let's say your current A/C is an 8 SEER (post your brand and model number and someone here can tell you) and you replace it with a 16 SEER. If your cooling bill is $100 a month, you'd cut that in half. You could realistically save $250 a summer by updating your system. Then again, if you only use it a couple months out of the summer, you may want to run it until it dies.
Then you have to look at the replacent cost. A 10 SEER unit is going to be a lot cheaper than a 16 SEER, but there is quite a difference in the energy savings. The best thing to do is to have the contractors give you quotes on the different SEERs (say a 12, 14, and a 16). Ask for brochures on the equipment. Most of the major manufacturers devote a couple paragraphs (and graphs/charts) to explaining the savings on different SEERs.
Check the warranty on the units. A lot of the manufactorers are using Scroll compressors that (most) have a minimum 10 year warranty. Then ask the contractor what THEIR warranty is. Some companies will give you 2 years labor , 5 years parts, and 10 years on the compressor no matter what the manufacturer's warranty is. Other may give you one year. If a compressor craps out in it's second year, it's still under warranty, but if the contractor only gives you one year on their work, sure! You'll get the compressor for free, but you may end up paying 6 or 7 hundred dollars (or more!) just to change it out (labor, freon, etc.).
Then there is the R-22 vs. R-410A debate. When the 410 first came out, most of the contractors rolled their eyes because they have seen the "replacement refrigerants" before that never lasted. IMHO, I think 410 is here to stay. I don't believe the hype that "R-22 will be scarce soon so you better get 410 or you could ending up paying an arm and a leg for a leak repair because the price or R-22 is going to skyrocket!!!" I doubt that. I think their is so much of it stockpiled now that the price will actually come DOWN (after they phase it out) rather than go up. However, a lot of the manufacturers are going to stop making the R-22 units sooner than the phase out will occur, so there will come a time where the 410 units will be the only thing available (or until some genius comes up with ANOTHER refrigerant! ;-] ). And at one time, the 410 units were more expensive than the 22s, but that has changed quite a bit. Some of the companies (American Standard/Trane) price them the same. Bottom line: You could go either way when it comes to the refrigerant type. There is nothing wrong with the 410 units, and if you decide on an R-22 unit and are worried about the availability of R-22 when it is phased out, don't. By that time you will either 1) need a new unit anyway, or 2) Someone else be living in your house....;-]
Sorry I rambled on, but just wanted to give you a few things to think about. Here are the main points:
1) Don't worry about the brand. The installer is MUCH more important.
2) Always get at least 3 QUOTES.
3) Have regular preventative maintenance (and your unit will live past it's "expectancy")
4) Wax on, wax off.........
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Underneath us all There's a world that we always forget 'til it moves us Where the moon on the bay dances all alone Ramone, he draw the razor swift, it slice the air No more lovely dreams of those summer nights Down in santo domingo They laugh and play in the sleepy harbor town So unaware of the danger that's around
Livin' on the fault line Livin' on the fault line Livin' on the fault line Livin' on the fault line
No one can run when it finally comes down Nobody knows what is stirrin' underground Caruso stumbled While the city tumbled down The palace was in splinters Theodore was leaving town
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Hardcrab , poetic , high and useless
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Soory about that. That was for the post about Fault Line......
(oooops!)
;-]

house
spring
it
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I envy you. It's doing the job properly.
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JenTra wrote:

Run it 'til she blows. Same as with tires.
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My 3 ton GE AC was installed in 1973 and it is still running and doing the job very nicely. The only eminence that has been required so far is what I do at the beginning of each season--Remove the top grillwork, vacuum the coils and clean out everything in sight and oil the fan motor. Inside, flush out the A coil drain tray-use a solution of bleach and water to get rid of the algae that sometimes clogs the drain hole. Run the system for a couple of hours and measure the temperature at the furthest register. It has been the same, approx 54F since it was installed, good or bad at least its been consistent.. I recently had a new 90% furnace installed and had the HVAC service people take a look at the A coil while the ductwork was open and got the "It's OK" comment. Granted I'm in the Northeast and AC is not required on a long term basis. Overall. it's used on an intermittent basis 3-4 weeks of the year if that much. Maybe it's not as efficient as a new one but it runs flawlessly and easily cools the house down on a 90F day. Cost of electricity is not a significant driver--our city has its own power plant and we not only get a good rate but if we pay within a specific time frame we deduct 20% from the bill. Getting a new unit, just for the sake of getting a more efficient replacement doesn't make sense to me, at least now--when and if it fails, that's another matter. MLD
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I would not replace it as you don't have enough run time to make it worth while. If you have high humidity and enough length of each run cycle it will do better on getting the humidity down than the new very high SEER units.
<A HREF="http://www.udarrell.com/air-conditioner-capacity-seer.html "> Darrell udarrell =======MLD wrote:

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udarrell wrote:

/snip/ Citation on your statement that " it will do better on getting the humidity down than the new very high SEER units"? This makes no sense to me whatsoever. The temperature of the evaporator coil and airflow rate determine the amount of moisture that is removed from the air, not the SEER rating of the unit.
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That sort of notion would suggest that your A/C has too much capacity for the application, and tends to run in short cycles.

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This is Turtle.
By you living in the Northern state the ideal of buy a new one for cost of operation savings is just a personal thing and no real cost to operate savings.
Just run it and when you start any kind of trouble with it. Change it out. It is nothing for a properly install hvac system to run 40+ years and work good. The new stuff you buy now days you will only expect about 15 years or so out of them.
Run it and be happy.
TURTLE
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