Semi-OT: Air Conditioner Question

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On 7/23/2010 8:47 PM, Mark & Juanita wrote:

I have an American Standard unit. I am not impressed. In six years it has been replaced once under warranty (but I still had to pay labor) and I just had another service to replace 3 pounds of coolant that It has lost in two years.
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Dan Coby wrote:

Thanks for the input. Your experience seems consistent with the warranty. The Carrier and Rheem come with 10 year compressor, 10 year parts warranties; the American Standard with 10 year compressor, but only 5 year parts warranty. American Standard price though is only $124 less than the Carrier and a full $852 more than the Rheem. Given that, the American Standard doesn't seem competitive.
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On 7/24/2010 12:50 AM, Mark & Juanita wrote:

As a single family residential builder, let me say that Ed gave you the best advice ... With central air go with installation and service.
Let me say it again: with central air, _installation_ is much more important than brand! :)
The difference between US brands is basically "fit and finish", as the parts that make it an air conditioner are pretty much universal off-the-shelf, with the exact same parts used by all brand manufacturers in the US.
IOW, forget the brand, go with a high SEER, 2 stage unit if you want the best efficiency and realized cooling, and make sure that your installer does a "Manual J" cooling-load calculation for your installation, preferably software based ... many free programs around if you want to double check yourself, like the following:
http://3d2f.com/download/41-432-jloads-free-download.shtml
It will cost you more for a properly sized, higher SEER unit 2 stage compression (about 30%), but I will guarantee you will make it back back many times over in energy costs over the life of the unit.
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Any words of wisdom on the mini-split units? From what I can put together these seem ideal for my use. I'm currently working on the space over the garage for my shop (I'll eventually turn it into another bedroom, when I sell). Instead of tying into the 2.5T upstairs unit (the downstairs has a separate 3.5T unit). I was thinking about a mini-split unit. The mini-split unit might even be easier than ducting the few feet (the air handler is in that space) and it would help keep dust out of the house.
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Swingman wrote:

Swing, thanks for weighing in here. I'm going with someone that, as best I can ascertain, will do the job right and stand behind what he has done.

Thanks. I'm trying to figure out why the Rheem bid is ~$900 lower than the Carrier unit. 1/2 SEER doesn't seem to be a differentiator in this case (14 vs. 14.5).

ton and no changes to the house that would adversely affect heat load have occurred. We can't go larger since this is a rooftop installation and 5 tons is maximum that we could put up. It would be cost prohibitive to re- plumb the entire installation.
I've looked into cost/benefit trades of the higher SEER units and can't make the transition cost-effective. We currently have a dual system (central evaporative, central air) system with barometric damper. I just replaced the evaporative system this year -- that I did myself, I won't / can't do the central air system myself. I want to keep the evaporative cooler because we really like the fresh airflow through the house when we can use the evaporative system. It works well here in AZ through about July when the monsoon hits and the humidity goes up. After that time, not so much. It is also nice having a dual system so that when one goes out, there is at least a temporary backup. Evaporative cooling may not work well in higher humidity, but it is way better than nothing, so redundancy is not a bad thing.
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A fellow I went to K-12 school with, and who has remained a friend over the years, is a Lennox dealer. The advice he gave me over the years is merely an echo of what you've just said. Go with installation and service. FWIW, he recommend Lennox's 2-stage high SEER unit for me to get installed in a home we're thinking of buying. For my existing house, he recommended any 13 SEER box and TXV coil.
Nonny
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My 5-ton American Standard is in it's eleventh year this summer (ten year warranty); had two pounds of refrigerant added two years ago and the contacts replaced at the same time. I do believe that TRANE and American Standard are one and the same.
Dave in Houston
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See my reply to Dan. Do you know why the coolant was lost?
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Where was the coolant lost? That may be the fault of the installer, not the unit itself. The installer makes the connections and if he does a poor job, you pay. If it was lost from a bad brazed joint on the coil, it is the fault of the manufacturer. If he replaced that much, he should have also found and fixed the leak. If he did not, you got screwed.
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On 7/24/2010 5:32 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Where the coolant is leaking is not known. This is both the second compressor and the second AC guy.
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On 7/24/2010 6:02 PM, Dan Coby wrote:

Chances are it's in a wall. Unfortunately not uncommon. The leak leads to your bad compressors. Ed is right, if the guy who replaced the unit made no effort to effort to insure there was no other source of a leak, no matter what brand unit you put in you still have the original problem.
Your other choice is to have the unit checked twice a year to keep it from running low .. around here that would cost you an extra $300 to $400 a year in service/refrigerant costs.
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wrote

My 13 year old truck does not seem to put out the super cold AC anymore, so I stopped in a vehicle AC place to get an idea of the cost to top up the refrigerant. 'Bout passed out, $150-200 and UP. Decided there aren't enough really hot days around here for that, but it sure beats $30 a Month!
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<...snipped...>

A 1997 vehicle should use R134 refrigerant. You can buy a can for about $11.00 at most any auto parts store and a simple fill hose for about the same. Lots of places carry a kit with a can and the hose combined for $20 or so.
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Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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wrote:

THANKS!
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Lobby Dosser wrote:

You have a truck using 134A.
I have had similar problems with a 99 Toyota P/U.
Each time a leaking "Schrader valve".
There are four (4) of them and sooner or later they all leak.
These days they are not expensive (China import), maybe $10/ea, but you're looking at somewhere around $50/lb for 134A.
I've never been hit for more than about $80 in the past.
It all depends on how much 134A you need.
If you don't take care of it, you could lose the compressor which is major $.
Lew
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Thanks, Lew!
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Certainly worth a try, but keep an eye on it. Given the age of the system, it is common for failure of seals and other expensive repairs.
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I hope the third guy is better.
The AC in one of my cars stopped working under warranty. Dealer fixed it, but two weeks later, same problem. Fixed it again, but lasted only four days. Fixed again but did not even last two miles. I turned around and went back. I had the dealership owner, service manager, and the tech that did the repair outside looking at my car. They all said they could not find the leak. Then, I asked, "did you check the evaporator?" The reply was "oh, they NEVER leak". You can guess the rest of the story.
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wrote

Well! The evaporator is way too hard to get to to check. ;~(
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We have a 5 ton Rheem. It's almost ten years old and hasn't "burped" even once. We keep the house at 75 F. 24/7.
Max (in *HOT* El Paso)
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