I turned on the AC today and nothing comes out of it. I was kind of
expecting that. Last winter, during a snow storm, some branches from
a nearby tree fell onto my house and onto the AC. It was in the middle of
the night, and I heard them falling and I also heard a hissing noise, as
in gas leaking. I thought it might have been the AC, but I couldn't detect
anything under 2 feet of snow.
So today I go and check the outdoor unit, and I did find a small hole in
one of the copper pipes, between the unit and the house wall.
I called several local contractors, and I got some shocking prices: just
to come to my house, one would charge $110. All would charge between
$75-100 for the first 1/2 hour and then in increments of 1/4 hours. All
but two didn't want to tell me anything by phone. One said that the hole
can be fixed, but the system would need also to be cleaned/de-contaminated
(he may have used another word), and that I'd be looking at about $1000
job. The second contractor who did talk to me, said the same thing about
the repair but he also said that he would recommend changing the AC
alltogether, because since it's been so long since the leak occurred, the
system may be beyond repair. A fix may not work at all, or may work in the
short run, but eventually the compressor would get burned from the
moisture/dirt that contaminated the system. He recommended a Trane system,
and a rough estimate would be some $5000.
So given the unexpected importance of this problem, I have to ask for some
advice here. I imagine the interest of any contractor is, of
course, to sell me stuff - the more expensive, the better. I feel it's
kind of ridiculous to throw away an entire AC system for a leak and a
refill. It's not a swiss watch afterall.
In case I do have to replace the entire system, I spent the better part of
today researching the various options. What I have now is a 3-ton Goodman,
probably old (the house was built in 72). The contractor who recommended
Trane said a Goodman vs. a Trane is like a Chevrolet vs. a Cadillac.
Truth is, I drive a Dodge, not a Cadillac, nor can I afford one.
rates the following AC systems: carrier ($5000), Bryant ($3000),
Rheem ($2500) and Amana ($2100). Nothing about Trane. Other sites say
Lennox is the best, by far, etc. This other site rates AC units by
Carrier Sanyo Trane
then Bryant at a distant 10, Reem on 12, Amana on 16 - i.e. very different
than the first site I mentioned.
So now I'm confused. I want to know in the first place if I'm being ripped
off by the local contractors. Secondly, which AC should I buy, if I need
to? I want a 3-3.5 ton, 13/14 SEER, reliable, 2-speed, and not too noisy.
I could hear my old Goodman, but didn't bother me - no more than my
In dire need of cool air...