Last night our central AC/heat pump quit cooling and I found the unit was frozen. The unit was installed when we had the house built; it's in its eleventh year. Has generally worked reasonably well, but have had several service calls in the last four or five years.
We had a service man out here today. He seemed to know what he was doing but he bad-mouthed everything about the system. He had several issues: - Inside air handler is not the same brand as the outside unit and he doesn't know if they are matched. - The return air ducts are not big enough, one is 16 inches and he said it should be at least 18 and preferably 20 inches. The other in the master bedroom is 9 inches and he said that was okay. - There is a Freon leak in the inside unit, which caused the system to loose Freon which caused the freezing problem.
His recommendation was to replace both units and install a 20 inch return duct from the hall filter.
He would not put Freon in our unit so it would cool because he said it was not legal. He said he and the company he works for could loose their license. But, if I'd give $2,000 down on a new unit, he would put Freon in for us. I asked if was not legal to put in Freon and he could loose his license, why would he do it if I gave him money down. His answer, which I believe is true was that by giving him $2,000 down, that we would go ahead and put in the new unit. Otherwise, we might not. That is their business policy, which they are entitled to, but as a consumer, it just struck me wrong somehow.
As far as prices go: A Lennox system with ten year parts and labor warranty, the new return duct, a new thermostat and four heat strips was priced at $7,400.
A Merit, a brand I never heard of, was $500 cheaper for the same items but only had a two year labor and five year parts warranty.
A Maytag with a twelve / twelve warranty would run close to $8,000.
Here is what I decided. I somehow didn't care for the attitude of the company, although the serviceman was a heck of a nice guy. I certainly wasn't going to commit to spending that much money without getting some knowledgeable opinions and some other bids. So, I was charged $149 for the one hour service call and he left.
Here are my questions: - Is needing all these items replaced seem reasonable? - Is his explanation of what is wrong sound reasonable? - If I go ahead and get a new unit, what brands are best? - Were his prices reasonable?
Sorry this is so long, but I felt I needed to explain as much as I could so you guys could give a better opinion.
Thanks in advance for reading and any advice you can give.