Well, my heat pump died overnight and the service tech said it is the
compressor and he would recommend I replace the unit. It is a 17 year
old package unit and the pitch is that the newer units are far more
efficient and it is showing a lot of rust and wear in areas other than
I've done a little research sorting out the basic features for
comparison, SEER, HSPF, noise ratings, etc.
The thing I'm not quite sure about is the difference between the
scroll compressors and the traditional piston compressors. Why would
you choose one over the other? Seems like the higher end models that
use the R-410A refrigerant use scroll compressors. Is there enough
time on these things to asses their reliability over time?
Scrolls have been around for quite a while now and, WHEN INSTALLED PROPERLY,
are pretty much indestructable. Some people shy away from R-410, but you may
as well get used to it. It's inevitable........
Scrolls are definitely quieter. You got 17 years from a recip, that is on
the high end of use. Most crap out starting about 5-7 years.
Ya the scrolls are usually on the above builder class of machines. Since
your doing an replacement you will be looking at a SEER 13 or higher, new
standard since the new year.
This page should help
I replaced a 8-9 seer package with a 12 Seer York in July. August bill was
50% less than July's. About a $60 buck savings. I am not staying more than
a year or two so I did not spend a lot on the system. Less than $3k
R-410a takes a special license and more training for all the mechanics.
R-22 will be around for the foreseeable future. I tend not to be on the
bleeding edge of technology.
410a does NOT require a special license. Some manufacturers require
that you attent special training before they will sell you a 410a unit,
but not all manufacturers are this way.
In 4 years, it will not be legal to manufacture R-22 units any more,
but the gas will still be available for service.
The technician is right about a new unit, but with a heat pump, you must
also replace the inside unit. If the tech didn't recommend this, then find
another company. Scroll compressors are virtually indestructible. Scrolls
come in both R-22 & R-410A (aka Puron) units. I'd advise against R-410A,
unless you're the type of person who likes to beat his head against a wall.
Finding someone other than the installer to service it can sometimes be
difficult. R-22 is going to be around for a long time, and when it's no
longer available, they will have a compatible substitute.
Thanks to all for advice.
Bob, the unit is a packaged unit (everything outside in one box) and
the tech said it all needs to go. In 17 years I've had to replace
only one contactor, two condensor fan motors and a two speed blower
motor and my average annual service/repair cost has been about forty
bucks but he says and I believe it aint worth it to keep it going.
Condensor fan mount/grill is ragged from metal fatigue (I rebuilt it
once) and the factory service part is abut $250.
and SQLit, that web page on relative energy savings certainly is
He also conviced me that R-22 vs R-410A not too big of a deal right
now as R-22 service refrigerant and components will be available
through the life of any equipment installed today. In a few years,
maybe not. He is experienced with and able to service both.
And you can still install a 12 SEER until manufacturers stock is
depleted if that is what you want to do. I'll probably go 14.
I trust these guys, they have always treated me honestly and will buy
the replacement from them. They sell other lines but are pushing
Trane and that is what I will likely go with.
Was just talking with my Carrier rep this morning. There are NO more 12 SEER
(at least in our area) units left AND only 13 SEER units will be available
with R-22. Any SEER unit above 13 will have R-410A.
Now that's Carrier. Your mileage may vary with other companies. (Still
getting plenty of Armstrong 10 SEER units)
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