My problem is all too common this time of year. Our Heil single stage SEER
13 AC unit began making a buzzing sound when the compressor runs and now
fails to cool the house. A tech looked at it last night and says that the
compressor is bleeding over and needs to be replaced. It's in warranty, but
still would cost about $1200 over the warranty. The company sells Lennox
and also has access to Amana. If I replace the old unit with the broken
compressor, I'd probably want to go to a high SEER unit, since we cool about
9 months of the year here in our state. The furnace is almost never used,
but is used more for its fan to circulate the cooled air. They said that
with the new high SEER units, they have to replace it all, including the
For you HVAC people out there, could the problem be caused by a bad
filter/dryer? If so, would replacing it stop the compressor from bleeding
over and give it more life?
Would you recommend the Amana or Lennox replacement. I see Lennox is up to
SEER 21, but Amana tops out at SEER 16. What are the pros and cons?
Is there a way to just replace the single speed fan in an existing furnace
with a variable speed one from the AC manufacturer? I really don't want or
need a condensing furnace here in the desert.
Are the electrostatic air filters worthwhile? My ceiling filters for this
unit are 22' up on the ceiling, which makes me long for one on the furnace
to eliminate ladder work changing them out.
The dryer has nothing to do with it. If the compressor is bad, it's
the compressor. If the compressor is under warranty 1200 sounds high
to replace it. It's an hour or so labor plus vacuum and recharge the
The higher seers cost more. Payback is not usually as high as they
would like you to believe. Tax credit might make the difference
though. I'd avoid the top of the chart on any brand. They usually
don't achieve the ratings anywhere but the lab and they tend to be
Goodman still makes 80% efficiency variable and two speed gas forced
air funaces. You are right, if your use is limited the higher
efficiency is not worth the money.
Since you are in the desert what about a swamp cooler? They require a
bit more maintenance but it's pretty simple diy and they are way
cheaper than conventional ac.
It sure sounds high to me too. What the hell good is a warranty
if you have to still pay as much as a new unit? Go online and
look at prices of whole AC systems. A new 14.5 SEER, 5 ton
system can be had for about $1800 for the outside unit, $700
for a cased coil. If you can get a whole outside unit for $1800,
I don't see why it should cost $1200 to replace the compressor.
It should be a couple hours of labor, plus new filter/dryer,
refrigerant re-charge, etc. About 17 years ago I had a compressor
replaced and it cost $600. That was with me PAYING for the
As for new units, efficiency, etc, you have to do the math.
I'm in NJ and concluded that paying about $600 more for
a higher efficiency unit was not worth it as it would take a
long time to recover that cost. There is also no reason
that I know of that you have to replace the furnace. You
only need a multi-speed fan for an AC that is two stage.
If you get a single stage, AFAIK, the key thing is that
the existing blower must move the correct CFM of air
With a 13 SEER system that isn't too old, I'd be calling
a couple more HVAC guys, starting with ones that sell
Heil. If you can't get a price a lot better than $1200, I'd
read the warranty, ask for a break down on costs on the
estimates, then call Heil and bitch.
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