I'm in the same boat. Mine is 1988 stuff and though well maintained, it
cant last much longer. It's also not very energy efficient compared to more
The heat portion of it was replaced about 1995 and works fine. The rest is
the origional still.
Looking about, the life cycle of this type of unit, was for 15 years so we
are on borrowed time <grin>.
And Steve explianed I used the wrong term. Sorry, it's refridgerant.
Apparently still in production but all I can say is I get warned each time
that mine is getting hard to obtain in my area. This from repair guys, not
ones who make money selling new systems. There are also parts issues with
my older unit but so far they have been able to get what is needed.
The AC unit is one of the things my husband deals with so I'm not totally up
Waiting patiently and hoping for good news! With your unit being only 12
years old, you may be lucky like me and be able to keep it running another 8
or more. If it helps any, ours is an upper end Sears unit and as part of
the purchase contract had annual maintenance for the first 10 years I
believe. Unfortunately that didnt transfer to us when we bought the house
so we've had to use various contractors.
We don't know if it had refridgerant added while we were away overseas, but
we had it done once when when we bought the house and again about 6 years
later just before we left. That would mean if it doesnt cool well this
year, it's time for another addition most likely (will have been 7 years).
The AC guy just left. As soon as he saw the unit, he said, "I can tell you
what the problem is, it is out of freon." I said, "Oh, good, then you can
just fill it up!" He said, "No, that's not good, because I can fill it up
but it will just leak out again."
He could not tell me how long it would take to leak out again. He could tell
me that a new system, with new ductwork is going to run something like $7K
I told him we would have to take our chances and hope the freon would last
for a while.
He sold me on a $150 per year maintenance plan for both heating and cooling,
with one check in the spring that includes coil cleaning every year. Then a
check of the furnace etc. for winter. With this maintenance plan, we got a
small discount on freon.
Here is what the invoice looks like:
Qty and Service Non HSP HSP
Diagnostic: $99.00 $47.00
HSP agreement $0 $149.00
Gas surcharge $10.00 $0
1 lb R-22 (1st pound) $ 91.00 $77.00
4 Additional lbs R-22 $108.00 $88.00
2 Cleaning coils $162.00 $0
Total $470.00 $361.00
So we paid $361 and this includes a heating check next fall.
Under Work Performed:
Performed service. cool check on system checked volts, amps, coils, motors,
filter, T-stat, Electrical, Refrigerant, Capacitors, superheat, temperature
drop, Diagnostic system, very low refrigerant. Added 5.04 lbs of R.-22.
Diagnose no other problems at this time.
Technician recommends: System upgrade due to age and efficiency. Very highly
recommend replacing system. Leak search test $35 per 1/4 hour."
Hmmm. Anybody know what the leak search results mean? Did I just pay $361
for a week of cool air?
By the way, the unit is beautiful now, he did a great job cleaning it inside
and out. It looks new.
What say you experts?
I figured it out. Freon is generic name for the refridgerant R-22. Must
come in other types.
Steve, (since you read the thread figure you will see this) is there an
older version of this which is phased out now? I know you listed ones still
in production, just was wondering if my system uses something older that
really is gone. Then again, could be some city ordinance or something I'm
tripping over here? (Norfolk VA area).
I had to have duct work done when the subfloor ducting went wonkers on us
and had to be backfilled. Since I had some overhead anyways, it was more a
rewrap and extend it sort of job. I think 2,000$ or so worth?
Yup. We cant say for sure if it was refilled while we were away. I suspect
not, but not sure.
Call them and ask for the results? Or are they just still pending? You may
(like me) have a small slow leak. Good policy you got there I might add!
ACTUALLY "freon" was a brand name registered by dupont for r-12.
And no, i have no idea about discontinued products before r-12. But it does
seem they experimented with some ammonia type products on automotive
Freon is DuPont's trade name for its odorless, colorless,
nonflammable, and noncorrosive chlorofluorocarbon and
hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, which are used in air
conditioning and refrigeration systems. (lifted fro Wiki)
Many people call any R-22 Freon much like any Vacuum cleaner is a
Hoover or any refrigerator is a Frigidaire.
R-12 was used in cars and was discontinued back around 94. It is
still pretty readily available although it is expensive (about $30 per
can) There are other refrigerants out there for really really old
stuff and specialized stuff but the majority of home A/C systems made
in the last forty years or so use R-22.
The price of R-22 is going crazy these days but it isn't hard to get.
Much like car gas I guess. I think you are either hearing paranoia
or someone wanting to sell you a new system.
Well I am far far far away from an expert but...
The contract is worth its weight in Gold when the system konks out on
July 4th and it's 100 degrees outside. Instead of going to the back
of the line with the other 100 people with no air you go to the
express lane with the contract people. Excellent brownie points with
SWMBO when the house is cool again.
The leak is hard to say... You could have a slow leak that has been
leaking for years and just got to the point that the system wouldn't
cool anymore. Could be you have developed a big hairy leak and it
will all be gone again in a week. Cross your fingers, toes and
anything else that will cross and hope for the best.
Pricing looks like a bargain to me.
i say even if you need a new outdoor unit, refrigerant lines, and the inside
coil, You DON't need new ducts. And the three items imentioned should run
you about 3k installed. Been there, done that 4 times.
As far as the ductwork, it could be a soaking and it could be necessary.
If it was a poorly designed airflow (turbulence, turns causing air
friction, back pressure) it could indeed benefit a lot in the form of
higher effeciency/less unit work.
How do you know? Someone you have an established relationship with and
trust and/or multiple opinions and/or take a chance with the old
ductwork. For some they skip duct suggestion and it works out just fine.
I guess the ones that it doesn't work out for don't advertise it much.
The Unit has an Auto re-set Low presure control and loss
of refrigerant charge would cause it to continually stop and
start or short cycle.
It also has a manual re-set High pressure control and loss
of the condenser fan would cause this to stop and lock out
The Unit is 12 years old and if you think of it as a car is it
worth replacing defective parts or is a new model a better
investment. Older models use Refrigerant R22 which is due
to be phased out. New models use Puron ( R410A ). It's a
matter of paying your money and making your Choice
At this point no-one here has any clue what the actual problem is.
Could be as simple as a bad contactor. Could be as complex as a dead
compressor. If you aren't comfortable with what the A/C repair guy
says it is post back here and let us know what he said and maybe
someone can point you in the right direction. Don't be afraid to get
a second opinion if the repair costs seems out of line.
Also realize that your system isn't a spring chicken. If something
major has gone wrong this would be a good time to look at replacing
Same here, and thanks for the clarification on the terms. I just know I get
warned that the older stuff my unit has, is phasing out and getting hard to
If it helps, my unit I gather shouldnt run at all now. It's 20 years old.
1988 unit install of a older style unit (kinda like buying a 2007 car right
now off a dealer). It's had decent maintenance and repair but is I gather
older than most units of it's generation lasted.
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