Repair vs Replace AC
#11
  
We have a 12 year old Trane AC system. No serious problems until now. Evaporator coil is leaking. What are pros-cons of replacing evaporator coil vs replacing whole system for $8,000 plus. We must consider that the existing refrigerant will only be available for another year and so no future repairs will be possible without replacing the  system. Also, we will likely be here for about 10-12 more years.
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#12
  Re: Repair vs Replace AC by Willyou (We have a 12 year ol...)
Well, IMHO, 12 years for a central AC system, and a Trane system at that, is not all that old. The evaporator coil is not all that complex to replace (for an AC guy), assuming your air handler is reasonably accessible. Once replaced the properly sealed and charged system should serve you for a number of years to come. I'd say fix it: with the proviso that you have access to a competent/honest AC guy.


(08-18-2019, 12:31 PM)Willyou Wrote: We have a 12 year old Trane AC system. No serious problems until now. Evaporator coil is leaking. What are pros-cons of replacing evaporator coil vs replacing whole system for $8,000 plus. We must consider that the existing refrigerant will only be available for another year and so no future repairs will be possible without replacing the  system. Also, we will likely be here for about 10-12 more years.
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#13
  Re: Repair vs Replace AC by Willyou (We have a 12 year ol...)
I was hoping for more of a story.  Monday I am replacing an HVAC system that is 30 years
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#14
  Re: Repair vs Replace AC by Willyou (We have a 12 year ol...)
At 12 years it's at it's end of life. The systems from way back could last a really long time as some were built like tanks with thick copper coils etc but those thick copper coils made them inefficient. So today to make systems more efficient basically you have to make a flimsy more failure prone system such is the case with most things when they are made more efficient. 

 
        I wouldn't worry about availability of refrigerant. It will be the same as it was with R-12 where we sit how many decades later and it's still available though at a higher price. I would not repair a r22 system because of the cost of refrigerant at roughly $400 a bottle... 
          I still have 4 cans of R12 oil charge and a few regular size cans and today there is very little market for it other than the odd guy that wants to keep his system R-12.  

        Also with residential HVAC and automotive AC even 410a and 134a are already on their way out being replaced with hydrocarbon mixtures like Europe has been using for decades. We kept with the high priced fancy stuff because of patents and big companies running the refrigerant choices...
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#15
  Re: Repair vs Replace AC by Willyou (We have a 12 year ol...)
My Trane dual fuel split system heat pump (3.5 ton) is going on 18 years old and running strong.  I do HVAC for a living and if it were my unit I would replace the coil but that's me doing the work and having 60 lbs of R-22 stored away in my shed...my system is R-22 as well but I've never needed to add any to mine since installing it.

IF you can find a trustworthy company or someone who does work on the side that won't kill you on the price of R-22 (currently a 30 lb cylinder is going for $380 locally) I would do the repair and maybe it will last until R-410A is phased out.
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#16
  Re: RE: Repair vs Replace AC by Robert Adams (At 12 years it's at ...)
(08-18-2019, 02:11 PM)Robert Adams Wrote: At 12 years it's at it's end of life. The systems from way back could last a really long time as some were built like tanks with thick copper coils etc but those thick copper coils made them inefficient. So today to make systems more efficient basically you have to make a flimsy more failure prone system such is the case with most things when they are made more efficient. 

 
        I wouldn't worry about availability of refrigerant. It will be the same as it was with R-12 where we sit how many decades later and it's still available though at a higher price. I would not repair a r22 system because of the cost of refrigerant at roughly $400 a bottle... 
          I still have 4 cans of R12 oil charge and a few regular size cans and today there is very little market for it other than the odd guy that wants to keep his system R-12.  

        Also with residential HVAC and automotive AC even 410a and 134a are already on their way out being replaced with hydrocarbon mixtures like Europe has been using for decades. We kept with the high priced fancy stuff because of patents and big companies running the refrigerant choices...

I routinely inspect homes with 12 year old air conditioners, even heat pumps. I'm kind of surprised the evaporator coil is bad at 12 years. I inspected a house today with a Trane with a 33 year old evaporator coil. It's pretty common. The condenser was a Goodman from 2005. I'd be more worried about that 14 year old Goodman compressor.

The Nameplate on the condenser will say R22 or R431a. R22 won't be available after Jan 1, 2020 so a good number of repairs will not be available either.

If this system is R22, I'd probably go ahead and at least get quotes on a new system. If it's R431a, I'd probably just swap out the coil for now and hope for the best. 

It's an air conditioner. It runs less than half the year. 14 years isn't old to me.
 
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#17
  Re: RE: Repair vs Replace AC by Snipe Hunter ([quote='Robert Adams...)
(08-18-2019, 05:45 PM)Snipe Hunter Wrote: I routinely inspect homes with 12 year old air conditioners, even heat pumps. I'm kind of surprised the evaporator coil is bad at 12 years. I inspected a house today with a Trane with a 33 year old evaporator coil. It's pretty common. The condenser was a Goodman from 2005. I'd be more worried about that 14 year old Goodman compressor.

The Nameplate on the condenser will say R22 or R431a. R22 won't be available after Jan 1, 2020 so a good number of repairs will not be available either.

If this system is R22, I'd probably go ahead and at least get quotes on a new system. If it's R431a, I'd probably just swap out the coil for now and hope for the best. 

It's an air conditioner. It runs less than half the year. 14 years isn't old to me.


         Here they run 9+ months a year and for a few of those months they will run non stop for hours on end. So here anything over 10 years is living on borrowed time and be ready for replacement in the near future. Coil failures are very common newer units as well. Rheem and others have many problems with failing coils. A friend of mine still does HVAC for a small company and he brings home no shortage of coils to scrap. 
             Oh and don't buy a unit with an ECM motor. Those things are very failure prone and many cost nearly as much as a whole air handler just the motor price... 
 
                   All that $ you save on energy you spend on higher price units and more and higher priced maintenance repair usually you end up in the hole vs a less efficient unit...
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#18
  Re: Repair vs Replace AC by Willyou (We have a 12 year ol...)
Lots of confusion about R-22 floating about.  New manufacture 22 is gone but there is a lot of reprocessed/reclaimed stuff around and there are drop in replacement refrigerants available.  The pricing you mention is exorbitant unless you have to cut the floor out of your house to run new lines.  Talk to a couple different companies and price both an evap replacement and a unit replacement.
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#19
  Re: Repair vs Replace AC by Willyou (We have a 12 year ol...)
I wouldn't worry about the refrigerant. I've been using replacements for years now and have fine results with M099 (R438a)- it was approved by Trane. There is also 407c and others.
I would keep my R22 system as long as possible (I'm still not a fanatic about 410a due to the higher pressures on the system and the formicary corrosion leaks). In fact, my R22 outdoor Trane is 23 years old now and I'm in no hurry to replace it.
Trane evaporators are a bit expensive, but 12 years is not old. I'd suggest replacing the coil and have the system thoroughly cleaned and checked out.
My Trane reps Trane system is 34 years old.
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#20
  Re: Repair vs Replace AC by Willyou (We have a 12 year ol...)
Thanks for all of your suggestions. I'll look into repairing the coil. How does one go about using alternative refrigerant? I would be surprised if an authorized dealer/repair company would use it.
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