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Live in Raleigh. and the temp has been in the low-mid 90s. Our AC has struggled to keep the temp at 77-78 digress. It has run near constantly for the past few days. Called American Home Shield (yeah, I know) and they sent out a tech this morning. He said the coils are corroded and oily and will need to be replaced. We would definitely have to pay for refrigerant. He quoted 8lbs at $1200.

I know we are in building materials shortages and I have to pay for the "expertise", but this seemed a little outrageous. A quick google looks like the price is more in line with the upper end of pricing for R22 rather than R410a which is what our system uses? Another thing is that they showed this for 8lbs of refrigerant. I checked the label on our system and it shows a factory charge of 76.8 oz/2.18kg of R410a which by my calculations is about 4.8 lbs.

Does replacement of coils typically involve using more refrigerant than filled at the factory?

Is this the going installed rate for 410a these days?

Obviously not in Texas, but are @T’Boo Ted Marshall and @Spaulding Smails the experts here that could advise?

Thanks!

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I guess it was too late to edit. Just wanted to add some additional info:

Rheem Package Unit Model RRPL-B030JK08E Option Code BVA

2.5 tons Gas furnace

Mfg date:10/2010

Curious about what replacement of evap coils on this system should typically cost and what other items I perhaps should be concerned with? We are trying to decide if we should repair or replace. This is likely not our "forever" home.

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I'd call a few places around and tell them your make and model and ask how much it would be for recharge.

If you need to recharge you probably have a leak and need to replace a coil or you'll just be recharging all the time.

Did he check for leaks?

 

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That’s tough. I’d almost just replace it since 2.5 ton may not cost too much. But with the demand for ac right now and supply chains it’s probably a bad time to do that. I’d get some other quotes. Even a cheap Goodman or something might be better than fixing it

Coil definitely needs to be replaced but I assume the warranty is covering that, just not the Freon? Maybe they will give you something to going the replacement route?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ChickenSandwich said:

That price is correct these days sadly. May find a few bucks cheaper but seems to be the going rate. You sure home shield doesn’t cover?  

Pretty much this. It does seem a little on the high end but not unreasonable. I was thinking around $800 - $900. But as CS posts here, these days everything is more expensive due to labor and or material shortages.

The only other thing I would suggest is you might pay a hundred bucks or so to have another tech come out and confirm or refute what the American Home Shield guy said. If you lose it you lose it, but if it saves you two or three hundred it might be worth it.

Edited by phdhorn
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They are replacing my coil under warranty next week.  $1598 for labor and refrigerant.  I haven't seen the breakdown but I doubt they are charging me $1200 for the juice and $400 for the labor, but who knows.

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13 minutes ago, gyroprotagonist said:

i had a quote for whatever passes as freon these days and it was $178/lb.  This was on a 20yo system so we just got new one; 3 ton 20 seer lennox

That actually seems cheap.  The outdated and practically outlawed coolants are super expensive because they cannot be manufactured.  The are old stock or recycled/recovered.

We've had a couple of Lennoxes for 10 and 3 years now,  Pretty happy with them.  I think 20 SEER is about as high as you want to go, maybe a smidge too high to see any actual recovery of cost.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

That actually seems cheap.  The outdated and practically outlawed coolants are super expensive because they cannot be manufactured.  The are old stock or recycled/recovered.

We've had a couple of Lennoxes for 10 and 3 years now,  Pretty happy with them.  I think 20 SEER is about as high as you want to go, maybe a smidge too high to see any actual recovery of cost.

My guy in Austin had some synthetic stuff for the old units and was only $300 vs $1k. Was nice until it bit the dust. 
 

anyone in need pm for contact info

Edited by ChickenSandwich
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Posted (edited)

11 year old unit seems too new to need evaporator replaced. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that your guy is full of shit. How would he know that the evaporator is rusted and oily? Did he open the furnace?

Edited by XYZ
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1 minute ago, TwiceHorn said:

That actually seems cheap.  The outdated and practically outlawed coolants are super expensive because they cannot be manufactured.  The are old stock or recycled/recovered.

We've had a couple of Lennoxes for 10 and 3 years now,  Pretty happy with them.  I think 20 SEER is about as high as you want to go, maybe a smidge too high to see any actual recovery of cost.

our house is few years short of a century old.  we pretty much AC the neighborhood all summer.  there was a factory rebate or Oncor rebate or something on that model that made it somewhat worthwhile vs the next lower down version.  At least that's what played out in my head while hurriedly signing a contract because no AC with July approaching would suck donkey balls.  

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1 minute ago, gyroprotagonist said:

our house is few years short of a century old.  we pretty much AC the neighborhood all summer.  there was a factory rebate or Oncor rebate or something on that model that made it somewhat worthwhile vs the next lower down version.  At least that's what played out in my head while hurriedly signing a contract because no AC with July approaching would suck donkey balls.  

Good deal.  Yeah, sometimes the rebates on high-SEER stuff makes it worthwhile.

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Thanks for the input everyone.

The technician did show us a picture of the evap coils. They were rusty. He said there was oily residue all over them. I did/do believe him in terms of the diagnosis. If this had happened around a year and a half ago a warranty may have covered the coil itself.

I did Google around about the prices and also called a few other other places and they agreed that seemed high for refrigerant. When I talked to the other shops they did say that price for 8lbs was high, but within range for R22. When I told them that the unit is spec’d for R410a, they did say that was well over what they were charging. They did say that the rust in and of itself was not necessarily a warning sign. They said I would see rust on new coils within a year. The oil and obviously loss of cooling capacity were bigger indicators.

With that info, I called back the company that AHS sent out. I told them I wanted them to clarify whether the estimated cost was for R22 or R410a. He said it lines up with their R22 charge. He said 8lbs of R410 would be about $760. He confirmed that AHS would cover the cost of the part and labor. They cover the first $10/lb of refrigerant and I would be responsible for the rest of the refrigerant charge.

Regarding the discrepancy in listed capacity vs what they quoted (4.8 lbs vs 8lbs), he mentioned evacuating and drying the system and applying additional vacuum. He said it was not uncommon to lose some in this process even with their recovery equipment. He did mention distance of the run to the “inside coils” needing an additional amount, as well. However, this is a gas package unit with the “inside coils” actually I’m the outside unit. I am bot sure their is almost 3lbs of difference.

The thing that bothers me is I asked for another sheet with the corrected price. He said I didn’t need another. That this was an estimate for AHS and that AHS would give me the final total upon authorization. This sends up a red flag for me.

However, a couple of the places I called that were willing to give a rough ballpark figure for replacing the coils and recharging said $1800-2000+. I figure at this point, even if they were to charge me $1200 I would still be out ahead.

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I can’t even get the higher SEER units from Trane right now and Hi to the Trane reps reading this.

Regarding availability of parts, the guy at the company that AHS sent out said that inventory was bad on coils for the gas pack units and has been since before COVID, and that it would likely take some time to get the part.

I didn’t really dig in there. Are gas packs a technology on the way out? Are these being replaced by heat pumps. I must say we enjoy the heat. We had a high efficiency heat pump installed at our rental place in Alabama in 2003. On really cold snaps the emergency strips would kick on and You could just about feel the breeze from the electric meter. Living in NC where we actually get 4 seasons, we. Appreciate the gas heat.

For those that mentioned rebates, I don’t think the state or municipalities offer anything here. I don’t think the utilities do, either. The only incentives I have seen are for solar.
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7 hours ago, T’Boo Ted Marshall said:

410a has gone up 5x per jug since February but that rate is about 2x what we charge.  

I asked my master tech about this today.  Cut and pasted your text.  He said "$800 - $1,000".  So, slightly higher that what we'd charge here, but not outlandish.  

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$1,200 just to add refrigerant? Am I missing something?

This appears to be an 25 LB bottle of 410A refrigerant for $89: https://www.ebay.com/itm/164937430357

I have a full bottle just like it in my garage that cost me about the same. . I bought a similar bottle several years ago, and it was used to top off my own AC’s and several friends and acquaintances. My AC guy charges <$100 to show up and add it to an existing system. No complaints after several years.

Bernard

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I’m no expert, but it seems to me the distance from the compressor to the indoor unit would have something to do with the amount of refrigerant needed.

It does, but I doubt it has a couple hundred feet of copper ran between the units.

Did he do a leak test?

Is your unit 20+ years old? Because that’s about the only way it will have R22 in it.
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$1,200 just to add refrigerant? Am I missing something?
This appears to be an 25 LB bottle of 410A refrigerant for $89: https://www.ebay.com/itm/164937430357
I have a full bottle just like it in my garage that cost me about the same. . I bought a similar bottle several years ago, and it was used to top off my own AC’s and several friends and acquaintances. My AC guy charges Bernard

If there is one thing I’ve learned on this site This guy knows cheap ac fixes and hates cops. Trust him
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$1,200 just to add refrigerant? Am I missing something?
This appears to be an 25 LB bottle of 410A refrigerant for $89: https://www.ebay.com/itm/164937430357
I have a full bottle just like it in my garage that cost me about the same. . I bought a similar bottle several years ago, and it was used to top off my own AC’s and several friends and acquaintances. My AC guy charges Bernard

That link isn’t showing $89 for me and all the other similar offerings are well over $200. Some with much less than 25lbs.

If you can get it for that, good on ya.
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$1,200 just to add refrigerant? Am I missing something?
This appears to be an 25 LB bottle of 410A refrigerant for $89: https://www.ebay.com/itm/164937430357
I have a full bottle just like it in my garage that cost me about the same. . I bought a similar bottle several years ago, and it was used to top off my own AC’s and several friends and acquaintances. My AC guy charges Bernard

Yes, but apparently misquoted using R22. Still expensive at $7-800 for 8lbs of R410a, but that seems to be the going rate including installation around here. Sounds like you’ve got a good AC person. However, a properly functioning system should not need refrigerant added. They are designed to be a closed system. If you are having to add any then you’ve got a leak somewhere.
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That price is correct these days sadly. May find a few bucks cheaper but seems to be the going rate. You sure home shield doesn’t cover?  

The charge is just for the refrigerant. Apparently AHS only covers refrigerant at $10 per pound.
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26 minutes ago, Longhorn Fever said:


The charge is just for the refrigerant. Apparently AHS only covers refrigerant at $10 per pound.

Probably worth adding that whenever there is a major component changed out and refrigerant is lost, it has to be "recovered" in a time-consuming procedure that requires a "recovery machine".  You don't just vent it to the atmosphere and fill it back up.

There may be some environmental fees associated with the change-out, also.

So, the "refrigerant cost" may be including that.

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22 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Probably worth adding that whenever there is a major component changed out and refrigerant is lost, it has to be "recovered" in a time-consuming procedure that requires a "recovery machine".  You don't just vent it to the atmosphere and fill it back up.

There may be some environmental fees associated with the change-out, also.

So, the "refrigerant cost" may be including that.

Plus. the system needs to be "evacuated"...the air sucked out. 

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If it has a leak and the tech claimed you needed 9lbs of refrigerant, the system is empty. Yes they should hook a recovery machine to it to make sure.

After it’s replaced, a vacuum will have to be pulled, but that’s just part of it. They should have the vacuum on the truck anyway.

Depending on the compressor type, you could trap the refrigerant in the compressor.

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On 7/3/2021 at 12:44 PM, Longhorn Fever said:


The charge is just for the refrigerant. Apparently AHS only covers refrigerant at $10 per pound.

AHS seems like it is largely a joke absent getting a unit replaced. I had an HVAC contractor explain this to me over a decade ago after my first home purchase. I couldn't figure out what the all these additional charges were that added up to a substantial sum so I started calling around.    One guy explained to me that the warranty companies will only pay their contractors a fixed amount that is below market and not enough for these guys to make any meaningful profit.  However, anyone with a contract with AHS or similar knows exactly what the AHS contract won't cover and what their limitations are.  So they make their profit by nickle and diming the consumer for these other charges.  After that experience I haven't bothered with a home warranty again.

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Helping a neighbor sell his townhouse. Figured it’s good to have the AC units serviced prior to inspection. Two systems. One 2005. Other 2009. Both R22. One full of refrigerant. Other needed to be topped off. Also blew out the drain lines with compressed air. One was blocked. Total cost $300. 

As we were settling the bill, AC Guy exclaims, “Prices for 410A have gone WAY up.”  Tripled in the last month. AC Guy’s son says imports have been halted for unknown reasons.

Bernard

D3A85F64-C03F-42F5-A008-3B4619BEC8C3.jpeg

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20 hours ago, T’Boo Ted Marshall said:

Just got notice of another price increase for R22 and 410A.  

I’ve got 3 cans of 410A at deer camp. One of our members has been an HVAC contractor since 1970 (now retired).   Glad to have it. 

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20 minutes ago, Jkwellborn said:


Man there just isn’t much room around those units.

Yep. That’s life in the big city. Mine are worse than that. Work just fine. 🙂

Bernard

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Anyone have any experience with a Carrier system with Carrier thermostat? I want to get a smart thermostat, but the guy who runs (I think) the HVACAdvice subreddit, said if I removed my carrier thermostat I'd lose a lot of features.

PXL-20210416-002710318.jpg

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Jkwellborn said:

What features would you lose?

this is a quote from reddit about changing the carrier thermostat to a nest

Quote

You currently have a communicating thermostat which takes a bunch of variables to operate the system as effectively and efficiently as possible.

If you put a nest on you’ll need to rewire it at the unit also BUT you’ll be turning your system from a ferrari into a Ford Focus. It’ll turn off and on and you can control it with your phone but you’ll lose variable speeds, variable heating/cool rates, etc. I strongly advise against replacing the stat but it is possible.

 

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AC service guy said one capacitor is reading 50% and wanted to replace. Does anyone know how long a capacitor at 50% will last (months? Years?)? What is a reliable source to buy the capacitors from? TIA

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Spur08 said:

AC service guy said one capacitor is reading 50% and wanted to replace. Does anyone know how long a capacitor at 50% will last (months? Years?)? What is a reliable source to buy the capacitors from? TIA

I'm not sure there's any way to tell.  When he says 50%, I assume he means it's only holding 50% of its rated voltage.  Whether that's enough to start the motor or keep it running depends more on the motor than the capacitor.  A "dual run" capacitor has three terminals and two voltage and capacitance ratings.  A single run capacitor has two terminals and one rating for each.

A capacitor is basically a capacitor.  You will want to match the voltage rating and microfarad capacitance of the existing capacitor.  Assuming they aren't oddball values, home depot or lowes should have one.  Be very careful with both the new one and the existing one, you will need to carefully discharge both with an insulated screwdriver and gloves.

Edited by TwiceHorn
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3 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

A capacitor is basically a capacitor.

I should have been an EE. 
 

3 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

Be very careful with both the new one and the existing one, you will need to carefully discharge both with an insulated screwdriver and gloves.

This. 

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17 hours ago, Spur08 said:

AC service guy said one capacitor is reading 50% and wanted to replace. Does anyone know how long a capacitor at 50% will last (months? Years?)? What is a reliable source to buy the capacitors from? TIA

They should last many years. 10-20 years ago, they started making them out of some new, better for the environment, chemistry. Many of them failed prematurely. Newer ones are better. They are cheap to replace. Many HVAC techs scammed homeowners into buying new AC systems by telling them their compressor was dead, when a $25 capacitor was the actual issue.

You compressor won't start without a capacitor though, so if the AC guy is there and wants to replace it, it might be a good idea. You can Google the price of the part. It's a 15 minute job... ...if you know what you are doing. 

Bernard

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5 minutes ago, Spur08 said:

I've replaced one a long time ago at an older house.

I am a little confused, you discharge the contacts on a new capacitor? That won't short it out?

No, but it could be carrying a charge.  And an accidental discharge can suck.

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23 minutes ago, Spur08 said:

I've replaced one a long time ago at an older house.

I am a little confused, you discharge the contacts on a new capacitor? That won't short it out?

yes, treat the new one (and obviously the installed one) as if it has a charge.  for the 3 contact ones, just use an insulated screwdriver and connect the common (usually marked with a C) contact with 1 of the other contacts.  repeat for the other contact.  For a 2 contact just connect both to discharge.

you can't short out a capacitor in the sense you are talking about.

 

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