Replace AC coils=$2500

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I've needed to add freon to my 5+ year old AC units since year 2. Multiple service techs from AHS warranty kept saying unable to find leak, but keep adding freon

Now one finally said it's in the coils in the attic, showed me the oil in the pan and the only real solution is to replace them for 2.5K

Should I do it or keep adding freon or suck it up and replace??

Also best price for these or how to research??

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Thx LMC

1 Coil replaced. They said the TXU on the other one was faulty, and swapped out the one from the new coil? I'll ... (more)

vickh (Apr. 29, 2012 @ 10:54a) |

You should have signed with a note next to your signature, "I don't understand this and am under pressure."

Ask for a det... (more)

larrymoencurly (May. 01, 2012 @ 3:49p) |

Update: Both ACs are cooling well in 100 degree heat

Now I hear vibrating sounds from the attic/coils upstairs I am di... (more)

vickh (May. 30, 2012 @ 1:54a) |

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vickh said:   I've needed to add freon to my 5 year old AC units since year 2. Multiple service techs from AHS warranty kept saying unable to find leak, but keep adding freon

Now one finally said it's in the coils in the attic, showed me the oil in the pan and the only real solution is to replace them for 2.5K

Should I do it or keep adding freon or suck it up and replace??

Also best price for these or how to research??
http://www.HVAC-talk.com

Why are you using AHS if they don't cover something like this at all? $2500 seems high even if you have to pay for all the parts and labor, and almost all A/C units include at least 5 years factory parts coverage for the sealed section (compressor & coils). You shouldn't have to pay more than several hundred dollars for labor, or much less if you have a home warranty.

It's not normal for home A/Cs to leak refrigerant at all, except through the filler valves (look like fat versions of tire valves), which can be replaced without evacuating the system, by using a special tool. Oil in the evaporator drip pan makes sense, but I wouldn't trust an AHS-funded tech to not pour oil there. Sometimes coils have a crack in the tubing or a bad braze joint, but if the system wasn't evacuated adequately during installation, I think moisture can cause acid to form and dissolve pinholes into the copper tubing, but I may be wrong about that.

AHS techs just kept adding freon it would last thru the summer...

Both units probably weren't evacuated adequately during installation. Spec home built during the 2006 building boom Parts warranty expired last year : (

Are there any sealing options or is replacement my only option??

BTW Thanks LMC... I'll check out http://www.HVAC-talk.com. any sub forums I should foucs on??

I would probably hire a real HVAC tech to come out there & take a look, then dump AHS after you get it figured out. Like the guy above said, AHS techs might've actually have screwed you by not even doing it properly & caused more damage.

Google companies around you, find one that's reputable.

At $2500 -if that turns out to be price for the needed repair- I would seriously consider replacement with a new higher Seer unit using the newer coolant.

vickh said:   I've needed to add freon to my 5 year old AC units since year 2. Multiple service techs from AHS warranty kept saying unable to find leak, but keep adding freon

Now one finally said it's in the coils in the attic, showed me the oil in the pan and the only real solution is to replace them for 2.5K

Should I do it or keep adding freon or suck it up and replace??

Also best price for these or how to research??


Have a service tech use a freon sniffer. If they still cannot find leak, have them put dye into the system and have them check with infrared light. One leak can be brazed closed eaasily.

Coils rarely leak unless they have been physically damaged or iced over.

Good Luck!
SteveG

I buy my Hvac Parts through this place www.midwestapplianceparts.com call and get a quote on the parts and find someone for the labor.

773-278-1300

vickh said:   I'll check out http://www.HVAC-talk.com. any sub forums I should foucs on??The "AOP Residential HVAC" forum. AOP = Ask Our Pros.

jnheinz said:   I would probably hire a real HVAC tech to come out there & take a look, then dump AHS after you get it figured out. Like the guy above said, AHS techs might've actually have screwed you by not even doing it properly & caused more damage.

Google companies around you, find one that's reputable.



Yep This quote is from someone I trust. Question is should I pay AHS tech another $60 to get them to replace or be strung along for more freon top offs.

sgogo said:   

Have a service tech use a freon sniffer. If they still cannot find leak, have them put dye into the system and have them check with infrared light. One leak can be brazed closed eaasily.

Coils rarely leak unless they have been physically damaged or iced over.

Good Luck!
SteveG


he used a sniffer, but didn't say repair was an option. It definately was improperly installed since a lot of my neighbors have gone thru this (tract homes()

vickh said:   
he used a sniffer, but didn't say repair was an option. It definately was improperly installed since a lot of my neighbors have gone thru this (tract homes()


I would say most residential systems in the US are improperly installed...they are never evacuated enough, they are usually sized wrong(generally oversized), the refrigerant tubing is not sized properly, the oil return to the compressor is not happening due to bad refrig line routing, the charge is incorrect...I could go on and on.

However, the units still run.

Honestly, now matter how bad it was installed, freon leaks can often be repaired and the system can live a long time afterwards. The bad tubes in the coil can be crimped or the leak can be brazed closed.

Call them and ask them to repair the leak... see what they say.

SteveG

PS - If they found the leak with the sniffer, ask where it is. If they cannot tell you, have them use dye. If they say something like "the whole coil is bad"...they are probably not being genuine.

Is this R22 or a blend like Puron (410A)? What manufacturer is it...brand name or Goodman?

vickh said:   jnheinz said:   I would probably hire a real HVAC tech to come out there & take a look, then dump AHS after you get it figured out. Like the guy above said, AHS techs might've actually have screwed you by not even doing it properly & caused more damage.

Google companies around you, find one that's reputable.
Yep This quote is from someone I trust. Question is should I pay AHS tech another $60 to get them to replace or be strung along for more freon top offs.
Isn't it illegal for AHS to repeatedly top off the Freon of the same A/C unit? I'd report them to the EPA, just to encourage them to right their wrong ways. Also make a copy of the reputable tech's repair report and show it to AHS.

You may want to look at HVAC-Talk.com's "Wall of Shame" forum to compare your system to theirs and maybe even submit photos.

If you can look at the coil, try to see where the oil leak is coming from, but if you see tiny drip lines (black lines) all over, that means there are thousands of pinholes and the coil can't be fixed.

If you can get the coil replaced for just $60, do it, especially before enough oil drips out to damage the compressor.

Hello,

I had previously called some vendors in my neighborhood last year. This was on craigslist for cities near me.
I would ask for how much for parts and labor for a new 5 ton unit, and how much for new evaporative coils.
Also, ask what is warranty or parts, and what is warranty on labor.
I was quoted approximatey 1800-1950 for just the condensor unit, however, it was 13 seer 5 ton, R22 type.
Generic Goodman brand. I believe Goodman is subsididary of Amana. I think there is at least 8-9 year warranty on the compressor. Do not quote me, please check for yourself.

The price of 2500 for a repair seems just too high.

Call three - four vendors, and try to get some over the phone quotes.

I believe paying 2500 - 2600 you should get all brand new parts with warranty. Try for two years parts & labor minimum.

A leak fix should not cost that much. Also, what is the warranty on the leak repair 1, 2 years ?.

If possible asks for three references, preferrably from residences near your own home.

Check your local license, bonded, and insured. Even a whole new system, could be installed in less than two days.
That is without duct work.

sgogo said:   vickh said:   
he used a sniffer, but didn't say repair was an option. It definately was improperly installed since a lot of my neighbors have gone thru this (tract homes()


I would say most residential systems in the US are improperly installed...they are never evacuated enough, they are usually sized wrong(generally oversized), the refrigerant tubing is not sized properly, the oil return to the compressor is not happening due to bad refrig line routing, the charge is incorrect...I could go on and on.

However, the units still run.

Honestly, now matter how bad it was installed, freon leaks can often be repaired and the system can live a long time afterwards. The bad tubes in the coil can be crimped or the leak can be brazed closed.

Call them and ask them to repair the leak... see what they say.

SteveG

PS - If they found the leak with the sniffer, ask where it is. If they cannot tell you, have them use dye. If they say something like "the whole coil is bad"...they are probably not being genuine.

Is this R22 or a blend like Puron (410A)? What manufacturer is it...brand name or Goodman?


Its Puron (410A). Carrier. I've had 6 techs looks @ it over 4 years. Not a single one said it could be repaired

I just bought a foreclosure that had two shot 24 year old carrier units. I went to Younits.com and ordered 2 3.5 ton Amana units that happened to be 1350 each at the time. 13 seer, condenser and evap coil, and an 80% furnace:

http://www.younits.com/central-cooling-heating-gas-furnace-compl...

I spent 2700 on the complete set of units and 1500 for installation of both units. It took 1 day for everything to be removed, purged, and installed. I went from r22 to R410a which requires purging of the lines.

My total for two COMPLETE systems with install is $4200. I did also order TXV's which they installed to ensure that they perform at peak along with Hard Start Capacitors needed for TXV installations. That added an extra 300 of uneeded expense that should pay itself off in a year or two.

Hopefully this helps as a reference point.

larrymoencurly said:   vickh said:   jnheinz said:   I would probably hire a real HVAC tech to come out there & take a look, then dump AHS after you get it figured out. Like the guy above said, AHS techs might've actually have screwed you by not even doing it properly & caused more damage.

Google companies around you, find one that's reputable.
Yep This quote is from someone I trust. Question is should I pay AHS tech another $60 to get them to replace or be strung along for more freon top offs.
Isn't it illegal for AHS to repeatedly top off the Freon of the same A/C unit? I'd report them to the EPA, just to encourage them to right their wrong ways. Also make a copy of the reputable tech's repair report and show it to AHS.

You may want to look at HVAC-Talk.com's "Wall of Shame" forum to compare your system to theirs and maybe even submit photos.

If you can look at the coil, try to see where the oil leak is coming from, but if you see tiny drip lines (black lines) all over, that means there are thousands of pinholes and the coil can't be fixed.

If you can get the coil replaced for just $60, do it, especially before enough oil drips out to damage the compressor.


AHS hasn't budged in 2 years. Part of it is their techs feign ignorance. But now I have non AHS opinions

Guess I'll pay another $60 today to see if I can try again. Atleast i'll get another summer out of this. Hope the compressor makes it

PS Thanks for all the replies!

Unlike FWF every single reply was helpful and pertinent

GADOM said:   At $2500 -if that turns out to be price for the needed repair- I would seriously consider replacement with a new higher Seer unit using the newer coolant.


$2500=replacement of 2unit coils...

larrymoencurly said:   Isn't it illegal for AHS to repeatedly top off the Freon of the same A/C unit? I'd report them to the EPA, just to encourage them to right their wrong ways...

Yes... but the fine goes to the owner of the equipment...

Basically, if you lose > 15% of the charge per year, you must fix leak by EPA law, as I recall.

sgogo said:   larrymoencurly said:   Isn't it illegal for AHS to repeatedly top off the Freon of the same A/C unit? I'd report them to the EPA, just to encourage them to right their wrong ways...

Yes... but the fine goes to the owner of the equipment...

Basically, if you lose > 15% of the charge per year, you must fix leak by EPA law, as I recall.


Can i still use that as leverage with AHS. One of their techs said lots of people just top off every year. it's about 2 lnbs of freon each time/ unit.

vickh said:   
Its Puron (410A). Carrier. I've had 6 techs looks @ it over 4 years. Not a single one said it could be repaired


They dont like to fix the coils... not that profitable, hard to do, and hard to be sure there was only one leak.

Are you sure its the coil?

Also, what are your symptoms? Does the unit run, but freeze up?

Note thst Puron is a blend of three refrigerants and generally, you cannot add to the charge...you have to pull the whole charge out and refill...

SteveG

I don't know why people use AHS. They are the biggest scammers. Just google AHS scams. I am telling from my own experience 5 years ago. After that, no more AHS for any other warranty company. They are all crooks.

vickh said:   ...
Can i still use that as leverage with AHS. One of their techs said lots of people just top off every year. it's about 2 lnbs of freon each time/ unit.


Honestly, he is probably right...a lot of people do that. There is also a minimum size of the unit that the epa regs refer to...I think it must hold at least 50lbs in total.

And for 2lbs per year (if it runs thru the year), might be an OK option, except that the blend will get more diluted each time...this is because only one of the 3 refrigerants in the blend leaks out, but they are refilling it with the proper ratio mixture.

If your warranty contract provides for full replacement, they should be replacing.

SteveG

sgogo said:   vickh said:   
Its Puron (410A). Carrier. I've had 6 techs looks @ it over 4 years. Not a single one said it could be repaired


They dont like to fix the coils... not that profitable, hard to do, and hard to be sure there was only one leak.

Are you sure its the coil?

Also, what are your symptoms? Does the unit run, but freeze up?

Note thst Puron is a blend of three refrigerants and generally, you cannot add to the charge...you have to pull the whole charge out and refill...

SteveG



Makes sense. But they've been adding for 3+ years now...

There's lot of oil in the pans. Freon detector goes off in the coils. The compressor outside turns on and off repeatedly, and no cooling. Same symptoms every year. My neighbor is an HVAC guy. He said he's replaced a bunch of units on our street, same issue

sgogo said:   vickh said:   ...
Can i still use that as leverage with AHS. One of their techs said lots of people just top off every year. it's about 2 lnbs of freon each time/ unit.


Honestly, he is probably right...a lot of people do that. There is also a minimum size of the unit that the epa regs refer to...I think it must hold at least 50lbs in total.

And for 2lbs per year (if it runs thru the year), might be an OK option, except that the blend will get more diluted each time...this is because only one of the 3 refrigerants in the blend leaks out, but they are refilling it with the proper ratio mixture.

If your warranty contract provides for full replacement, they should be replacing.

SteveG


warranty contract provides for full replacement, but AHS's trying to avoid i'm sure...

they're just topping off. Will that damage the compressor over time? (lot's of oil in the pans) Also how about efficiency/ electric bill?

king0fSpades said:   I don't know why people use AHS. They are the biggest scammers. Just google AHS scams. I am telling from my own experience 5 years ago. After that, no more AHS for any other warranty company. They are all crooks.

I cancelled my next years contract. I might use that for leverage to get them to fix this issue.

So no other warranty company huh??

king0fSpades said:   I don't know why people use AHS. They are the biggest scammers. Just google AHS scams. I am telling from my own experience 5 years ago. After that, no more AHS for any other warranty company. They are all crooks.

I cancelled my next years contract. I might use that for leverage to get them to fix this issue. THey have paid me for appliance replacement. However I found a tech that took my side. No such luck with the AC

So no other warranty company huh? I was going to look for a better option...

vickh said:   ...Makes sense. But they've been adding for 3+ years now...

There's lot of oil in the pans. Freon detector goes off in the coils. The compressor outside turns on and off repeatedly, and no cooling. Same symptoms every year. My neighbor is an HVAC guy. He said he's replaced a bunch of units on our street, same issue


I cant imagine its too many leaks, since it lasts the whole summer after a charge... but if you need to replace the coils, they run from $300-800 each depending on the model and labor would be about 1 day per coil for 2 men.

They need to fully evacuate the system and recover the refrigerant in there now, change the coil, then pull a vacuum to 300 microns for 24 hours before recharging. This checks for leaks and gets rid of all moisture. It should be a slow vacuum to make sure they get all the moisture and non-condensibles out of the system before recharging...too fast and moisture freezes rather than get pulled out.

You should match the coil to the condensing unit (same mfgr) so you can be assured you will get the right efficiency out of the unit. You might be able to get a tax credit (but I am not sure if they are gone for 2012) if you get the right efficiency numbers.

For your carrier units, Bryant is the same company and parts should be interchangeable at a lower cost.

Get three bids (or more). Contractor pricing varies greatly based upon how busy they are.

Good Luck!
SteveG

PS - Before you do this, weigh in the fact that if you really have tons of pinholes in the coil, the condensing unit is probably not much better...I would use the dye before any work is done to see exactly how bad things really are.

vickh said:   
I cancelled my next years contract. I might use that for leverage to get them to fix this issue.

So no other warranty company huh??


How much is the annual contract... it may pay to keep them around and have them charge the unit each year, until it finally just goes...then they will have to repair the system.

vickh said:   ... they're just topping off. Will that damage the compressor over time? (lot's of oil in the pans) Also how about efficiency/ electric bill?

Topping off will kill efficiency over time and make the compressor work harder. It might even cause pressures in the system rise (i would have to check refrig tables to know for sure)...Not sure what long term effects on compressor is, since they have not been around that long.

SteveG

vickh said:   king0fSpades said:   I don't know why people use AHS. They are the biggest scammers. Just google AHS scams. I am telling from my own experience 5 years ago. After that, no more AHS for any other warranty company. They are all crooks.

I cancelled my next years contract. I might use that for leverage to get them to fix this issue. THey have paid me for appliance replacement. However I found a tech that took my side. No such luck with the AC

So no other warranty company huh? I was going to look for a better option...


Yes, no other warranty company. They are not like insurance who would honor a claim. They do small repairs for which your copay is more than the cost of repairs. They WILL deny any claim that is substantial. This is how they make money. If nothing happens, they are collecting money. If something expensive breaks, they deny claim based on BS reason (non-maintenance etc.)

Just think for a second. They will sell you warranty without even doing an inspection of the house, no matter how old it is, over the phone. Do you really think a company like this will honor the claim?

Oh I'm dealing with a similar issue too. You're lucky you're not in California. I have a property with Old Repub HOME (ORH) and the downstairs unit doesn't cool. They found that it was an evap coil that needed to be replaced. It's a $2000+ job because California require this "Title 24" permit/inspection that easily costs $600+. ORH says they're only covering $1k of it. Basically we have three options:

1. Pay the current contractor $1k to get it fixed and permitted/inspected (other $1k covered by ORH)
2. Have the current contractor fix it for $400 but get another company who may be able to permit/inspect it for less.
3. Have ORH issue a $1k check to us and we find our own contractor to do the entire work.

We're still figuring out our options. I need to talk to the AC company to know what exactly needs to be done.

House is built in 2005. Two units, one for each floor.

sgogo said:   vickh said:   
I cancelled my next years contract. I might use that for leverage to get them to fix this issue.

So no other warranty company huh??


How much is the annual contract... it may pay to keep them around and have them charge the unit each year, until it finally just goes...then they will have to repair the system.



that's basically what I've been doing. This year AHS raised their premium to 600$ a yr+75$ service fee. Last year it was 500$+60$. This forced me into a financial dilemma. Hoping to force them into repair this year , using my renewal as leverage.

TrueKnight said:   Oh I'm dealing with a similar issue too. You're lucky you're not in California. I have a property with Old Repub HOME (ORH) and the downstairs unit doesn't cool. They found that it was an evap coil that needed to be replaced. It's a $2000+ job because California require this "Title 24" permit/inspection that easily costs $600+. ORH says they're only covering $1k of it. Basically we have three options:

1. Pay the current contractor $1k to get it fixed and permitted/inspected (other $1k covered by ORH)
2. Have the current contractor fix it for $400 but get another company who may be able to permit/inspect it for less.
3. Have ORH issue a $1k check to us and we find our own contractor to do the entire work.

We're still figuring out our options. I need to talk to the AC company to know what exactly needs to be done.

House is built in 2005. Two units, one for each floor.


I would take the 1k cash in lieu option 3. Wish AHS would do the same for me!. Did ORH drag their feet on this? What're their fees?

Bank of America called me and tried to sell me on a home warranty similar to AHS. I honestly don't recall the details but I let them send me paperwork and I cancelled inside 30 days with no cost to me. As I recall the cost was about the same or slightly higher but they sent someone to your residence 2-4 times a year to check on your equipment and perform maintenance and you didn't pay anything out of pocket for those visits.

If you have a BOA account, perhaps you can poke around online and give them a ring and see if they will sign you up for a free month.

But at the end of the day, I expect all of these companies are similar. They will send you the cheapest possible repair guy in your area and make it impossible for him to actually fix anything by denying replacement claims and only allowing little fixes each time you call.

I have several BOA CCs and military account. I'll check online for the terms...

I don't usually buy warranties, but in this case I know I'll be dealing with repair or a $2.5K replacement. Tract home during building home=problem

AHS tech's here. Says he can't find leak . What should I tell him to get him to repair this...

vickh said:   AHS tech's here. Says he can't find leak . What should I tell him to get him to repair this...

I think you should push him now to replace the coils...its leaking and he cannot find the leak, so change everything until they find it (they wont do this).

If they say no, ask for reason in writing, then file some kind of claim against them to get your 3 yrs of payments back...That would be $1800+ against the costs and they might settle with you to get out of the contract.

If you charged the contract on AMEX or visa, perhaps you can call them and get a chargeback.

SteveG

Skipping 23 Messages...
Update: Both ACs are cooling well in 100 degree heat

Now I hear vibrating sounds from the attic/coils upstairs I am disputing the $600 copay so I can't call the AHS techs back.



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