update on the A/C

update on the A/C

Ketira
Ketira

July 17th, 2012, 1:38 pm #1

Well - looks like those of you who guessed age and the rusty drip pan were right. The whole unit is going to have to be replaced, so Mom is going to get an estimate from the company who did the repairs as well as a few other companies for comparison.

So for everyone here - check to see how old your A/C unit is - both inside and out. From what the repair gent told me, if it's more than seven years old, it's due for replacing as the Government is going more & more towards the environmentally-friendly refrigerant.

That reminds me: anyone know of a link to government rebates on these things? Down here in Florida, they're a must-have appliance given our usual Summer temperatures.
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Sleepydawg
Sleepydawg

July 17th, 2012, 1:44 pm #2

We had to replace an A/C unit in the new house just last year. Old one crapped out, main compressor locked up. Turns out it was about 14 years old and undersized for the house. Our supplier showed up with FPL rebate certificates and stuff when they brought in the new one. They gave us a very specific receipt for use in declaring federal tax credits.

I'd say if your supplier doesn't hand you that sort of thing, find a better supplier.

-Zzzzzz
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smorizio
smorizio

July 17th, 2012, 3:26 pm #3

http://www.energysavers.gov/financial/70010.html
was 500 for 2011.
http://www.energysavvy.com/answers/how- ... answer_424
http://www.energysavvy.com/rebates/FL/l ... lities-38/
talk to your local elder care person for the town and the local power companies. a lot of them and the sate have grants and help for older people.
http://www.energysavvy.com/rebates/FL/e ... ve-inc-45/
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Bruce Bergman
Bruce Bergman

July 17th, 2012, 4:24 pm #4

You can save yourself a ton of money and REPAIR the drain pan. That should buy you a few years.

If it isn't too rotten and only has one through hole and a few rusty spots, you can scrape/brush the rust, patch the holes with scraps of sheetmetal and hit it with a layer of Cooler Coating or that Spray Rubber Seal.

(From Home Depot or Lowes NOT The "As seen on TV" stuff - they want triple.)

The hard part is getting the pan in and out - but you can also cheat and cut the front cover to make it far easier without recovering the refrigerant, cutting the lineset and pulling out the coil assembly.

And a square pan for a Horizontal is a lot easier than the "ring" pan for an Up-flow or Down-flow A-Coil, but that just adds to the challenge.

Just remember to Cut NOTHING and not drill or place sheet-metal screws ANYWHERE without knowing what is behind that panel and exactly how far back. Get an inspection mirror to look around the corners and see first. Hearing it going "Psssssssss!!" is an instant FAIL.

If the old pan is too far gone, you find a universal replacement pan, or make one.

Yeah, Make - Find a local plastics shop that has a big Vacuformer, and you can make a form out of 2X4's and Bondo - Or line your old pan with Saran Wrap, fill it with plaster of paris, and *BAM!* Form. File and sand as needed to round the edges and fill the gaps. Heavy ABS Sheet will work fine as the pan, and the pipe fittings for the outgoing drain lines are easy to adapt.

Or you can use scrap sheetmetal and a brake to make the pieces of the drain pan, pop rivet it at the corners to hold it together, then soft solder the seams.

Then start saving your pennies, and when something else breaks in a few years you'll have the reserves to pay for a new unit.
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Bruce Bergman
Bruce Bergman

July 17th, 2012, 4:30 pm #5

Well - looks like those of you who guessed age and the rusty drip pan were right. The whole unit is going to have to be replaced, so Mom is going to get an estimate from the company who did the repairs as well as a few other companies for comparison.

So for everyone here - check to see how old your A/C unit is - both inside and out. From what the repair gent told me, if it's more than seven years old, it's due for replacing as the Government is going more & more towards the environmentally-friendly refrigerant.

That reminds me: anyone know of a link to government rebates on these things? Down here in Florida, they're a must-have appliance given our usual Summer temperatures.
It's got a little Chlorine in it (HCFC) but it'll still be legal for a long time - 2032 is the phase-out IIRC.

Where it will help is in the Seasonal Efficiency of the new units - but if you don't have the money to change out the unit in the first place, the savings don't matter. If you have to finance the work, that just sucked up the savings.

Just be glad they didn't get draconian, you can use something totally benign like CO2 as refrigerant - but it's a total and very costly re-engineering of the entire system, the operating pressures are a whole lot higher.
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thEmerald Wolfif
thEmerald Wolfif

July 18th, 2012, 5:11 am #6

You can save yourself a ton of money and REPAIR the drain pan. That should buy you a few years.

If it isn't too rotten and only has one through hole and a few rusty spots, you can scrape/brush the rust, patch the holes with scraps of sheetmetal and hit it with a layer of Cooler Coating or that Spray Rubber Seal.

(From Home Depot or Lowes NOT The "As seen on TV" stuff - they want triple.)

The hard part is getting the pan in and out - but you can also cheat and cut the front cover to make it far easier without recovering the refrigerant, cutting the lineset and pulling out the coil assembly.

And a square pan for a Horizontal is a lot easier than the "ring" pan for an Up-flow or Down-flow A-Coil, but that just adds to the challenge.

Just remember to Cut NOTHING and not drill or place sheet-metal screws ANYWHERE without knowing what is behind that panel and exactly how far back. Get an inspection mirror to look around the corners and see first. Hearing it going "Psssssssss!!" is an instant FAIL.

If the old pan is too far gone, you find a universal replacement pan, or make one.

Yeah, Make - Find a local plastics shop that has a big Vacuformer, and you can make a form out of 2X4's and Bondo - Or line your old pan with Saran Wrap, fill it with plaster of paris, and *BAM!* Form. File and sand as needed to round the edges and fill the gaps. Heavy ABS Sheet will work fine as the pan, and the pipe fittings for the outgoing drain lines are easy to adapt.

Or you can use scrap sheetmetal and a brake to make the pieces of the drain pan, pop rivet it at the corners to hold it together, then soft solder the seams.

Then start saving your pennies, and when something else breaks in a few years you'll have the reserves to pay for a new unit.
I spent a lot of time working on 25-30 year old heat pumps on apartments, we did replace big things until something serious (pump) blew up. Definitely see about patching the tin if that's the only problem. Even Bondo or silicone can work in a pinch.

The problem with 410 conversions is that it is recommended that nothing be salvaged due to incompatibility of the compressor oils. That means that even the lineset would have to come out meaning drywall work (where asbestos may be involved).

Catchya on the Flip Side.....

Emerald Wolf -- would just patch the pan (although I have made new pans out of aluminum roof flashing that worked well too), and then make sure it drains with gravity or add a condensate drain pump.
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Lis
Lis

July 18th, 2012, 8:02 am #7

You can save yourself a ton of money and REPAIR the drain pan. That should buy you a few years.

If it isn't too rotten and only has one through hole and a few rusty spots, you can scrape/brush the rust, patch the holes with scraps of sheetmetal and hit it with a layer of Cooler Coating or that Spray Rubber Seal.

(From Home Depot or Lowes NOT The "As seen on TV" stuff - they want triple.)

The hard part is getting the pan in and out - but you can also cheat and cut the front cover to make it far easier without recovering the refrigerant, cutting the lineset and pulling out the coil assembly.

And a square pan for a Horizontal is a lot easier than the "ring" pan for an Up-flow or Down-flow A-Coil, but that just adds to the challenge.

Just remember to Cut NOTHING and not drill or place sheet-metal screws ANYWHERE without knowing what is behind that panel and exactly how far back. Get an inspection mirror to look around the corners and see first. Hearing it going "Psssssssss!!" is an instant FAIL.

If the old pan is too far gone, you find a universal replacement pan, or make one.

Yeah, Make - Find a local plastics shop that has a big Vacuformer, and you can make a form out of 2X4's and Bondo - Or line your old pan with Saran Wrap, fill it with plaster of paris, and *BAM!* Form. File and sand as needed to round the edges and fill the gaps. Heavy ABS Sheet will work fine as the pan, and the pipe fittings for the outgoing drain lines are easy to adapt.

Or you can use scrap sheetmetal and a brake to make the pieces of the drain pan, pop rivet it at the corners to hold it together, then soft solder the seams.

Then start saving your pennies, and when something else breaks in a few years you'll have the reserves to pay for a new unit.
NAPA carries it as spray in bedliner. It's actually quite affordable, and I think it runs cheaper than Lowes or Home Depot.

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Ketira
Ketira

July 18th, 2012, 11:34 am #8

You can save yourself a ton of money and REPAIR the drain pan. That should buy you a few years.

If it isn't too rotten and only has one through hole and a few rusty spots, you can scrape/brush the rust, patch the holes with scraps of sheetmetal and hit it with a layer of Cooler Coating or that Spray Rubber Seal.

(From Home Depot or Lowes NOT The "As seen on TV" stuff - they want triple.)

The hard part is getting the pan in and out - but you can also cheat and cut the front cover to make it far easier without recovering the refrigerant, cutting the lineset and pulling out the coil assembly.

And a square pan for a Horizontal is a lot easier than the "ring" pan for an Up-flow or Down-flow A-Coil, but that just adds to the challenge.

Just remember to Cut NOTHING and not drill or place sheet-metal screws ANYWHERE without knowing what is behind that panel and exactly how far back. Get an inspection mirror to look around the corners and see first. Hearing it going "Psssssssss!!" is an instant FAIL.

If the old pan is too far gone, you find a universal replacement pan, or make one.

Yeah, Make - Find a local plastics shop that has a big Vacuformer, and you can make a form out of 2X4's and Bondo - Or line your old pan with Saran Wrap, fill it with plaster of paris, and *BAM!* Form. File and sand as needed to round the edges and fill the gaps. Heavy ABS Sheet will work fine as the pan, and the pipe fittings for the outgoing drain lines are easy to adapt.

Or you can use scrap sheetmetal and a brake to make the pieces of the drain pan, pop rivet it at the corners to hold it together, then soft solder the seams.

Then start saving your pennies, and when something else breaks in a few years you'll have the reserves to pay for a new unit.
....the refrigerant. It's the old kind, and therefore, it's expensive now, and is going to get even more expensive down the road. (This is what the owner of the company who jump-started it explained to me.)
Since the estimates for 3 types of new ones are under $5K, we've decided to replace the thing. I'll look at that one link someone posted for the Elderly; since Mom is in her mid-70s, we'll take advantage of that. And yes, it's legal; both our names are on the deed to this place, so her doing that is an option. :>
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Ketira
Ketira

July 18th, 2012, 11:41 am #9

It's got a little Chlorine in it (HCFC) but it'll still be legal for a long time - 2032 is the phase-out IIRC.

Where it will help is in the Seasonal Efficiency of the new units - but if you don't have the money to change out the unit in the first place, the savings don't matter. If you have to finance the work, that just sucked up the savings.

Just be glad they didn't get draconian, you can use something totally benign like CO2 as refrigerant - but it's a total and very costly re-engineering of the entire system, the operating pressures are a whole lot higher.
1) This is a company that has been rated very high on Angie's List, and I can see why when the repairman (a/k/a "Comfort Specialist") came out to look at it. That gent nearly tore the handler to pieces in order to look at everything. Not only was the pan leaking, but some of the pipes were freezing up, so he put in some of that R-22? into it to give it a "jump start" until we can replace the whole thing.

Oh, and the not the starting price, but the end price. They took out the FPL rebate, their "instant" rebate (I suppose the companies are doing that to help generate sales), and the cost of the repairs as well.

Mom thought the units were going to be twice that; she was surprised. But she's getting someone else to come out today, so I may cut my comic time short and get groceries before the usual storms hit.
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sleepydawg
sleepydawg

July 18th, 2012, 1:28 pm #10

Man, sounds like a great company. Keep those folks happy! Service like that is worth making a batch of chocolate chip cookies or a pan of brownies as recommended by "Car Talk"!

-Zzzzzz
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