Replace just central A/C or both A/C and furnace?

Messages
5,186
Location
NJ
My stupid A/C for my upstairs is leaking refrigerant again. It's a chronic problem and I just paid to have it filled with 4lbs and it's leaking again. It's 5 years old but don't know where it's leaking. Leak test is about a thou. plus repairs. It's been a money pit. I'd rather put that money towards a whole new unit. Estimate I have for the Legacy series Bryant 3 ton is $5300 for the A/C, line set, and coil. It's $10,000 to replace everything with a new A/C unit and furnace. 92% efficiency furnace and 14 SEER on the A/C. Furnace is 17 years old. I'd only get the A/C replaced but every time I don't for full replacement on this HVAC, it winds up costing me more in the long run with repairs. Any advice?
 
Messages
10,592
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
$1000 just for a leak test?? I need to switch to HVAC!! If it's only 5 years old, and leaking refrigerant that fast, a dye application and/or a decent leak detector should find it easily. What manufacturer is the furnace?
 
Messages
1,592
Location
TX, USA
Sounds like it is not installed properly or something like that. Most AC system have 10 years warranty, I am not sure what brand you have. Yes, I agree with CTS, get a good contractor. Sounds like leak test for $1000 is a rip off. Try to find a company with an owner operated (means the owner do the work himself) for this kind of things but make sure they are good.
 

Leo99

Thread starter
Messages
5,186
Location
NJ
Originally Posted by JMJNet
Sounds like it is not installed properly or something like that. Most AC system have 10 years warranty, I am not sure what brand you have. Yes, I agree with CTS, get a good contractor. Sounds like leak test for $1000 is a rip off. Try to find a company with an owner operated (means the owner do the work himself) for this kind of things but make sure they are good.
I had that guy install the lemon unit. This new contractor is better.
 
Messages
1,871
Location
NoVA
Yea my dad did HVAC and biggest issues most systems have are due to age, 10+ years, or bad install. Try to find a smaller HVAC shop, not the large ones that run coupons and "last minute" deals. Personally I would replace all, esp since you are up north so a 90%+ will save money over time. But prices seem a little high. Shop around more but stick with a 90%+ system though.
 
Messages
5,887
Location
DFW
I'm willing to bet the leak is in your evaporator coil. I bought my house new and had that happen after a mere four years. If it's the system that came with the house and your house was built by a tract home builder remember that they put together systems with cost in mind. The better coil mine was replaced with has lasted 20 years so far.
 
Messages
1,198
Location
Maryland
Sounds like you are getting ripped. Try another contractor. If you get to the point that you may want to replace it at least try a leak sealer that can be injected into the refrigerant. Nothing ventured, nothing gained with that one.
 
Messages
4,177
Location
Texas
What I read is , never use a leak sealant , unless you are prepared to rip the old system out , and replace it . If the sealant messes up the system .
 
Messages
4,860
Location
Kansas
Originally Posted by Leo99
It's 5 years old but don't know where it's leaking.
When the industry went from R22 to R410-A, the manufacturers had a lot of problems with coil leaks. The local places around here replace them under warranty, or I guess I should say they USED to replace them under warranty. Now the manufacturers seem to think that if you've got this many years on your system, it's due for replacement anyway. As noted, if it was registered when new, it should have a 10 year warranty, unless it's a no-name brand. $1000 for a leak check? Any good HVAC tech should have an electronic leak checker and should probably find it in less than 15 minutes.
 
Messages
492
Location
Kevil,Ky
Use an electronic sniffer with the fan turned off or unplugged. Stick it in the evaporator section and you will hear it make noise if that is where the leak is.
 
Messages
395
Location
illinois, usa
Get a smaller guy asked him to pressurize the system w/ nitrogen and do the leak test with a sniffer. Out be easy to find this way. More than likely the coil has a whole the line set not to common unless they get puncture by a nail or screw. If you do get a new system asked him to install a Cabinet with Coil and any future repairs or inspection are more easier w/ out removing the furnace.
 

Leo99

Thread starter
Messages
5,186
Location
NJ
Originally Posted by LazyDog
Get a smaller guy asked him to pressurize the system w/ nitrogen and do the leak test with a sniffer. Out be easy to find this way. More than likely the coil has a whole the line set not to common unless they get puncture by a nail or screw. If you do get a new system asked him to install a Cabinet with Coil and any future repairs or inspection are more easier w/ out removing the furnace.
The smaller guy that installed it used the sniffer twice but couldn't find the leak. I cheaped out when I had it installed and went with R22 and reused the old coil and line set. I'm not going back to the owner operator that installed it. The new contractor suggested leak testing the A/C unit, line set, and coil separately with an overnight pressure hold. The coil is in a separate cabinet now that is on top of the furnace. Who knows how much longer we'll be in this house. Retirement is on the horizon and the house is a lot bigger than we need. Decisions, decisions.
 
Messages
93
Location
MO USA
I had a Bryant Evolution system installed 6 years ago with the 92% AFUE furnace. It has been a great system and saved me a ton in fuel and utility costs. Like several have said, the contractor / installer makes a difference. Mine did a great job installing and followed up 1 year later with a free system checks. New HVAC also can add lots of value to house, especially if original system is inefficient and or undersized......my old system was the builder grade, so unfortunately it fell into both categories. Most smart prospective home buyers will ask about utility costs, and after your system is installed, your utility bills will most likely go down by a lot.
 
Messages
13,251
Location
1/2 hr N.E. of Detroit
Originally Posted by Leo99
Originally Posted by LazyDog
Get a smaller guy asked him to pressurize the system w/ nitrogen and do the leak test with a sniffer. Out be easy to find this way. More than likely the coil has a whole the line set not to common unless they get puncture by a nail or screw. If you do get a new system asked him to install a Cabinet with Coil and any future repairs or inspection are more easier w/ out removing the furnace.
The smaller guy that installed it used the sniffer twice but couldn't find the leak. I cheaped out when I had it installed and went with R22 and reused the old coil and line set. I'm not going back to the owner operator that installed it. The new contractor suggested leak testing the A/C unit, line set, and coil separately with an overnight pressure hold. The coil is in a separate cabinet now that is on top of the furnace. Who knows how much longer we'll be in this house. Retirement is on the horizon and the house is a lot bigger than we need. Decisions, decisions.
What is the name brand of your AC unit and furnace?
 

Leo99

Thread starter
Messages
5,186
Location
NJ
Originally Posted by Triple_Se7en
Originally Posted by Leo99
Originally Posted by LazyDog
Get a smaller guy asked him to pressurize the system w/ nitrogen and do the leak test with a sniffer. Out be easy to find this way. More than likely the coil has a whole the line set not to common unless they get puncture by a nail or screw. If you do get a new system asked him to install a Cabinet with Coil and any future repairs or inspection are more easier w/ out removing the furnace.
The smaller guy that installed it used the sniffer twice but couldn't find the leak. I cheaped out when I had it installed and went with R22 and reused the old coil and line set. I'm not going back to the owner operator that installed it. The new contractor suggested leak testing the A/C unit, line set, and coil separately with an overnight pressure hold. The coil is in a separate cabinet now that is on top of the furnace. Who knows how much longer we'll be in this house. Retirement is on the horizon and the house is a lot bigger than we need. Decisions, decisions.
What is the name brand of your AC unit and furnace?
The downstairs is the original Lennox unit. R22 Upstairs A/C is a Goodman R22 with the original Lennox furnace.
 

Leo99

Thread starter
Messages
5,186
Location
NJ
Originally Posted by Triple_Se7en
So you bought a top brand Lennox AC, but let a 3rd party Joe-Schmoe get it and install it? Is that why there's warranty issues?
The Lennox came with the new house. I've noticed about 30% of the original Lennox units in my development have been replaced.
 
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