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5 Ton Package Heat Pump - Repair or Replace?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 az_repair_gal

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Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:03 AM

Hi All,

We have a 5-ton Goettl package heat pump, installed in 1993, that works ok but needs a little work (condenser fan motor bearings, contacts, evap coil needs cleaning, etc.).  Three times in the past 8 months, the compressor has shut off on overload due to the loose bearings getting too hot.  We turn it off for about an hour to cool down, switch it back on and it works fine. 

So, ok.  17 years is more than we could reasonably expect to get out of a heat pump - especially here in Phoenix - and the Feds have that rebate program going, so we called out a company to perform the Manual J calculation and price a new unit for us.   The guy did not do the full Manual J but confirmed that we do need a 5-ton.  Based on what I've been able to find in threads on this site, that seems to be correct.

Now here's where it gets interesting.  I fully expected the guy to try to sell us a high-end system.  Instead, he told us that we have an over/under unit, and without jerry rigging the duct work (or overhauling it to the tune of about $1,500-2,000), there is only one 5-ton system on the market that will work - a 13 SEER Trane entry level over/under package unit with single-stage compressor.  Ugh.

So, no Federal rebate, no Trane rebate, no energy savings to speak of - and just shy of $6,000 installed.  The Trane has less capacity (53,500 BTU vs. 58,000 in our existing 11 SEER unit), so we will not really be gaining much, if anything, with the 'upgrade.'  And, the Trane unit comes with only a 5-year parts/compressor warranty, not the standard 10-year. Crud.

The Goettl has performed like a champ for us for more than 17 years.  When we were told that the repairs would come in at somewhere around $650-800, we were all set to send it into graceful retirement.  But now we're starting to rethink this.  Given that we really don't have an urgent need to replace the unit, and that there are no attractive replacement options, what if we repair the Goettl and hold off on the replacement unit for a while?  We could easily get a few more years out of this system with the new parts.  We would of course be gambling that the compressor will not go out, but it has never given us any trouble.  And if it did go out, the total repair cost would still be less than half the cost of a new unit. 

$6K is a huge chunk of change.  We would be gambling about 1/10 of that if we go with the repairs.  It represents something of a risk, but right now we are strongly leaning toward the repairs.  Your thoughts, as always, are greatly appreciated. What would you do if were your unit and your money...?  :D

 



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#2 Scottthewolf

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 09:27 PM

Call a few other places for a replacement unit quote, do not waste money repairing your present unit.
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#3 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 26 June 2010 - 10:22 PM

[user=7554]az_repair_gal[/user] wrote:

...  the compressor has shut off on overload due to the loose bearings getting too hot.... 

which bearings ?

The Condenser Fan bearings, mentioned earlier ?

Compressor is OK ?

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#4 az_repair_gal

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:17 AM

Compressor is fine and there are no leaks.  Need to replace the condenser fan motor, contacts and clean the evap coils.  Will cost around $800.

#5 RegUS_PatOff

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 11:00 AM

I'm not an AC master and you didn't mention your model number..

or part numbers from the Condenser Motor 

but if you could replace those parts yourself, it would be alot cheaper ..


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#6 Dan Webster

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 09:11 AM

$800 is crazy for replacing a motor and cleaning the coils. All you need is a $100 motor and a gallon of coil cleaner. Why not invest in a $3 bottle of HVAC oil? Zoomspout oil is a time tested proven product that will keep your condenser motor going for years and years. Get the oil and the coil cleaner at Ace hardware store.

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#7 az_repair_gal

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 10:39 AM

Agree, it is a bit steep.  However, I have no experience with heat pumps and it's 110 degrees in the shade.  On the roof, it's unbearable!  You should see these guys when they come off of our roof.  I think one actually fainted...  :shock:

The price included parts/labor for replacing condenser motor, replacing contactor, cleaning evap coils, flushing the very hard to get to drain pan, and a maint agreement that includes one more service call over the next 12 months.  By opting for the maint agreement we saved 10% discount on parts and labor, which lowered the overall bill considerably.  And, in the event the compressor does fail sometime in the next year, it will save us some coin.   90 day warranty on parts, so this should get us through our blazing Phoenix summer.

The repairs have been made, the unit is working more efficiently than before, and we are pleased with our decision.  Thanks for your input and I will get the Zoomspout oil, if you can tell me what to do with it and how often we need to use it.


#8 Dan Webster

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 06:16 AM

Use it on any motors you have around the house. Keeping the bearings lubed greatly extends the life of motors. The tube extends out so you can reach hard to get at blower motor ports.
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#9 atcherservice

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 10:24 PM

If the unit turns on and off ok, I would skip the contractors. Just go with the fan motor. I know a servicerou in Phoenix if u still need service. I am a servicerou in Vegas right now 410a systems are what they will try and sell u. See If u can eek a few more years on this one because the new system wil need you to Change the outside and inside unit as well. Get a good degreaser chemical at lows put it in a spray bottle hit the coils then spray with a garden horse to wash out. That should be a cheep way to clean ur coils for now. Guys are putting in fan Myra up here for half the price u were quoted. Good luck and stay cool




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