Author Topic: HVAC question  (Read 6491 times)

themagicman

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HVAC question
« on: May 09, 2016, 07:48:39 AM »
Had an HVAC guy come out to look at my system for a tune up. The system is two years old and has not given me any issues. He found an issue when checking the numbers on the system. He quoted me at $800 to fix this and acted like it needed to be completed ASAP to fix the system from having permanent damage. Anyone have any knowledge on HVAC to see if this is really an issue that needs to be solved and if $800 is a fair price if I do need to fix it. I am going to get a second opinion but thought there might be someone here with some experience with this.

The tech said.

"unit pressures are fluctuating on unit which make me believe non condensibles are in the system and that system needs to be placed on a vacuum and refilled with 410-A and a filter dryer should be added . This unit is also low on charge"

zolotiyeruki

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2016, 08:16:24 AM »
$800 seems awful steep.  At two years, is the system still under warranty?  Adding refrigerant is a *very* minimal increase in the cost to the repair guy.
If there *is* water in the system, then yes, it is important to get it out.

I'd call a second repair guy to come do a quick checkout of the system (without mentioning the first guy's visit), and see if the second guy notices the same thing.

Frankies Girl

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2016, 08:23:54 AM »
$800 seems awful steep.  At two years, is the system still under warranty?  Adding refrigerant is a *very* minimal increase in the cost to the repair guy.
If there *is* water in the system, then yes, it is important to get it out.

I'd call a second repair guy to come do a quick checkout of the system (without mentioning the first guy's visit), and see if the second guy notices the same thing.

+1

I've had many techs over the years tell me something needs fixing or adjusting and will cost buttloads of money to do so. And then the next one out doesn't mention any of the things the previous one said were really important. I have a friend that just became an HVAC tech in the last year, and he said that was really common - whether because they are super picky or because they are being shady - and it's impossible to tell which. Anything that costs over $200 to fix, I'll be getting a second opinion on from this point forward tho.

« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 09:43:20 AM by Frankies Girl »

themagicman

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2016, 08:43:31 AM »
$800 seems awful steep.  At two years, is the system still under warranty?  Adding refrigerant is a *very* minimal increase in the cost to the repair guy.
If there *is* water in the system, then yes, it is important to get it out.

I am going to contact the original HVAC company who installed it and see if they will still cover it with warranty (It was a new home)
When you say it is important to get the water out of the system. Do you mean this week or within the next year? Should I be using the system before it gets fixed?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2016, 09:24:34 AM »
$800 seems awful steep.  At two years, is the system still under warranty?  Adding refrigerant is a *very* minimal increase in the cost to the repair guy.
If there *is* water in the system, then yes, it is important to get it out.

I am going to contact the original HVAC company who installed it and see if they will still cover it with warranty (It was a new home)
When you say it is important to get the water out of the system. Do you mean this week or within the next year? Should I be using the system before it gets fixed?
I'm not enough of an expert to say for certain, nor have I looked at your system, so I'm speculating here.  But here are a few thoughts:
1) Compressors (that's the part on the outside of your house that hums and has a big fan and radiator wrapped around it) *really* don't like water.  It'll damage a compressor.
2) If there's water (the most likely "noncondensable") in your system now, it was in there when the system was first installed.  The system is pressurized, so water can't infiltrate it.
3) Therefore, if you've been running your system for two years with no problems, I would strongly doubt the presence of water.

VaCPA

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2016, 09:50:10 AM »
I vote second opinion as well. You have to be careful with these HVAC guys. There are some really good ones but I think some really take advantage of the fact that few people know anything about HVAC units, and also people are often captive customers when something goes wrong. I actually have recent experience with some HVAC issues. I had a routine spring checkup on my A/C, and also had the guy check my furnace while he was there because it was making a strange sound. He quoted me some huge numbers(see below), which I told him I would wait on especially since things were currently working. I intended to just research further and go from there, and I've actually done some of the work myself.

- Noise in furnace was due to inducer motor/fan going bad. Quoted $900. I researched and the part costs $140. Basically it's just a fan & motor that attaches to the furnace. Installation looks akin to replacing a bathroom ceiling fan, which I've done several times. Some basic electrical connections and attach to a vent. I ordered the part and will do it myself.
- A/C unit capacitor was old and needed replacement. $280. It does look old but was working fine. Part costs $20 and is literally just hooking a few wires to a metal cylinder and mounting it. I ordered the part and replaced it in about 10 minutes and kept the old one as backup.
- A/C unit contactor was old and needed replacement. $320. Part actually looks fine and was working fine. Part costs $20 and I've ordered and will replace when/if it goes bad.
- United needed 3 lbs of R22 freon. I believe him, he showed me his gauge and the unit's specs on the sticker. The issue is he quoted me $280/lb. I called around to a few places and they laughed at that price. Most were in the $150/lb range but I found someone at $70/lb. Getting it filled tomorrow.

It helped that my unit was working so there was no rush to do the work, but the point is you can save ALOT of money if you understand how to fix the simple components of your HVAC units yourself and shop around for the things you can't or don't want to do.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 09:53:58 AM by anorman79 »

forummm

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2016, 11:38:24 AM »
My understanding (from my HVAC guy) is that you really don't need to do much with modern units besides change your air filter unless something is amiss or it gets really old. And a newer unit should be under warranty for something that is amiss (mine have 10 year warranties). The coolant system is a closed system. So if there's junk in there or is low on coolant then you have a leak (as I understand it from him).

stlbrah

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2016, 03:38:29 PM »
HVAC companies are con artists. I would talk to his upper management and/or get other opinions. (edit, it would probably be best to get the other opinion before complaining). $800 seems to be the token number they try to charge for anything. They will also bend you over and say that your coolant is low after they perform their "check ups." Its absolute BS.

Recently, I figured out that the only way to get taken seriously by an HVAC company is to be so ruthless to them that they will give you a better price just so they don't have to deal with you. I got ripped off (not the first time) by HVAC recently so I found myself intruding their corporate offices and talking to their VP.

I reduced the price from several hundred to $70. I still felt like the $70 was a ripoff considering the history of my problems.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 04:07:30 PM by stlbrah »

SKL-HOU

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Re: HVAC question
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2016, 08:16:39 PM »
Well if it really needs the filter dryer then he would have to vacuum and recharge. In that case, i can see it costing $800. Their hourly rates are ridiculous, the markups on parts is quadruple or more. What they charge for a gallon of refrigerant, you can buy the whole damn tank (i think 30 lbs). If the workhe said is really needed, then maybe somebody else willcharge a little less but probably by not much.
If this is a new unit, follow up with the installer for warranty. I think typical warranty is a minimum 5 years on compressor, 1-2 years parts/labor. A new unit shouldn't really have issues that quick.