Air Conditioner Replacement

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Air Conditioner Replacement

Post  Thomas on Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:27 pm

Has anyone replace the air conditioner in their unit?

There must be a more efficient unit that could be installed.

Any info would be appreciated. Smile

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Re: Air Conditioner Replacement

Post  ghp95134 on Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:01 pm

Did you turn the hot water return valves off? These are the two valves that direct hot water from the hot water heater to the heater. You must turn off the water flow in order to have cool air. I've been here 10 years and only learned this tidbit last year! More at the link below:

http://villagiohoa.forumakers.com/t330-hydronic-heater-ac-help

--ghp95134

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Re: Air Conditioner Replacement

Post  Thomas on Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:12 pm

I did try that and it did help.

The system is so old and with all the new technology, I was hoping someone had identified a more efficient replacement system.

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Re: Air Conditioner Replacement

Post  Admin on Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:31 am

Keep us posted what you find out.
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Air Conditoner Replacement/Repair

Post  trebor on Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:21 pm

I believe most homeowners have the original Apollo Hydro-Heat system with AC and Apollo is no longer in business.  My air conditioning system is not providing very cold air downstairs. Upstairs is so so and I very rarely use.  Has anyone had recent air conditioning service/repair?  If so, please post your experience.  Has any homeowner recently had their AC system replaced?

It would be most helpful to everyone if we could find at least two local vendors that are familiar with our HVAC and who can provide quality service at a fair price.  Hopefully we could get a group discount!
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Re: Air Conditioner Replacement

Post  Incredulocious on Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:27 pm

I'm going through a repair on my A/C now — and it hasn't been going very well.

I've lived in my unit from 1993-2011 but I now have a tenant.  Earlier this year, the hot water heater started acting up, failing to keep a consistent temperature so I had it replaced back in April.  (If you're interested, the replacement was a Bradford White U2-XR-504T6FRN and Water Quality Plumbing did the work for $1895.)  Sometime in July, I contacted my tenant because I saw that their natural gas usage had gone way up.  Turns out that my tenant had turned up the thermostat to a very hot setting, essentially scalding, where I had always kept it at a slightly more than bearable temp.  (Seems to me a waste to keep water heated 24/7 at a temperature too hot to use and then have to cool it down with cold water at the tap.)

At this time they told me they were having trouble with the A/C in that it wasn't able to bring the unit down to the set point of even 78 degrees.  Unfortunately, I didn't know about this recommendation to turn off the recirculating hot water loop in the summer to keep the A/C unit and refrigerant coils from having to compete with the hot water coils.  Makes sense in hindsight though, particularly given how high they had the hot water thermostat set.

So, not knowing about the hot water loop issue, I tried to contact several HVAC companies (including the original installer who didn't return calls) and ended up going with TFF HVAC (well-recommended on Yelp).  These guys came out and said that the compressor was failing, kicking on and off, and thus not keeping the refrigerant circulating.  The initial visit was $120 and their proposed estimate to replace the compressor and refrigerant came to $1475.  I gave the go-ahead but then they had one problem after another.  The biggest was the installation of a damaged new compressor but after coming back out again to replace this compressor and the contactor again (at their cost), the system still wasn't working and they said that there appeared to be a restriction in the indoor evaporator coil as the pressure would quickly build up very high on one side of the refrigerant loop.  At this point (after several visits and something on the order of a dozen hours) the owner came out to look at the situation and decided to wipe their hands of it and back out of the job entirely (without payment beyond the initial $120), now saying that they didn't have sufficient experience with these kinds of hydronic heat systems.

So... I had to find another HVAC installer and selected American HVAC & Plumbing who assured me they did have the necessary experience with these systems.  Their initial visit identified that the previously replaced contactor was now damaged due to incorrect wiring and replaced it as well as adding a fuse in-line to protect the replacement.  They also identified that the condenser coil need to be cleaned, but their cleaning of it still didn't address the problem.  They next agreed with the prior assessment that the interior evaporator coil had a restriction at the metering device and recommended either replacing or attempting to flush the fan coil unit in the house.  This initial visit (including some repair work) cost $372.

They had trouble finding a suitable replacement since these units are no longer available.  Their best fit equipment would be 2" taller and some inches "skinnier", requiring some extensive work to open up space to fit it in and to reroute lines.  The rough estimate on this work (without permitting, sheetrock work or painting) would be around $4000 but they offered the alternative of attempting to blow out the restriction in the coil unit for about $500 but no guarantee for success.

I'm currently waiting to see how this attempt to blow out the restriction works.  I'm definitely not interested in replacing the coil for such an expense.  And of course now I wonder now how much that super hot water was affecting the performance of the A/C to begin with and how much harm that first HVAC installer might have done.  Was the original compressor really going bad?  Was there already a restriction in the evaporator coil?

I'll update this as things progress and I find out more...

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Re: Air Conditioner Replacement

Post  Incredulocious on Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:36 pm

A follow-up to my previous posting...

American HVAC returned to attempt to flush out the evaporator coil with nitrogen and found it full of oil.  So they cut into the refrigerant lines at the evaporator and blew it out with more nitrogen but still felt a restriction.  So they then pulled out and cut open the line at the metering device and found a clogged screen to clean out. They also noted that the previous installer failed to install something called a filter drier which would have prevented material from clogging up the hard-to-access evaporator coil.  After welding things together again, pressure testing and pulling a vacuum (to further help clean it of contaminants), they recharged the system and tested the system.  Success!!

As I suspected, they agree that it's possible that the damaged compressor installed by the previous company could have caused the clogging and contamination.  They say that it's possible the original compressor was just overheating due to the need for the condenser coil needing to be cleaned.  So all of this repair work might have been avoidable.  But there's no way I'll ever know for sure.  Anyway, this additional work came to $648 on top of the original work, for a total of $1020.  (And this on top of the initial $120 to the previous company.)

As for the notion that the recirculating hot water loop for the heating system should be turned off in the summer, I asked about this since on further thought it seems to me that there would have to be a pump to move the hot water and that would only run while you run the blower for the heating system.  They agreed with this and also told me that they felt the hot water lines while they were in there and they were *not* hot to the touch.  On the other hand, they also said it couldn't hurt to turn off that line in the summer (as long as you don't forget to turn it on again) as it may save a little energy.

So anyway, my A/C system should now be working properly again.  (This will be more apparent if we get a little warmer weather in the coming days— enough to test it.)

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