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Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 8446
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
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My whole house air conditioner is 5 years old and stopped cooling

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My whole house air conditioner is 5 years old and stopped cooling yesterday. A service tech
is coming to look at it today. Is it worth repairing or should it be replaced because of age?
Both indoor and outdoor are a Payne brand models PG8MAA042090 and PA10JA036-G respectively.
All work to be done by licensed professional. WE KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU HAVE THE INFORMATION YOU NEED, I come and go. This is step ONE.

Hello, welcome to Just Answer ! These units have a normal life span of 10 to 15 years on average. The unit is worth repairing in most cases. IF however the compressor has failed, and has physically burnt up internally, massive damage would have been created requiring the entire outside unit to be replaced. (Chances of that being the case are in the 5% range)... If you get such a diagnosis get a second opinion on it.

Let me know what the diagnosis is and the cost of the repair, and how long they will warranty the repair for. Tell me what you can about the size of the company and how long they have been in business, and what brands they advertise if you can.

We can go from there.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I will respond after the repairman inspects the unit.

Good idea, post back when you have that data, press him for detail, and ask him to use the technical terms so you can have your 'HVAC consultant' review and advise you... a good man will not be upset by that... others will be 'greatly offended'.

If you do not do it that way he will be inclined to speak in generalities.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I answered you after the repairman visited telling you that the evaporator coil is leaking and that he added R12 freon in trhe amount of $197.00 in addition to the service call of $89.00. His remarks were that the problem is "turned over to sales."

The Airtron rep came today and reviewed our options.

1. Repair to the evaporator wouldd run $1800 to $2000. with a new coil unit.

2. Our air and furnace units are of the 80% classification which is to be phased out in 2013.

3. We can have a new Bryant 3 ton 16 seer unit coupled with a 96% efficiency rating (80000BTU) 2 stage Bryant furnace replacement with a 10 year parts and labor warranty installed for$7520 after a $400 electric co. rebate and a$500 dealer discount. This includes a new programable thermostat. A neighbor in a like condo house had this replacement and appears to be very satisfied. Her price was$1250. lower than our quote(without the programable thermostat) so I would question that difference.

Hello again,

Let me be as objective as possible and address each point separately. that should give you the over view you need.

1.) a new cooling coil costs $250 wholesale (or less) change out is 4 hours maximum as a rule. The going labor rates are in the $100 per hour range. The job generally sells for well under $1,000.

2.) Your 80% furnace will never be phased out if its already in place. Only the sale
of *new 80% furnaces is affected. Your salesman had misrepresented that issue along with the value of the coil replacement. (a coil which in many cases can be repaired for under $500 or so)

3.) The $7500 quote you got was on the high end of the typical price range for such a job. not exorbitant but high. If you put the job out to bid you will get quotes as low as $5,500.

The programmable thermostat fits that equipment sells wholesale for $125... add 50% for retail pricing, and figure an extra half hour to install it as compared to a non programmable thermostat.

Regarding the 96% efficient furnace... in southern California or Florida it will save you maybe $50 a year, it will never pay for itself... if you are in the northern part of the US cold climate region, it will pay for itself in under 3 or 5 years... unless it has technical problems that are common with those complex systems... those repairs cost $300 to $500 on average... in those cases the furnace will not pay back on its added purchase price.

I will put the rating box up so you can rate my service if you like, let me know please if it fails to arrive. I would appreciate that. I hope you find this information helpful.

If you choose to rate my service to you, you may stay in touch on this as needed for as long as it takes.


Phil and other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, Phil

Your summary is just what I need to make a sound decision. If I repair I will know what we are talking about and what to ask and if I replace I will be in a better bartering position.

Hello again, if you manage to find a good, reputable and honest outfit, you will not have to barter.... with any one else bartering will do you no good... there are a few dozen ways to nail a person these days.

Its quite likely the coil doesn't even leak... there on new products on the market that have proven reliable that can be injected into the system to stop leaks, and epoxy repair kits with 95% reliability.

The company does not pay me from the deposit pool unless I get a good rating ... I will put the rating box up again, if you can rate my work, I would appreciate it.

Thanks !

Phil and other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I decided to look into this a bit further by inspecting the evap coils myself.

There is a considerable amount of rust/corosion on the end pieces and some standing water inthe tray under them but the coils and all of the interior looks good. The water could be condensation or freon but i think it is water. I willm get another estimate from a good company and let you know.

Hello again, thanks for the excellent rating.

The water is just normal condensate, A refrigerant leak is characterized by an oily film around the leak area.

Regarding 'end pieces' if those have copper U bends sticking out of them, then rust there can cause the U bends to leak where the tube penetrates the 'end piece'...

Let me know about that detail, we can go from there.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Phil, Thanks for your follow up inquiery. I thought we had concluded our question when your grading box came up and I graded you High.


In the end , I took your report to my son who agreed with you 100%. I then called my furnace man from the old house (before we moved to this condo) and he too felt that my first quote was virtually a rip off and said he will first check for the leak and either repair it or put in a new condenser. At this time we are waiting for this to be done as he has other jobs more pressing and we have no discomfort in the dry weather.

Thank you again for stoping this large unnecessary expense..

Hello again, thank you for the excellent rating. I follow up just make sure all is well with my customers.. Thanks for letting me know. That was a smart move calling in your known and trusted furnace man.

No need to respond to this note, or any the the company may send under my name unless you need more elaboration on my answer.

Thanks again.

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