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I'll give some more info to see if it helps in the diagnosis of which to try next .
It was working great about 2 weeks ago and slowly losing cool over the last couple weeks. It would cool for a few hours and then not cool for a few hours. The outside fan wasn't always coming on (yet after changing the capacitors it seems to be coming on and running quite fast and quite smooth). I don't notice any oil, or wet spots anywhere along the lines around or near the system both inside or outside. I don't believe I hear the compressor humming and none of the lines are cold or hot anywhere around the outer unit or inside the outer units shell. hopefully it's just low on refrigerant without a leak... I'll have a specialist (hopefully one with heat pump experience) check/fill charge the system...
These pictures are before I cleaned the inside and all the connections 2 weeks ago. I also replaced the two capacitors. I notice the blue canister is starting to have the paint peeling and there is some sort of gummy style tape wrapped around the line coming out of the top where it connects to two other smaller lines. Not sure if that helps with this visual or not...
Checked the suction accumulator ... not good news. And the HVAC guys came out to find the compressor is toast too... it lasted til the day before they came out. It felt like it was on fire and it was also old. Sadly it was encased in a box that did not allow it to stay cool. I believe the unit is 20 years old.
They also pointed out that the reason I received very little heat and a huge utility bill last winter from my OTHER heat pump was because the outer unit was only an AC unit hooked to an inside heat pump blower coil. (my wording is off) I only have 'air' blowing across coils on the main level unit. so it never blew hotter than 78 degrees if I was lucky = not warm enough to compete with 10 degrees baring down on the house from outside.
I am contemplating doing both units at once to save and have the heat issued solved come next winter. My new concern = they want to put a smaller unit in for the main level.
They install Goodman or Coleman systems (should I push to find a company that does carrier or is that fine to use Goodman/Coleman?) and
They want to down grade the size to a 3 or 3.5 ton unit though I currently have a 4 ton unit...
My wife is concerned the smaller unit will have to run more often and increase our utility bill. It wasn't bad on price last August (our hottest month) and it didn't have to run too often. They are saying smaller will run more often and claiming it will bring down the utility bill with a the amperage to start and stop the unit (x # ***** times per day) being less amperage than it running all day (x # ***** amps). I understand there will be less stress on the compressor, but do not understand = How is this going to be cheaper when the system ran round the clock in the winter (doubled our utility bill) compared to it only having to burst on periodically each day/ night (that carried a lower utility bill)???
I should also mention we were at a house last year that had a Trane unit (2.5 years old) that could not cool the house when it got over 105 degrees. the system was struggling and fighting to even get the house down to 80 degrees - a temperature we couldn't sleep in. they too had done the calculations of the sq footage divided by the tons of air moved
We are roughly 1800 sq ft on the main level with 4 long tall skinny single pane windows and a poorly insulated wall with a vaulted ceiling that eats the heat in the winter and holds heat in the summer and only has 2 vents to heat/cool the entire great room that leads to that vaulted area. In 2 months we are starting a project that will add roughly 500 sq feet and need an extra 4 - 6 vents added in multiple rooms being created and shifting other vents. putting us at roughly 2300sq ft with a poor front wall and crappy windows. I'm going to change the windows out, but that's a large project.
Sorry, didn't realize the questions were linked all together. I'll snap it over to a new thread question