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airheatman, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 8164
Experience:  Furnace, A/C and heat pump specialist.
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Tech says dead short in "condenser unit", 5 ton, see units

Customer Question

Tech says dead short in "condenser unit", 5 ton, see units online near $1500, he says $5500 total to do job, that's with my help getting it on roof no crane, sounds like about $800 per hour labor, is this way too much as it sounds, not replacing furnace/fan unit
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  airheatman replied 10 months ago.

Sounds high if only replacing outdoor unit and you should by no means have to help

Expert:  airheatman replied 10 months ago.

A legitimate price for just the outdoor unit including labor, mark up, solder welding and charging should be in price range of 3000 to 3500 and you should not have to touch anything.The online units often come without warranty as manufacturers often include a notice that purchasing online voids warranty.

It is normal for a contractor to sale the unit for double what he pays to cover overhead, refrigerant, labor and any materials required.

Expert:  airheatman replied 10 months ago.

Below is an example excerpt from Goodman about purchasing online.Many manufacturers have same clause in warranty.

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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
See condensers for $5-600, can I get that replaced in existing unit, and this thing was working fine 12 hours ago do condensers just go out in a flat minute, it did trip the breaker if that helps
Expert:  airheatman replied 10 months ago.

If breaker trips it is most likely what is called a short to ground in compressor windings. Now you can replace just the compressor but from a financial standpoint not a real wise is why. The compressor will run as you said about 600 bucks. If replacing just compressor you will need to install both a suction and liquid line filter drier which is about another 50 bucks. Then you will have to completely charge system which is about 400 dollars worth of refrigerant if R22 or 200 if R410A. Add about 4 hrs labor for removing, installing, vacuuming and charging system so another 400 bucks. Now we have spent about 1250 to 1500 bucks to replace compressor.Since it is going into what is considered a contaminated system you will only get a one year warranty vs a 5 or 10 year warranty if replacing unit.

Expert:  airheatman replied 10 months ago.

A compressor can internally short at any time.If there was no lightning storm it is likely due to age the oil viscosity in compressor broke down causing lack of proper internal lubrication and allowing windings to burn.

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