Repair or replace HVAC?
I have a Carrier Super Saver / Lennox furnace and central AC unit, and they seem to date back to '83 or so (Carrier S/N is U3C31187). We just had our first problem ... the AC drain clogged and so the drip tray overflowed.
I blew out the drain line, so the system is running again. The water on the basement floor is no big deal, but it seems that some also dripped into the blower. It's not as balanced as it used to be. It's not shaking out of the mountings, but it's going to need to be repaired or replaced so that we don't lose it this winter.
While exploring the leak, I found corrosion in the drip pan. The fill valve on the condensor is broken (closed) so I can't add more R-22 without opening the system. But, it's cooling OK and not freezing the coils. So, I could replace the blower motor and fan, and I could replace the drip tray. What are some other things I should look for in the repair-or-replace quest?
What might I expect to pay for a new furnace and AC, installed? My heating and cooling bills have been reasonable - I might be able to save $50/month, so that alone isn't a selling point.
Thanks in advance for your great advice,
Welcome to the forum, Glenn Liston:
Your problems are minor and worth the repair. The refrigerant doesn't wear out or burn up; it only leaks out. A/C pros have a saying, "Clean first, gas last". If your evaporator and condenser coils have not been cleaned in a year or more, that should be your first step. You'll be surprised at the efficiency you will gain!
The squirrel cage is probably still in good balance; the blower motor is just getting loose in the bearings. The drain line needs a running trap in it to discourage bugs from plugging it up.
If these repairs get you another year or two from the systme, you can say you did well and saved or deffered a lot of expense. Systmes are designed to last 12 to 20 years and you have beat that.
I took some photos around the inside (easier than climbing inside, harder to forget what I saw). There's some surface corrosion on the heat exchanger - doesn't look like any perforations yet. There is a fair amount of dust on the evaporator, so it looks like some cleaning is in order.
Unfortunately, the evaporator drip tray is showing some rust-through. So, while it may be OK for now (cooling season is ending), It's probably not going to make it through another summer.
Shoot mine looked like that years ago, they just get to chugging a little more and they make some mildly disturbing noises and all but beyond that they keep on getting it, I'd have to guess it's been at least 2 years since the last service on mine.
My attitude is if it ain't broke don't fix it, and on that same note I run'em till the wheels fall off.
So long it doesn't require kicking, it's fine, gtg.
Oh I mean, by all means do start putting the money aside now.
You've got some advance notice, I would start saving enough so you don't have to finance this.
And I would be for having it serviced, that is, unless you have an air pump, this forum gives me some ideas on what to do on mine tomorrow, might take the electric bill total back under 900 a year, it jumped to almost 1,000 for the year...
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