Small condo's R22 CentralAC repair or replacement options-any advice!?

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New Member
Jun 14, 2023
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Colorado Springs CO
For a good friend of mine who, is disabled with daily caregivers service visits, turns to me for advice:

We live in Colorado Springs Colorado.

He owns and lives in a small 777 Sq Ft 2 bedrooms, single floor condo with a full crawl space underneath, build in 1973.
There is another condo unit partially above him and his attic is very well insulated so fans work well for any heat he feels in the summer.

The condo is simple, you walk into his front door and to the left is the dining room(with water heater and HVAC closet) and kithen and stacked washer/dryer. To the right is the living room. Straight ahead are the 2 bedrooms to the left and right.
See pics.
His condo has a central AC R22 unit he would use just occasionally in the summer, which has now stopped working several years ago.

He has been comfortable without it yet he recently came into some money, so he would like to get it working again, mainly for when out of town family might stay for a visit.

It's a Lennox Model #HSW4-261-1FFP per its data plate, found on the compressor Condensor combo, which sits outside his kitchen window on a concrete pad.
Data plate also says: Max AC amps 16.1, R22 4lbs 10oz, high pressure 455 psi, low 150.
See pics.
Online says this AC model is a 2 tons unit.

The Evaporator sits in a box under the furnace in a closet in his dining room.
His furnace is new from last year, a Goodman 80% effecient forced natural gas.
I found service Information online for his exact Lennox AC system.
See pic.

I know a bit about AC systems just from working on my own cars. I do own a vehicle AC manifold pressure test kit.

I suppose his AC system problem might just have a leak and is too low on R22 to come on now.

He is calling AC/Plumbing companies and they have given him 2 new central AC system cost estimates which seem high to me. He is seeking a few more.
Both companies have said the R22 refrigerant can't be bought/system repaired and they did Not try to trouble shoot his system at at all.
Instead they only say it needs to be completely replaced.
Yet I see online there are R22 freon replacements I'm confused.
I'm encouraging him to use Yelp and Nextdoor app to review and compare companies.
BUT First and foremost I'm trying to figure out if it's possible that his current system can just be repaired for a resonable price?
What do you think:
Here are the 2 estimates he has gotten so far, although he hasn't gotten them on paper yet....
One paper he lost and the other never gave him anything on paper!
This is all he wrote down, he doesn't know the tonage-sizes, what brand...or:

1. $8,600 for a Seer 14 or $9,700 for a Seer 15-effeciency rating.
2. $6,378 from another company "w/seniors discount applied"

I think the law allows them to go over their estimates by like 10% as well when they do install...for unforseeables...

Well we'd like any suggestions or advice or critisism on this!

Q's review:
1. Is R22 keeping the old unit from being repaired? If any R22 is left in the system isn't it valuable?
Aren't their direct replacements for R22?
2. How do the estimates look?
3. What AC brands are good and which are bad?
4. Can they go over their estimates?
5. What are we missing?

Thank you very much for your time!


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I replaced my two units last year including the gas furnaces.

The Trane 2 ton unit was $7,334 and the 2.5 ton unit was $6,800. The first floor unit (the 2 ton) was more expensive because the furnace was a condensing unit. The second floor unit was not.

Do you know the age of the units? I wouldn't sink much money into anything over 15 years old. Mine were 22 years old when I replaced them. They were serviced regularly and over the years I've spent a couple of grand on inspections, replacement blower motors, freon, and a capacitor or two. If the unit has been unused for several years and the freon has leaked out they may be too expensive to repair, and parts might be a challenge on them if over 20 years old.

I have an independent guy maintain my equipment. I've been using him for years. We nursed my units far longer than my neighbors that use big companies like ARS. ARS is really good at selling new units. One neighbor is on his third set, I'm one year into my second. That neighbor uses ARS. Bottom line, I'd get another quote, especially if you got it from one of the big national companies.
Another forum response said the AC unit model was one of the best and simplest and to have it diagnosed for sure before replacing. We found a really nice AC tech who came on his day off and figured out the capacitor was bad and just slightly topped off the r22 freon. $200 is what he charged. My friend was thrilled.

Be careful, Seems so many dishonest people on drugs(alcohol or other), just want your money for the drugs, will upsell you instead of fixing what can reasonably be fixed.
If you're ever again in the situation where R-22 is needed, there's no need for a new machine based on that alone.
Reclaimed R-22 is still (March 2023) available in the U.S.

If the service technician recovers your R-22, she can sell it to a reclaim service & pass the savings on to you. (Or reclaim the recovered refrigerant herself for resale.)

Also available are R-22 replacement refrigerants for your existing machine.
None give 100% of the original capacity, but many come close. Some can use the existing oil and expansion device, some require changing those components. All suggest that the o-rings be changed, which are usually only on the Schrader stems in residential (10 cent part).

After recovering the remaining R-22, I've used a few of the replacements on large chiller units with no problems & usually 8-12% drop in capacity.

I've seen Lennox techs with RS 44b replacement (RS-70 outside the U.S.). One told me he likes it & found no drop in capacity, but a lower discharge temperature (a good thing).

PS: Be careful of buying R-22 on eBay com or Bonanza com. Someone I know bought a cylinder of "R-22" and it turned out to be R-290 in disguise (very flammable propane).
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