Trying to make the decision to repair or replace an air conditioner it’s not always that easy. Granted when the cost to repair is above a certain percentage of what it would cost to purchase a new one, it can be an easy decision. However, when you’re on the border of that number it’s not always black and white. For the English family this was just the case. They purchased a 1970s built home after retiring to Las Vegas. Shortly after they had problems with the 25-year-old air conditioner that was on the roof. John knew that a 25-year-old air conditioner would not work for much longer without additional repairs. So, he contacted a contractor and had them install a new package Amana air conditioner on his home. That was seven years ago. The Amana air conditioner should be under Parts warranty. Unfortunately, it was never explained to him that he would need to register the unit online in order to get the extended coverage. His unit, now 7 years old, is broken. Any repair cost to the unit is his to bear. That includes parts and labor. Unfortunately, one of the more expensive things to have happen to an air conditioner is to lose a coil.
The first leak but not the last
When a coil blows out it is typically repairable. However, there are known defects common in some brands that cause the unit to leak overtime. Most of these are located near the rail that holds the copper tubing in place. This was a fairly common problem with the Amana brand air conditioners. As of today, I cannot tell you with confidence that the problem has been resolved with the manufacturer. Only that we see this same leak in the same or similar spot many times on Amana air conditioners. The leak is situated behind the holder and is not repairable. Furthermore, if it is repaired it is likely that it will spring a leak very shortly thereafter in a similar place farther down or up on the coil.
The challenging task of brazing the refrigerant lines, No easy task for even an experienced AC repair man
Replacing a coil on an air conditioning system basically requires the complete dismantling of the unit. While the lines are open we must be careful not to allow any particles to get in the system. Additionally, the welds must be done in such a way that you do not overheat other nearing components. I’ve witnessed both rookies and seasoned veteran air conditioning technicians create additional problems during the changing of a coil. Even in perfect conditions on a level surface with great ventilation it is difficult to master brazing two pipes together without getting too much heat north and south of your weld. Let alone trying to do this on a slanted roof when it’s 115 degrees out.
John mentioned that despite having the system serviced twice a year he was still spending a few hundred dollars in repairs each summer. Now, being confronted with a $1,000 repair to a seven-year-old air conditioner was just too much. He opted for a brand-new system.
There are several things that can go wrong with an air conditioner to cause it to fail. There’s even a handful that will affect both Heating and Cooling. Our experience with Amana brand air conditioners and Goodman air conditioners has taught us to look for these things on air conditioners between 5 and 14 years old:
• Signs of oil leaks in the bottom pan of the air conditioner
• Blower motor A/K/A ECM motor fails to turn
• Leaks at the capillaries where connected to the coil
• High amp draws for compressors
• Compressor failures open short or short to ground
• Uneven amp draws from one leg of the compressor
• On heat pumps, leak where the Schrader valve line meets the suction line
Goodman AC units over 25 years old we’re manufactured differently. We seem to experience fewer and different problems with those. If you are working on or trying to diagnose a Goodman or Amana air conditioner there are many videos on YouTube that may be of assistance. We’ve even posted a few of them ourselves.
New Air conditioning and heating warranties
When buying a new air conditioner, it is always a good idea to have everything spelled out in writing. Don’t be afraid to ask specifically about warranty coverage that is included with your purchase nearly every brand offers a 10-year Parts warranty. Unfortunately, if you fail to register the unit online you will more than likely not have a warranty longer than 5 years for components. As for labor warranties get if you possibly can. It is no secret that some brand air conditioners tend to be more reliable than others. That said every air conditioner could have an issue. Things happen. Even if it was manufactured perfectly it is not impossible that shipping can cause problems. These units are lifted and set down multiple times before they end up on your home. Anything Could Happen.
Labor warranties are set by the contractor that installs the unit. They must be at least 1 year. There is no requirement by law to extend further than that. Some contractors will offer an additional 2 to 10 years labor coverage. The smart money says to take them up on this. Extended labor warranties can be purchased through third-party insurers as well. Depending on the brand and the contractor length of time in business this may be your best option.
The English family chose us as their contractor because we have been in business for more than 10 years and offered a 10-year conditional labor warranty. In truth we are only able to offer this 10-year labor warranty because we are installing a brand that stands behind us the contractor. As a Rheem Pro partner we know if there’s a problem they’re going to help us with the solution.