A/C Repair and Replacement

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A/C Repair and Replacement

Arbors
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Has anyone replaced their A/C unit recently? If so, do you have recommendations for a product and A/C company you used to do this?
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

Arbors
Administrator
Here's a link with some names others have used in the past: http://arborsofarlington.com/forum/forum.php?start=0&mNr=100036&tNr=30 Scroll all the way to the bottom f ...
AC Forum - 2010-10-08
Had a great experience with an A/C svc co and figured I'd add them to our short list of recommendations. Called them yesterday (mini heatwave pending, A/C on the fritz) and t ...
Kim - 2011-06-08
Please remember that you must notify the Board and coordinate with the management company with plenty of advance notice to access the roof. •
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

Arbors
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In reply to this post by Arbors
Thought I'd share what I learned fixing and replacing my own and other's heat pumps.

The original heating and cooling system was installed when Arbors was converted to condominiums in 1982. It is a split system heat pump. Half your system is on the roof and half is in your hallway or closet ceiling. The part of the system on the roof is called the condensing unit and is a two-foot metal box. It is connected by hoses and wires through the ceiling to the inside unit, called the air handler. Both the inside and outside units are powered by electric motors that are usually the cause of problems.

Since the inside unit is tucked in the space above your hallway it is difficult and expensive to replace. While most contractors will want to replace the entire unit for several thousand dollars, a few will repair it. AC companies often claim they won't or can't work on it and suggest removing it and installng another unit in your closet rather than in the ceiling. If air is not blowing out the vents or it is whining, squeaking or making a scraping sound, it most likely is the blower motor. Replacing or repairing the motor is significantly cheaper than replacing the whole unit. Michaels Heating and AC will troubleshoot and replace the blower motor for about $1000. They charge $90 to come out to diagnose it and take up to a week to get the replacement part.

The compressor motor in the outside unit usually is the main reason Arbors systems fail. It is generally more cost effective to replace the entire outside unit since the compressor is the most expensive component. Also the rest of the unit is probably rusted and delapidated from 20 years in the elements.

The inside and outside units do not need to be from the same manufacturer. They must only be the same tonnage. Tonnage is a measure of the heating and cooling capacity. Arbors one bedroom apartments have a 1.5 ton heat pump (Model number: GE BWD 718A100A0) and two-bedrooms have a 2 ton heat pump (Model number: GE BWD 724A100A0). They are General ElectricWeathertron systems. (GE sold it's air conditioning business to Trane in the 80/90s.) You can vary the tonnage of the outside unit by 1/2 a ton but it isn't recommended.

The current GE systems are rated 8 SEER. SEER is the measure of how efficiently the system uses electricity to cool or warm your home. The higher the SEER rating the more savings on your electricity bill. The lowest SEER allowed by the government is now 10 SEER. The highest you can buy is 14. The cost of the outdoor unit increases roughly 20% for every point increase in SEER. The amount of savings depends on how often your heat pump runs. In this climate in will take several years to recoup the increased purchase cost. Here's a calculator to help figure out what SEER rating is best for you - http://home.howstuffworks.com/ac5.htm . If you are replacing only the outdoor unit, installing a higher SEER unit outside won't return the same savings since the 20-year-old inside unit isn't as efficient as the newer equipment.

Three reputable companies make the compressors inside all air conditioner and heat pump brands. The significant difference in the brands is the quality of the case and the quietness of the machine. Since our units are on the roof it generally isn't worth it to pay more for these qualities. About half the owners have replaced their outside units.

The vast majority of available replacement outdoor units won't fit through the hatch from the third floor to the roof. A contractor will charge you to use a crane to lift the unit on the roof. The crane fee is around $400. Some owners have scheduled their jobs together and split the crane cost. Common problems I've seen with installations include units not mounted properly and not level or no insulation on pipes. This loses heat/cooling before it gets to your apartment and runs up your electricity bill.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

Arbors
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In reply to this post by Arbors
Well, it's apparent that this forum is much needed.

Condon-Reed my experience, they charged (when I was shopping the roof unit of the heat pump)just to give an estimate! My recollection is that is was something ridiculous like $125; which, had I gone with them, they would have applied to the $2,500 they estimated for the replacement roof unit.

I does seem as if an inside unit for the heat pump system of the installed size is no longer available. However, and I don't know if they have done this (one could call and ask), but Moran's (703-642-1200) said that they were going to try and get a manufacturer who would turn some out in a size to fit the our available hall-ceiling space.
clare on 05.27.04



Thank you for posting your suggestions for AC help. Here's an update on my situation.

A couple of weeks ago, I had AVS Systems look at the AC in my 1 bedroom unit. They suggested replacing the air handler (currently located in the ceiling walk-in closet; they want to take up space in the closet itself to install a new one) as well as the roof unit.

I had Donmar Heating and Cooling also look at the AC, and they said I only needed to replace the condenser coil in the air handler. The problem is locating a replacement condenser coil. However, the technician wrote down the model number incorrectly (should be a 13 letter and digit code), and there customer service has failed to return several of my calls.

Now I have two questions:

1. Has anyone replaced only the air handler in their 1 bedroom unit, and if so what was your experience?

2. If any of you still have your AC paperwork handy, and have a Trane AC air handler located in your walk in closet, can you tell me that last 4 digits of the model number of your AC?
Billy on 05.24.04
My air handler (inside unit) broke earlier this year. The first plumber I called, Flood, brought on a hard-sell customer service rep and was encouraging me to spend over $2,300 on a new unit that would have required reconstructing my entire hall ceiling because they don't make ones that size any more. That price did not include rebuilding the hall ceiling.

I got a second opinion from Michaels Heating and Air Conditioning, and they were able to find a new motor for the existing unit at a much lower cost. I recommend them if your air handler fails.
Jenni on 05.23.04



M.E. Flow (Alexandria, if I remember right) replaced our heat pump last summer, for about $1,800. Four or five of us split the cost of the crane, which M.E. Flow charged us its cost for rather than marking up; I think my share was about $80.

I was pleased with M.E. flow because the guy could have sold me a more expensive unit and didn't. He explained that it would have been more than our apt. needed. He also said that, while we'd get maximum efficiency by installing a new air handler (the inside unit) that was designed to work with the heat pump, there was no point in replacing the air handler as long as it was still working.

I'm not looking forward to replacing the air handler--the original one is in a ceiling space above the intersection of the hallway (we're in a two-bedroom unit). The guy from M.E. Flow said that nobody makes air handlers to fit that space any more, so when we put a new one in it will involve taking up closet space (and we all know how much closet space we have to spare here!) and a certain amount of construction mess and expense.

For AC service/repair, I can recommend Condon-Reed in Falls Church. Our AC didn't work two summers in a row. The first time I called Condon-Reed, it was working when the service person got here. He didn't charge for the visit. The second time, the (different) guy could have sold us a new heat pump, but instead he did a tricky repair, letting us get another year out of the unit for about $130.
Jan on 05.22.04



I was told that I needed to replace my outside heating/cooling unit on the roof.

I am in the process of getting quotes for the replacement. If there is interest on splitting the crane fees or a group discount please email me by Wednesday May 26 so we can secure a good rate. Also contact me or post any additional heating/ac service folks.
Thanks
Jason Meidhof on 05.21.04



I had the roof unit of my heat pump replaced last year at a cost of $1925.00.

It would have been useful to have had this forum at that time, although the installer, Moran's Refrigeration Services, did cut some slack because another owner in my bldg was replacing their roof unit at the same time.

This indicates, however, that when doing similar work, it might be an incentive to the contractor to give a price break when more than one unit is involved.

P.S. Don't be concerned about how the outside coil gets on the roof, just negotiate price and let them worry about it. The estimates you get should spell out and include all install costs.
clare on 05.20.04



Hello, I appreciate the outlet and the availability this avenue provides for feed back. I apologize to the above unit owner for the HVAC recommendations, but I only deal with commercial; although, recently I did come across a gentleman whom is very good with a variety of maintenance needs. His name is Art Carrick, and he can be reached at (703) 679-1534.
Billy Coleman on 05.14.04



In December, I replaced my entire system through Harvey Hottel, Inc. They were able to fit it through the hatch because of the size. They charged me around $2,000 for the whole job and they were great. My family has used them for the last several years and we've been very happy. Their number is 703.876.9599
Kacey on 05.06.04



I had an estimate to replace the outside part of my heat pump last year from Brennan's Heating and A/C Service in Woodbridge, 703-491-2771, www.BrennansHVAC.com. I found them by calling The Home Depot Comfort Center, 1-877-523-HVAC. I haven't had it fixed yet so I can't say if they're any good. The estimate was $2260. I'm in bldg 26 and was told the outside unit is too big to go through the roof access hole. They said they'd need a crane to get it up there. I also noticed Frosty's Heating and Cooling of Arlington, 703-671-9193, doing some AC work here but haven't spoken to them yet. I hope to get my AC fixed in the next month. I'll let you know how it goes.
Jay on 05.06.04



Hi, I live in Building 30, and I'm trying to find out what air conditioning repair companies other residents have used, and/or your experiences with getting your AC units repaired. The "air handler" portion of my AC unit is in my walk-in closet. Some repair companies I have spoken with won't even look at the unit because it's too difficult to access. I called the management company for suggestions, but the two companies they referred me to don't service Arlington or only deal with commercial. Any feedback on this bulletin board would be helpful. smile
Billy on 05.06.04
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

Arbors
Administrator
In reply to this post by Arbors
For those of you that are in need of replacing your Heating and AC Unit you will want to include John Nugents and Sons. You can call either Mike Jackson (703 887-1722) who is familiar with the property or Hiba Noori (703 356-7499)and incredible from the standpoint of "ease of process". They are also price competitive and their work is top notched! You will also want to know that unlike some of the other units replaced in our development the unit they installed for me fit nicely in it's original space so there was no need to put the new unit in the closet or having to retrofit it in the ceiling.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

Arbors
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In reply to this post by Arbors
I am a bit disappointed to find out how difficult and unreliable it is to gain access to the roof for repairs and or service to the outside part of Air-conditioning systems. I followed the process first by finding someone who will come to work with my unit and then going on to the web site where the form or application was located for roof access, filled it sent it two different ways one via attachment to an email and one by fax. Then I called the office just to find out that their system was down so they had not seen the email then I faxed a copy and then called and all of a sudden they found both my forms the email was back on working. What a run around just to arrange the access. Finally after working for two days and several phone calls back I was assured that Hector will be making sure that the access hatch will be opened and he will be letting me know of it. I waited from about 7:30 AM till about 9:30 and no one called me. Each time I called the office and each time when told someone will get back to me no one called and now it is almost 2:15 PM and no one has called so far nor the office bothered to return a reply to my email I sent them today. I also now lost the ability to get the company to come service my unit as they told me that the experience is the same with our condominium, that it takes too long and sometimes the timing to gain access is so unreliable that a lot of time is being wasted to wait and they are not interested in doing the job. Now I am left to hunt for another company and then go thru the lethargic management company to again gain access when a company agrees to come look at my system. I am suspecting that my outside unit needs to be looked at and perhaps replaces or serviced with charge of Freon. I just hope the management company that is so bad to communicate with gets their act together on this and other issues.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

DavidSmith
In reply to this post by Arbors
Thanks for your suggestions but we have ac repair 77005 experts near to help us with all type of heating and cooling issues. They have highly trained experts to handle the ac related issues.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

SteveGranger
In reply to this post by Arbors
I have done replacement with the help of an ac repair expert and new installed ac is working fine.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

RonaldCarter
In reply to this post by Arbors
HVAC Houston is a firm near us that offers air conditioning services, their experts are always available to help us to deal with ac related problems.
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hvac service

EvansDavis
In reply to this post by Arbors
HVAC company depending on their requirements and budget. Customers can make a choice depending on the location because multiple companies serve the same area. Opting for the top HVAC company is critical as it saves time and money, they also ensure comfort and follow the standards.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

Sharonda Ware
In reply to this post by Arbors
The link to the list of companies is broken. Can anyone repost? Anything recent? I've had 4 failed work orders placed with American Home Shield and I would like to point them right toward a qualified company, if possible please.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

suraiya
In reply to this post by Arbors
Yes I replaced my ac unit. As I am living in Dubai, so I contacted ac maintenance Dubai and they replaced it.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

DonaWigan
In reply to this post by Arbors
I have done replacement only because i have not done air duct cleaning from past few years and the system is not working properly. So, i preferred replacing the unit with the new one and further i will not do the mistake again for not regular cleaning the ducts.
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Re: A/C Repair and Replacement

MarianCox
In reply to this post by Arbors
To enhance the efficiency of the ac unit you need to have air duct cleaning. It makes the unit efficient and gives you clean and fresh air.