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Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: Kestas] #5116347 05/26/19 11:55 AM
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JMJNet Offline
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Originally Posted by Kestas
Originally Posted by JMJNet
Check the capacitor every year and replace as necessary.
A lot of AC issue happens when capacitor went out.
It is not a bad idea to check what capacitor is used in the unit and have spare at home at least 1 for each type or get one of those multi capacitance capacitor.
A unit will have at least 1 or 2 running capacitor and 1 starting capacitor.

As long as we're on this topic, how do you manage capacitors in HVAC units? What do you look for, and when do you replace them?

My unit is 34 years old... original furnace and a/c. The a/c isn't used much here in Michigan. It'll likely die from corrosion before it wears out.


I bought a cheap capacitance tester (ONLY) from Amazon/Ebay that have a higher measurement range or you can get a more expensive multimeter with a higher range capacitance tester.

Every year, when I took off the winter covering, I tested all the capacitor.
For the most part it is good, you can see it bulging when it goes bad but 2 years ago I found a capacitor that is not bulging yet but it only has 2uF well below the rated 10uF.
It was an Amrad capacitor with 5 years warranty so I sent an email to them and they sent me a new one for free with a return label to return the defective one.
In TX, we used the AC more than the heater.
The AC coil cover usually goes up in late November/ early December and taken off sometimes in mid March.

Note: be careful when testing capacitor when the unit has been turn on.
Check Youtube and they have lots of video on this.

Based on experience, even in MI, you may want to turn the AC unit on sometimes to preserve the unit.
AC will go bad if you never turn it on.

Last edited by JMJNet; 05/26/19 11:57 AM.

  • 2017 Toyota Sienna
  • 1995 GMC Suburban 6.5L Turbo Diesel


Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: Kestas] #5116398 05/26/19 01:09 PM
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Dave9 Offline
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Originally Posted by Kestas
Originally Posted by JMJNet
Check the capacitor every year and replace as necessary.
A lot of AC issue happens when capacitor went out.
It is not a bad idea to check what capacitor is used in the unit and have spare at home at least 1 for each type or get one of those multi capacitance capacitor.
A unit will have at least 1 or 2 running capacitor and 1 starting capacitor.

As long as we're on this topic, how do you manage capacitors in HVAC units? What do you look for, and when do you replace them?

My unit is 34 years old... original furnace and a/c. The a/c isn't used much here in Michigan. It'll likely die from corrosion before it wears out.


Capacitors are a crapshoot. I mentioned a replacement that lasted only 14 months, then replacing that with the exact same thing lasted over 3 years before the whole unit was replaced.

Few people replace them preemptively, instead waiting for failure. When they fail they fail fast, will bulge on the end instead of being flat. It is a great idea to have a spare already if your unit is getting older.

The failure is pretty obvious when it happens, the motor starts making funny sounds instead of spinning, but the one I repaired was in an area right next to a garage and frequently used entrance door so the owner was in and out often enough to notice that.

Anyway the motor could have shot bearings/bushings instead but if you (shut off power to it first) and can spin the blades without resistance, it's probably not the motor. Windings could short out but that would usually trip a fuse and regardless the capacitors don't usually last as long as the motors so checking the cap first gets to the most likely problem the fastest.

Lastly, "lubed for life" fan bushings is nonsense. It just means the fan will fail if the bushing runs out of lube and will last MUCH longer if you use a very light oil to lube every few years. Once upon a time ago they used to have lube ports, even tubes going to the ports to squirt some oil in, but in recent decades they saved 20 cents by omitting those so it takes more labor to get to the bushings to lube them. On older units then often have a felt/other reservoir so you can get quite a bit of oil into them but make sure you don't over-oil to the point where it's pushed out into the rest of the motor.

Last edited by Dave9; 05/26/19 01:13 PM.
Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: tc1446] #5116520 05/26/19 04:03 PM
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My furnace and AC vintage 1982 and they still work well. Compared to my neighbor who has new AC and furnace I spend $300 - $350 more per year. Doing the math it makes no sense to replace them. I do have back up heat [gas fireplace]. When it comes to sell the house I'll probably replace them as people don't appreciate the old reliable equipment.

Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: tc1446] #5116527 05/26/19 04:13 PM
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bullwinkle Offline
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A spare dual run capacitor & a 24V contactor are good spare parts to have on hand, if you're mechanically inclined enough to replace them. Capacitors don't generally fail yearly, unless you have really high voltage or Chinesium caps!


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Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: gman2304] #5116533 05/26/19 04:23 PM
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tc1446 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by gman2304
I live 20 miles from you and their are plenty of HVAC people in our area who do emergency calls all the time. They even advertise as such on their work vans. My 24 year old Trane is happily humming away but if it poops out in the next hour I feel confident I can get someone out here today to fix it, granted at a premium on a holiday. I had a new furnace installed last fall and the tech checked my ac unit and said “ they don’t make them like this anymore” and it would be worth repairing when the time comes, though it does take more energy to run. As an aside, do you still have that IBM 30 cal carbine?


Thanks for info. I do still have the IBM.....Have we met before?


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Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: tc1446] #5116544 05/26/19 04:34 PM
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tc1446 Offline OP
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Super good advice and much appreciated. My Amer Standard Hi Eff has been kept clean, coils washed, etc., filters changed frequently. Fan blade turns easily but anything electrical is beyond my capabilities. I do know of a small contractor, recommended by an electrician friend. Based on all the comments it seems worth while to have him check out the system to see what he thinks. Maybe he can oil the motors too. Thanks again for all the feedback. Makes me feel a lot better.


'14 Kia Soul, 2.0L (29K)
'13 Accord EX-L 2.4L (110K) M1 & FU
'00 Ford Ranger 4.0L {69K} M1 & FU
'18 Polaris Slingshot 2.4L GM (QS & Bosch Cart.)
'07 Kioti CK-30 (Delo & Wix)
Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: tc1446] #5116680 05/26/19 06:58 PM
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zzyzzx Offline
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20 years old isn't bad. If it breaks get a window unit to use until you can get it fixed, or fix it yourself.
Replaced a contractor for less than $10 last summer. Used a window unit while waiting on the mail ordered contactor, since locally they were at least $40.

Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: tc1446] #5116720 05/26/19 07:29 PM
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twoheeldrive Offline
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Good advice on this thread. My recommendation, get a cheap window unit for backup. That will keep you going if the AC quits.

The AC in my houset is 35 years old and still going strong... although it has a small leak, so I have to add a pound or so of Freon every year. It's a five ton Lennox.

I think AC units can last a long time if they were installed correctly and not abused by running (by accident) in the winter and cycling them on and off quickly.


... using Mobil 1 since 1976.
Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: tc1446] #5116839 05/26/19 09:20 PM
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Perhaps this should be in a different thread, looking to get rid of the wall shaker and buy a floor model but they all look poorly made with cheap plastic. Any advice, don`t need central AC here.


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95 GMC 4wd mobil syn
2016 Equinox LTZ V6 dealer
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Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: tc1446] #5116941 05/27/19 04:31 AM
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My HVAC is about the same age. My son's friend is an HVAC installer and we sought his opinions not long ago. If your AC system is 20 years old, it's most certainly filled with R22 which is now VERY expensive because it was banned shortly after your unit was installed. If you need a refrigerant top-off, expect to pay up to $75/lb (varies locally). New units are rated by EER and SEER ([Seasonal] Energy Efficiency Ratio). Bigger number = higher efficiency.

A brand new unit today will only be a couple points higher today than the ones from 20 years ago if the old one is a decent name brand. The way EER is calculated has changed over time so, don't compare old units with new units. If properly maintained, the efficiency of a unit does not degrade much.

As time passes, units develop leaks and motors/compressors start wearing out. Replacement parts for the larger components are sometimes harder to get. Once the compressor is shot, it's generally not worth fixing especially if your unit is R22.

In my case, the system is well maintained and in good condition. I will run it till it drops. BTW: Capacitors are basically considered a consumable item. Any capacitor with the proper rating can be used instead of an OEM part. I've replaced mine a couple times.

Ray

PS: Stick with a large name brand such as Carrier or Trane. My son's friend feels that Carrier is pretty decent. Staying with a name brand will virtually ensure easy availability of parts and the service technicians will be most familiar with them. These things aren't rocket science so it's a simple matter of proper maintenance and availability of "consumable" parts.


Last edited by RayCJ; 05/27/19 04:39 AM.
Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: Dinoburner] #5117572 05/27/19 06:39 PM
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zzyzzx Offline
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Originally Posted by Dinoburner
Perhaps this should be in a different thread, looking to get rid of the wall shaker and buy a floor model but they all look poorly made with cheap plastic. Any advice, don`t need central AC here.


Is a mini split system an option?

Re: Get New HVAC or Keep Old? [Re: zzyzzx] #5117614 05/27/19 07:44 PM
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Dinoburner Offline
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Originally Posted by zzyzzx
Originally Posted by Dinoburner
Perhaps this should be in a different thread, looking to get rid of the wall shaker and buy a floor model but they all look poorly made with cheap plastic. Any advice, don`t need central AC here.


Is a mini split system an option?

Need to educate self, did check out a Mitsubishi a couple years ago, interesting. Thanks


77 Chev stepside 454 Casteroil syn
95 GMC 4wd mobil syn
2016 Equinox LTZ V6 dealer
Kubota L5030 T6
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