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    res06suc's Avatar
    res06suc Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jul 5, 2008, 04:29 PM
    A/C Compressor Replacement
    I know I'm going to get admonished for this but... here goes.

    I want to replace just the compressor unit in an older Weathertron outdoor unit. Question: can I do it myself? Yes, I'm mechanically competent but not HVAC trained. And, no I don't really care that newer units are more efficient. Quotes to replace the entire outdoor unit are running ~$4000 and I don't want to spend that right now.

    I'd like to swap in a new unit then have a certified tech do the purging, charging etc.
    So... if it's doable where can I find just a compressor unit for a 20-year old Weathertron?

    Thanks for any advice...
    wmproop's Avatar
    wmproop Posts: 3,749, Reputation: 91
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    #2

    Jul 5, 2008, 05:25 PM
    Get the numbers,, all the numbers off the top of the compressor,take them to about any local HVAC parts house and they should be able to match it up. Problem is they might not sell it to you if you`re not certified ,licenced,and /or have a account with them, who knows you can try. Then take out compressor and replace just as you found it. The wireing is important,the soldering is important, no leaks allowed, then call in a certified tech to finish the job. Goodluck,, where I`m at $40000.00 is a lot to replace the condenser and evap coil,, try 1/2 that, 20 years old is kind of old to be spending $1000.00 on and not have a warranty
    wmproop's Avatar
    wmproop Posts: 3,749, Reputation: 91
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    #3

    Jul 5, 2008, 05:27 PM
    Sorry,, 4,000.00dollars,, not 40,000
    T-Top's Avatar
    T-Top Posts: 1,871, Reputation: 100
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    #4

    Jul 5, 2008, 07:16 PM
    If you don't know refrigeration it can be a costly mistake. If you do try and get caught doing it with out a license not good $$$$
    res06suc's Avatar
    res06suc Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Jul 6, 2008, 10:03 AM
    Thanks guys.:) I'm more a fix-it than a replace-it person so what you're saying confirms that this unit can be restored.

    Question on soldering the connections: is silver solder necessary?

    As for being illegal, I don't intend to skirt the law, just salesmen who want to replace the entire outdoor unit rather than fix it. I'll hire a certified, licensed tech to make the purchase and do the final setup. Craigslist seems to have a number looking for work.

    BTW the $4000 was complete replacement of the outdoor unit with piping to indoor air handler.
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 435
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert
     
    #6

    Jul 6, 2008, 05:12 PM
    You braze the connections with 15% silver rod. You will need a good torch.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #7

    Jul 6, 2008, 06:32 PM
    Silver soldering (a.k.a. brazing) for the first time in a confined space with no leaks or damage would be a feat. I second the "good torch". You need extremely good flexibility and control to heat uniformly.

    I've done glass work (quartz and pyrex), silver soldering, plumbing soldering, electrical soldering, resistance soldering, TIG welding, MIG welding, STICK welding and they are all different.
    letmetellu's Avatar
    letmetellu Posts: 3,151, Reputation: 317
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    #8

    Jul 6, 2008, 06:48 PM
    Your skills are not the important thing to be concerned about in changing your own compressor. First it can be done but unless you are certified to work with equipment containing freon then you would be breaking a federal law. It is a law that will offer another person a $25,000 reward for turning you in, he does not have to prove you were doing anything wrong but you sure have to prove that you weren't. I think the idea of you calling a professional to do the job is you best approach to the situation.
    res06suc's Avatar
    res06suc Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    Jul 6, 2008, 08:55 PM
    $25K for turning me in? Hmmmm, that must be in the New America. In the Old America where I'm from these bounties were for information *leading to a conviction*. Fortunately, in that America the judicial system still held that a man was innocent until proven guilty, in other words, the burden of proof was on the squeeler.

    But not to worry, the earth is safe. Not one BTU of global warming will be attributable to errant escaping gases. A certified tech will be involved every step of the way... just not to sell me an entire new system.

    Thanks again to all for the advice.

    Anyone in the north Seattle region want to help?


    Quote Originally Posted by letmetellu
    Your skills are not the important thing to be concerned about in changing your own compressor. First it can be done but unless you are certified to work with equipment containing freon then you would be breaking a federal law. It is a law that will offer another person a $25,000 reward for turning you in, he does not have to prove you were doing anything wrong but you sure have to prove that you weren't. I think the idea of you calling a professional to do the job is you best approach to the situation.
    DRAKE4ME's Avatar
    DRAKE4ME Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Jul 15, 2008, 06:11 PM
    Sounds Like You Just Really Need A Good Service Company To Take Care Of You And Let The Experts Do Their Job
    Missouri Bound's Avatar
    Missouri Bound Posts: 1,533, Reputation: 94
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    #11

    Jul 16, 2008, 08:17 PM
    When a "professional expert qualified certified technician" does the job you are paying for his salary, the companys overhead, the fuel for his truck, the insurance that covers him and your dwelling, all parts and labor, a guarantee, the bosses retirement plan, medical insurance and a bunch of other things. Aren't you glad you are so generous? But do it yourself and you will save a bunch of money up front... Pay them now or pay them later when something goes wrong.
    hvacservicetech_07's Avatar
    hvacservicetech_07 Posts: 1,083, Reputation: 75
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    #12

    Jul 16, 2008, 08:39 PM
    You would be better off just buying a new condensing unit off the internet and finding someone to put it in. I think installing a new compressor in a 20 year old system is crazy, and a HUGE waste of money, and attempting it yourself is dangerous and also could be a waste of money. I will say 4,000 is a bit high, get some other bids.
    res06suc's Avatar
    res06suc Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Jul 17, 2008, 12:28 PM
    Thanks, that would certainly solve the problem... maybe. But, you miss my point, I like to do things myself and in the process learn what makes the world go 'round. Decades of poking my nose into *experts'* domains have proven that many so-call complicated tasks are possible with simple due diligence and appropriate prudence.

    Having said that I abide by Dirty Harry's advice, *A man's got to know his limitations.* I won't attempt brain surgery... :)


    Quote Originally Posted by DRAKE4ME
    Sounds Like You Just Really Need A Good Service Company To Take Care Of You And Let The Experts Do Their Job
    hvacservicetech_07's Avatar
    hvacservicetech_07 Posts: 1,083, Reputation: 75
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    #14

    Jul 17, 2008, 03:30 PM
    You have to understand that LEGALLY you can not do this project, and there is much more to replacing a compressor than just sticking it in place. It's your house, your money, do what you want , we are just trying to give you advice. I have seen this many times, the homeowner tries to do it himself, he ends having to pay a serviceman, and everything that he has done has to be redone, so you are the money for the original parts, new parts and a service call.
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 435
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert
     
    #15

    Jul 17, 2008, 03:54 PM
    As to mark up or costs of business, keep in mind a quality contractor that will be there for you when you need him may have some or all of the following business expenses:

    Not limited to;

    401K
    Coffee
    Health Insurance
    Holiday Pay
    Office Benefits
    Sick Pay
    Uniforms
    Vacation Pay
    Air Conditioning Equipment Maintenance
    Building Repairs
    Cleaning Service
    Electric Utilities
    Facility Mortgage Payments
    Furniture
    Gas/Oil Bill
    Landscaping
    Office Rent
    Parts Storage Racks
    Security System
    Shop Tools
    Callbacks
    Miscellaneous Hardware
    Air Conditioning License
    Answering Service
    Bad Debt
    Business Licenses
    Cash Reserves
    Certification Tests
    Chamber of Commerce Dues
    Collections
    Company Picnic
    Dealer Meetings
    Employment Testing
    Help Wanted Advertising
    Interest Expense
    Internet Access
    Inventory
    Inventory Shrinkage
    Invoices
    Legal Services
    Liability Insurance
    Management Training
    Mobile Phone Charges
    Mobile Phones
    Office Training
    Pagers
    Property Insurance
    Recycling
    Subscriptions
    Tax preparation
    Technician Training
    Trade Association Membership
    Brochures
    Charitable Contributions
    Customer Satisfaction Surveys
    Door Hangers
    Home And Garden Shows
    Magnets
    Newsletter
    Newspaper Advertising
    Other Advertising
    Outdoor Advertising
    Patches
    Radio Advertising
    Sales Commissions
    Warranties
    Website
    Yellow Pages
    Youth Sports Team Sponsorships
    Accounting
    Calculators And Adding Machines
    Computer System Maintenance
    Computers
    Copier
    Copies
    Fax Machine
    Files And File Cabinets
    Network
    Office Supplies
    Phone Bill
    Phone System
    Postage
    Postal Equipment
    Printing
    Software
    Stamps And Pads
    Telephone Bill
    Telephone Equipment
    Training Equipment
    Trash And Disposal
    Water Bill
    Call Taker
    Dispatcher
    Employee Incentives
    Employee Pay
    Management
    Office Staff
    Receptionist
    Technician Pay
    Federal Taxes
    Local School Taxes
    Local Taxes
    Municipal Property Tax
    Other property Taxes
    Sales Tax
    Social Security Taxes
    State Taxes
    Unemployment Insurance
    Worker's Comp
    Gasoline
    Ladders
    Radios
    Tires
    Tools
    Truck Decals
    Truck Depreciation
    Truck Insurance
    Truck Inventory
    Truck Ladder Racks
    Truck Maintenance
    Truck Shelves
    Trucks
    Profit
    Tool Insurance
    Truck Plates
    Life Insurance
    Equipment Insurance
    Warranty Expenses
    Code updates
    Other trade book updates
    Permits
    Dental / Vision Insurance
    Equipment Consumables
    Inventory Tax
    Research & Development
    hvacservicetech_07's Avatar
    hvacservicetech_07 Posts: 1,083, Reputation: 75
    Ultra Member
     
    #16

    Jul 17, 2008, 09:48 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by hvac1000
    As to mark up or costs of business, keep in mind a quality contractor that will be there for you when you need him may have some or all of the following business expenses:

    Not limited to;

    401K
    Coffee
    Health Insurance
    Holiday Pay
    Office Benefits
    Sick Pay
    Uniforms
    Vacation Pay
    Air Conditioning Equipment Maintenance
    Building Repairs
    Cleaning Service
    Electric Utilities
    Facility Mortgage Payments
    Furniture
    Gas/Oil Bill
    Landscaping
    Office Rent
    Parts Storage Racks
    Security System
    Shop Tools
    Callbacks
    Miscellaneous Hardware
    Air Conditioning License
    Answering Service
    Bad Debt
    Business Licenses
    Cash Reserves
    Certification Tests
    Chamber of Commerce Dues
    Collections
    Company Picnic
    Dealer Meetings
    Employment Testing
    Help Wanted Advertising
    Interest Expense
    Internet Access
    Inventory
    Inventory Shrinkage
    Invoices
    Legal Services
    Liability Insurance
    Management Training
    Mobile Phone Charges
    Mobile Phones
    Office Training
    Pagers
    Property Insurance
    Recycling
    Subscriptions
    Tax preparation
    Technician Training
    Trade Association Membership
    Brochures
    Charitable Contributions
    Customer Satisfaction Surveys
    Door Hangers
    Home And Garden Shows
    Magnets
    Newsletter
    Newspaper Advertising
    Other Advertising
    Outdoor Advertising
    Patches
    Radio Advertising
    Sales Commissions
    Warranties
    Website
    Yellow Pages
    Youth Sports Team Sponsorships
    Accounting
    Calculators And Adding Machines
    Computer System Maintenance
    Computers
    Copier
    Copies
    Fax Machine
    Files And File Cabinets
    Network
    Office Supplies
    Phone Bill
    Phone System
    Postage
    Postal Equipment
    Printing
    Software
    Stamps And Pads
    Telephone Bill
    Telephone Equipment
    Training Equipment
    Trash And Disposal
    Water Bill
    Call Taker
    Dispatcher
    Employee Incentives
    Employee Pay
    Management
    Office Staff
    Receptionist
    Technician Pay
    Federal Taxes
    Local School Taxes
    Local Taxes
    Municipal Property Tax
    Other property Taxes
    Sales Tax
    Social Security Taxes
    State Taxes
    Unemployment Insurance
    Worker's Comp
    Gasoline
    Ladders
    Radios
    Tires
    Tools
    Truck Decals
    Truck Depreciation
    Truck Insurance
    Truck Inventory
    Truck Ladder Racks
    Truck Maintenance
    Truck Shelves
    Trucks
    Profit
    Tool Insurance
    Truck Plates
    Life Insurance
    Equipment Insurance
    Warranty Expenses
    Code updates
    Other trade book updates
    Permits
    Dental / Vision Insurance
    Equipment Consumables
    Inventory Tax
    Research & Development
    That about sums it up! Common sense just isn't a good qaulity for this OP, I have a feeling he will be back in a week wondering why his house is hot!
    res06suc's Avatar
    res06suc Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #17

    Jul 18, 2008, 12:51 PM
    Thanks again for the ALL the advice. You are all well intentioned.

    But your attitude is kind of disturbing. Have you all forgotten what America is about? This is the country of individualists, who value the ability to do what they please without a nanny looking over their shoulder. I'll give in on handling the refrigerant, that's the law, but plumbing, wiring, etc are not rocket science otherwise they, too, would be prohibited. Here in WA they are not... yet.

    Sure, it might fail. Big deal. The point is, we as individuals enjoy the right to do it. That's a good thing, one that each of you also enjoy. And, please don't tell me that not one of you has not poked his nose and skilled hands into a task where a so-called *expert* was needed. If you're a successful parent I contend that you took on a dangerous task, without training, without a license and did well using your God-given ability to just figure things out.

    As for the nice list of expenses that must be covered I appreciate it. As a small business owner myself I understand costs quite well. In fact there were a couple on the list that I'll have to factor into my next bid. :)




    Quote Originally Posted by hvacservicetech_07
    That about sums it up!! Common sense just isnt a good qaulity for this OP, I have a feeling he will be back in a week wondering why his house is hot!
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 435
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert
     
    #18

    Jul 18, 2008, 01:04 PM
    This trade takes years of training. You cannot relay all that training over the net.

    I would not consider replacing a compressor in any unit out of the 5 to 10 year part warranty. It is just false economics.

    The days of repairing your own car without special tools are over. The same can be said of this industry.

    Good luck with your endeavors.
    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
    Uber Member
     
    #19

    Jul 18, 2008, 02:13 PM
    I put my hands nearly everywhere they don't belong. Always have.

    Let's take this project.

    1. You need a service call for someone to recover the refrigerent

    2. Now you can use the small hand tools, cur the old compressor out and replace it.

    3. Replacing it means you must be proficient in silver soldering and you can borrow a good torch. You must keep moisture and dirt out of the system.

    4. Then there is leak checking, which requires a manifold gauge set and a vacuum pump. If your not prepared to wait a long time to check for a leak, a micron gauge.

    5. Possible leak locating. Nitrogen, bubbles, UV dye, introducing freon and recover to electronic leak detectors work.

    6. Fix the leak and verify it's fixed.

    7. Charge.

    There is a lot too it.

    Assuming nothing went wrong, you have at least two service calls to recover and (check for leaks and charge).

    Furthermore, that person doing the charging has to accept the fact that your joints won't blow apart.

    Before I became certified, I replaced the evaporator in a relative's car because the tech said he would not do it (too much labor).

    I had installed an AC from just a box of parts before that and serviced and leak detected various other systems.

    So, I installed and checked for leaks. The car is much easier - no soldering and aluminum tubes. Just cleanliness and compatible refrigerent oil to lubercate the o-rings. The tech charged it.

    My install from a box of parts was good too. Every 8 years I had to replace two hoses. Then the compressor clutch died and it was time for a new car.

    So, your problem MAY be possible, but as hvac1000 pointed out, it doesn't make economic sense to replace it unless you know something that we don't.

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