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    Heat pump compressor failure ?

    Asked Feb 15, 2007, 07:23 PM 1 Answer
    Our heat pump started making a funny sound, like it wanted to start but would stall out. The fan was workingg though, the unit was not cov'd in ice, the pipes outside were cool to touch,the aux heat was already on, which is normal , as it has been very cold here, the heat was keeping up to what was set on thermostat. We called for service due to that new funny sound, and when they checked, he said, compressor is short cycling, tries to start, but shuts down, the receipt said drawing locked rotor amps "72", checked run cap, not open or shorted, refrig. In system, wiring seems OK. He said the compressor is locked up, recommend replace it, along with run cap and dryer. The unit is 5 years old. The compressor itself cov'd by warranty, however, the other parts etc (refrigerant, run cap, dryer and some other smaller parts) are not , and I checked the warranty info, and it does say customer responsible for other parts and labor. Since that is a huge investment, I asked what if this doesn't fix the problem. I was told there can be "valve" problem, that they won't know until they install the new compressor, if it is bad, it may cost extra, they said about $100.00 or so. I researeched a little and found 3 valves, a check valve, expansion valve, not too expensive, BUT, the reverse valve can cost $500.00 plus an additional 4 or more hours of labor-a big job- which can run into another several hundred for labor, so that can be an additional close to $1000.00. Then found out, even after that is all done, there can still be other problems caused by the "system". An entire new unit, can cost about $2500.00 with labor, so what to do? This unit is only 5 years old. I called a dealer 2 hours away, he won't service out here, but said that $1000.00 price is a bit too high for what they need to do. The only other problem we had was few weeks ago, it was below zero, and the heat pump could not maintain temp set on thermostat even with aux heat on, it fell 2 degree below setting, called service and was told that is OK since it was so cold outside, that same day, it went back to maintaining temp set, so they didn't come out. Last year, after power outages, in summer, the AC failed, but we hit some rest buttons, and that did the trick. It's a Lennox elite 13, three zone, we live in NE PA. There is only one Lennox dealer that services here, the ones who came out today. Replace compressor? Is the $1000.00 fair? Or, should we replace entire unit?

    Last edited by CliffARobinson; Feb 21, 2012 at 02:37 PM.
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    mygirlsdad77's Avatar
    mygirlsdad77 Posts: 5,715, Reputation: 339
    Plumbing Expert

    Feb 21, 2012, 05:34 PM
    Just to many variables from area to area to give a good asnwer about if the price is fair or not. Also, everything the service tech had to say sounds more than reasonable. Just can't truly trouble shoot the rest of the system without the compressor working correctly. I will admit that Im not a heat pump guy, as we just don't have many of them in my area, but the basic function of the out side unit is the same, just heat pumps have aux-heat and reversing valves etc. The best you can do is to get a couple more quotes if possible (doesnt sound like that's much of an option for you in your area). From the description of what the tech said, it sounds like they know their stuff, so you may just have to trust them. However, even though the unit is only five years old, a complete new unit would not be out of the question. Once you have a locked up compressor, or worn compressor, it can contaminate the system and lead to problems down the road. If you have the money, and want to really sleep well at night, you may choose to look into a new unit. Don't get me wrong, if they do the compressor change out and replace the filter/drier, things may work for many years to come without a hitch. Good luck and please let us know how things work out.

    PS. I realize I just answered a fairly old post, but I was politely asked to do so. Take care all.
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