So I use to do A/C work before I went back into the Army...What I would tell you is before you buy your next property, walk outside and check the data plate on the A/C system. If it says that the unit requires R22 refrigerant then you may be able to knock some bucks off the purchase price. Here is why...
R22 is outdated, the EPA has required new A/C units to run off of 410A (Puron/ it has a pink sticker). If that unit is R22 it is going to cost you an arm and a leg for repairs because R22 has nearly tripled since being outdated. You can tell the seller during negotiations that the first sign of trouble from that A/C unit, any normal A/C tech is going to recommend you replace the whole entire unit. Using this strategy you may be able to knock 5k off the purchase price, use the current unit that is rated R22 until you actually do have trouble, then replace it later. Or maybe never replace it at all (if there isnt anything major wrong).
Also I would tell you that A/C heat pumps suck! I use to install them... Stick to the package units (units that are like a big rectangle and are on the outside of the house). Here is why...
When the installers install heat pumps there is a condensing unit outside, and an indoor unit inside (usually in the attic) and you have copper pipes (lineset) that run from the outside up the inside of the wall to the inside unit located in the attic or closet somewhere in the house. Well when the installers install the A/C unit a lot of time the guy who is doing the welding on the pipes are the lower paid guys who are just starting out in A/C work. Once they have done this for years then they move over to be a Technician (because they know a lot more now). A lot of the new guys DO NOT do a good job welding the pipes and it creates small pin hole leaks, and usually about a year later the A/C unit is low on freon...(get your check book back out, cause you gotta pay for more freon...).
Not to mention that the pipes run up the wall behind the sheetrock, this means that hopefully the framers, sheet rock guys, or cabinet guys have not shot a nail through your A/C pipe which will create a pin hole leak, again get your check book out because you will be paying to top it back off with freon a year from now, and you still have not got the nail out that pipe. The A/C guy just put more freon in it, he basically patched it up for another year.....Also with a heat pump the techs DO NOT put extra freon in your unit when they installed it to compensate for the 50-100 foot lineset/pipes that run up the wall, so you are already short on freon the day they install the unit, you just dont know about it....
If you went with a package unit (the square rectangle kind that is all outside) you shouldnt have to worry about being short freon because its precharged from the manufactor (I trust them more than a green helper that just started in the A/C business), and you shouldnt have to worry about carpenters, or sheet rock guys punching a nail threw the pipes that run up the side of the wall because its all self contained in that outdoor unit...Thus they call it a "Package Unit."
I hope this helps. I did A/C work for 3 years and now that I am in the rental game it helps me out a lot because I can do most of the work myself and I always know when an A/C tech is BS'ing me...This is just my experience, others may have different stories but this is based off what I have seen in the field...
Great point about the refrigerant! That never occurred to me. I.m gonna keep that in mind going forward. Muchos thanks! Here in sunny So Cal that's a big deal, especially in the valleys.
I don't worry too much about heat pump systems. I just keep a. eye on the guy brazing the lineset. There a couple of guys I'd trust. Everyone else gets eyeballs over their shoulder until they're vetted and then I still want an ironclad warranty. Just saying.
Generally I'd run linesets outside the exterior siding then unsoffitted through the attic. I'd never sign off on a job with a kink and I'd need to see whole line for that. This policy generally precludes nail and screw damage at installation and into the distant future.
Again, thanks the heads up. You are my new guru of HVAC!
All the best.
anytime! If I can help I will do my best!
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