Last week my household heat pump unit failed. The compressor was leaking gas, the reversing valve was sticking and the air handler was rusted and needed a good cleaning. The cost of repairs was going to exceed the value of my 1991 system so I looked into getting a new unit. A friend of mine had a straight AC system installed a year ago and he was very happy with the efficiency of the unit so I did a little research on the differences of the two.
Heat pumps use the system Freon to both heat and cool the air in the handler. A simple valve sends the compressed cold gas to the inside air handler and the hot gas to the condenser outside in summer, and then reverses them during winter for heat. Seems simple enough but a circuit board is also programmed to defrost the unit so the valve will be switched repeatedly during use. One little known fault of this is that a small amount of Freon is released with every cycle of the valve so over the course of a year you will need to recharge your system, which can be pricey, and of course the technician will want to upsell further maintenance to boot.
A straight AC unit has no valve and instead momentarily shuts down the cooling phase to use the household air to defrost the air handler coil, but an electric coil provides heat in winter. Now many people fear the use of heat coils because they can be expensive to run but I experienced this type of heating a few years ago when my heat pump valve failed one winter. There is an emergency heat setting on a heat pump that uses a coil in the air handler to heat the house so I resorted to that for a month while the unit was acting up. I admit I was worried what the cost would be but when the electric bill showed up it was actually less with the electric coil than with the condenser unit.
With less components to fail and a simpler design, maintenance on the straight AC system would be reduced so that sounded like a winner. I made a few calls and found a local guy who could replace the entire system for less than $3000. A 2 ton 14 SEER Rheem system with ten year warranty and 6 months of maintenance was included for the price and he acquired the unit and arrived for installation in three days.
Frank Diaz is a Cuban native who moved to America ten years ago. He was an orthopedic technician in the Cuban hospital system before moving to America and learning AC as a trade. The new unit was considerably smaller than the old and his attention to detail made the unit look like an original installation. The wife and I were very pleased with his crew’s professionalism and they had the unit up and operational within six hours of arrival, which after a week without AC made us very happy.
If you are in need of a new system at a good price give Frank a call 407-617-3510, and tell him I say hi.