Posted by: admin in Business,General,Home Office,Office,Office Improvement,Services on December 11th, 2014

My GE room AC has begun to act up. It will run for 5-7 mins and then quit. The fan will come back on after 30 seconds but the compressor won’t. When the compressor tries to kick in again it grinds down to a halt. It’s drawing a lot of current as the TV will brown out. So I checked my thermostat to see if maybe there is some cold air blowing on or near it causing it to prematurely shut down. As soon as it warms back up though it tries to turn the compressor back on. The refridgerant though has not had enough time to bleed through the system in 30 seconds, so the compressor is trying to start against a heavy load.
It infact is stalled so the built in thermal protection turns it off. It eventually clicks back on and repeats until it gets going. This is normal activity when the compressor is “short cycled”, but its not particularly good for it, so I did not run my unit until it gets fixed. The compressor does not have enough it is shutting down the unit too soon and back on right away.

I also checked if the condenser clean and if the condenser fan running at full blast. I do not have too much on the line so it could not be the compressor is overheating and kicking out on thermal overload. The unit is directly connected to a 110VAC voltage outlet.

I tried calling around to get quotes to me general idea of what I am facing. I might may be better off with little mom and pop shops compared to national chains. Sometimes they will give you a better deal that a chain won’t.

I had someone come out and take a look at it, and he said the capacitor went bad, so we had it replaced. The cool air started flowing again, and we enjoyed cool AC for about a month, then the AC again stopped working. The same guy took a look at AC unit and he said this time the problem was a bad compressor. He said it is still under warranty but that labor to replace the compressor would be well over $1000.

I went to other repair guys to take  look at the unit to and for a quote of the cost of repair on the unit.  Based on all the feedback, it sounds like the clear thing NOT to do is to just get a new AC unit, but probably trying to get the current AC fixed (compressor replacement) and wait for the old furnace to fail before changing the entire system as a matched set – new furnace and new AC unit.

$700 does seem kind of high for compressor replacement labor (considering the part would be replaced under manufacturer’s warranty), and the cost of installing a new AC unit seems kind of low by comparison since the Goodman the AC guy quoted is probably costing them $1350 wholesale… so $1500 total would mean labor is $150.

I don’t get these AC repair guys.. the first guy said around $1200-1400 to replace the compressor under warranty, the second guy is saying $700, which is better but still does seem high.. if in fact the same type of work goes into installing a new unit, you’d think the labor would be $150 or in that ballpark.

A friend told me that in his area, it costs at a bare minimum, $60 to get someone just to come out on a service call, and if the unit is not worth repairing, the repair cost will be put toward a new unit, which, according to what I’ve been told, would cool better using less energy than the old one. Air conditioning units are really heavy, so taking one in to a shop for service would be a lot of work. Then, the shop would most likely charge you about the same as a service call to diagnose the problem. I don’t like the idea of throwing something away and buying new, but maybe this is one of the times when that is the most practical decision.

So I tried looking around and searched online for other ac repair Phoenix  to find out who can give me the lowest price to repair my unit. The guys that gave me the lowest repair cost are from Cool Touch and they also have promos. They have vastly experienced technicians to assure the best satisfaction. These  also solved my problem at an affordable price. Extensive testing procedures and quality control methods employed by them will guarantee a perfect service.


Posted by: admin in General,Home Office,Investment,Office,Services on December 6th, 2014

heating repairIn this “throw it away” “planned obsolescence” world we live in, I’m always dubious when told “you should get a new one”. So, as I look at my ~ 1989 “Day & Night” furnace and hear the HVAC guy say this, I’m not convinced. So I’m asking my fellowmen for insights…

Existing furnace & related: Circa 1989 “Day & Night” downdraft furnace (electronic ignition), estimated 60000 BTU (3 ton?). Location: SF Bay area (i.e. not cold), 1800 sq foot house. Used 4 months of the year for average of $80/mth.

Current problems:

  • sticky relay on control board means the blower fan doesn’t always turn off
  • blower is out of balance so it causes vibration in the house and is quite noisy and somewhat annoying

I had an HVAC guy look at it and he quoted a new Trane furnace for $4k plus $2k install for a new 96% variable speed (yada yada) furnace, sealing the existing ductwork to bring it up to California efficiency code, permits, inspection, new PVC vent piping etc.  “Not worth repairing this old thing”.

Random thoughts:

  • I don’t think the extra efficiency of the new 96+% furnaces pays off in the 20yr lifetime of the furnace as our usage is so low
  • surely fixing the blower balancing / motor / bearings (whatever is wrong?!) would be easier, and quite likely a DIY job as its separate from the gas work
  • while I’m at it, replace the control board. It seems like there are plenty available for < $100 that will fix the relay
  • Home Depot charges $1600 for a no-name furnace, but the Home Depot recommended installers don’t install them – just Trane or Rheem for 2x the price. I’m guessing that for ~$1500 I could eventually find an installer who would do it for $3k total replacement cost


  • I don’t have the manual and can’t find the model # on the furnace. This is making it hard to identify things exactly and get online DIY pointers

We really would appreciate the increased comfort from stopping the vibration and likely lowering the noise, but none of this has to be fixed “right now”.

My other concern of “vibration” seems to be an unbalanced blower. The blower imbalance and resulting vibration is more of a problem for me than the control board. Right now I can hit the side of the heater to help the relay along and then its good for a few weeks (but of course its a problem just waiting to happen). One HVAC company said “it would cost at least $1000 to take out the motor and fix the vibration”. I found a good description of how to re-balance it and several good youtube videos on replacing the whole motor and blower myself if it comes to that. Its basically two screws and the whole thing slides out.

You can literally replace the whole thing if you want, but there are also easy to find new motors, blowers etc. E.g. electric motors for my furnace are < $200 (and possibly < $50 – I haven’t pulled it out yet to get the exact part #).  One estimate of a friend is something like: “It takes an experienced tech about 30 mins to change out a motor. A DIY type should allow 2-3 hours. The hardest part is if the blower is frozen to the motor shaft. Use WD40 and patience – not a bigger hammer”.   Indeed, this could perhaps become a nice summer project if only I am not too busy. And furnaces can sometimes give you head aches, especially if it’s cold outside and you need it more than ever. To make sure you don’t need furnace repair services on a winter day, save yourself some time and money and learn how to repair your furnace and keep it in a good condition.

I have used RighTimeHome Services several times. Very very good and professional, and not the expensive in town. I highly recommend their heating repair Long Beach CA. I have used this company several times with great results at a fair price:

No connection other than a satisfied customer.

Replaced my two split systems recently (2 x 2 ton ACs + 2 x 90% furnaces all TRANE) at a fraction of the cost of the larger places.