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Question DetailsAsked on 6/19/2017

17 yr old Trane 5ton had a/c checkup. Blower motor oil leak. Repair/convert or new 410 unit?

Good trane r22 system. No leaks except this blower motor. There r 3 capacitors, 2 are just below the acceptable variance (15 on inside unit is reading 14.6 and 7.5 on outside is reading 6.4). Third is 3 yrs old with full 80 reading. I am in Texas and am not an avid a/c-heat user. Meaning my system is not used more than 6 months out of the year. When in use thermostat is 82 summer and 68 winter. Is it more cost efficient to make repairs on and make 410 convertion on a 17 yr old unit or buy a new 410 unit? Looking at a lennox.

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1 Answer


17 year old unit - I would not do major repairs, nor convert at that age, which is basically near or going over the hill past design life expectancy. Whether you put in maybe $300-500 on a new blower motor depends on how put out you will be if the unit fails otherwise in the next year or two - but might well keep going for several more years, saving you quite a few thousands for replacement now (though I would start saving up for a new unit). My philosophy, especially for a unit which is not considered "critical" by the homeowner if it fails and is out of service for a week or so, is if it has lasted a goodl long time without costly failures, consider it a - what - an apple maybe (the opposite of a lemon, anyway) and keep it going until it has a major costly failure which then brings up the economics of repair versus replace. [Lot of responses on the repair/replace economics and decision can be found in the Home > HVAC link under Browse Projects, at lower left.]

One other thing - few units these days can economically be converted from R-22 to R-410a because of the pressure difference, but there are replacement refrigerants for R-22 when it starts becoming unavailable or too expensive to get, and require no or little conversion (sometimes a new TXV valve if your is not adjustable, and commonly flushing the system before putting the new gas in). Honeywell R-422D for instance.

Personally, with the quality of new units, if yours has lasted 17 years if the replacement of the blower motor is not over about $500 I would go with that.

The other question I have is the oil leaking from the blower motor - could mean grease in a sealed bearing has started liquifying with age, or could be an oilable unit that got overfilled last maintenance because the tech did not realize it only takes a few drops every year, or sometimes tech intentionally dribble oil on it and then say it has failed - so the oil leaking by itself is not a motor "failure" as long as it is running smoothly and not locked up, chattering, grinding, fluttering, or causing the fan to run off-balance. Also, if an oilable bearing with oil hole, even if the seal has gone out, might well be just making sure to oil it every year will keep it running for a long time - because I have never seen a small motor like that have an oil "reservoir" that can leak - it is just oiled and maintains a bit of oil in a felt pad, but no reservoir of liquid oil - so the leak may mean nothing of note and very commonly is due to overoiling and does no harm as long as it does not flip oil onto some component which can be harmed by it.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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