Old 01-13-2008, 06:21 PM
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: connecticut
Posts: 1,711
Default Re: Mis-matching HVAC system (replacing outside unit without touching inside)

My company is in Connecticut so maybe building officials are different in Fla., but there is no permitting issues with a replacement you are discribing.
A 11 year old 12 SEER unit is most probably a R22 system. You should be able to match a 13 SEER R22 system with no problems. Your SEER may be a bit lower but close. Depending on the indoor unit you more than likely can get a TXV conversion kit if it isn't already a TXV. A 12 SEER probably is a TXV. This is assuming it is electric heat, not a heat pump. Heat pump may be possible but a bit more difficult. Based on what your local contractor experience has been I wouldn't attempt it if a heat pump.
As far as warranty, the equipment manufacturers have never given me trouble about a condenser swap attached to an existing indoor unit. Sounds like HVAC is a bit different in Fla.
To me the bigger question is what are your plans with the house , what is the shape of the indoor unit and what is the state of the real estate market and will a new indoor unit add to the vaue of the house enough to warrant the initial cost outlay.
Mechanically there is no problem with installing a 13SEER R22 condenser.
BTW, the point of the vacum pump is to draw a deep enough vacum in the system to cause any moisture to boil off (see Boyle's Law)and be removed. If they change the condenser ask to see the new drier - it's a cheap $20 insurance.
As far as warrantys go, the parts warranty is usally with the equipment manufacturer. I have gotten compressors warrantied for equipment I didn't install or sell. Some equipment companies also offer a labor warranty (ex: Tempstar) The contractors around here offer a 1 year warranty where the contractor deals with everything for you.
If you are not going to change the indoor unit, I would get competitive prices on a 13 SEER 3 ton condensing unit replacement. Ask neighbors who they use for HVAC.
Whew!Good Luck.
jwb is offline