Broken Heat Pump Liquid Return Line, Repair or Replace Heat Pump
Hi, I am a new condo owner looking for some advice. There is a little bit of a back story. We just moved into a condo in Washington DC. It has a 2 ton American Standard heat pump system that was installed in 2002 and has a 10 year extended American Standard parts and labor warranty. The heat pump for the unit is located outside in an alley.
When we tried firing the AC system up for the first time it did nothing and didn't cool anything overnight. The unit had been empty since the previous summer so we are not sure how much the HVAC was used and when it stopped working. We called the HVAC Tech, recommended by our condo assoc, but it was not the company that sold the previous owners the system and is not an American Standards dealer.
The Tech found that the liquid return line to unit in the alley had been cut, probably vandalized. He patched the break, but we are unsure how long it had been broken or how much moisture had gotten in there. He recommended replacing our 5 year old heat pump because we don't know how damaged the condenser is and it could go. He said this would be around $2000. He was pushing us to use our home owners insurance and claim it under that.
The other option was to pump the moisture from the lines and recharge it. He said that would be around $500-600. The problem is that the condenser could be damaged and go anytime. He quoted that a new condenser would be about $1200-1300, installed. He said that this might be covered under the extended warranty.
Long story... sorry!
I have few questions, though.... would it be better to replace the unit? How likely is it that the condenser is damaged? If the condenser does go, would it be covered under the extended warranty? To me it seems like he is pushing a new unit because he can't do any work under the American Standard extended warranty because he is not a dealer. We have a $500 deductible on the insurance and our rates would go up, so it is not like it is a write-off if we get a new unit. Should we call up the people who installed the system and get their take? Has anyone ever heard of a return line being cut? It was just cut, none of the copper piping was stolen.
We are new to this so any advice would be great!