The Rheem residential Air Conditioner, my experience

There is always a reason for a blog, and the reason here is a failure. The reason here is a failure of the compressor on my Rheem residential Air Conditioner after only 3 years.

I previously had a Rheem residential air conditioner unit for about 15 years. Eventually it failed due to corrosion on the evaporation coils, 15 years was a good amount of time. I always service my AC units, ensure they are clean, coils are clean, and use high quality air filters.

Disclosure* This is my experience, your experience with RUUD/ Rheem AC units might be different, and we encourage you to leave your review, feedback, situation… below in the comments section.

Replacement Rheem AC Unit

Since it was time to retire the old Rheem, and she was a good AC unit for 15 years, I again went with a new Rheem. On July 28, 2016 we bought a Rheem RA1660AJ1NA – Classic 5 Ton 16 SEER Condenser, 208-230 Volt, 1 Phase, 60 Hz. The AC guy installed the unit and gave us one year warranty on labor.

Rheem RA1660AJ1NA

At first I was extremely happy, my Electric Bill dropped by almost $80 a month. Replacing an air conditioner normally does replace the electric bill. Older AC units loose efficiency and draw more electricity, as newer units are more efficient and sine they are supposed to be new, everything should work as efficient as possible.

The Rheem RA1660AJ1NA – Classic 5 Ton 16 SEER Condenser, 208-230 Volt, 1 Phase, 60 Hz

So let’s take a quick look at this New unit, and it’s specifications.

Rheem Classic® RA16 Series Air Conditioners Features:

  • New composite base pan – dampens sound, captures louver panels, eliminates corrosion and reduces number of fasteners needed
  • Powder coat paint system – for a long lasting professional finish
  • Scroll compressor – uses 70% fewer moving parts for higher efficiency and increased reliability
  • Modern cabinet aesthetics – increased curb appeal with visually appealing design
  • Curved louver panels – provide ultimate coil protection, enhance cabinet strength, and increased cabinet rigidity
  • Optimized fan orifice – optimizes airflow and reduces unit sound
  • Rust resistant screws – confirmed through 1500-hour salt spray testing
  • PlusOne™ Expanded Valve Space – 3″-4″-5″ service valve space – provides a minimum working area of 27-square inches for easier access
  • PlusOne™ Triple Service Access – 15″ wide, industry leading corner service access – makes repairs easier and faster. The two fastener removable corner allows optimal access to internal unit components.
  • Individual louver panels come out once fastener is removed, for faster coil cleaning and easier cabinet reassembly
  • Diagnostic service window with two-fastener opening – provides access to the high and low pressure.
  • External gauge port access – allows easy connection of “low-loss” gauge ports
  • Single-row condenser coil – makes unit lighter and allows thorough coil cleaning to maintain “out of the box” performance
  • 35% fewer cabinet fasteners and fastener-free base – allow for faster access to internal components and hassle-free panel removal
  • Service trays – hold fasteners or caps during service calls
  • QR code – provides technical information on demand for faster service calls
  • Fan motor harness with extra long wires allows unit top to be removed without disconnecting fan wire

General Terms Of Limited Warranty for Rheem Classic® RA16 Series Air Conditioner

  • Conditional Parts (Registration Required): Ten (10) Years
  • Rheem will furnish a replacement for any part of this product which fails in normal use and service within the applicable period stated, in accordance with the terms of the limited warranty

That’s a 10 years warranty on these Rheem residential AC units. But not on labor…

When the problems starts with my Rheem residential air conditioner…

Here we are 3 years later, and I am writing a blog on the Rheem Classic® RA16 Series Air Conditioner unit we bought. Why, the compressor failed.

Rheem residential air conditioner

Almost the middle of summer, and our house is 85 degrees inside. I look at the fuse panel and the circuit breaker for the AC system was tripped. Ok, I turned off the entire AC unit, waited a few minutes and reset the circuit breaker.

Flipped the AC unit back on, and the circuit breaker immediately trips. I noticed the on the outside unit had started to turn on, but immediately powered down as the circuit blew.

The inside unit stilled turned on the fan moved the air around the house, hot air. Since the compressor was not turning on, the AC was not cooling and only hot air was being blown around the house.

I had checked to make sure the outside fan was not locked up, and it was free to spin. Since the circuit breaker on the panel was tripping, I pretty much knew it was the compressor that had locked up.

Finding an AC Repair company

I pretty much know the compressor is the part that failed on the Rheem Classic® RA16 Series Air Conditioner. I call my previous AC repair person and he tells me that he is out of the country on vacation. He also mentions that he only provides a 1 year warranty on the units when they are installed, but that Rheem does provide a 10 year warranty on the unit parts.

So now I am going to get a few quotes to replace the AC compressor under warranty. But before calling around, I want to do some homework and have an idea as to the scope of work to replace a Rheem compressor for my residential air conditioner unit.

I take to YouTube. I watch a couple of videos on AC unit compressors replacement. After watching several videos, it seems pretty easy, but obviously not something I am willing or able to do as I don’t have an HVAC license.

How to replace the AC Unit Compressor

I recommend you call an AC tech to do this, but I did get the basics on how to replace the AC unit compressor. Make sure to shut down power to your AC unit before even touching anything. An AC tech should first test and diagnose your AC system to verify what is damaged, and possibly even what could have caused the failure in the AC unit.

To replace the AC compressor:

  • R410A gas should be collected from the lines
  • Ensure power if Off/Trip circuit breaker
  • Open the outside unit housing
  • Unsweat the soldering to the compressor
  • Unscrew the compressor
  • Remove the Compressor

The AC tech will take the compressor and have it replaced under warranty. Then come back and reinstall the AC compressor.

  • Replacing the AC compressor:
  • Screw the compressor to base
  • solder the lines
  • recharge the lines with R410A

I’m not an HVAC tech, so I made that seem very basic, but those are the basic steps to replace the residential air conditioner compressor for the Rheem / RUUD AC unit.

Preparing to get quotes to replace the Compressor on my Rheem residential Air Conditioner

Before calling anyone, I checked the prices on R410A, which is the gas my AC unit is supposed to have. I found it on Amazon for about $120 for a 25 pound bottle.

I now know more or less how much work is required to replace the air compressor on my AC unit. It’s always a good idea to have a decent idea on cost of parts and scope of work before calling any contractor. This will give you a fair idea as to how much you should be charged for the work to be performed.

In my case, the compressor is under warranty for that is $0. My Rheem residential Air Conditioner unit takes about 10 pounds of refrigerant, and I know they sell 25 pounds cylinders on Amazon for about $120. And I have a decent idea of the scope of work to replace the damaged or defective part.

Quotes to replace the Rheem / RUUD Compressor under warranty

WOW… What a range in prices.

We called about 10 different AC companies. I was pretty clear with them. Our AC failed, and we have a defective Rheem residential Air Conditioner, and had even taken a picture of the Model number RA1660AJ1NA – Classic 5 Ton 16 SEER Condenser, 208-230 Volt, 1 Phase, 60 Hz.

Told them all that my AC unit is under manufacturer parts warranty, and I needed the Air conditioning unit diagnosed, AC compressor replaced, and R410A gas replaced.

Quotes were between $450 to $1200. $1200 for a warranty replacement of an Air Compressor on a residential air conditioner??? WHAT A RIP OFF!!!

Before getting into the quotes, let me give you a WARNING!!!

Some AC companies will tell you that they need to send a technician to your house to diagnose the problem before they can give you a price. BS!!! What they are doing is sending a technician out for a SERVICE CALL. They will charge you anywhere between $59 and $99 for the service call and then quote you a high number. Since you already have a bill due for the service call, you normally take their high charge for the work.

One of the companies I called was determined on sending a technician out before they could give me any pricing. When I said no, that I wanted a quote first, she said she would have someone call me and she needed my information. THIS IS A SCAM. They were basically a lead generating company who sells the lead to an AC company. And of course, I got a call about an hour later that an AC tech was on the way to my house.

When we told that AC company that we did not want anyone coming to our house without giving us a quote, they then put a tech on the phone. He was very nice (Chris), but his price was $980 to have replaced the Rheem AC compressor under warranty. Obviously NOT.

One of the companies that quoted me $1200 said that they refrigerant would cost $49 to $79 pound depending on how refrigerant my AC unit would take…

Clear if someone can buy 25 pounds of R410A on amazon for about $120, they must get a better price at wholesale. So let’s do math. $120 divided by 25 pounds, equals $4.80 per pound. nice mark up there buddy…

Bottom line on this warning:

Have an idea of the Scope of Work required to before calling around to any contractor!

I clearly understand that no one works for free. If you have a profession and went through the course to get an HVAC license, you deserve to make an income from your work. But just don’t overcharge me, be fair. Fair and just pricing will always earn a referral and continued business.

Here are the Quotes I received to replace the Compressor on my RUUD / Rheem RA1660AJ1NA – Classic 5 Ton 16 SEER Condenser, 208-230 Volt, 1 Phase, 60 Hz Residential Air Conditioner.

  • Pembroke Pines Air – 954-450-8448 – $650
  • Air Pro USA – Lead Generator – $59 service call, Tech said $980 to replace compressor under warranty
  • Cool Air Pro – 877-895-1155 – $1025 plus $49-$79 per pound for Freon
  • AC Repair Pembroke Pines – 954-239-3659 – Would not give estimate without sending a tech
  • HAC Cooling AC Repair – 954-594-7819 – $1100
  • Antartica Mechanical Services, Inc. – 954-927-2000 – $500 (Ended up hiring them)
  • AC Fast Solutions – 954-934-5634 – $650
  • JRH – 954-696-8329 – $650
  • Proserv America – 888-599-7685
  • Keep Cool Air – 954-448-7174 – No quote

Disclosure – Just want to be clear and fair. I tried to relate the information of the scope of work I wanted quoted to the best of my ability. These AC contractors could have misunderstood what i was trying to say, or I could have spoke with a secretary who just did not have accurate pricing. This should not be a reflection on the above listing AC repair companies, and you should base your opinion on your own experience.

About Antartica Mechanical Services, Inc. – Well this one did not go off without problems either. I’ll finish their feedback as soon as they complete the job of replacing the AC compressor on my Rheem AC unit.

Wrapping this up this AC problem

It’s extremely important to not panic and just call the first AC repair company you find on google or another directory.

I know it’s hot, your AC doesn’t work. Maybe the wife and kids are complaining and driving you crazy. You just want someone, anyone to come fix your failed AC unit.

That can cost you a significant amount of money if you don’t do some homework. Be a conscientious shopper.

Try to do some research on google, youtube, blogs, even forums. In my case, I had a good idea it was the AC compressor. I knew that the circuit breaker for the exterior unit had tripped, possibly due to the compressor being locked up and drawing too much electrical power.

Did some research and pretty much confirmed my diagnosis, but not 100%. I could be wrong.

Looked at some videos on how to replace an AC compressor on youtube so I would have an idea off the scope of work required.

Research what part(s), or product(s) I would need. The Rheem residential air conditioner has a 10 year manufacturer parts warranty. The compressor would not cost me anything, just labor and recharge the refrigerant.

The R410A refrigerant in my Rheem AC unit costs about $4.80 (25 pounds for about $120) on Amazon and my unit would take between 7 to 12 pounds.

I shopped around and did not just take the first AC repair company. I mentioned to them what I felt I needed and wanted a quote on the work if I was correct; To replace the Rheem RA1660AJ1NA – Classic 5 Ton 16 SEER Condenser, 208-230 Volt, 1 Phase, 60 Hz Residential Air Conditioner’s compressor under warranty and replace the refrigerant.

I won’t buy a RUUD / Rheem residential air conditioner unit ever again!

Sorry but I don’t feel the compressor should have failed after only 3 years of regular use. I just won’t buy another RUUD or Rheem residential air condition ever again. There are several other good quality Home central AC units on the market to choose from.

I hope you do some research before calling AC repair companies. This will save you plenty of your hard worked money.

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