Is the recall in effect
You mentioned a York evaporator recall on some of their AC units. Do you have any more details on when and which ones? I am in the unpleasant position of having to replace coils less than 2 years after moving in to a new home. I want to see if the builder knew they were putting garbage in. What do you think of Trane ACs? Thank you for your time and expertise.
Answer from Green Energy Efficient Homes
The only details I can find on a York evaporator recall that is officially acknowledged by Johnson Controls (the manufacturer of York) are for units made before 2007. A letter went out to HVAC dealers in October 2007 at the following web address, which is no longer active as of January 2015:
I doubt you would be able to do much in terms of approaching your builder for compensation (or suing them) based on the fact that a York evaporator recall may have been in effect for your vintage of York AC unit when it was installed. After all the point of a recall is that the manufacturer acknowledges there was a problem in the manufacture of the system and offers to remedy it free of charge.
From what I’ve seen and read, the main reason builders install York AC units is that they are cheaper than many other brands. While that doesn’t necessarily mean they are poorer quality, York does seem to get more than its fair share of complaints. On the other hand, many of those complaints may be the result of faulty installs, as up to 80% of HVAC failures are the result of incorrect sizing or errors made during installation. As you can imagine, a builder who is churning out new homes by the dozen may not only choose a cheaper AC unit, but may rush the install job, and may choose a smaller than required unit to save a few extra dollars (e.g. install a 40,000 BTU unit where a 60,000 BTU unit is indicated by a proper cooling load analysis). That will naturally lead to more failures early in the units’ life.
I know people who are very happy with their York units – but they are one-off installs on existing homes, rather than units that came with a new home. That means the team that installed them knew what they were doing: they did a proper sizing of the system for the local climate, size of the home being cooled, and levels of insulation; and they installed the unit properly in terms of ductwork sizing (or tying into existing ductwork), locating the condenser unit where it gets good airflow, and charging the system with the right amount (and type) of coolant. Get any of those things wrong, as may happen when a builder does their own install or hires an HVAC team to do a low-cost rushed job, and you’ll run into trouble.
You ask if I would recommend the Trane AC unit. The thing that impresses me about Trane is their drive for energy efficiency. But if I were in the market for a new air conditioner I would put most of my effort into two things: finding a dealer I trust to do a proper sizing and install, and choosing the most efficient unit that dealer has for my needs and budget. Trane would definitely be one of the brands I would entertain, and York would almost certainly not. But I’d consider Lennox, Goodman, Nordyne (and the other companies that rebrand it) as well if the installer had a good vibe and good references.