Illinois Premier 2 Compressor Going Out?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Dyke Corson, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Dyke Corson

    Dyke Corson New Member

    I'm a newbie - just found this forum. I have a Water Furnace Premier 2 installed in 1998 with a closed vertical loop. Only real issues I have had was a fan replaced about 8 years ago. Last January I noticed a high heat bill and then noticed a breaker tripped. Local company that put it in came out replaced a capacitor and a start up relay, recommended a loop flush. When we called to have the loop flush (2 months later) we were told the capacitor was bad again and it needed a new compressor. They said the compressor was obsolete and I now needed a whole new unit. I found it hard to shell out $16-$20K for a new unit (a 5 or a 7) when it was cooling the house just fine. Fast forward to November - with the below 30 degree weather we have had an error "lo pressure light" flashing. I called WF and they said it would be a good idea to have a second opinion. I called another dealer, they say the capacitor is "bulged" and the unit was having a hard time going into "stage 2". They set it so it stayed in "stage 1" while they researched a solution. Has anyone on here had a retro-fit done with a different compressor? I guess another part of the problem is this is a unit that is factory charged with R-22? I guess 17 years is all the longer these units last? Seems awfully expensive to replace. About the same time I received a "upgrade" solicitation in the mail. I'm looking at that too. Thanks in advance for any help!
  2. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I'm not familiar with Premier 2 model line so I'm not sure how that system stages between 1 and 2. More modern 2 stage systems use a single scroll compressor with a partial refrigerant bypass / unloader that provides for low stage operation at about 70% of full capacity.

    A "lo pressure light" may indicate loss of refrigerant charge, indicative of a leak. Many, if not most refrigerant leaks are unrepairable on systems more than 10 years old.

    Bulged / swollen capacitor indicates failure, but capacitor replacement should be inexpensive, $200-$300.

    If the compressor has truly failed on a 17 year old system it's gut check time. On the one hand, even if the compressor is obsolete, a suitable replacement is almost certainly available. Replacing it might cost $2k - $3k depending on your market. That it is R22 means refrigerant is expensive and becoming more so, but still easily available.

    $16k seems kinda high for a Series 5 changeout, but I can't know your market conditions or complicating details of the replacement. I would seek another bid or two.

    You are up against a wall on an important replacement issue - expiration of a 30% federal tax credit on geo systems on 12/31/16.
  3. Dyke Corson

    Dyke Corson New Member

    A "lo pressure light" may indicate loss of refrigerant charge, indicative of a leak. Many, if not most refrigerant leaks are unrepairable on systems more than 10 years old.
    Thanks for the reply. I called WF regarding the Lo pressure light and they indicated during heating it indicates a water flow issue. When the 2nd company came out they added some water to the loop, that took care of the light. WF has contacted the 2nd dealer to discuss special pricing on a replacement. I'm waiting to hear back from them with a bid on either a repair with a different compressor or a replacement. As long as it stays above 25 outside, I'm not in aux heat mode. So far things have been working fine since the last service call.
  4. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    I looked at the WF Premier 2 manual which didn't show pictures of the internals or discuss the type of compressor. I have to assume this is a Scroll Compressor in your unit, it's taller than what you see in a refrigerator but similar looking. The 2nd stage is more than likely like what is in todays Geothermal Units, an electromagnet pulls a ring up to cover an orifice causing the compressor to increase in Tonnage.

    The compressor is sealed so it should run for years and the 2nd stage should work as designed over the years as well.

    I don't know about you but in the past when I took my vehicle in with an AC problem the most probable reason for the problem was also the most expensive to fix, a "bad" compressor. I've never had a compressor replaced since the first time I was told this the Compressor was less than 6 months old and I knew I had a freon leak which caused the low pressure switch to lock out the electromagnetic clutch on the AC Compressor.

    I took the vehicle home, located the leak, put on another hose clamp on the Aux Evaporator at the back of the van, charged the system back up by jumpering the Low Pressure switch at the accumulator/dryer. Problem fixed. I've never seen a bad compressor to date in a vehicle, only a leaking seal at the pulley area requiring a new seal or compressor replacement which I've done myself.

    The boys down at the Firestone Dealership were looking for a big payday but missed out on this one.

    So what does that have to do with you and your problem? You have a bad compressor. Did it sound bad at any time over the years? Did your electricity use go up recently due to a bad compressor running inefficiently? The capacitor is used to help the compressor start by reducing the starting current.

    If someone tells you they no longer make R-22 Copeland Compressors tell them you saw them on ebay. Here is a list of R-22 compressors on ebay:

    Here is one R-22 Compressor on ebay:

    If you have a bad R-22 Compressor you can still buy one and they are installed the same way a HVAC Tech would replace a compressor in AC or Heat Pump outdoor unit. Ask someone to come in and check your Freon Charge before you start replacing compressors or Geothermal Units.

    It pays as a consumer to be proactive by getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion, since this could become very expensive.
    I'm betting you have a low freon charge. This is an AC compressor, a local heating & cooling company could check it out for a fair non-geothermal price. If they find the freon charge low, they can remove the freon and put in the correct amount, making your Compressor work like new.

    Water Furnace is comparable to a Toyota Truck. They both cost the most when compared to similarly equipped Units of any other brand of Geothermal Heat Pump or Truck on the market.

    I may have violated the less than 200 words per Post unwritten rule, so Have a Good Weekend Dyke, and don't pay too much by not knowing what your problem is and leaving it up to someone else to treat you fairly. That rarely turns out well in the Geothermal or New Truck realm.
  5. Dyke Corson

    Dyke Corson New Member

    Thanks for the links. Wish I knew how I could get the exact replacement model number for my unit. Waterfurnace told me that Copeland no longer makes the compressor for my unit. I emailed back the guy at waterfurnace with a link to the ebay compressor you sent. The plate on the side of my Premier 2 has a model number: ATV057D110CLT
  6. mrrxtech

    mrrxtech Member

    Write down the manufacturer and model number off of your compressor, then go on ebay and search for it. When you find it, then find the compressor with the best price by selecting "Lowest Price Plus Shipping". You can also search the internet for your Compressor using the Make and Model number.

    Make sure you need to replace your compressor before buying a new compressor, by having a Heating & Cooling Tech check the freon pressure at the compressor suction & discharge compared to the owners manual values.

    This installation manual decodes your Unit on the front page ATV057D110CLT

    You have a vertical up flow Unit ATV; 057 is a 5 Ton Unit; D is Premier 2; 110 is for Residential 240 vac single phase with Hot Water Desuperheater and the zero for future use; C is for the metal Copper used for the Coax/Water side heat exchanger, rather than Cupronickel used in open loop designs for corrosion protection; L is for a Left Hand air return; and T is for Top Discharge on your vertical unit.

    I saw the Y2 signal for the 2nd stage on the schematics but it didn't show how the 2nd stage was performed on the compressor. Since it is a Single Speed compressor it must have an orifice that is open during the 1st Stage dropping the tonnage by 30%.

    If you need a Compressor which I doubt, and can't get a 2 stage Compressor, you can buy a single stage R22 5 Ton (056 or 057) Compressor and have it installed. The Y1 signal will be all you need to operate the compressor.

    It's possible that you have a Tecumseh compressor, but I saw those on ebay as well.

    Here are some 5 Ton Scroll Compressors on ebay, the 54 in ZR54 stands for 5 Tons:,500+BTU+R22+ZR54K5EPFV800&_sacat=0

    Run this by a Heating Cooling Tech and see if he agrees. I believe someone wants to sell you a new Waterfurnace Geothermal which would be fine if you have too much money and not enough time to check into your options.

    As the kid says in the local Geothermal TV Commercials: "It's not rocket science" and as I'll add: "So don't pay for Rocket Science".

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