In 1947 Americans purchased a loaf of bread for $.12, a gallon of gasoline for $.23 and a car to put that gas in for just $1,500. The Academy Award for Best Picture went to "The Best Years of Our Lives," and "Meet the Press" made its television debut.
It was also the year that U.S. Air Force test pilot Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, and Ted McPherson’s father installed a Yorkaire 350 air conditioner in a six-room apartment over his detached garage in Gettysburg, PA. Until recently, when McPherson made the decision to replace it, that same three-ton air conditioner was still operational, a testament to the quality of the product that successfully cooled the apartment for more than 62 years.
The Yorkaire unit was originally installed in a closet of the second-floor apartment, with ductwork providing cooling to adjacent rooms. According to McPherson, apart from replacing the Freon refrigerant from time to time, his family never paid much attention to the unit in terms of regular maintenance or annual inspections.
“Nevertheless, it worked well for us throughout its life,"McPherson says. "In fact, the primary reason I made the decision to replace it was to take advantage of improvements in technology that will provide more energy-efficient, cost-effective cooling to the apartment. It’s an apartment we use for guests, and after 62 years, I thought the cooling system needed to be modernized.”
McPherson selected Ensor & Sowers Heating and Air Conditioning, York Springs, PA, to remove the old unit and replace it with a new York® LX 3.5-ton, 14.5 SEER air conditioning unit, a variable-speed York Affinity™ air handler and a digital programmable thermostat.
“Although I had never worked with them before, Ensor & Sowers came highly recommended,” McPherson says. “It’s a recommendation that I’m glad I followed, because they did everything they said they were going to do and made this transaction an excellent customer experience.”
According to Mark Ensor, the job was a bit unusual, not only because the unit was so old – the oldest operating air conditioner the contractor had ever removed – but also because of the unit’s design and location.
Unlike today’s air-conditioning units which have an indoor and an outdoor unit, this old model was a single unit located in an upstairs closet.
"I was a little puzzled as to how it exhausted during the air-conditioning cycle," Ensor says. "After some research, I discovered that the unit absorbed heat from the Freon and discharged that heat into city water that passed through a heat exchanger in the unit.”
Because the air conditioner was located in a closet, which most likely had been built around the unit, Ensor had to disassemble the 1,500-pound air conditioner and carry it out of the apartment in pieces. He says installing the new condensing unit and air handler was much simpler.
“In fact, the hardest part of the entire installation was probably cutting holes in the ceiling for new registers in rooms that previously weren’t ducted,” Ensor recalls. “The challenge was cutting through the horsehair plaster, a material typically used in buildings as old as this one, which isn’t easy to cut.”
The decision to install an LX air conditioner was made at the recommendation of Ensor & Sowers. “That’s the unit that we often recommend for efficiency and economy,” Ensor says. The LX Series condensing unit from Johnson Controls is the outdoor component of a versatile system that features MicroChannel coil technology and one of the smallest footprints in the HVAC industry, according to York sources. Available in cooling capacities from 1.5 to 5 tons and efficiency ratings of 13 and 14.5 SEER, the easy-to-install and service units are 30% lighter than their conventional coil counterparts. They also use up to 50% less R-410A refrigerant, reducing overall system costs and the possibility of premature compressor failure, while contributing to environmental responsibility and sustainability. Sound levels are also reduced, thanks to the 14.5 SEER model's compressor sound blanket and a swept wing fan blade.
“The outside unit is definitely smaller than the unit we replaced indoors, and it has a really nice appearance,” Ensor added. “This is really a great story for York,” he continues. “Here’s a unit that was 62 years old and still in operation. That’s quite an impressive record of service.”
McPherson agrees that the product did indeed last faithfully through those years, and also highlighted the good work provided by Ensor & Sowers.
“This was a bit of an unusual job, because of the age of the equipment and having to disassemble it,” he says. “But these two men (Ensor and Tim Sowers, his partner and installer) made it look easy. They really deserve recognition for all that they did, and we have nothing but good things to say about them.
"As for the new unit, we went with the contractor’s recommendation,” he continues. “Based on our experience with the old unit, we’re hoping this one will last another 62 years!”
York® products from Johnson Controls include energy-efficient, residential central air-conditioners, heat pumps, furnaces and accessories and innovative light-commercial, packaged heating and cooling systems marketed through a national distribution network and delivered to home- and building-owners through qualified York heating and cooling dealers. For more information visit yorkhvacdealer.com