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I have an 18,000 BTU A/C unit that blew a compressor last year. Perfect for a small project. I however could not find a professional to help me out, so maybe it's DIYable. I know just about enough about this to know I'm no match for a professional.

I thought it would be awesome to heat the pool and cool the house at the same time. The pool's a 24 foot above ground pool and has no heating right now, it averages about 70 degrees. Bonus is that it could act almost like a split system - the water could be piped right up to the unit rather than having the fan hanging off the back.

Parts

Condenser: I've sourced two American-made water heat exchange manufacturers and spoken to one of them. I really like the Aqua Systems model, but the smallest is rated at 2 tons - that's apparently 24,000 BTU. A very friendly guy there referred me to Edward's Coils - but they don't seem to have much data online. If I can't use the Aqua Systems model for technical reasons, I'll get in touch with Edward's coils and see what they have to offer. My question here is will the 2 ton unit overload the rest of the compressor, and why?

Compressor: The compressor is dead in the unit. It seems to be a sealed unit, I'm not sure about repairing it. If I was to replace it, is there any reason I should replace it with the exact same part? Is there a different compressor type that would better serve this purpose?

Assembly

I'm going to have to find somewhere to evacuate the refrigerant in here. Any suggestions?

I'm good at soldering, however I've never soldered on an A/C unit before. Is there anything chemically different? I know coolant in automotive systems tends to seep into the metal and requires extra cleaning, I'm not sure if there's anything of that nature here.

If the condenser I remove has different size tubing than the new water cooled compressor, would an adapter suffice?

Any suggestions on where I can get it charged up after it's assembled? How would one calculate the refrigerant requirements?

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So kinda like a geo-thermal system but using water from the pool instead of water passing through pipes in the ground? –  lsiunsuex May 23 '13 at 16:21
    
That's pretty much the idea! Toronto does it large-scale with Lake Ontario - that's where the idea came from. –  kavisiegel May 23 '13 at 16:29
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You won't be able to replace the compressor. It takes tools and skills that are not available to amateurs. For example, you will need a specialized vacuum pump and a tank of refrigerant. This will not be easy or cheap. And if you do get them, the cost of a minor screw-up is a blown compressor and possibly contaminated coils and lines. –  longneck May 23 '13 at 17:22
    
Fair enough, I'll have to find a professional to take care of that part. So far nobody wants to touch a window unit. I still need to figure out what parts to order though. –  kavisiegel May 24 '13 at 12:08
    
Doing all this work with a window unit is crazy. At least upgrade to a mini-split and then you have an external condenser to work with. Plus a quieter interior. –  Shimon Rura May 24 '13 at 13:03
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1 Answer

I'll ask my dad about this for the proper professional opinion, but after working with him for a few years or so, I can already tell you that you don't have the required tools or EPA license to work with refrigerant.

Also the window unit isn't designed to handle a line-set even 1/4 that long. In general a window unit is much too small to handle such a job, and as such there are systems designed to heat pools. As far as no-one touching the unit, it's because they really aren't designed to be fixable. The ones I've seen have no service taps or any way really to replace parts.

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