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Anyone know anything about central air conditioners?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted September 14 2005 - 10:56 PM

Every Texan’s worse nightmare – AC problems in the summer! Posted Image

We moved into this place back in February, and the AC has been cooling decently this summer, if not outstandingly. It was draining a lot of water out the pipe on the side of the house, enough to have a puddle of water on the ground, so I called someone out to fix that a couple of days ago.

Well, now it’s barely cooling at all. I call the AC company back out, and they say it has too much freon. Supposedly it should be between 65-75, and ours is reading 110. They want $300 to evacuate and re-charge the system.

Well, that sounds pretty fishy to me. Seems like if it that was the problem we would have started having problems as soon as we turned it on back in the Spring, not here at the tail end of the summer.

I know it’s hard to diagnose a cooling problem “long distance,” as it were, but does this sound plausible, the system not cooling because it has too much freon?

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Dennis*G

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Posted September 15 2005 - 01:12 AM

um, AC units are supposed to drain water. It's the water that condenses on the coils. If they plugged up that hole, your going to have problems.

But then I can't really think an AC company would plug it up, but maybe they are a shady place..

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Marc_Sulinski

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Posted September 15 2005 - 03:06 AM

It also strikes me as odd that they have to drain the whole system only to recharge it. If you really did have too much freon, why couldn't they just drain it to the point where you had the desired level?

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted September 15 2005 - 03:58 AM

Quote:
It was draining a lot of water out the pipe on the side of the house, enough to have a puddle of water on the ground, so I called someone out to fix that a couple of days ago.
How did they "fix" this? The water is the humidity inside your home, being moved to the outside.

If they plugged the hole, the water has now likely backed up into the air handler, gotten your filter wet, and greatly reduced the efficiency of the system.

You've been changing the filter, yes?
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#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Colton

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Posted September 15 2005 - 04:03 AM

Wayne -

Sounds very fishy to me. I would advise you to check out this link:

http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/

Great source of information with excellent support. Ask your questions there. Hope you get this resolved without draining your bank account.

As for "too much freon" - that would cause your system to ice up - preventing it from blowing cool air into your home.

- Colton

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Mark Romero

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Posted September 15 2005 - 05:17 AM

Not enough freon makes the system ice up too.

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted September 15 2005 - 07:08 AM

for the water drain thing, you should have *two* pipes. probably one low to the ground and one higher up. the water should be draining out of one of the pipes only (probably the lower one) -- that is normal. if the water starts draining out of the other pipe (the overflow) ... then that is a serious problem that needs immediate attention. otherwise you'll cause water damage in your attic.

no clue on the freon thing though ... sorry.
 

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted September 15 2005 - 07:37 AM

Wonder who put in the extra freon. If it is truly "freon", vs one of the newer refrigerants, then $300 is a reasonable price. Freon can't be manufactured in the US any longer and in the not too distant future will become completely unavailable.

Anyway, someone overfilled the unit (not uncommon with a poor craftsman with lousy tools) and that will indeed cause it not to cool properly....been there, done that Posted Image ....there's some real morons out there servicing AC units so when you come across a good one keep the card.

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#9 of 18 OFFLINE   DustinLC

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Posted September 15 2005 - 08:00 AM

Quote:
for the water drain thing, you should have *two* pipes. probably one low to the ground and one higher up. the water should be draining out of one of the pipes only (probably the lower one) -- that is normal. if the water starts draining out of the other pipe (the overflow) ... then that is a serious problem that needs immediate attention. otherwise you'll cause water damage in your attic.

Yeah. What he said Posted Image

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   aaron campbell

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Posted September 15 2005 - 08:23 AM

r-22 will be readily available for 20 more years

#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Michael Warner

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Posted September 15 2005 - 08:37 AM

As Mark mentioned a freon leak will also cause the system to ice up or create too much water run-off. I had a similar problem with an AC unit and they never could find the leak. Never cooled well and would have too much water run-off before crapping out altogether.
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#12 of 18 OFFLINE   aaron campbell

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Posted September 15 2005 - 08:47 AM

Have you checked the furnace filter? Sounds like the evap coil is froze over if you have no water drainage.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted September 15 2005 - 02:06 PM

Quote:
um, AC units are supposed to drain water. It's the water that condenses on the coils. If they plugged up that hole, your going to have problems.
Quote:
How did they "fix" this? The water is the humidity inside your home, being moved to the outside.

If they plugged the hole, the water has now likely backed up into the air handler, gotten your filter wet, and greatly reduced the efficiency of the system.
As Ted and Dustin noted, the one that goes outside is a secondary drain. If it’s draining outside, the other one is plugged up, and that’s not as it should be. This much I know. Posted Image

Colton,

Thanks for the great link.

Well, my wife told me today that there was virtually no airflow when she put her hand up to a vent. It just gets stranger and stranger.

This evening a second repairman came. Luckily I was here for this one. When he put the gauges on it, the high and low sides were reading the same, which means the compressor is not working. There are other indicators, too, like some lines that should be hot, but aren’t, etc.

So it looks like that’s the problem. Don’t know what that other guy was smoking. It looks like there really was no relation between the system being overcharged and not cooling, just as we suspected.

Thanks for the help, everyone. Just another reason why this Forum is so great – you can find out anything you want or need about virtually any topic. Posted Image

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#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted September 15 2005 - 02:17 PM

Your symptoms still don't add up to me. If there's no airflow out of the vent, then that's an air handler issue (the inside unit). If the compressor is not working, that's an outside issue. If the compressor is not working, the chances of the evaporator icing up are nil, so that can't be causing your airflow problems.

Confused.
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#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted September 16 2005 - 04:37 AM

Quote:
As Ted and Dustin noted, the one that goes outside is a secondary drain.
i'm not positive on this, as it's possible some designs are different ... but i'm thinking you should have two pipes going outside ... not just one???
 

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   aaron campbell

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Posted September 16 2005 - 05:23 AM

Wayne, have you opened the furnace cover to look at the evap coil? If you put your wall t-stat to fan does it blow air out your supply vents?

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted September 16 2005 - 11:32 AM

Todd,
Quote:
Your symptoms still don't add up to me. If there's no airflow out of the vent, then that's an air handler issue (the inside unit). If the compressor is not working, that's an outside issue. If the compressor is not working, the chances of the evaporator icing up are nil, so that can't be causing your airflow problems.
Mark noted that not having enough freon can make the system ice up. Maybe that can also be caused by restricted flow, caused by the bad compressor? Just speculating...

I should have mentioned that when my wife told me there was no airflow, I told her to turn off the system. It was a few hours later before the second repair guy got there, so it would have thawed out by that time – assuming that was the problem. It was blowing (hot air) fine by the time he got there.

Ted,
Quote:
i'm not positive on this, as it's possible some designs are different ... but i'm thinking you should have two pipes going outside ... not just one???
I believe the primary drain is routed to the home’s main drain system (i.e., where the tubs and sinks drain).

Aaron,
Quote:
Wayne, have you opened the furnace cover to look at the evap coil? If you put your wall t-stat to fan does it blow air out your supply vents?
Didn’t pull the cover – not sure which panel it is, and I wouldn’t know what I was looking for anyway.

Yes, it’s blowing air out the vents. Maybe I should stick some ice cubes up there to get it cool!

The AC company our home warranty company assiged to the job says they can't come out until Monday morning. Anyone want to put us up for a few days? I'll let you go for a joy-ride in my 1979 Trans Am! Posted Image

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Mary M S

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Posted September 16 2005 - 06:10 PM

If you have too much freon this would have showed up when you first used the unit in summer. You should not suddenly have “too much”.
A very excessive amount of Freon (rather than minor excess just above optimum) would create too much head pressure on the compressor and probably fry it on the same day.

I would wildly speculate that the serviceman who repaired you emergency drain overflow problem IF a do-good novice may have decided to charge your system with a little additional freon. Without watching your poundage closely he could have taken out your compressor himself!!! Many time with older systems (and a VERY slow years-long leak) adding freon (without evacuating the system,,,finding leak..repair/recharge) just adding poundage will spruce a slow leak system along for sometimes a season (or even two) of normal cooling. It’s a no-no with the EPA, but if freon is slightly low many repairmen used to (if they thought the leak years slow) would just bring the poundage back up. IF he overcharged this could/would with enough pressure; - have fried your compressor so that now your problem has become a very expensive repair.


You can replace compressor alone (not the whole unit).

Low freon WILL cause a freeze up during which airflow from vents will go to extremely reduced/nill , once the airflow disappears and you turn the system to FAN ONLY (or off,) for approx. a hour in an hot attic) the freeze will melt and the vents will start blowing air (hot) again, only to freeze up again if the compressor is run long enough.

What did the first repairman tell you was the problem he resolved that caused your secondary emergency drain to show overflow?

If your high/low side are showing equal pressure (if you believe your second repairman). – did you read the gauges yourself? That would indeed very unfortunately be indicative of a bad compressor.

One way to verify yourself if your problem could be too little freon,is to run the system again, in the hot part of the day tomorrow. If the system freezes (the time this takes does depend on how low the freon is). You will start with hot air blowing from your vents, (not enough freon to cool) then as your coils begin to freeze you WILL lose your airflow out of interior home vents, which will become restricted. When this happens go outside and see if you can see icing on any of the lines running in/out of your outdoor unit. At that point turn your unit to "fan only" to quicker, allow your coils to unfreeze (till vents blow air again) then don’t run the unit again till the proper amount of freon is recharged. IF you run it for long periods of time with low freon this too can strain and possibly ruin your compressor.

Be aware if you have a compresser which has started to go bad, with blown seals, etc. Rather than trying to repair and flush the trash out of the whole thing, it is better to replace the compresor.

If the system was overcharged by an enthusastic new repairman, but the compressor has not blown yet; SOME people have been known to stick a screwdriver in the Schrader value on the low side at the outside unit, to purge excess out. HOWEVER, without gauges of your own (or neighbors)and knowing the manuf's recommended pressure for your particular unit, you will not have a unit tuned for best efficiency and this would not ever be the recommended way to get your pressure down. The EPA might come and haul you away for releasing to the Environment
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