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-   -   Spring heat = early AC (http://www.striped-bass.com/Stripertalk/showthread.php?t=76650)

5/0 03-21-2012 05:18 AM

Spring heat = early AC
 
Hi Guy's I just want to give a heads up on some preventative maintenance for your home central AC.

As we all know it's been a mild winter and this spring has been warm and Thursday should be another record high.
If you have central AC,I just want to give you a reminder.
If any of you have Condenser covers on,I think covers are a waste of money and do more harm than good I(I will not bore you with why they suck,but I will if you want) strongly recommend you take the five minutes to remove them,before they get turned on.

If they don't get removed before hand you can cause un wanted damage to the condenser and other vital components.
As an example if the units go on there a several things that could and will happen,first the condenser will trip off on high head pressure,and will shorten life on the pressure switch. Secondly the condenser coils cannot expel heat properly and the compressor with shut down on internal overload and over heat,if there are any soft spots in the coils or weak brazing welds a hole can ac cure and purge out all of your refrigerant.
Thirdly the capacitor will take a beating,it will try to provide clean voltage to the condenser fan motor and compressor but will overload due to amperage increase from the compressor.

Just take the five minutes out of your day,take them off and put them away,this will save you some money you can put towards new gear and bait.

Raven 03-21-2012 05:42 AM

i was mad
 
i carried and installed a may tag remote control unit
then i find out it won't even turn on... DEAD :fury:

luckily i have two others and i installed them
one in the bedroom and one in the office.

Piscator 03-21-2012 08:43 AM

and don't forget to change your filters for forced air!!!!!

O.D. Mike 03-21-2012 09:47 AM

What do you suggest to clean the coil with? Is there some type of solution that you can spray on and hose off?

5/0 03-21-2012 02:01 PM

Hey Mike,
You can get condenser coil cleaner @ almost any supply house or @ Graingers.
It should be around $20 a gallon make sure you ask for the foaming style,it's the purplish/blue kind & the mix ratio is 5:1.
1 1/4H2O - 1/4 Solution.

If you do it your self play it smart and step by step,first kill the power at the disconnect then make sure the condenser coil is cool,it doesn't hurt to pre rinse it with water.
Do not put the water pressure on full tilt you want a slight low 2 low pressure because you can damage the fins and defeat the sole purpose of cleaning it.

Now that the unit is cool take a nut driver most units are 5/16", 1/4" or Phillips, remove the screws that hold the condenser fan shroud on the top of the unit,then put your hands on opposite sides of the top and shimmy it lose till it slides off.
There will be exposed wires going from the fan motor running to the electrical box attached to the base,they might be in a liquid tight conduete or just zipped tied to the lid.
Handle this part carefully,what you want to do is prop the top part against the side of the house,wall,fence of what ever next to the unit.Using the bottom lip from the shroud and the top of the condenser coil top they should kind of lock together,but make sure it's stable and doesn't fall.
Now put the cleaning solution into a spray bottle/weed killer type sprayer and spray the solution on the out side of coil as evenly as possible(do just one side at a time).and wait a few minutes untill you see the solution turn to foam,it'll push out dust,pollen,dead bugs and leaves,it should come out looking blackish & brown.Once the foam starts to recede take the hose place it on the inside of the coil,meaning the interior where the compressor is and wash inside out,wash the coil down from the top to bottom as your doing this look on the opposite side of the coil and you'll really see the crap & filth come out of the coil.
Make sure you wash out all of the foam,some areas may be worse than others and may need repeating.
Clean each side one at a time,if you leave the foam on it will do harm than good,it will dry up and lock in what is already there so it's really important to rise it good.

Also don't get careless with the water and spray everything down,like the capacitor,wire harnesses & the harness connector to the compressor.you can wash out the bottom of the unit but don't do it till your done with all three sides or four sides pending on unit manufacture.


By cleaning the coil you will help bring back efficiency it use to have,it will disperse the heat evenly,quicker and it will satisfy sooner which equals to $$ in your pocket.

5/0 04-23-2012 03:42 PM

3 Attachment(s)
These PICS are two years old and the units were less than a year old at the time I took the pics.I had hope to post them earlier when O.D.Mike asked about cleaning the coils.

The unit on the left had a blanket of filth on three sides this is after only one year of operation....The one on the right had some but not as bad......It was weird to find it this way,there was nothing to indicate what the cause was, no drier vent,work shop vent or a exhaust fan.within 20' just odd.
Anyway this is the crap I was describing this will degrade the SEER rating and if not cleaned,over time it will cause damage so here are some before and afters.

O.D. Mike 05-12-2012 05:12 AM

Thanks Bob!
I had forgot that I asked the question... Great info here and thanks for the instructions!!!

OD

Jimbo 05-16-2012 04:44 PM

Very good DIY thread. Thanks for this information.

macojoe 06-27-2012 09:27 AM

Thanks for this post!! I bought my house 6 years ago and never cleaned the AC, it has always worked but not the best at times. I got the foam cleaner stated and did the job, and the last heat wave we just had the AC just laughed at it!! it worked better then it has ever worked!!

Thanks again guys!

Raven 06-27-2012 09:30 AM

allot of pollen in those filters :uhuh:

bought a 10,000 unit for living room
with the remote
gets so cold
ya need a coat

5/0 06-30-2012 06:58 AM

Don't forget to clean the condensate trap at the air handler,over years of conditioning air these traps collect dust particles and lose debris in the air.Over time they build up and constrict the PVC traps inner wall and prevent the exiting of condensation.If this get's plugged you'll wish you never had central air.

Condensate trap's are usually constructed of 3/4" sched 40 PVC (white looking pipe)it will look like the letter "P" that is lying down.There should be a cap on the as-sender of the trap this should twist off,it's not threaded but held on by friction.
Stuff a piece of hose deep down into the P trap,and cover the remaining gap with a rag, put your hand over it & compress it tightly,take the other end of the hose and blow into it.You should hear a girgeling sound several seconds after this procedure,if not, pour water into the trap with a jug or soda bottle and repeat.

Most air handlers are located in attics and should be placed in a safety pan with a wet switch or safety float switch,it's purpose is to detect condensation leaking out of the unit, once the water level get to one of these detectors it cut's one leg of low voltage and turn's off the condenser before any damage is done to your ceilings.

So now that most units have been running for several weeks know take five minutes and save your self from hours of repair!

macojoe 06-30-2012 08:07 PM

my unit goes thur my furnace in the basement. there is no pvc pipe, but i have a drain to a 110v bilge pump the float got stuck last year because of dirt, thankfully my son sleeps there and saw the water leaking on the floor before it was to bad!! cleaned all and was good to go :)
so far (knock on wood) it has been running quite and keeping things cooler then ever now that i cleaned it!!

again thanks to this thread!

5/0 07-01-2012 08:34 AM

Glad to hear this thread was worth while to post :kewl:

Well since we're on the topic,how's you're evap coil looking?
The down stair's unit(s) always get dirtier than elevated one's, because their gravity fed. It doesn't matter how clean you keep you're house,all thing's fall to the ground and they get sucked into the return grills.Dog & cat fur/ dander are the biggest culprit,but rug debris ,new clothes contribute,also crap that get's carried in from pet's, people's boot's/shoes like dirt,dust ect. it's unbelievable the amount of stuff that get's in there and pack the evap coil.

If you're air media is 1"thick I will bet a bucket of eels that it is not tight to the sleeve that it is supposed to slide into, not just you'rs personally but anybody and every body's this is a common problem,mostly from bad install's people just don't take pride in what they do,so if you see a collection of dirt around the filter opening or track door (even factory doors)they are equally to blame, the foam gasket is only on one side (should be on 4 sides,but it get's worn down and dose not block what it was intended for,so they suck too!Also they'll manufacture a unique cabinet which will require a filter size that is tough to acquire so people put in the closest match that they can find.......Which equals chitty protection for the coil.
Any way,this is an added ease point for debris to get in and the coil will get packed to the point that it will restrict air flow and freeze up.

I've seen it so thick that it look's like a damp wet black piece of construction paper was placed over the inside of you're "A coil".Nasty stuff!

Every install that I do I put in a Air bear cabinet it's 4" thick gasket lined and good for 2,000 CFM. If it's just for A/C the filter is good for a year, if you using it for heating and cooling it's recommended to change the filter twice a year.

cereal killer 07-01-2012 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5/0 (Post 934845)
These PICS are two years old and the units were less than a year old at the time I took the pics.I had hope to post them earlier when O.D.Mike asked about cleaning the coils.

The unit on the left had a blanket of filth on three sides this is after only one year of operation....The one on the right had some but not as bad......It was weird to find it this way,there was nothing to indicate what the cause was, no drier vent,work shop vent or a exhaust fan.within 20' just odd.
Anyway this is the crap I was describing this will degrade the SEER rating and if not cleaned,over time it will cause damage so here are some before and afters.

5/0, it looks like the fan was put on backwards. The airflow is reversed.

5/0 07-02-2012 05:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cereal killer (Post 946833)
5/0, it looks like the fan was put on backwards. The airflow is reversed.

Sorry I don't understand,are you referring to the coil's being packed?

5/0 07-15-2012 08:46 AM

1 Attachment(s)
The condenser air flow looks like this,the blue line represent ambient air going into the outside perimeter of the unit,this helps to cool the coil and transfer the heat,During the spring pollen,leave's and bugs get sucked into it.When this happens this will prevent the transfer of heat,it is detrimental to keep this clean,if you have shrubs,plant's or weed's that are within 18" or closer they should be moved or cut back.
The red lines indicate warmer/hot air being expelled from the unit.

Hope this help's.

macojoe 08-19-2012 11:37 PM

Well after the big cleaning, as stated before the unit is working much better this year and blowing colder air!

But the big surprise was I just got my electric bill for July into August and they show last years to this year, last year at the same time for the same 29 days I used 1600 kwh, and this year i just 990 kwh!! Daily use went from 54.5 a day to 34.4 this year.

The cost was much better also as last year 7.3 per kwh and this year 6.8 kwh.
I never shut it off either! Not worth it to me unless it gets real cool out for a few days, cause then I have to dry out the air again. I bought the cheap filters and just change faithfully every 30 days, same all winter also.

The avg temp was 78* last year and 77* this year. So i have to say it again THIS WAS A GREAT THREAD!! Thanks!!

5/0 08-22-2012 08:18 PM

Thank's Joe you're post made it all worth it :grins:

JohnnyD 08-22-2012 09:26 PM

Just saw this. 54.5 per day? Christ, we hover around 11 per day this time of year and I still yell at the misses for leaving the light. Probably the only luxury of a small apartment.

Thanks for the tips 5/0. Heading to my mother's tomorrow and while I'm there, I'll have to take a peek at her unit. I'm sure she hasn't had anyone look at it in years.

Jimbo 09-06-2012 02:52 PM

I'm having to replace my A/C, both outdoor unit and indoor components because they're freon based and apparently that's hard, if not impossible to find. The new unit will be a 4 ton 13SEER. The guy told me my current A/C unit was so old it didn't even have an efficiency rating. Well for the cost I'm going to be very good about remembering the tips above and any others anyone might care to share.
I've noticed other A/C units out by the street waiting pickup recently. Is 14 years about the life expectancy of an A/C system?

macojoe 09-06-2012 04:05 PM

I have a friend that has had his for 20 years and it just died, they were able to just replace the indoor stuff and leave the out door unit in place.

Mine is about the same age as yours, but it was not used for about 7 years. Guess the original told the new owner that the fan motor was blown, and he never had it fixed. Then the new guy owned the house for 5 years and also never had it fixed, said he was not here enough of the time. Then I bought the place 5 years ago, had a guy come out to fix all he had to do was remove a Caterpillar web that was crossing two screws and shorting system. took him 5 min to fix! He said I hate to even charge you but gas to drive here is $$$, he checked all, and I was fine to go! Then the next year I had a capacitor blow, been fine for the last 3 years but nothing better then this year after cleaning all!

5/0 09-15-2012 06:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jimbo (Post 957386)
I'm having to replace my A/C, both outdoor unit and indoor components because they're freon based and apparently that's hard, if not impossible to find. The new unit will be a 4 ton 13SEER. The guy told me my current A/C unit was so old it didn't even have an efficiency rating. Well for the cost I'm going to be very good about remembering the tips above and any others anyone might care to share.
I've noticed other A/C units out by the street waiting pickup recently. Is 14 years about the life expectancy of an A/C system?

Jimbo all units do have a efficiency rating,if it is that old it might be an 8 or 10 SEER but it dose have one.
If the inside unit is ok you can change out the out side unit,even thou it's R22 you can buy a dry condenser it just needs to be charged.

A 30# jug of R22 is about $370.00 ish you'll have to pay roughly $22-30 a pound. for a four ton condenser and I don't know how long the run is you'll prolly need close to 8-9#'s,the newer systems (been around close to 20 yrs.) R410A the base model is 13 SEER if next summer is as warm you will see a huge diff in savings.


As for the life on systems it all depends on MFGR please don't let him install a Goodman,they suck!He'll get it dirt cheap and I will bet within 2 years the capacitor and contactors will fail.
Before he installs it ask him what he wants to put in and ask him what is the factory warranty,most Carrier's come with a 10yr.on the compressor and 5yr. on parts.you'll have pay for labor on some things but not the compressor (10yrs.) the factory will pay up to four hours to change it out,so don't get fooled or roped into something that's not lagit.You've worked hard for your money so work hard at spending it!
unless your getting a heat pump I would not recommend going above a 15 SEER you'll not get the money back, believe me you'll see enough savings in a 410 system.


Bob

Jimbo 09-17-2012 09:09 AM

Thanks for the feedback. As I mentioned, I went with the 13SEER and it's a Heil. The HVAC guy I deal with is practically a neighbor and his kids have gone through school with mine, so hopefully that relationship will maybe account for not being taken or overcharged for things I'm not very familiar with. He did come back a day after installation and we filled out a form that extended the warranty from 5 to 10 years. For peace of mind I decided to bite the bullet and replace everything because I think the contractor who initially built the house for us, we're in a development, cut alot of corners (the building inspector didn't catch). We'd never had a house built for us and there is so much we learned after the fact that we could have asked to have upgraded (like heating and AC). My wife insisted she needed 10 ft cielings on the first floor but we didn't even know there was such a thing as two zone heating and AC, so that one unit really works when it's on.
I am curious about why you recommend not covering the unit in the winter? Just seems like a simple thing to keep the snow and leaves off, but again, what do I know about this stuff.

5/0 09-17-2012 04:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jimbo (Post 959058)
Thanks for the feedback. As I mentioned, I went with the 13SEER and it's a Heil. The HVAC guy I deal with is practically a neighbor and his kids have gone through school with mine, so hopefully that relationship will maybe account for not being taken or overcharged for things I'm not very familiar with. He did come back a day after installation and we filled out a form that extended the warranty from 5 to 10 years. For peace of mind I decided to bite the bullet and replace everything because I think the contractor who initially built the house for us, we're in a development, cut alot of corners (the building inspector didn't catch). We'd never had a house built for us and there is so much we learned after the fact that we could have asked to have upgraded (like heating and AC). My wife insisted she needed 10 ft cielings on the first floor but we didn't even know there was such a thing as two zone heating and AC, so that one unit really works when it's on.
I am curious about why you recommend not covering the unit in the winter? Just seems like a simple thing to keep the snow and leaves off, but again, what do I know about this stuff.

It sounds like your in good hands,the friendship that you've made is a good piece of mind.Good.
It's funny how hind sight is always 20/20:uhuh:meaning after you built you're house.

As for covering the unit...First off it's a yes and no kind of thing,covering the unit with one of those PVC/plastic covers I strongly recomend not putting one on.Because now you've just created a dry shelter for mice during winter and if the compressor has a crankcase heater you've now provided a heated condo for them.Mice have to chew on thing to keep their teeth sharp and clean and you have plenty of wires in there for them to chew on:devil2:If your compressor has a sound deading cover the mice will not hesitate on that as well.
I get a ton of calls in the spring due to wires chewed in half and grounding out and have found mice on top of capacitors and grounding out and getting fried as a result.
Condensers are made to with stand the seasonal elements and to cover them up your just wasting money,yeah they look nice but these condenser's are made to be out side.

If your unit is on the side of your house by the roof line then I would highly recommend placing a piece of plywood over the top with a cinder block or bricks on top to hold it in place for the winter,this will help protect it from large amounts of ice or snow falling or sliding on it and damaging the fan or unit.

PRBuzz 09-17-2012 05:10 PM

Haven't covered mine in 8 yrs, no mice, no problem. I do pull the breaker at season's end to shut off the heater element.
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device

5/0 09-17-2012 07:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PRBuzz (Post 959134)
Haven't covered mine in 8 yrs, no mice, no problem. I do pull the breaker at season's end to shut off the heater element.
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device

That heating element is there to prevent the oil from migrating from the compressor and into the evaporator coil,This thing servers a purpose.The element comes in a couple different forms, one is a rod that slides into the base of the compressor and the other is a silver band that gets wrapped around the base of the compressor.

Copper is a great conductor in many levels,but the heat inside the house during the winter months will attract the oil from the compressor and allow it settle into the evap coil.the pit fall is, when spring comes and if we get a hot day the compressor will fire up and if there's not enough oil in the crankcase it can burn out the compressor earlier than it should.
So if you have a crank case heater do not pull the disconnect.

JM.02


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