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Old 08-09-2012, 11:05 PM   #1
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A/C having many issues


Our house was built in 93, and has American Standard AC and furnace, 93 models. This summer has been a test of my patience with this AC, and I am ready to be done with the issues it has had.

We keep the thermostat at 76, and everyday it was getting up to 81-82 in the house, and would be in the wee hours of the morning before it would come back down to 76. It was also leaking water out the backside (side opposite of drain). I called in one of the big companies to check things out. He came out, looked at the unit downstairs, felt the lines, and said he thought my problem was a dirty condenser. His explaination was onpoint as to how dirty coils will reduce the unit's ability to remove the heat, so I bought what he was selling. So he cleaned it, and tons of dirt came foaming out. Charged me nearly $400 for just that, and left. I admit, I was naive, but trusted his 20+ years in the business (of ripping people off)

The next day, absolutely no change, up to 81 again, and I was furious. I fought long and hard with this company, and finally got my money back.

In the meantime, I had another crew come out off a friend's good word. He actually hooked it up to guages, determined it was low on freon, added 3/4 of a pound, and opened up the evaporator box and cleaned out the drain pan, leveled the whole unit, and only charged me a fraction of what the other guy did. The house still got up to 78, but much improvement. Everything was better.......for a bit.

It continues to leak water out the backside opposite of the drain, all over the floor, and on three different occasions it has been leaking water down into the furnace chamber, all over the electronics, the filter, etc. I know something is wrong. This same guy has come back out 3 more times at no cost, and keeps cleaning out more algae from the drain pan. It seems that it has never been proffesionally maintained. Each time, it will work perfect for a few days, then it starts with a small trickle, and eventually leads up to leaking water in the furnace again. Also, it seems to "hold" water until the units turns off, then it dumps it all at one time. All the while, there is water draining out the drain pipe and into the floor drain.

On a seperate issue, somewhere along the lines before we bought the house, the filter retainer brackets, or wire, or whatever, were removed. I never even knew they were supposed to be there. But the blower will suck the filter up against the wheel when it comes on. So, I straightened out a metal coat hanger, looped it around both the hooks, and have been using that as a retainer, as finding replacements has been unsuccessful.

I was thinking that it might be starving itself of air with the filter being sucked against the blower, and maybe not properly draining because its trying to suck air in through the drain pipe. There was a trap at first, he took it off, but it's done this with the trap both on and off, so I don't know if it's really effective.

Tonight, the thermostat kicked off, and so did the condenser, but the blower did not. I went downstairs, and once again, all kinds of water inside the bottom of the furnace, inducer motor running and all. Even when I turned everything off at the thermostat, the fan kept going. The same guy is coming back out tomorrow.

I'm at the end of my rope on this one. I hope it's a simple fix, but I'm worried that I may be doing damage to the furnace parts and may have bigger issues come this winter. My questions for anyone still reading this are:

1.Is there any danger in using the coat hanger to retain the filter? It is tight, and does not move or shift when the blower motor kicks on.

2. I think it's more than simply algae build up in the drain pan. I'm thinking the bottom of the evaporator coil might be caked with dirt? Maybe its freezing up? Any ideas of your own?

Thanks in advance for any responses or feedback

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Old 08-09-2012, 11:31 PM   #2
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A/C having many issues


Coat hanger should be fine for holding filter in place.

My guess is water has damaged the control board for the furnace causing draft motor to run.

If this is a coil above the furnace you may have to remove the coil to completly clean the pan and coil. this will be fairly expensive. refrigerant has to be pumped into the outside unit. cut the refrigerant line. remove the coil. put back as was before. May take up to 4 hours.

Is your weather above normal this summer? If so the unit may not keep up with the demand. Some areas of the country are experiancing extreem heat. units are sized for the average high temp for an area.

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:36 AM   #3
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A/C having many issues


As stated it could be the evap coil and blower wheel are dirty. When the filter sucks in to the blower the air goes around it and goes in the other side of the blower. The wet coil makes a mighty fine surface for that dirt to stick to. Dirty coils don't transfer heat well and will freeze up. When the ice melts it comes off faster than the drain pan can handle and you get water running down the furnace on the floor.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:39 AM   #4
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A/C having many issues


Quote:
Originally Posted by turnermech View Post
Coat hanger should be fine for holding filter in place.

My guess is water has damaged the control board for the furnace causing draft motor to run.

If this is a coil above the furnace you may have to remove the coil to completly clean the pan and coil. this will be fairly expensive. refrigerant has to be pumped into the outside unit. cut the refrigerant line. remove the coil. put back as was before. May take up to 4 hours.

Is your weather above normal this summer? If so the unit may not keep up with the demand. Some areas of the country are experiancing extreem heat. units are sized for the average high temp for an area.
I agree with this, it sounds like the board is pooched... did anyone actually check your "A" coil to see if it was dirty?
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:59 AM   #5
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A/C having many issues


Marty - Makes sense. This is kind of where my head is, too, that the evaporator is dirty.

Acomfort - The last time the guys were out here he said he could tell we change our filter like we should, because there was just the thinnest layer of dust on the fins. But it's my understanding that the dirt will clog up the bottom of the A coil, not the top. Right?

Hindsight is 20/20, but I always wondered why the filter had just a perfect circle of dust collected on it whenever I changed it. Well, smack my forehead, learn a little bit, and move on.

Turner - To be more specific, the draft motor has only came on when water would drip into the furnace. Once it had dried, it did not come on. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that it was simply water being a conducter and no damage.

Is there any other way to get to the bottom of the evap to clean it other than taking the whole thing out? I've heard that can be risky business, even for a pro. Do you think the self rinsing coil cleaner would get it good enough to stop this problem?
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:26 PM   #6
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A/C having many issues


no, if the tech has already cleaned it several times you need to get to the back side. this is only done by removing the coil. I would not feel it is risky for a pro to do, just a little expensive. you can attempt to clen the back side through the removable end panel on the coil this is behind the coil cabnet door.

I don't so much think it is the coil being dirty (but it could be) as it is a blockage in the pan that you can't see. get it out and can really clean the coil and pan.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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if it's an upflow unit then the underside of the coil is going to be dirty, the top will usually look clean, even if the bottom is completely plugged
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:18 PM   #8
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A/C having many issues


Well lucky for me it was a much cooler day today, and the house only got up to 80 with no AC, as the guy didn't come until late afternoon. It was a different tech, but he checked the freon, which was fine, the condenser, that was fine, and then cleaned the evaporator with some cleaner and a brush. My unit had a lot of slack in the freon lines, so it was able to slide out nearly all the way. It really wasn't all that dirty. He took the triangular panel off to show me. I truly was expecting worse.

What was bad, though, is the channels at the bottom of the "A" were mostly full of that mucus, blocking the water from draining. All of that was rinsed out, and when water was poured on the A, it is now running into the channel, to the front, and pouring out the drain pipe, so in hopes, the condensate should do the same thing. So far, so good. There is no audible water dripping into the bottom.

It's taken it about 4 hours to get down to 76, when it kicks off I will go down and make sure that it is not dropping the water onto the floor agian.

Thanks for the pointers guys, it helped me sound like I knew what I was talking about when troubleshooting it with him today! Best of all, there was no charge again for all that was done. So bottom line, all the trips and I'm only out $110 to this crew.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turnermech View Post
no, if the tech has already cleaned it several times you need to get to the back side. this is only done by removing the coil. I would not feel it is risky for a pro to do, just a little expensive. you can attempt to clen the back side through the removable end panel on the coil this is behind the coil cabnet door.

I don't so much think it is the coil being dirty (but it could be) as it is a blockage in the pan that you can't see. get it out and can really clean the coil and pan.
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