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IrateTenant 05-24-2012 04:16 PM

A/C problem?
Hi. I live in an apartment complex and am having a problem with our AC. I've been butting heads with the maintenance crew about it. I'm here to get an opinion on our problem.

We live in Florida and on the second floor of our building, two bedroom apartment. The past few weeks our AC has been running all day long, over 12 hours a day before the unit shuts itself off. I have the thermostat sat at 75 F and it never reaches that temp. until after midnight. Right now, at 5:15 pm it's 81 F.

The maintenance crew has been by a couple of times already. Air filter has been changed, twice. The coils have been cleaned off and they used a thermometer to test the air in the ducts. They said it was 68 F in the duct and all they checked was the duct near the inside unit. They said they would check the unit outside (twice) but never did hear back from them. That's their way of saying there's nothing wrong.

Now they're telling me they're not going to do anything else since everything is running fine. And that it's probably getting hot because we face the sun, we're in Florida, I have high ceilings, and it's an older building (built in the '80s). They said that they may have to install ceiling fans to help circulate the air. I already have fans running in the apartment.

To me, it doesn't seem right that our AC unit should run 12 hours, at least, and still not cool down the apartment. It doesn't even maintain a temperature. I even have two fans on in the apartment. It just gradually rises throughout the day. Two days ago it rose to 85 F. Last night, the AC unit didn't shut off until after 3 AM. Today, the AC has been on since 10 AM and has yet to shut off or cool down. And our electricity bill is already over $200.

We've lived on second and third floors before and never had this kind of problem and in a complex that was just as old as the one now. We've never had a problem with the A/C cooling before now. If they insist on still doing nothing then it will be time to contact corporate.

Also, the unit is a Corsaire and it looks pretty old. I've talked to a couple other people living on the second floor and they say that their units shut off during the day.

clocert 05-24-2012 04:27 PM

The cold air come out of the register should be at least 16 or 17 degrees lower than the room temp or the return air temp at that time. If less than 16, there is a problem. (could be as simple as low freon.)

knotquiteawake 05-24-2012 04:31 PM

68 degrees coming out the vents? And they said that was fine? That sounds really warm. A system operating correctly (even an old one) should have about a 15-20 degree difference in temp between your air return and the vents.

I had the same issue with maintenance at our apartment before last. They had to come out 4 times before they actually fixed it. They replaced the filter twice and charged it with Freon twice before they finally figured out it was a bad capacitor at the compressor side of things.

Your apartment maintenance or the managers just don't want to replace the unit.

biggles 05-24-2012 04:42 PM

if the unit has a small leak as the freon level drops so does the BTUs to cool your space(reason it never cycles) trying to make setpoint on that stat...if they didn't install guages and check the amps on the running compressor at the condenser there is a reason...during the hi het of the day grab the thin copper line into the air handler should be warm to hot if the charge is within the unit

knotquiteawake 05-24-2012 04:54 PM

Also, if you want to do your own troubleshooting and also buy a new tool thats fun to play with get an IR Temp gun. This will allow you to take the temp of your air intake and the vents and compare. Also allow you to take the temp of the copper lines at the outside unit.
Also if you get the kind with a laser pointer on it you can drive the cat (or in our case the dog... she goes nuts when she sees it) crazy.
I use the IR gun on the grill, when repairing appliances, cars, checking for air leaks around windows doors, and evaluating insulation.
I bought this one, there are better ones but it seemed to have a good mix of quality vs. price.

gregzoll 05-24-2012 07:45 PM

First thing, I would not call a building built in the 80's as old. Second, if you get a lot of direct sunlight, you need to have either a professional company come in and apply U/V film, if you can not buy film large or long enough to cover the windows, or do it yourself if you have the patience to do it. It really is not that hard to do, it is just that you need to make sure the bubbles are out, and that you have a good helper.

As for the cooling effect, if there is a large heat load, or high heat gain, and you are the only one running their air and no one else is, or the hallway is not heated or cool, you are going to be fighting a battle like a three legged dog, or a one legged man called Lucky.

Get the temps, and also the model & manufacturer info of the inside & outside units and post that info on here.

IrateTenant 05-26-2012 09:19 PM

Thank you everyone for your input! After bugging the office about getting a maintenance guy out here on Thursday after hours, he measured the pressure (?) and said it was too high. It's supposed to be set at 40 and it was up to 75. So Friday, again after bugging the office all day, he came out and adjusted something (I wasn't home when this occurred). According to my husband he said something was adjusted to 72 from 75. That did not work. It got up to 86 F that night and didn't go below 80 F all night. So this morning I again went into the office to bother them. When someone finally came out in the afternoon it was 80 F in the apartment and the unit had been running for 24 hours. He said the freon level was low so he "fixed" that. As expected, it hasn't cooled the apartment at all. It's sitting at 82 F.

I will have to get that info tomorrow. I may be ruining someone's weekend because I may be calling the emergency number for our complex on Sunday. I have a two year old and he's just as uncomfortable as we are if not more.

beenthere 05-26-2012 10:30 PM

Could be a dirty outdoor coil.

REP 05-27-2012 02:16 AM

Look,Just tell them that you are moving.They will say you have a lease.You tell them that they are failing to provide a normal living enviroment so they broke the lease.Your unit will be fixed before next wed.

knotquiteawake 05-27-2012 08:54 AM

Before you threaten to break the lease give them a written notice of your request to have the AC fixed detailing how many times you've called them. Even though its just down the path to get to the manager's office send it via certified mail so that you get a confirmation back that they got the letter. You will need this if they take you to court for breaking your lease.

Even better, send them an e-mail. E-mail is just as good if not better than any other form of written documentation.

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