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Old 08-27-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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Central AC nightmare


Hi all

will give you brief backstory, house was built in 1954, completely remodeled in 2008 - we bought it 2012

since we bought it in december, didnt really have a chance to check the AC unit out -- upon having really hot days this month, the temp inside didnt really get below high 70s / low 80s

fast forward to 3 different AC techs coming out, the last one found out only 2 of my returns in the entire house are working, and no major ones at that

so my 3 ton unit is struggling and working while being suffocated, as per the engineer, and I'm only getting around 1 ton usage or so

he came yesterday (the mech engineer) and said theres really nothing I can do, short of spending around 7,000 and dealing with a few options

1) gutting downstairs and running all new ductwork (finished basement)
2) get a mitsubishi slim line unit (don't want to do that)
3) get high velocity air duct ran (the most expensive of them all) (upwards of 15k)

also, the attic is just a crawl space as that, so a unit cannot be placed in the attic

any ideas?

Or do we just rough it out in the summer and stay down the basement

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Old 08-27-2013, 09:42 AM   #2
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Central AC nightmare


That little of air flow is going to kill you furnace and ac. Tear out the drywall now and get the duct right or you'll be replacing the equipment and duct soon.

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Old 08-27-2013, 10:20 AM   #3
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Central AC nightmare


if the air handler/furnace is in the finished basement the return has to be going into the unit where the filter goes...right.add an opening on the return duct just forward of the filter with louvers on it so you can adjust it.most homes don't have individual room returns to expensive and the unit pulls down hall ways from each room...lets hear back on the location and if you have doors as you go to the basement
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biggles View Post
if the air handler/furnace is in the finished basement the return has to be going into the unit where the filter goes...right.add an opening on the return duct just forward of the filter with louvers on it so you can adjust it.most homes don't have individual room returns to expensive and the unit pulls down hall ways from each room...lets hear back on the location and if you have doors as you go to the basement
hi, not sure what you mean by add an opening on the return duct just forward of the filter?

anyway, no doors to the basement, the air handler / furance is in the back corner of a house with a door on it (wth 2 vents on both sides of the door)
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:04 AM   #5
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Central AC nightmare


Since this is a DIY forum, I assume you are open to a little bit of DIY. I gotta figure that running ducts is a pretty basic task for an HVAC pro, and most of that 7K is for removing/replacing/painting the drywall. Find an HVAC contractor that you are comfortable with and offer to rip down and replace the drywall yourself, and they are only doing the ductwork.
Or let them tear out the drywall as required, since it may not be obvious how much needs to be ripped out until they get into it.
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Old 08-27-2013, 04:16 PM   #6
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You really need a proper set of ductwork or you will never be comfortable and if that means opening up the basement so be it. You cannot take air from a duct in a furnace room if you have a chimney and water heater or it can suck fumes in. Best to get the ductwork done properly. If the duct is on the other side of a wall from the furnace then you can do that but it may be noisy and you won't get good return and circulation upstairs.
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:31 PM   #7
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With so little information I really can't see how anyone could recommend a solution.

We know the age of the house and when it was remolded, it has a finished basement and it's 3 ton unit won't cut it.

We don't know the size of the returns, the size of the house, insulation level, or if the structure has 30 windows and 25 of those have direct sun either morning or evening.

Something else rather strange, with so little return air, according to the engineer, why hasn't the evaporator coil frozen.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:15 PM   #8
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Could be undercharged and just getting enough air to do the job w/o freezing. strange but it can happen. I agree it should be freezing up.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:09 AM   #9
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fast forward to 3 different AC techs coming out, the last one found out only 2 of my returns in the entire house are working, and no major ones at thatYou stated that one of the techs found out only 2 of your returns are working and no major ones at that. How many returns do you have? Why are the returns (besides the 2) not working? From that, it seems like you have several returns in place. I would suggest you map out where all of the returns are, draw up a diagram, and then figure out how to connect them to the intake side of your unit.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
fast forward to 3 different AC techs coming out, the last one found out only 2 of my returns in the entire house are working, and no major ones at that
You stated that one of the techs found out only 2 of your returns are working and no major ones at that. How many returns do you have? Why are the returns (besides the 2) not working? From that, it seems like you have several returns in place. I would suggest you map out where all of the returns are, draw up a diagram, and then figure out how to connect them to the intake side of your unit.

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