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-   -   Hardly any air blowing out vents and lights dim every few minutes (http://www.diychatroom.com/f17/hardly-any-air-blowing-out-vents-lights-dim-every-few-minutes-105508/)

girlnamedjo 05-25-2011 12:02 AM

Hardly any air blowing out vents and lights dim every few minutes
 
The HVAC in my house isn't working properly and I need to figure out why. All the equipment (or whatever you want to call it) is about 24 years old.

The problem started about a month ago when the heat (heat pump) was on. I noticed that hardly any air was blowing out of the vents and the air that was blowing out was cool, not warm. Also, the lights in different rooms would dim every 4 minutes or so. I turned off the heat at this point and notified the owners of the house who happen to be my parents.

I turned on the central A/C yesterday morning and the same thing is happening. The lights (and microwave, when in use) in different rooms dim every 4 minutes or so and hardly any air is blowing out of the vents. The fan was set to "on" so everything was running nonstop for over 6 hrs, but the temperature in the house never went down. It seems to be working enough to keep it from getting really hot though.

From what I can tell, everything seems to be running. The outside unit seems to be working normally.

My father says he put in a new filter, but this was after the problem started a month ago. He mentioned that the unit might need more Freon, but since the heat doesn't work right either, I wouldn't think it would need Freon. He mentioned something about getting someone to check the pressure (whatever that means), but knowing him this could take weeks and I'm burning up.

Does anyone have any idea as to what might be wrong? And since the lights keep dimming, will that harm any of my electronic equipment, like my computer?

Some other possible relevant information is that the wiring in the house is "piggybacked" (I still don't know what that means). Before the problem started, some of the lights in the house would dim when the outside unit would come on. It seems like more lights were dimming this past winter, but I'm not sure. Additionally, several weeks after this problem originally started, I began having problems with my hallway light switches. When they're switched on/off, they kick the breaker, so we just don't use them anymore. But I noticed problems with those light switches over a year ago, so they might not be at all related to the HVAC problem. I just thought it was worth mentioning.

beenthere 05-25-2011 04:36 AM

Could be a dirty indoor coil.

Marty S. 05-25-2011 06:17 AM

Could be a bad capacitor, a stuck compressor, the house wiring or a combination of all . Turn the AC off untill you get it figured out or the compressor will get ruined.

bob22 05-25-2011 06:26 AM

"Some other possible relevant information is that the wiring in the house is "piggybacked" (I still don't know what that means). Before the problem started, some of the lights in the house would dim when the outside unit would come on. It seems like more lights were dimming this past winter, but I'm not sure. Additionally, several weeks after this problem originally started, I began having problems with my hallway light switches. When they're switched on/off, they kick the breaker, so we just don't use them anymore. But I noticed problems with those light switches over a year ago, so they might not be at all related to the HVAC problem. I just thought it was worth mentioning."

Could be loose wires in the panel or other locations since you've other electrical problems unrelated to the HVAC system. I'd get an electrician out to check things out; first things first.

Doc Holliday 05-25-2011 06:56 AM

"He mentioned that the unit might need more Freon, but since the heat doesn't work right either, I wouldn't think it would need Freon."

Freon is used for both heating and cooling in heat pump systems.

girlnamedjo 05-25-2011 11:31 AM

I thought Freon was only used for the A/C. I don't know why my father doesn't just check that since he's the one that keeps mentioning it. But if it simply needed more Freon, that wouldn't cause the lights to dim, would it?

Is there any possible way for someone as inexperienced as me to narrow things down? My father is the only one who can take care of the problem (either himself or by hiring someone), but he's taking too long. If I could narrow things down, maybe it would help speed things up.

I don't mind being without heat (it's happened before), but I cannot live without the A/C. The heat is just unbearable, plus my computer doesn't like the heat either and I need it for work.

Marty S. 05-25-2011 05:30 PM

Do you have the tools and know how to safely check the electric panel and electrical parts of the AC? If the answer to either of those is no then it's best to hound dad or hire somebody yourself. No sense in getting hurt or dead trying to save a few bucks.

Low on freon will not make the lights dim.

pjpjpjpj 05-26-2011 12:29 PM

First check - gotta ask - when's the last time you changed the filter? :whistling2:

I'm guessing the intermittently-dimming lights have to do with the cycling of the compressor - it's one of the biggest power hogs in your house (maybe the biggest). Your house is probably pushing max amperage load. Have you attempted to add up the amperages of devices that you have continuously running and see how it compares to your house service size? Also, how new/old is the house - does it have "modern" wiring? Aluminum or copper?

While there are a whole host of issues that could be plaguing your heat pump (some mentioned above), an electrician could probably give you a pretty quick diagnosis of what was causing the problems. Get someone to check your circuitry with some testing equipment - especially if you can get the lights to do the dimming thing while the test is being done.


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