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Fixitmomof4 07-03-2013 10:55 AM

HVAC slow to cool, little air flow. Help!
I apologize in advance for not using technical terms. That is why I am coming to the all mighty DIY gods for help! I need some info to properly defend my wallet from the HVAC repair guy. It has been hot, very hot and with four small wild boys I need my air working ASAP!

Air system is 10 years old and used occasionally during heat waves. It is a split system, total home can be turned on downstairs or upstairs only turned on upstairs. My one complaint is that it never shuts off when on, making our bill shoot up $200 for a couple of days use.

Saturday night the system was running fine, good air flow, cool air. System shut off and never kicked back on. Only a hum coming from the unit itself. When I spin the fan it would start up and kick on, running like usual except there was little to no air flow and the air was warm.

Finally on Tuesday an HVAC guy came out and changed the condenser motor and told me to change my filters to improve air flow. Weird since the air flow was fine prior to the system break but okay. Changed filters and still no airflow. Took filters out and even with no filters, no airflow. (Don't worry, I put them back in again!) It is very light upstairs and can only be felt downstairs if I put my hand on the vent. I switched to the system only upstairs and the airflow is stronger, but not as strong as it used to be.

Second issue is that the house was slow to cool. By the time the repair guy left, the house was 90 degrees and I understand it takes time to get back to a reasonable number but 9 hours later (now night time) and it is 81 degrees still. Only hit 78 this morning around 2AM.

The third thing is that this thing is LOUD. I can hear the system inside when I could never hear it inside before. I can hear the motor running throughout my 3875 sq ft home. Outside is now like being near an airport. neighbors are probably annoyed as well!
Help! How do I get this fixed? The repair guy says he may have to change whatever it is in the attic. Really? How did everything magically break and clog at the same time? I was charged a fortune already and my four boys are little sweaty monsters. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

FClef 07-03-2013 03:04 PM

Well you ask a ton of good questions. I will only answer a few of them.

The first problem that jumped out at me was that you would run your system for a few days and then shut it off and then wonder why it runs forever during that time. One of the things that an AC will do is remove humidity from the air and that takes a long time in order for you to hit the "comfort zone" that you like. So your unit is working triple-overtime when it first starts up and begins to cool your home. The cooling process is not magic, you can't just snap your fingers and your home is cool, it takes time. Just as your home begins to cool down and become comfortable, you shut the unit off because the hot days have cooled down some and you want that fresh air in your home again. That's great! Right? WRONG. You just let all that humidity back into the home and now you are looking at an extended cooling time to get your home comfortable again. So, no wonder the unit runs forever.

The second thing is that your unit is likely designed to cool your entire home, not half of it unless you went through great expense to zone the home properly with two separate units which is unlikely but not impossible. However, if your system is zoned with dampers you are essentially cutting your efficiency in half by only cooling one zone. Zoning a warm air/AC system can be done but it is rare that it is done correctly.

Your best bet is when it gets hot, turn your system on and then keep it on for the duration of the season. Forget opening up the windows and doors to let fresh air in, it defeats the purpose of your AC.

Where is the noise coming from that you hear? Is it from the indoor unit or the outdoor unit? If it is the outdoor unit and it sounds like a diesel truck then your compressor may be on its way out. This is a guess. More information is needed.

beenthere 07-03-2013 04:33 PM

Moved to HVAC forum.

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