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Old 07-02-2008, 04:19 PM   #1
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Natural gas fired AC?


Does anyone here know anything about gas fired AC ? I think I may have one and haven't the slightest clue how to maintain it. We assumed it was electric based on the electric consumption jumping up in the heat of summer, but I think we were mistaken. I recently climbed into my attic looked the system over in detail (after getting a $600 utility bill!-the electric and gas were unusually high) and found furnace info decals on it in multiple locations as well as found a small pile of discarded small (very old and outdated-looking) furnace filters. This system was most likely installed in the late 70's or early 80's (the house was built in 1950). The unit outside says is a Ruud. This system cools only, no heating. We have a gas boiler in the basement. I cannot find the filter(s) anywhere. I did find an are in the fan/blower area that appears to be the place a filter SHOULD be, but no filter. Any ideas? any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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Old 07-02-2008, 07:54 PM   #2
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Natural gas fired AC?


You are saying you have a natural gas fired AC unit??? The outdoor unit has a natural gas line to it and a pilot? Or is it just a basic ac unit with pipes attached to it that are full of refrigerant gas???? Never heard of the former. If the unit outside has a main power wire to it, then I am almost positive you have a standard ac system. What is the problem? Does it come on?
Your filter will slide in beside the blower in your furnace or air handler. If not, then a filter should be installed in the return air. Perhaps this is one reason your ac doesnt work well.....the system may need to be cleaned especially if it hasnt had a filter change in years.


Last edited by statman; 07-02-2008 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:05 PM   #3
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Natural gas fired AC?


Your probably looking at your air handler. Is there a gas pipe running to it, and a vent going out the roof or chimney? If not, no gas.

The only AC I have ever heard of that require heat to operate, are some amonia systems and absorbers. Very unlikely in a residential scenario.

Measure up the area thats supposed to have the filter, and instal one. Other filters may be located in the return grills.

Good point STATS, there should be a coil in the air handler, it should look like a radiator in your car. If it is dirty, the cost of operation goes up and efficiency goes down. Might want to clean the outdoor unit also.

Last edited by 8 Ball; 07-02-2008 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:13 PM   #4
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Natural gas fired AC?


Is this a split system? Meaning there is a condenser outside and a coil inside in the attic?

You said that the unit is cool only? If it is cool only I would see no reason for Natural Gas. Does your climate primarily have heating or cooling season?

If it is cooling only, and as old as you believe it to be, I would HIGHLY recommend switching to a newer system. The SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) has changed quite a lot since the 70's & 80's.
As have the refrigerants used nowadays R410A for example uses higher pressures.
You'll likely be much further ahead if you purchase a new system from a reputable contractor rather than have them piece the system back together.
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Old 07-02-2008, 08:42 PM   #5
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Natural gas fired AC?


Yes, it's a split system. I live in the deep south (central GA), so I assume we are more cooling centered down here I can't tell if there's anything running from the attic air handler to the chimney for venting (the space is tiny, I have to weave in there like a gymnast and I'm only 5'3", not to mention is very hot up there) , but I can't figure out why it has furnace warnings all over it. There's also the used furnace filters...that's what is confusing me so much. We are headed to the store to purchase a filter now, inside the blower/fan area (a little door can be taken off there) there are brackets for a filter, but no filter. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to examine the outdoor unit, but all i remember there is a black line(I assume for electricity and a copper line) . I looked on the air handler in the attic and it says this thing uses R 22 refrigerant and it said 48000 btu and 350 psi. That's all greek to me though. Any of that sound familiar? I am having a ac technician come and give it a look Monday, but just in case, I still want input from some of the professionals/very knowledgeable people here.
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Old 07-02-2008, 09:07 PM   #6
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Natural gas fired AC?


It would appear that you have a 4 ton air handler. 12,000btu per ton x 4 = 48,000btu. In the old days furnace bodies were used as air handlers, without the heat exchanger (furnace).

Its best to have it checked, and cleaned.

350psi is the test burst pressure rating of the tubing used in it.

R-22 is the identity of the refrigerant the unit is rated for. R-22 is the most common refrigerant for residential cooling.

The black line going to your outdoor unit is probably the insulated suction line.

Last edited by 8 Ball; 07-02-2008 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:50 PM   #7
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Natural gas fired AC?


Thank you so much that definitely explains the decals...I wonder why and where on earth they were sticking those furnace filter...no telling (the insane things some people do scares me) I'm glad to hear it's most likely a standard ac! Wow, 4 tons sounds really big (our house is 2200 sq ft though -not sure what the recommended size would be, but I know that thing is huge). I'm having someone come check it monday so hopefully it's not too ruined by neglect yet *fingers crossed*
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:15 PM   #8
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Natural gas fired AC?


A good general rule is 400-600 sf per ton of cooling depending on how well insulated you are. If your 2200sf house is well insulated a 4 ton unit is pretty close to your needs. If not well insulated it may be on the weak side. The best thing you can do is have the coils cleaned. If the indoor coil has been neglected by the prev. owners ....I would bet it is impacted with dust, lint, and everything else thats airbourn. Good Idea to call a Pro.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:03 AM   #9
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Natural gas fired AC?


Ok, after calling in a HVAC specialist I finally know what I am dealing with. Turns out the unit in place in my attic is both an a/c and a furnace (made by Ducane) and is only 10-15 years old (at most). The furnace part is new and completely untouched. The hvac guy said all I need to do is get the gas lines run to the unit and have a flue installed (and I assume a new thermostat). Go figure. Never did I figure we had a heating and a/c unit up there Good for me though since we we desperately trying to figure out a way to get away from our old terrible inefficient 50 year old boiler and forced hot water baseboard heat system (I'm tired of freezing my butt off and still paying HUGE gas bills). Is hooking up the furnace really as simple as he made it sound? How much cost might this involve (very rough ballpark) ?

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