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Old 07-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #1
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


Hi -

Last night we had crazy electrical storms here in Memphis.

Today, among other appliances, my central HVAC unit is kaput. Upstairs is a horizontal Goodman H-36F unit.

Some breakers in the main box downstairs were tripped, including the "furnace" (different from the "AC" breakers) and one of the house mains. I reset the breakers.

Now, the thermostat works fine (battery powered) but it's not kicking on the machine upstairs (or the one outside).

Is there typically a fuse upstairs too, or did I blow a power supply upstairs? Any suggestion where to start troubleshooting for this?

Thanks in advance...


Last edited by jtwestn; 07-13-2010 at 05:31 PM. Reason: specify hardware upstairs
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Old 07-13-2010, 05:41 PM   #2
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


use a voltmeter to check the plug where the indoor unit (marked furnace on the panel) is plugged in. also check the voltage to the contactor on the outside unit (where the main black/white power lines are connected to the unit). you should get about 125V and 240V respectively. also listen for a humming or buzzing sound coming from the contactor while the thermostat is turned on and trying to start the unit.

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Old 07-13-2010, 06:32 PM   #3
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


Find the control board in the airhandler upstairs and look for a 3 or 5 amp GM auto fuse on it. Lots of time the transformer burns out during power surges but hopefully the fuse went first.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:07 PM   #4
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


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Originally Posted by yuri View Post
Find the control board in the airhandler upstairs and look for a 3 or 5 amp GM auto fuse on it. Lots of time the transformer burns out during power surges but hopefully the fuse went first.
I checked the outlet upstairs - it's got voltage.

Outside, the compressor does not have an outlet, but a dedicated fusebox with a really big (3") slot fuse.

I'm guessing the control board is under the panel with the screws above the part where the power cord plugs in to it. I will turn off the breakers and upnplug the device and remove the cover to check there for blown fuses.

apparently pretty much most of my ac adaptors to half a dozen devices or more got fried

Last edited by jtwestn; 07-13-2010 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


I pulled the panels from the blower unit upstairs and I instantly smelled burned electronics (reminded me of old toy electric trains) when I took the cover off where the power comes in.

I don't see any fuses immediately, but given the smell, what would the first guess be?

Otherwise, I can take a photo of that if it helps.

Last year the DIY forums were very helpful at my fixing the capacitor on my outside unit - I bet I can fix this with your help

Does the smell indicate anything that will help in troubleshooting?
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:01 PM   #6
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


Circuit board and transformer would be a good place to start. Lost two TVs,high dollar thermostat, phone, answering machine,freezer and two computers last year in a lightning storm. Homeowners insurance replaced it all less the deductable, thank God.
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:33 PM   #7
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


If it smells burnt then a lot more than a blown fuse is the problem. You may need to get a Pro in for this one. Does your homeowners insurance cover any of this. Take some pics of the board and wiring etc.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:23 AM   #8
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


Quote:
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"You may need to get a Pro in for this one."
ummmm, isn't this the "diy" forum?
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Old 07-14-2010, 05:59 AM   #9
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


As a Pro there are safety concerns that come into play. IMO a Pro is required to check the critical parts of a furnace and that is beyond the DIY realm.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:17 AM   #10
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


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Originally Posted by jtwestn View Post
ummmm, isn't this the "diy" forum?
Yes, it is.

And as such. Advise is given by both fellow DIYers, and tradesmen that like to help other people out.
Each will have their own comfort area, in how much advise they give. Based on their knowledge, and how safe they feel it is for someone to perform what ever task.

Some years ago.
I had a boss, who's place got nailed by a lightening strike. His home owners insurance wouldn't let him determine the cost of the repairs though. He had to bring in a plumber for his well pump. Electrician for his outside lights that were damaged, and another HVAC company.

So if you have home owners insurance. You may want to check with them, before you do anything.
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:43 AM   #11
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


I just found out my freezer's dead too. Light works, freezer doesn't. ugh.

Yes I have homeowner's, with a $1150 deductible. So before insurance helps I have to spend that much. I'd obviously like to fix as much of this myself as possible.

Attached is a photo of the inside of my goodman unit. The fuse is fine. What is the next step here?

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Old 07-14-2010, 08:01 AM   #12
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


First thing to do is go around your house and make a list of everything that doesn't work.
Hoping you already checked you refrigerator, if you have a separate refrigerator.
Check all other appliances. Including computers, TVs, stereos, game boxes, microwaves, etc.

My boss's microwave gave up the ghost 3 days after the initial strike.

As with anything electrical. Start at the beginning. Check if its getting electric, and then, where/what isn't getting electric.

PS: If your A/C was running at the time of the strike. The outdoor unit may have suffered as much or more damage then the indoor unit. You may have lost the compressor also.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:08 AM   #13
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


Will do.

In the meantime, does anyone here know where to begin on fixing the HVAC?
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:12 AM   #14
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


I just told you. You have to see what has electric to it in that panel, and what doesn't.
So you can see what burnt out.

Do you have an electrical meter. You have to use it.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:53 AM   #15
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overnight power surge tripped something on HVAC that I can't find


ok.

In my hand I have a burned out transformer (the one in the lower-left in the photo).

I'm off to Grainger for a replacement, then we'll see if anything else fried.

Thanks for the help so far; stay tuned...

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