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Old 08-10-2011, 01:26 PM   #1
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Perplexing AC issue


I've an issue (I think) with an AC unit and the service technicians don't really want to seem to address the root cause. Rather bill me a couple hundred every week or so. House is a rental property in a resort town located in Southern New Jersey.

Unit is less then 1 yr old; Rudd, 1.5 ton unit for about 1,000 square foot (don't have model or serial # on me); 3 bedroom all one floor. House is a duplex up/down; exact same floor plan up/down (same carpet, same furniture, same everything); both units have same AC units; installed at the same time by same guy; and therein is my conundrum:

- Downstairs unit is running fine. Turn it on; outside compressor kicks on; cool air flows; system shuts off. Set thermostat to 72, we get 72. MAGIC!

- Compressor for upstairs unit runs 24/7 or almost and never manages more then 10 degrees cool. Last weekend from Friday - Monday morning it turned off twice - once at 5:30 am Monday morning and again at 7:00 am - before coming back on within 5 minutes.

It has been a hot hot summer and the house is located 2 blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, so humidity is very high, but temps are usually lower then inland. Sunday night temps were 72 - 75, thermostat set to 70, no one in the house, shut up tight and it still ran all night.

Tenants called for service July 23, it was unusally hot - 98 outside, 88 inside. Tech came, said nothing wrong, left, charged me service call.

I went down this weekend, tenants reported continuing issue, I heard compressor run constantly from Friday to Saturday & called service again Saturday.

Outside air was 82, inside 75. (Idiot tenants set thermostat to 60 as if that would help) Tech checked freon - again fine, checked filter - brand new (I'm religious about that), checked air temp at return - 75, checked air temp coming out of ducts 70, checked air temp coming from plenum 69.

I asked if those temps were normal and he said no, it should be much colder coming out. When pressed as to what is wrong or what could be wrong his reply was "the set points are off, the low is too high and the high is too low, or maybe they charged it in the wrong phase."

I guess he tweaked something(s), hoping it would resolve on it's own (or I'd call another company to fix the problem), but the issue continued over the weekend. So I turn to the DIY'ers for ideas. I don't want to go through the 'let's check the freon and the filter' steps again, been there, paid twice. As a woman it gets frustrating paying good $$ for a system, more trying to troubleshoot and not getting satisfaction or a properly performing system. I'd be happy to pay for proper diagnostics, but I don't know what diagnostics they should be running or what else techs should be looking for or suggesting. Help!

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Old 08-10-2011, 01:40 PM   #2
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Perplexing AC issue


if it less than 1 yr old why is the installer not fixing it under warranty?

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Old 08-10-2011, 01:49 PM   #3
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Perplexing AC issue


[quote=
Outside air was 82, inside 75. (Idiot tenants set thermostat to 60 as if that would help) Tech checked freon - again fine, checked filter - brand new (I'm religious about that), checked air temp at return - 75, checked air temp coming out of ducts 70, checked air temp coming from plenum 69.
[/quote]

Find another HVAC technician. He needs check if Evap coil is clean. These numbers are off
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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Perplexing AC issue


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if it less than 1 yr old why is the installer not fixing it under warranty?
Great question Yuri ~ installer was my stepfathers son and his friends (all work for a large commerical refridg company). House is 1.5 hours from their home. My mom kinda strong armed me into using the family, sad at my age I succumb to family pressures. I have not ruled out calling him and giving him a WTF earful, knowing discord will follow. Before I call him, I would like some ideas as to what I should have him check.

JJ - thanks, I came to the same conclusion, numbers don't add up, need another company, want to cut through the 'charge the freon and check the filter' sh_ _.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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Perplexing AC issue


Before making any comment about ducts, insulation etc.. AC needs to be functioning properly. Someone needs to check the AC first.
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Old 08-10-2011, 03:57 PM   #6
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Perplexing AC issue


your return temp was 75-supply temp of 69 so you were getting 6 degF cooling which is next to nothing. totally impossible to have proper pressures/freon level with that small amount. if you have an electric furnace with it and one of the elements is stuck on then that may be the problem but the tenants would complain of a HUGE elec bill. sounds to me like the compressor is not running. the previous 2 techs are total idiots. probably your best bet is to get your relatives out to check it unless you want to continue to play Russian roulette to find a tech who knows what he is doing. SAD world we live in where very few young people want to become true professionals and learn their job properly. I go thru this nonsense daily with my "so called" apprentices. there are some Pros out there who are good but the only way to find one is from a referral from someone you know. Myself telling you what procedures these dopes need to follow is not going to make them any better.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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Perplexing AC issue


The heat side of the system is gas forced air, but yes I did have a HUGE electric bill - $406 upstairs, compared to $212 downstairs. Worse downstairs was occupied every day whilst up was occupied probably 3-4 days week. I heard the outside compressor running 24 hours a day for the 4 days I was there, I'm sure they left it on even when the house was empty. Sadly we are located on a small barrier island at the very southern end of New Jersey and getting anyone (other then the local guy) to come out for service is a hassle. Tech was referred by two neighbors, but their units were older and needed replacing, at least the tech said ...

I'm done with the roulette game. I'm satisified from responses here there is an underlying undiagnosed issue. I hear you on service! It is for reasons like this I have learned to be an adequate plumber, tile installer, electrician, drywaller, painter, landscaper, roofer... I feel for professionals trying to run or grow a business, no one wants to learn a trade. Outsourcing to China isn't doing me any good when my AC isn't working.

Thanks and I will post the answer to my mystery, once I have one!
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:31 PM   #8
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Perplexing AC issue


his reply was "the set points are off, the low is too high and the high is too low,



With readings like that, sounds to me like a valve is out of compressor and its only working at about 50% capacity. if he is talking about his pressure readings out at the unit.

Last edited by HvacWiz; 08-10-2011 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:31 PM   #9
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Perplexing AC issue


if I could rip the cell phones and blackberrys out of these bums hands then they would concentrate on learning their trade. technology has a dark side..
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Last edited by yuri; 08-10-2011 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:48 PM   #10
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Perplexing AC issue


Call the guys that installed it. They may know what they are doing, and be able to fix it easily. Inform them nicely. The son doesn't want his dad thinking he did a bad job.


It doesn't sound like you gave him a chance yet.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:32 AM   #11
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Call the guys that installed it. They may know what they are doing, and be able to fix it easily. Inform them nicely. The son doesn't want his dad thinking he did a bad job. It doesn't sound like you gave him a chance yet.
Beenthere ~
Actually I have given him other chances as this is not the first incident with the systems:
~ July 2010 - ground floor AC didn't work when installed - his electrician switched wires in thermos and blew a compressor fuse first time I hit 'on'. (I posted about other issues with the electrician last year)
~ Aug 2010- second floor AC stopped working 2 weeks post fire up - foreign matter was clogging the line/nozzle. (I think the line sets picked up sand under the house during installation. Seems they didn't tape off or seal the ends and drug them through sand.) An in-line evaporator/dryer (think that's what it's called) was placed in both systems, freon drained, systems recharged. This may be a contributing factor to the current issue, more crud in the line may have gotten further into the system.
~ Nov 2010 - ground floor heater didn't work when I tried to fire it up another fuse issue. (I have since learned where the fuses are, how to spot a bad one and keep a handfull taped to the top of the units)
~ I've added freon 3 times - July 2010 upstairs, July 2011 downstairs (screw loose, freon went bye-bye), August 2011 upstairs. You know how much that environmentally friendly freon costs? Last 2 times dye has been added to trace possible leaks. Even I know these are supposed to be sealed systems.
~Now don't fall off your seat, I've actually read the manuals. Granted, I don't always know what they are talking about, but I have followed manufacturer procedure for maintenance, start up/shut down. My ex- was an electrician and my current has degrees in elec and nuke engineering, so I've picked up some knowledge and skills along the way via osmosis.
~My step-brother works for a very large, mainly commerical cooling/refrig company doing large scale jobs- think mutil-million square foot convention centers, casinos, hospitals - not typically residential installations. I was a family/side job. Further the mentality seems to be show up, run the whatever, and leave. Don't actually troubleshoot or think any more then required.
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:15 AM   #12
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Perplexing AC issue


I feel sorry to hear that you have to go through all these troubles to fix your AC. it does not seem that you have that big a problem anyway. The problem is you can not find a good AC tech in your area. I wish I could send our pros like beenthere, yuri, jjboy, and..etc. to NJ. I am sure any one of them will fix your problem in no time.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:17 PM   #13
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Perplexing AC issue


Your temps are not off a little,they are off by a lot.
The differance between the return air and the supply air should be in the neighborhood of 20 degrees.f
If they haven't fixed the leak then you are probably low on freon.
If they haven't checked the indoor coil then it could be freezing into a block of ice or it could be plugged.
The fan might be losing RPM because of a capacitor going bad.Is the outdoor unit clean?
The man that came out is clearly undertrained and I have no idea what out of phase meansin a single phase unit.
The owner is clearly blowing smoke.
Then unless you have great insulation I question the size of the unit.From my front porch it could be too small.
Did this unit work to your liking ever?So all of that and we didn't even talk about the possibility that the ductwork isn't correct.
Good luck.
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:04 PM   #14
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Perplexing AC issue


Not sure where you measured your temperatures to get the drop across tha coil but you need to measure at the INLET of the coil and not depend on the reading at a return air register. You may have a leak in the return air ducts and your trying to cool down a mixture of room air and attic air. DAMHIKT
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:42 PM   #15
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Perplexing AC issue


18F drop on the furnace at the furnace duct work 10F rise on the condenser OA to whats blowing in your face with a fully charge system did he record compressor AMPs versus what the condenser tag says...when was the upper floor working and cycle'g to setpoint consistantly...last month or last summer.if you have 18split on the furnace the duct work or the return is sucking in hot air and not from the conditioned space as designed

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