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Old 07-11-2011, 04:33 PM   #1
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What else could it be?


We moved into an apartment closer to work. It is about 100 sq feet difference from our old one, same floor and our kwh jumped from 1200 to 3000 kwh.

We have been dealing with this since May - quite high bills - plus the hassle of dealing with this for 3 months.

We think it is has to do with the AC, but maybe someone has an idea of what we could try. We did the breaker tests hour by hour for several days and the meter isn't faulty according to the power company.

So here is the story for background.

We set our t-stat to about 79-80. Our AC hardly ever turns off at all. I'm not exaggerating when I say it runs for 3 or more hours straight, turns off for 5 mins, then runs another 3 or more hours straight. The Apt. won't cool past 79-80 even when we do set the t-stat below that (In our old apt, we kept it around 73 when home).

When I complained about this to the complex, they tried to tell me it is normal. I walked around the building and talked to other residents, and they are able to leave their t-stats low (72 was the average) and their AC cycles off. Eventually, the complex sent their crew out and ran tests. They said our insulation was ok, they hooked cables up to the breaker and read amps, stating everything was pulling the correct power. They put a thermometer up to the vents and at the t-stat, saying it read fine (although they didn't say what the numbers were). I told them it wasn't normal, something is wrong, and they need to fix it. They said they would claim the outside unit as defective so they could install a new one. They also installed a new t-stat

Once the new outside unit was installed, they said to wait a few days to see if things go to "normal". Well they haven't. Everything is still the same.

Around the time the new outside unit was installed, I started hearing this "flapping" or "scurrying" sound above our bedroom ceiling. Searches on the internet indicate it might be duct leakage? I also opened up the hatch above our shower where the blower is. The "squirrel cage" (I believe that's what it is called) is filthy. I took pictures of it. Next to the squirrel cage, I also noticed a plastic zip lock looking bag that has melted and is stuck between the blower!

Another thing to note is - When I force the AC to cycle off by pushing the t-stat to 90, I noticed the blower (squirrel cage) continues to run. Is that normal? I would think it would stop.

I called the complex and told them we are still having issues. They said, "well we put in a new outdoor unit and that was expensive you know?". After more debate, they said they would talk to their maintenance crew and get back to me on Monday the 11th.

I really don't know what to do at this point. Because of the 24/7 running of the AC (at 80 degrees....) we have over 2,880 kWh of consumption already. Our bill last month was 270 and I fear this month it will be higher. Our average kWh consumption is 1,200 a month in the old apartment and now it is more than doubled since moving here!

Any advice is appreciated. I'll do my best to take any pictures and give any information you might need.

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Old 07-11-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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What else could it be?


1-Move to another apt.

2-Ask the manager for a REAL HVAC pro. Not the $9 guy they pay to do all the job even HVAC.

3- If the coil of the outside unit is dirty it will cause excess of electricity....ask the manager to ask the crew why. . Also low charge.

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Old 07-11-2011, 04:56 PM   #3
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What else could it be?


Do you heat with electric heat, and if so, is the electric heat in the air handler. Could be an electric heater is stuck on.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:01 PM   #4
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What else could it be?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JJboy View Post
1-Move to another apt.

2-Ask the manager for a REAL HVAC pro. Not the $9 guy they pay to do all the job even HVAC.

3- If the coil of the outside unit is dirty it will cause excess of electricity....ask the manager to ask the crew why. . Also low charge.
Supposdly the maintenance guys are HVAC certified (2 of them), but they didn't notice that the cage is filthy and that there is burnt plastic in it. We found that after they did their thourough check.

I feel like we are being bullied and jerked around.

always keep it on auto/cool. :/

Should the blower be turning totally off when the t-stat is set to "off"? Because it stays on and obviously is drawing power to stay on.

Is it possible for me to test for duct leaks on my own? I read elsewhere on the internet that I could turn just the blower fan on (not AC), place a thermometer in my return duct and read the temp. Then place the thermometer on a register and compare the difference. If the temp is 5-10 degrees different, then there's a leak allowing attic heat into the ducts.

Is that correct? Because if so, my return duct is saying 82 while my register next to it says 102 degrees!

Here are some pictures we took:

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...irrelcage.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...rrelcage2.jpg/

plastic bag in blower
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...cinblower.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...owerrust1.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...owerrust2.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...owerlabel.jpg/

new unit they installed about a week ago next to the old
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...tsideunit.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...unitlabel.jpg/

old unit label
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...unitlabel.jpg/

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...itfantemp.jpg/
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:04 PM   #5
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What else could it be?


Quote:
Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
Do you heat with electric heat, and if so, is the electric heat in the air handler. Could be an electric heater is stuck on.

Everything is electric, no gas.

I will put that on my list of things to have them check.

I would love to move, but we just paid the deposit, admin fees, app fee, movers to move in :/ and all the time and stress this is costing us. They supposdly don't have another unit until after labor day and I keep asking myself do I even want to stay there and if we have to move that is more time not being settled. But this is not normal. I feel torn.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:22 PM   #6
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What else could it be?


The blower should shut off but like Beenthere said you may have one electric element stuck on and the fan works with it. If you can shut off everything in the apt including the AC if the electric meter still spins fast due to a 5kw/5000 watt element stuck on then that may be your problem. Get their tech to check if the air handler/electric elements are drawing that amount of power with the AC off. All they have to do is put a amp meter/clamp on type on the main wire coming into the unit and it should draw over 18-20 amps if an element is on. The elec utility company should be able to tell you that but everything in the apt must be off and some of them are not too co-operative.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:32 PM   #7
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What else could it be?


For under $100 you could call a company out to diagnose the problem(s). Just from the picture and temp readings I see...
Old first co evap coil with what looks like an oil spot on the top bend. If it leaks then there's non-condensables in the system from when they pulled a vacuum.
No tool marks on the orifice nut corrosion so it's probably the wrong size.
Supply temp 20 degrees warmer then the return is an element stuck on or a massive return leak in the attic. With your KW consumption I'm guessing it's an element on.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:43 PM   #8
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What else could it be?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty S. View Post
For under $100 you could call a company out to diagnose the problem(s). Just from the picture and temp readings I see...
Old first co evap coil with what looks like an oil spot on the top bend. If it leaks then there's non-condensables in the system from when they pulled a vacuum.
No tool marks on the orifice nut corrosion so it's probably the wrong size.
Supply temp 20 degrees warmer then the return is an element stuck on or a massive return leak in the attic. With your KW consumption I'm guessing it's an element on.
Thank you!
No one can come out w/out the complex's approval and they won't give approval bc they say their guys are HVAC certified.
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:12 PM   #9
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What else could it be?


Our local elec utility co provides some limited free service to homeowners. Call yours and NICELY see if they can help you.

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