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Old 07-11-2011, 04:32 PM   #1
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Question - 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, 04:45 PM   #2
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Question - what else could it be?


Sounds more like an HVAC problem than electrical. Is the TS set on cool and auto or cool and fan? Set on cool and fan will keep the blower running continuously although I doubt that this is your problem. Is the small copper tubing going to the coil hot and the larger tubing cold?
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:49 PM   #3
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Question - what else could it be?


Did the HVAC tech or you measure the temp of the air coming out of the vents in the apartment? Did they check the air flow at the vents? I think those would be the next two test I would have done. If the air is not cold or the air is flowing then your apartment won't cool off.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:49 PM   #4
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Question - what else could it be?


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Sounds more like an HVAC problem than electrical. Is the TS set on cool and auto or cool and fan? Set on cool and fan will keep the blower running continuously although I doubt that this is your problem.
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!

I have pictures I can upload if needed. I am just at a loss. We have only been there since April 23rd, and the cost to move and of course the fees complexes have to move in we are having a hard time figuring out what to do.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:57 PM   #5
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Question - what else could it be?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Did the HVAC tech or you measure the temp of the air coming out of the vents in the apartment? Did they check the air flow at the vents? I think those would be the next two test I would have done. If the air is not cold or the air is flowing then your apartment won't cool off.
I just can't believe that our consumption for this sq footage is 3000. I've never had that high. We are gone about 10 hours of the day too.

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.

The air coming out of the vents is cool, it just feels like breathing for the pressure. I am not sure how hard it should be blowing.

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, 05:15 PM   #6
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Question - what else could it be?


Double check for a break in an air duct where cool air is being wasted to the outside, or exhaust fans that are on unnecessarily or too long. Ducts running in exterior walls or in the attic can lose coolness if they are not insulated adequately.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:26 PM   #7
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Question - what else could it be?


What is the temperature of the air coming into the rooms through the vents when the AC is running?
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:31 PM   #8
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Question - what else could it be?


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What is the temperature of the air coming into the rooms through the vents when the AC is running?
We put a digital thermometer in the vent last night for 5 mins and it read 64 degrees.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:37 PM   #9
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Question - what else could it be?


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We put a digital thermometer in the vent last night for 5 mins and it read 64 degrees.
How many vents did you check? 64 doesn't sound too bad for TX. The unit may have too much heat gain from poor insulation or other structure issues. Have you turned off all power in your unit to make sure the meter stops turning?
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:45 PM   #10
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Question - what else could it be?


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Originally Posted by a7ecorsair View Post
How many vents did you check? 64 doesn't sound too bad for TX. The unit may have too much heat gain from poor insulation or other structure issues. Have you turned off all power in your unit to make sure the meter stops turning?
We measured 1 vent. When I get home I will measure more and post comparison.

The meter stops running when we flip all the breakers off.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:01 PM   #11
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Question - what else could it be?


Dumb question but did anyone check the air filter? A clogged filter will seriously reduce air flow.

If you are friendly with the neighbours ask if you can measure the temp in their vents for a comparison to yours. also note if the air flow seems more then yours.
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Last edited by joed; 07-11-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:20 PM   #12
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Question - what else could it be?


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Dumb question but did anyone check the air filter? A clogged filter will seriously reduce air flow.

If you are friendly with the neighbours ask if you can measure the temp in their vents for a comparison to yours. also note if the air flow seems more then yours.

the filter is good...we have met a few neighbors about 4 different ones..2 in similar units the others in bigger and they are astonished at our bill and consumption. and probably thankful it isn't them.

I know one of them said he had a digital them. so I should go ask him if he measure and what it was.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:21 PM   #13
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Question - what else could it be?


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Originally Posted by a7ecorsair View Post
How many vents did you check? 64 doesn't sound too bad for TX. The unit may have too much heat gain from poor insulation or other structure issues. Have you turned off all power in your unit to make sure the meter stops turning?
measure living room and its at 64 still but the humidity is at 77%...that is high humidity.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:29 PM   #14
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Question - what else could it be?


Also be sure that you are dr5awing inside ai r (from a return duct system) to go through the AC u nit.. Not outside air from an exterior louver.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:07 PM   #15
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Question - what else could it be?


Does your new apartment get the same type of sun exposure as your last apartment. Check weather strips around doors and windows.
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