Frozen inside and out? Help please


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Old 09-09-07, 10:39 AM
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Unhappy Frozen inside and out? Help please

Yesterday the AC started not cooling so well. this morning, the lines to the inside unit and the outside unit were frozen. We turned the unit off and ran the fan only. We still get cool air (but not on now of course) if we run the AC, but not a lot, and it's not cooling well.
The thermostat says change filter. What filter? That thing that goes in the wall is new, and has been every month. I read about cleaning inside coils.
I figure they are probably filthy because last year when I had this thing serviced the tech took out the little permanant filter and said they restrict air flow.

Fan blows, unit outside comes on and runs just fine...just runs and runs and runs right now so it is OFF.

We've cleaned the outside stuff.
BUT
Where the heck are the inside coils? This unit is ancient. An old Rheem outside (3 ton) and an old Fredrich unit which is also a furnace inside.
So where are these inside coils, how do we clean them, and do we turn all the power off to this thing to do it, or what?
,
It's Sunday. I really don't want to call a tech today. Don't they charge more for weekends? We are on the SE side of Houston, and honestly..I don't know anyone trustworthy. Been ripped in the past and had to have company number 2 over. Besides we are not exactly floating in cash at the moment.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 11:14 AM
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I may have driven past your house 25-30 years ago.

Cold coils are ontop of updraft furnaces or in handling units where a blower motor is located, that blows the cold air out your registers.

Does the same amount of air come out thsoe registers, can you recall, as they used to, or has that air volume been reduced? If coils ice up, this also blocks off the passage of air because the air has to blow through the coils.

Filter is located on the return-air side of the blower motor.

Make sure cold air returns in house are not blocked. If return air or filter is not the issue, and everything is running the way it should, and the unit is old like you say, you are probably low on refrigerant.

Inspection of those coils may be in order also, as maybe they are all plugged with dust.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
I may have driven past your house 25-30 years ago.
Well if you are anywhere handy, drive by now and show me where this stuff is.

Cold coils are ontop of updraft furnaces or in handling units where a blower motor is located, that blows the cold air out your registers.

There are 3 flat metal panels on this furnace thing. Nothing but a big round blower fan at the bottom. Next one seems to be all furnace related. Gas lines, etc.

The top one if I look straight up into it..looks like there is something flat up there facing down. Is that what one is supposed to clean? Remember I am a woman, and therefore quite ignorant.

Does the same amount of air come out thsoe registers, can you recall, as they used to, or has that air volume been reduced? If coils ice up, this also blocks off the passage of air because the air has to blow through the coils.

We seem to be getting close to same air. It is cooling now. He turned it back on finally. But...we know it is going to freeze up again....

Filter is located on the return-air side of the blower motor.

You mean the accordian shapped thing that costs me about 8 bucks a month right? The one in the wall? If you are talking about something blueish that looked like mesh..that is what the TECH took out last year and pitched, telling me it restricted air flow.

Make sure cold air returns in house are not blocked. If return air or filter is not the issue, and everything is running the way it should, and the unit is old like you say, you are probably low on refrigerant.

Could it be a double issue? Need refirgerant and a good cleaning?

Inspection of those coils may be in order also, as maybe they are all plugged with dust.
Exactly..plugged with dust. I need someone to draw me a picture. What to turn off and how to clean. I am sure this thing is dusty. I have cats. Duh...
furballs everywhere no matter how much I vac.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 11:40 AM
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Most t-stat "change filter" is not tied to your system.. It's on a timer, and it just a reminder of home owner to change thier filter. Most t-stat let you set it up on X amount of days, or X amount of equipment run time..

Check your owners manual on how to reset it, and change it to a monthly reminder for you.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Barnabas View Post
Exactly..plugged with dust. I need someone to draw me a picture. What to turn off and how to clean. I am sure this thing is dusty. I have cats. Duh...
furballs everywhere no matter how much I vac.
The a/c cold coil is located in the handling unit inside the house, where the 2 copper lines go in. The bigger copper line should be wrapped with a black rubber foam, and the other line is like 1/4 inch looking. Right where those 2 lines go into the sheetmetal is where the coils are, and where your icing is occuring, and maybe those coil fins are all clogged up wtih wet dust. You have to open up that sheetmetal to get at it.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 11:52 AM
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ok

First thanks for the change filter info. I don't think I have a handbook. Don't recall that guy leaving such an animal here..but I will see what I can do.


Alrighty. do I need to turn this AC off..ALL the power off outdoors, the little light switch...what?
We are certainly ready to do this...just don't want to kill anyone while in the process.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 12:41 PM
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Shut off the thermostat to be sure that your outside unit don't come on and/or pull the disconnect to it in the box out on the exterior house wall outside next to the unit. Turn off the switch at the furnace/handler unit or shut off breaker in house electric panel box marked furnace. Then have at it.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
The a/c cold coil is located in the handling unit inside the house, where the 2 copper lines go in. The bigger copper line should be wrapped with a black rubber foam, and the other line is like 1/4 inch looking. Right where those 2 lines go into the sheetmetal is where the coils are, and where your icing is occuring, and maybe those coil fins are all clogged up wtih wet dust. You have to open up that sheetmetal to get at it.

Somewhere around your furnace is the freon piping that ecman had described. The piping goes to the indoor coil which is most likely plugged up with dirt and pet dander. To clean the cooiling coil effectively, it will have to be removed, taken outside, cleaned with a foaming action type coil cleaner and re-installed. The blower fan is probably also dirty and in need of cleaning as well. Unfortunately, the coil cleaning is not a cheap repair.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 02:04 PM
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ok not cheap

But it was done last year, and I survived the bill. What I can't survive is a while new system..not yet anyway.

We have the outside completely done. I guess it will be better to get
a guy out here then?

I am under the impression that the tech who removed that blue filter thing
really did me a bad turn. We had always removed, cleaned and reinstalled
it in the past.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 02:27 PM
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Wink

We had always removed, cleaned and reinstalled
it in the past.

Id say with cats thats a no no get a new filter in there every 30 to 90 days. Get a good one up to a MERV 5 dont go over that. If you can get to the under side of the coil there . There is a coil comb that you can buy and use to help clean the coil .
 
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Old 09-09-07, 02:36 PM
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I'm not sure what that 2nd filter is, but the one that is right in front of the blower that blows cold air out your registers (for a/c and heat out for heating season) is the one that is really needed.

You say the coil was cleaned last year? The one inside the house?

I have cleaned coils right in place, greatly improving them with vacuum/brush. On huge commercial units I maintain, they have gotten terribly clogged before I had anything to do with the place, and found that I never had to use access door, hose, cleaners, etc. By simply brushing the coils, that were so caked you could not even see a fin!, I got it so clean with just a surface brush that I could actually see right through the fins. I am not making this up or stretching things. So it's worth a try anyway.

If it's not this, you must be low on refrigerant.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 02:47 PM
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coil comb huh?

I will see if I can get myself one of those. Where might I purchase one of those?

Yeah....done last year. But the guy didn't take the coils out or anything, so
maybe it wasn't a complete job. He did remove the fan and clean, and tightened something up..so it is much more quiet.

Right now, it is cooling. I don't know for how long, but hopefully until...........

I called a guy. Got a name from someone I know. He can come either tonight or tommor after 4 ...depending on his work load.

Another question. For a decent total replace..ac and furnace...it it really costly? Remember in South TX a furnace isn't used much, so could be cheapie. And, what if one wanted to get rid of gas and go all electric?
Would the switch be grossly expensive?
 
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Old 09-09-07, 02:59 PM
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If you can live with not having a/c on for a while, or later on tonight, turn off the a/c and run the unit on fan only to help melt out any ice that might be in the coils. You can't clean coils with ice on them anyway.

As far as the brush goes, use a duster brush atachment for a vacuum and also you can buy appliance brushes, which are nice to have anyway for cleaning coils on refrigerators or getting down in below the lint screen on dryers or cleaning house-boiler radiators with or dragging them under refrigerator, washer, dryer, oven, raised water heater, etc. - or you can use even something like a good paint brush. You have to make sure the pan that collects the condensate under it isn't left with junk in it that then could clog up the drain hole out of it. Check your work after with bright flashlight/trouble light and mirror if you have to, to make sure you see good (day)light through the fins. If not good enough, a better cleaning approach will be in order then.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 03:06 PM
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If you are thinking of a heatpump there go to
http://warmair.net and you can compare fuel cost for where you live there . Do that first then be sure to get 3 bids for any kind of job
 
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Old 09-09-07, 03:59 PM
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ok

Thanks for the site and thanks for the brush hints.
I an definitely get those.
 
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Old 09-09-07, 04:07 PM
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The reason a brush has worked successfully for me anyway, is that the coils are wet and collect dust, and do so right away on the outside of the tightly packed fins. It literally cakes onto those outside fins the most.
 
 

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