AC is not cold

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Old 06-10-12, 05:54 PM
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AC is not cold

Today is the first day we've turned on our AC in probably 7 or 8 months. Last year when we ran it, it seemed like our house never got that cool. Today it's been running non-stop. It's about 95 degrees outside. So, far the air has gotten our house down to 79 degrees.

I've been reading the internet trying to figure out what to do to make the AC work better.

Actually the first problem I found, somehow the condensor got disconnected inside the main electrical panel. I went and hooked it back up to a 30 A breaker. So, the condensor is spinning now but still that's been at least 5 hours ago.

I searched the internet and found that people recommended that I clean the condensor outside and make sure nothing is clogging it. There were a few vines that grew on it. Nothing major. I pulled them off. I then shut off the power to the condensor and washed it out with a hose.

I was reading more and it sounded like it was recommended to clean out the coils in the furnace too. I looked at my furnace and wasn't sure how to get at it. I see where the copper piping goes into the furnace and it's towards the top. It doesn't look like they made it easy to get apart. But then I noticed the PVC pipe that runs to the water pump on the floor for the AC had a PVC cap and someone wrote on it in marker to put bleach in it twice a year.

We've lived here for over 2 years now and I've never done it. They didn't write on it how much to dump in it. Seeing when I dumped the bleach in, it just ran downhill into the pump and was pumped out, I just dumped the whole 3 gallons in it.

Does dumping in this bleach clean out the coils inside? I don't think so seeing I see where gravity would just push it through the pump and on out the house... So, does that mean I should find a way to get the furnace apart in that spot and clean the coils inside?

I'm thinking what I'm going to try doing tomorrow is go to the hardware store and see if they have condensor cleaner that I can use to clean out the coils on the condensor better than what just spraying water did. I see on the internet the stuff exists.

The other thing I saw too on suggestions on the internet was to change the air filter on the furnace. I did check ours and it was barely dirty. When I pulled it out, there was one piece of fuzz on top of it, so I pulled it off by hand, but other than that, nothing. We didn't run our furnace all winter. We burned wood, so the filter still looked basically brand new.

While searching the internet for what to do to fix the AC, first thing I was thinking it needed was to have the freon topped off. But from searching the internet for a while, many experts said it is extremely rare an AC unit needs to have the freon topped off. Most AC techs will check it, but seeing it's so rare that's the problem, everytime a tech does that, you loose a little and it does more harm than good. So, I've been trying to follow every suggestion I can find other than that to get it going again.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 06:09 PM
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First, 3 gallons of bleach is way too much. Maybe a cup at most was needed. It simply is put in to clean the drain and condensate pump. Pouring the bleach in does not clean the evaporator coil.

As far as checking the refrigerant level, it is perfectly fine to have it checked. If the tech uses low loss connectors then barely any will be lost and the small amount that is lost will NOT effect anything.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 06:40 PM
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Should I find a way to clean the evaporator coil? Would it be a good next step? I'd rather not have a tech come out. I was debating wheather to turn on the air or not because we really can't afford the electric it's going to cost, but trying to sleep when it's 80+ degrees is miserable. I really can't afford to have a tech come out if at all possible. By my description, how much would anyone estimate it would cost for a tech to come out? Does anyone else have any ideas on what I should check?
 
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Old 06-10-12, 06:53 PM
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I just found another forum:

It said to check the larger pipe coming out the furnace to make sure it has condensation on it. I'm attaching a picture of it...

The larger pipe is completely insulated. But the side of the furnace where the pipes go in to the furnace has condensation on top of it. I put my hand on it and it's pretty cold.

Now one thing I was trying last year to get the air to work better was the vent ducts have these little levers on them that I can close certain ducts to try to control where the air is going. One of the main vents in our main area of the house upstairs I closed it. I also closed one main vent downstairs. When we cover the vent downstairs, it forces more air to the master bed room. I was trying to close more vents to force more air to the bedrooms and hoping the bedrooms would get really cold and the cold air would roll out to the rest of the house. There is still one vent in the kitchen and one in the living room upstairs open.

I guess I was trying to open up all the vents furthest from the thermostat and close all them closest to it so it would have to make all the house cold and not just the thermostat cold. But still, the house upstairs is almost 80 degrees from running for hours.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 12:41 AM
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Check the temperature difference between the supply and return. (closest vent or just downstream of the indoor coil.

Provided that it's not too humid in the house and the blower speed is set right, it should be 15-20F.

Higher than 20F (give or take a couple of degrees) = Insufficient airflow due to dirty filter, coil, bad ductwork, or incorrect blower speed.

Much lower than 15F = incorrect refrigerant charge, high humidity, blower speed set too high or other problem
 
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Old 06-11-12, 01:58 AM
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I can guarantee the temp of the closest register is way higher than 20 degrees. It is no where close to that. I'd say more like 60 degrees ferenheight. 20 degrees would feel like the inside of the freezer. But the air filter is clean. I know it's not that. I washed the outside coil yesterday, so I think it's good. Maybe bad ductwork. One thing about the house, they added a sunroom to the house before we bought it and I could see where the original ductwork was and where they added onto it. Assuming that was why the air didn't work well in the past, I took out the ductwork to the sunroom and patched the hole.

Maine thing I did a year or so back is whoever put the ducts in put these levers in te ducts on some of them so I could close off whole parts of a duct. I turned some of them so air would barely be going to them and trying to force more air to the bedrooms. An I doing more harm than good by closing off some of the vents completely?

I just checked our thermostat. I'm having a sleepless night so it's 4 am. Our furnace isn't running and it's 74 right now in the house where we set it. But it appears it's 64 outside right now too. I'll have to see how well it keeps up during the day today when. It's running when it first starts getting hot out rather than starting it when it's 90 degrees in the house.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 06:14 AM
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I just found a problem. The spot where it used to go to the sunroom, I had patched with some cardboard and duct tape. It fell off so there's a wide open gapping hole there now. I guess I'll fix it right today. I'll go see if I can find some sheet metal and rivet something over the hole. I think I might have some in the barn. That explains why we're not getting enough pressure blowing out upstiars.

Please excuse my "Maine" in the last post. Supid iPhones like to correct your spelling to whatever they think you mean.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 06:24 AM
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As mentioned, find the Temperature difference (return air temp minus register cold air temp).
If it is around 16 - 19 degrees, you are OK.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 06:49 AM
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Oh ok. I see what you mean now. It's an equation of subtracting the two temperatures to get the 20 degrees. I thought when I read your first post you meant there should be 20 degree cold air coming out my first register. It's no where near that cold. That makes sense now. So we're just subtracting the coldest register's temp to the temp where it goes into the cold air return. Which seeing my house was still like 80 degrees at the thermostat yesterday and the cold air return isn't too far from the thermostat, I'm sure there was a much higher gap than 20 degrees. But, I'm sure that large gaping hole in the ductwork downstairs has something to do with it. So I'm going to fix it today.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 09:38 AM
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ok, so i patched the hole downstairs and the air seems to be working better now. Still, I don't know why but the thermostat says it's 74 in here and it's set at 74. But I'm sitting here with my shirt off and it still feels so hot in here. I feel like I'm on the verge of breaking a sweat. Maybe is it not getting enough humidity out of the air?
 
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Old 06-11-12, 09:52 AM
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Use a different thermometer to double check the room temp.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 10:09 AM
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well i just put another battery operated thermometer next to it (actually sat it right on top of the thermostat for the furnace). It's an interesting thermometer where it tells inside and outside temp. The outside temp is just a wire that extends from the thermometer. (I was using it to alert me if our furnace room would get anywhere near freezing during the winter while our basement wasn't being heated.)

According to that, the furnace's thermostat says it's 74 and the air just turned off. The portable thermometer says it's 73 just a few inches above the thermostat. I have the wire hanging down about 2 feet off the ground and it says it's 71 degrees a few feet from the ground. So it appears the thermostat is pretty accurate.

So, I think it's just too humid in here then. That has to be why it feels so hot. In the winter, we burn wood. I am perfectly comfortable when the house is 80+ degrees, which it easily obtains when the fire is going good.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 10:14 AM
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Is there anything I can do to make the air conditioner get more humidity out of the air?
 
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Old 06-11-12, 10:35 AM
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About the only way to remove humidity is for the A/C to run...or use a dehumidifier. Turning the fan to "On" at the stat will circulate the air and equalize the temps and also probably kick on the outside unit a little more often..helping to reduce the humidity.

Newer units have a slow speed that will remove humidity even if the temp set point is reached.

We have a similar problem here...very rarely do we have high humidity, but there are times where it's very sunny but relatively cool and it feels "heavy" in the house even though the temp may be only 74-75. Best thing we found is just to turn the ceiling fan on high in the rooms we are in. Air movement makes it seem cooler.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 10:58 AM
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How much extra does it cost a month to have the furnace fan on constantly? Is there a big jump in electric? I was about ready to try to make it all summer without turning on the air because we were so worried about our finances. But sweating ourselves to sleep when we had central air was kind of annoying.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 11:47 AM
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It will raise the costs some...can't tell you how much. Maybe $10? If you just turn the fan on when you are home it would probably be a help.

Humidity in the home comes from many sources...showering, cooking and even breathing all add humidity. Can't do much about the breathing of course...but running your vent fans during the other activities will help.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 02:15 PM
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Running a standard blower motor continuously will use 6-12 kwh per day.

...at least $30 a month.

Continuous operation won't help with humidity at all; once the outdoor unit shuts off, the water on the coil can re-evaporate into the air.

High humidity is caused by insufficient runtime (oversized), high air leakage, high blower speed, or improper charge.
 
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