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Apartment AC Blowing A Little Cool, Not Cold + Making Sound Every 1 to 2 Minutes

Apartment AC Blowing A Little Cool, Not Cold + Making Sound Every 1 to 2 Minutes

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  #1  
Old 06-20-13, 10:15 PM
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Lightbulb Apartment AC Blowing A Little Cool, Not Cold + Making Sound Every 1 to 2 Minutes

Hi all, my apartment maintenance is becoming frustrated with coming out to fix the ac. They spent hours messing with it, told me the ac is working, then I found out it wasn't working properly.

Wondering if anyone have any ideas...

Initially, I thought it was the filter, so they changed that. My apartment went from not getting cool enough to completely hot - 90+.

Yesterday maintenance told me it wasn't working properly because I didn't have the switch turned all the way on auto. (This wasn't true. The switch was on, the air was blowing, but not blowing cold enough.)

Today, they finally got it back to reading under 90, but the same problem persists even though they swear it's working now. Two days in a row, he came in, stood under the air vent which was blowing barely cool air, reading about 90, then he'll smile and say, "See, air fixed now. You feel it?" (Ugh, I know I don't know anything about ac's but at the same time, seems he's playing me for really dumb so I'll stop calling, requesting to have it fixed. Who would think an ac set to 70, reading 85 to 90+ is fixed?)

Here's what's going on now:
1. The air is on auto, but it's running continuously, it's not turning off and on.)
2. The ac is set to 71. Earlier today, a little after maintenance left it felt a bit better, it was down to 80, now it's reading 85+. It won't get to the 70s.
3. Every 1 to 2 minutes - I'm hearing a weird sound. Kind of like a quick buzz sound. Along with this sound, I can see the lights look as if someone barely touched the light switch by accident. (Sorry, I can't really explain this, but something extremely brief with the lights as if they want to turn off then change their mind.)

Extra... I'm not sure if any of this relates to the ac or not. If not, please discard.
Extra 1. The refrigerator is dripping water from the top, in the back of the refrig. I put a bowl in there to prevent it from wetting my food. The water then fills the bowl and turns into a chunk of ice which I don't see how because nothing in the refrigerator is freezing except the collected, dripping water.)
Extra 2: Since the ac has been acting funny, the water coming from the facet doesn't get as cold as it usually does, either. Just like the ac, the water is cool but not cold like usual.

Extra: The maintenance man doesn't speak English well, but the other day when he first swore that he had fixed the problem, he told me he changed something outside. Not sure if he said condenser, compressor or what. (The problem continued after this. He also brought in some kind of spray and sprayed. He did something with some plugs/wires, too.)

Do it seem like a problem beyond what he can fix? Can a neighbor steal my ac without me/maintenance knowing it? Any ideas?

Sorry it was so long, but thanks in advance!
 
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  #2  
Old 06-20-13, 11:43 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You posted all kinds of information except what we needed to help you.
When I think apartments I think window air conditioners.... but I get the feeling that is incorrect.

So.....what do you have for an AC unit ? Is it two parts.....one inside and one outside ?

No....your neighbor can't steal your AC.

Since your AC isn't cooling properly and it's so hot in there....that could increase the amount of humidity in the air and inside the fridge causing that water.

The tap water temperature is mostly dependent on your outside air temperature and based on where your water comes from......local well.....city supplied water...... etc.

From what you are describing the compressor is cycling on and off. If it's a split unit......when the AC is running....go outside and see what the fan on that unit is doing. Let us know if it's cycling with that noise you hear. Is sounds like the unit may be low on freon.

Leave us the make and model of your outside unit (there should be a metal plate on it)
 
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Old 06-21-13, 12:27 AM
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Hello PJmax, thanks for the reply.

This isn't a window unit, it's on the wall. It's White-Rogers like this: White-Rodgers 1D56-347 Thermostat, Snap Action


Not sure how to check the outside, each unit has 4 apartments connected - two up, two down.

The noise stopped - it lasted maybe 2hrs, but I haven't heard it again. However, the light inside is still dimming, quickly, every few minutes.

Thanks again for all your help!
 
  #4  
Old 06-21-13, 02:27 AM
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The compressor is trying to start but can't turn over. Shut the unit down to prevent further damage.

This can be caused by a bad electrical connection, bad run capacitor (can't start without one), or mechanically stuck/failed compressor.

If no electrical problem is found, a hard start kit can be added give the compressor an extra kick so it can start - but that may not be a permanent fix though.

But anyway, if your rental contract stipulates that a/c is included, they pretty much have to fix it...

Call the maintenance guy back and show him that the air coming out of the unit is no cooler than the indoor air with a stem type thermometer. The supply air should be 15-20F lower than ambient in most cases.

Moving air at room temperature feels cool. Not providing something that's included is a breach of contract - raise hell.

Do it seem like a problem beyond what he can fix? Can a neighbor steal my ac without me/maintenance knowing it? Any ideas?
Probably not.
 
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Old 06-21-13, 04:28 AM
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Thanks, Muggle. If two of you say the compressor, it must be. From looking at the prices online, it makes sense why they aren't replacing it.

LOL A few years back, after a bad storm, it took them over 3 months to fix the hot water. After repeatedly calling, the manager finally admitted that the cost to get the hot water back on was very expensive, so they were working on a cheaper method which took longer...


I just don't understand why they spend hours, daily, attempting to fix it. Seems they'd know that's the issue and nothing else their doing will work.

I was a bit worried after reading online - and from you - that it must state this in their contract or else there's nothing I can do about it through them. However, seems I'm in luck, I just read their guarantees online and the very first one is that they will provide next working day service on air-conditioning or heat system, if not, the rent will be rebated.

Yes, calling again because this Texas heat is no joke. And unfortunately, I work from home which makes working much harder - sweating like crazy, getting up for ice all day, etc.

Thanks Muggle and PJ for the help!
 
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Old 06-21-13, 04:56 AM
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You might even consider paying for a service call yourself to get an unbiased diagnosis from a real AC tech that you could show the landlord.

They spend hours and hours fiddling with it because the maintenance guys on staff get paid the same thing regardless of how many times they come over and play with it.
 
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Old 06-21-13, 09:13 AM
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Thank Tow Guy, but wouldn't their boss say that they are taking up too much time on one assignment? I understand they get paid regardless, but usually, there's a time limit.

LOL I'm sure they won't allow them to keep coming out everyday, spending 70% of their time here when there are hundreds of other apartments and other duties they must fulfill... ya know?
 
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Old 06-21-13, 09:26 AM
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I just called to report the problem again, the lady said in the notes, it said they changed the compressor the second time they came out, another time they added a pound of freon... so I guess this is a helpless case.

All night it was 95, the air coming out was hot. Now, it's still reading 95, but cooler air is coming out.
 
  #9  
Old 06-21-13, 01:15 PM
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The compressor itself may not be bad -> replacing a capacitor is cheap, as is checking electrical connections and adding a hard start kit.

If the compressor is bad they should really change the whole unit - but sounds like your landlord is really cheap.

Crissy22

I just called to report the problem again, the lady said in the notes, it said they changed the compressor the second time they came out, another time they added a pound of freon... so I guess this is a helpless case.

She lied through her teeth, because replacing a compressor is very expensive and time consuming. You would have noticed.

If it's not working it's not working - doesn't matter what they did.

Edit: Something along the lines of "must keep appliances in working order" might cover a/c, heat, etc as well.
 
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Old 06-21-13, 01:54 PM
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Muggle, You've really nailed it, I feel it within. "Capacitor" does sound more like the word he used even though the lady swear they changed the compressor.

On this particular day he supposedly changed the compressor, he went outside, came back in 30 to 45 minutes later, saying he had replaced that part, swearing the air was working, telling me I didn't need to call again.

I read online the compressors usually last around 20 yrs. My mother was here for 13 yrs, she moved 6 yrs ago, between us it's been 19 yrs.

Funny, my mother said from jump that she figured it's the compressor, she thinks maintenance knows this, too, but the landlord isn't allowing maintenance to get the real part because of the expense. (I did mention to them that you all said it sounds like a compressor problem, that was when she told me he replaced it.)

Maintenance didn't show up today, so there goes the weekend. Seems the landlord fusses at the maintenance, they can't do anything, so they just continuously lead me on why blaming me.

I truly appreciate all of the help you all have offered. I feel more confident knowing the real problem, now I just have to keep going back n forth with them. Thanks guys!
 
  #11  
Old 06-21-13, 10:24 PM
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Replacing the compressor is not a 45 minute job. The freon gets evacuated from the system. The compressor gets cut out and a new one must be soldered back in. System goes under vacuum for a good hour or so and then it gets recharged. More like a 3-4 hour job.

Most general maintenace people are not setup or certified to work with freon which could place this job in the neighborhood of 750.00 if they have to have someone come in.
 
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Old 06-22-13, 06:23 AM
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Time to look for another apartment or as suggested get a real AC repairman on your own dime. In Texas AC is as important as heat in Minnesota. If you know a lawyer he could write a letter to the management company and set up an escrow account where you would deposit your rent till the AC is really fixed. Moving is the option I most seriously suggest.
 
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Old 06-22-13, 08:57 AM
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Local TV station or newspaper have a consumer advocate type person?

I'm with Ray; I don't know what the housing situation is there, but I wouldn't have put up with no AC for half as long as you have.

One of the other posters mentioned taking temp readings. That would be my next move (short of actually "moving"). Take a reading at the return side and compare it to the temp coming out of a vent on the "cool" side. As mentioned, a decent system should be dropping the temp 15-20 degrees. I would be curious to hear what yours is doing and I know the pros would, too. My money's on <10 degrees.
 
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Old 06-22-13, 11:21 AM
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Those maintenance guys don't know how to troubleshoot the system.

Apartments need to use HVAC Techs that know what they are doing.
 
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Old 06-22-13, 10:53 PM
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Thanks for all the new replies everyone.

Yes, it's become unbearable. Again, I work from home (12+hrs), have to sleep here, cook, etc. so you can only imagine what that's like here in Texas where my apartment temperature has now gone up to 100 to 105 the last 2 days, plus it's extremely stuffy, I have to wipe sweat off my entire body every 2 minutes (literally) regardless of keeping ice to my face.

So many lizards around here which I'm afraid of, large city so a lot of crime, so I can't open windows. A real mess I'm in.

I will see about breaking my lease, but that's going to take a long time as well dealing with writing the apartment a certified letter, etc. then seeing where I can move to. My mother no longer lives here, so that's out.

It really makes me feel so bad for people in third world countries, working in sweatshops. You can hear it, think it, but until you live it...


I heard Arizona is the only state where air conditioning is a must according to the law. Surprised Texas hasn't adopted this law being so many people die yearly from heat strokes.

I debated on buying a fan, because most online comments said it wouldn't do anything. However, I went ahead bought one a hour ago from Walmart. Still very uncomfortable, but it has helped with the sweating.

I also bought an indoor humidity / temp tester. Hate I didn't have enough to buy a more expensive one to test the outside as well, because I needed the fan. The fan has been blowing for about 2 hours now... AC temperature in living room is reading 101 now, but I'm sitting next to the fan with my tester... it's reading 65 indoor humidity and 96 temperature. Not good but a bit better.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have recorded the inside temp with my camcorder and will be contacting the health department first thing Monday to see what they can do - Texas law states that air conditioning is a luxury not necessity but hopefully they can at least call my apartment manager. I'll see, thanks guys!
 

Last edited by Crissy22; 06-22-13 at 11:36 PM.
  #16  
Old 06-23-13, 07:00 AM
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You need at least a two duct portable AC for one room. Hopefully your apartment electric can handle it. The hose do mount in a partially open window but we can tell you how to prevent the window from being opened any higher than the six inches or so needed. Just be sure the one you buy uses two hoses (dual hoses) not one.

I checked Home Depot and Lowes and they only seem to have single hose but here are some dual hose from Walmart: dual hose portable - Walmart.com

Be sure it is a real AC. I saw some sites when I was looking listing evaporative coolers as portable ACs. They won't work in Texas because of humidity.
 
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Old 06-26-13, 03:14 PM
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Thanks Ray and everyone else who have given and advice and support when I needed it. They finally fixed my air conditioner today.

I'm not sure exactly what they did to solve the problem, but they said they were changing the boiler and the compressor (lol yes, they said this again, only took him about a hour, so go figure).

I can tell that there's still something wrong with it: it's cooling the apartment so I'm not super heated, the temperature has dropped a great deal, but unfortunately, the air seems to barely be blowing. You have to stand right next to the vent to feel it whereas before, you could feel it all over.

I can put up with this, but will be moving when lease is up to get the real air back.

Thanks everyone.
 
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Old 06-26-13, 03:55 PM
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No boiler in an AC unit. If it still doesn't work right send them a a registered letter you are hiring and AC repairman to repair it and will deduct the cost from the rent. Give them five days to respond.
 
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Old 06-26-13, 08:19 PM
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Have you checked the filter in the air handler ? A dirty filter will reduce air flow.
 
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