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Few more questions, Return filter, secondary drain pan w/ switch, chem. cleaning

Few more questions, Return filter, secondary drain pan w/ switch, chem. cleaning


  #1  
Old 05-04-14, 05:00 AM
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Few more questions, Return filter, secondary drain pan w/ switch, chem. cleaning

I just had an HVAC guy here yesterday and wanted to ask/verify a few things he said.

1. First thing he recommended was that I removed the return filter from inside the start of the air handler, and install it in the return grille. He said it made it more visible and therefore easier to remember to replace when it got dirty. Just for some specs, my air handler filter is an odd size 17x22x1 and it's a disposable multi-pleat filter. My return is 24"x24".

2. He didn't mention this but I was just thinking about it yesterday. My return is currently a 2'x'2'x2' box with a few feet of 16" un-insulated flex duct running between it and the air handler. Would I benefit from insulating the return box as well as the flex duct between them (I'm going to be buying new/replacing the duct anyway)? It seems to me I'm raising the final temperature of the air a lot before it gets the air handler, inefficient at the least.

3. He recommended that I add an auxiliary drain pan with a shutoff switch in case it backs up. My existing system was never installed with a secondary drain pan when it was installed in 1997 and my attic is ripped apart right now so he suggested now was the best time to install one. It makes sense although it's a little hard to spend the money on it when I haven't had a problem in 17 years. What size does it need to be? The entire width and length of the air handler? Or could I get away with a smaller pan underneath just the existing drain line?

4. The shut off switch he says I should install on the aux. pan, is that wired into the shutoff switch of the air handler in the attic, the air condenser outside or both?

5. Lastly one of the things I was expecting was how dirty he was going to say my condenser was, recommending a chemical cleaning. Amazon has Nu-Calgon Evap, No Rinse cleaner (Nu-Calgon Wholesaler, Inc. Evap Foam: Coil Cleaner: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific) that seems to have pretty good reviews. Anyone have any experience? My condenser is bad, it's been in an overgrown muddy backyard for many, many years without a service in at least 5. Will that can be enough, or should they professionally clean it?

I think that's all my questions for now, sorry it got a little long.

Thanks in advanced

Edit: I bolded the most important parts of the questions as a TL;DR

Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-04-14, 10:27 AM
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Sounds like he is being 100% truthful with you. Return box should be insulated on the inside.
 
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Old 05-04-14, 10:44 AM
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This guy gave you first rate info. His knowledge now your want to save a few bucks to clean the coil yourself? I'm all about saving money but sounds like this guy should be making a few dollars.
 
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Old 05-04-14, 10:54 AM
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You're absolutely correct, and I almost added that to my OP saying "or should I do the right thing and give the guy some work for all the help". Thanks for correcting me.
 
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Old 05-04-14, 12:14 PM
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That cleaner you are looking at on amazon is for an evaporator coil not an outdoor unit. The proper way to clean a condenser coil would be to take of the top off and all of the panels, then clean from the inside out. ( first remove all of the dirt buildup from the bottom part of the unit and vacuum it clean) I usually do it with just water at first and then hit it with triple d chemical cleaner. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then wash inside out again thoroughly.
 
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Old 05-04-14, 01:52 PM
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I found that aluminum mag wheel cleaner does a pretty good job on the outside unit fins and coil. Not the acid stuff. And for most cases full strength Simple Green works pretty darn good.
 
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Old 05-04-14, 07:07 PM
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Thanks for the replies, I'm going to give the guy the job to clean the condenser properly and then still buy different cleaners for future maintenance myself.

And the "return box should be insulated from the inside," just to be clear we are talking about the big empty box not the air handler (which I opened up and saw was insulated from the inside). I'm guessing that is to save energy, a few degrees temp and not have to cool the metal return box down before seeing the benefits? Any suggestions on how to attach the insulation to the inside of the box? and is that fiberglass or "shiny backing" on the "outside" (not up against the box)?

Thanks again
 
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Old 05-05-14, 01:46 PM
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If the box is not insulated on the inside (yes the one connected to the AHU) id be surprised. If its not then id wrap it with R-9 duct wrap and tape it with FSK tape.
 
 

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