AC keeps bugging out


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Old 09-01-14, 11:11 AM
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AC keeps bugging out

I'm not at home at the moment (rehabbing a house elsewhere in the state) so my wife has had to try and handle things while I'm away. Seems that the AC has been switching off, which its done every now and then over the last couple of years, and she called in an AC guy who said it wasn't the AC, but an electrical issue. Well she called someone in, who proceeded to try and up-sell her on everything and told her that the whole Federal Pacific system needed to be replaced, etc, etc - $4,500! We fully intend replacing the FP board at some point, as it's part of our rehab plans for the place, but not right at this minute. I got the guy on the phone and asked him to tell me what was actually wrong with the AC side of things - he claimed the breaker was faulty and that the disconnect needed replacing - $800. So subtract that from the $4,500 figure they quoted and they basically wanted to charge us $3,700 to change out the FP board - we've already had quotes given on that job, and most ranged in price from $800 to $1,500. Well as far as the issues with the AC are concerned, the breaker I can get myself from one of the big box stores for $70 - $80, so is this disconnect something that I can easily replace myself if I take a day off from the rehab and go back home to fix it?

Thanks
 
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Old 09-01-14, 11:56 AM
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he claimed the breaker was faulty and that the disconnect needed replacing
It sounds like you are confusing a basic two pole disconnect with a service panel or do I have it wrong?
 
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Old 09-01-14, 01:32 PM
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I have absolutely no idea - I am just relaying what was passed down to me over the phone from the electrician.
 
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Old 09-01-14, 01:58 PM
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Pretty hard for us to offer you much help.

It sounds like you have a FPE main panel that you are looking to replace in the very near future.

It sounds like maybe the breaker in that panel that supplies the A/C condensor is defective.

You would need a service disconnect at the condensor for servicing the unit. This disconnect is very rarely fused..... nor does it need to be as the protection comes from the main panel breaker. A disconnect shouldn't be too hard to replace but it depends on how it's connected.... like conduit.

I find it odd that both are defective although it certainly is possible.
 
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Old 09-01-14, 02:10 PM
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I agree with PJmax--both the breaker and disconnect box failing at the same time is very suspect.

If it is just a standard disconnect that is located near the condenser unit they are relatively cheap and easy to replace. There are several types of disconnect boxes. I have attached a photo of a typical box in my area. The boxes can be fused or non fused. I did a quick check on a big box store web-site and saw one (non-fused) for $6.44. They are relatively easy to replace if you have the knowledge and a multimeter to ensure power is cutoff. Replacing a breaker in an electrical panel is also relatively easy. It is important to know what lugs inside the panel are still "hot" and take all safety precautions such as removing all jewelry, situational awareness and extreme focus. If you can provide a photo of the disconnect by the outside unit (condenser) and the model number of the electrical panel someone here will be better able to assist you. As far as taking off to do the required replacements I guess that would depend on travel expenses both ways, if you are losing pay while you are away from the rehab and how much the breaker and disconnect box are. I suggest you have your wife call some other electricians to provide an estimate on the fix.
 
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