AC Runs, stops, too hot inside 2nd floor apartment

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Old 06-16-15, 09:20 AM
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AC Runs, stops, too hot inside 2nd floor apartment

I apologize in advance for what may be a long read especially on my first post here. I've read some other threads and have some idea of what I could do but it's an apartment so I'm limited on what I can do:

The Skinny: top floor (2nd floor) of an 8 unit apartment (4 top, 4 bottom)
Been there for over 5 years. Last 2 years have had a 3rd person who doesn't leave much. It's about 1300 SQ FT. Large living room upon entry. Faces South and West. Kitchen/dining area to the right. Thermostat is on the wall between the living room and dining room (also happens to be the hottest place in the whole apartment). guest bath just next to dining room, and 2nd bedroom then large master bedroom/bath to finish it off. The Master isn't all that bad though it has south and west windows. 2nd used to be cool but with a person in there 24/7 it's gotten really hot.

We are in AZ so, well you know. I had a 2 floor condo prior to the apartment and it was never this bad. We have had many thermostat and other issue with the unit. It's the 3rd thermostat since we have been there, and the unit is unknown for age. Last August we had it recharged as it was actually empty and then earlier this year there was a coil replaced. We replace the filters ourselves with the 30 day ones. It's a ceiling placement in the hallway between the bathroom and bedrooms. It is also extremely loud. There is a vent in the dining room, living room, the 2 bedrooms and the bathrooms all are high up near the ceilings, plus we have ceiling fans in all the rooms. The living room cools off very quickly as do the rooms. The dining room does not.

We have floor fans running all the time, we installed black out curtains a few months back after getting in trouble for having something else up for a year.

The living room has a LARGE glass Window/sliding door which gets extremely hot. The other bedrooms have oversized windows/screens but I really think they are only single pane.

Before the 3rd person we would just raise the thermostat to around 90 or so while we were out, and it would actually come on a few times during the day. I used to place thermometers around to gauge how hot it gets in certain places. It was not a fun experiment.

Now I have a floor fan aimed at the thermostat basically all day. It usually keeps enough cooler air from the living room over it so it doesn't run all day. The moment I move or turn off the fan, the AC kicks on. This time of year I cannot get it below 80 unless I run it for 8-10 hours straight. When the air does run and cools off to where the ac can shut off, the other rooms can be freezing. Within minutes though the AC will kick back on because the area around the thermostat is beyond hot. My bills have skyrocketed over the last few years. I put a 2nd fan on the dining room area to blow around that hotter air into the kitchen or down the hallway.

I'm just at a loss at this point on what to do. We are either too hot, or too cold and have to fiddle with the unit all the time.

The latest I tried was to install a casing over the thermostat and use ice packs to keep it cooler, so far that has not worked. (either inside the case or on top of it)

I'm hoping someone might be able to lend some helpful advise. Maybe I need a window type unit for the 2nd bedroom/dining room or one of those portable ones, maybe I just need to be freezing something and have it by the fans. Do I need an evap cooler instead?

The last few nights it runs all night to where I have to keep getting up like every hour to slightly raise the temp. I had it around 85 this morning by the time I got up for work, had to lower it to about 82 for when I left and the AC was still running. This was before 7am!

I'm also sure that whatever is above us for the roof/attic/crawl area is not insulated at all.

We have received mixed answers from the apartment and they don't seem to understand how hot it really gets in there, they just aim their little lasers at the vents and nowhere else.

Sorry for the long post and I do hope there is an answer. I still have about 6 months left here, hopefully not more after that.
 
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Old 06-16-15, 10:29 AM
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I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish by changing the thermostat setting so much. You talk a lot about three thermostats and getting up in the night to raise the setting then you talk about lowering it???

Two stories with one unit is always a bit difficult. Heat rises and cold sinks so you are constantly fighting that. Turning the AC off or setting the temperature up or putting ice packs around the thermostat just means the AC does not run the hot air to rises to the upper floor.

Have you tried setting your thermostat's temperature and turn the fan to the "on" position so it runs continuously? The continuous running fan will help keep the air moving and help get more uniform temperatures throughout the unit. The fan does not consume a lot of power and the AC compressor will cycle on off as needed to maintain the temperature.

As for how long the AC must run. When it's hot it will run a long time. If you turn off the AC it allows everything inside the room to warm which means it must run that much longer when you turn it back on. With a poorly insulated apartment, big windows and south facing Arizona sun blazing down I imagine it will run quite a bit and even during the night as the heat of the day soaks through the walls. It sounds like your AC is old which does not help especially if it's loosing Freon.
 
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Old 06-16-15, 11:18 AM
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Thank you for the reply, I'll try to break down a couple of your lines and clarify a few things which do not look confusing.

I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish by changing the thermostat setting so much. You talk a lot about three thermostats and getting up in the night to raise the setting then you talk about lowering it???

There is only 1 thermostat. It will get way too cold after running for a bit, and that is usually only getting it to about 82. During the night the inside heat around it keeps it going on and off so therefore we end up freezing in the bedrooms and I get up to raise the temp setting (I turned it off once recently and forgot to turn it back on...ooops) I hate tweaking with it, but it will run, click off, then less than 5 minutes later it will click back on again, though the rest of the apt feels good. The heat right around the thermostat is incredibly warm and warms up very quickly all day and night.

Have you tried setting your thermostat's temperature and turn the fan to the "on" position so it runs continuously? The continuous running fan will help keep the air moving and help get more uniform temperatures throughout the unit. The fan does not consume a lot of power and the AC compressor will cycle on off as needed to maintain the temperature.

I have thought about doing this. I don't know if the old unit will be able to handle that for all those hours. And it is also really loud inside which gets annoying obviously. I guess having all the floor fans and ceiling fans are just doing the same thing by continuously running.

I did forget to mention the "haunting" sounds we get in the master. It actually started when the freon was replaced and I think it's related to something with the air or maybe moisture moving through the pipes and vents. I've tried to describe it to co-workers and get blank stares.

I would love something digital/programmable but the apt doesn't want to spend the money for that so I'm stuck with this one: Honeywell YCT51N1008 Standard Heat/Cool Manual Thermostat | Honeywell Store, but they seem ok with fixing all these super old units.

I hope I made things a little clearer, and I will look into trying the fan method. It's a hot week here so it's a good time to try.
 
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