Central A/C iced up!

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  #1  
Old 06-28-15, 08:35 AM
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Central A/C iced up!

I have a Trane XE1000 split unit central HVAC system in the house. This system is 20 years old this year. The last couple days the A/C has been struggling to cool the house. It takes a very long time for the temperature to drop on the thermostat.

So I check it out this morning. The refrigerant lines and tubing are all iced up where they connect to the compressor/heat pump outside the house. So then I check out the air handler/evaporator in the attic. I open the little access door and look inside the unit. The copper tubing and coil are also iced up!

Does the signal the end for this system? Am I looking at a complete system replacement or just a parts replacement? What am I going to do? I'm in Arizona and it might go up to 110 degrees today. Should I turn off the A/C right away. It still gives some cooling.
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 06-28-15 at 09:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-28-15, 08:40 AM
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I'm not the HVAC guy, so hang in there for a better answer.
From personal experience though, it happened to me. My problem was low refrigerant and I had to have a professional check the lines for leaks and recharge the refrigerant.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 08:46 AM
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As Brian mentioned.... your system could be low on refrigerant.

How is the airflow coming out if the registers ?
A clogged air filter will reduce airflow and cause coil icing too.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 08:47 AM
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Delete my post, Problem was already addressed by PJmax.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 08:50 AM
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I changed the air filter a couple days ago when I noticed the A/C was performing poorly. It was dirty.

I turned off the system for now. I did see some wet discharge where the lines connect to the evaporator in the attic. Maybe this is a leak.

The register seems to be blowing air normally. It just isn't cool enough. I also noticed the heat pump outside should be exhausting hotter air. It's just mildly warm.

The roots of this problem might go further back than I realize. If I run the system on low refrigerant for an extended period of time, could I have caused damage to the whole system?

What are your recommendations? If I have an idea as to what the problem is, I can avoid unnecessary repair expense.
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 06-28-15 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 06-28-15, 10:11 AM
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No problem clocert.... there are always echos.

The system protects itself and shuts down if the refrigerant level is dangerously low and will damage the compressor.

The system has been running for a while but probably at low efficiency. You'd need to get a tech in to check the system charge.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 10:19 AM
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It's been a while since I had the same problem. The recharge was not exactly cheap. I seem to recall it was around $500.00.
 
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Old 06-28-15, 12:28 PM
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Ok. I'll see if I can get a technician in here tomorrow.

I have been looking into a backup plan in the event that cooling malfunctions such as this occur. I think I would at least like to have a separate cooling device in my bedroom. It measures 10ft X 10ft. My study is about the same size.

What do think of these portable air conditioners? Do you guys know anyone personally who has had good results with these? I know I would have to duct the hot air out a window.

For rooms with measurements I mentioned above, what square footage rating or BTU rating would be sufficient for portable or wall mounted unit?
Thanks, Dave
 
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Old 06-29-15, 06:53 AM
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If you choose to purchase a portable cooler be sure to get a two-duct model. The single duct models will exhaust conditioned room air with the heat generated by the machine and that exhausted room air is replaced by outside air infiltrating into the house wherever it can. An additional benefit from the two-duct models is that they generally re-evaporate any condensed moisture and send nit outside with the exhaust cooling air. This means that you rarely need to empty the condensate tank.

You also will want to buy some insulated flexible duct to cover the two plastic ducts as they can and will radiate additional heat into the room. This will significantly improve the overall efficacy of the machine in cooling the room.

As for size, My bedroom is about 12 by 14 feet and I have a 6,000 BTU/hr. window unit that cycles to maintain under 70[SUP]o[/SUP] temperature with outside temperature in the high 80s. IF you can circulate the indoors air you might be able to cool a significant portion of your house with a 12,000 BTU/hr. portable unit.
 
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Old 06-29-15, 01:14 PM
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The technician came this morning and added refrigerant to the system. He says there is a tiny leak somewhere in the air handler unit in the attic. He did some leak tracing with the 'soap bubble' method or whatever. But he didn't find the leak and said he didn't think it was worth the labor charge to do look for the leak any further. The company he works for has a perfect consumer record with BBB and State Registrar of Contractors.

He recommends coming back in a couple days, and using this stop leak sealant stuff that goes in with the refrigerant. It's either that or spend thousands on system replacement. I don't think it's guaranteed that this sealant stuff with permanently fix the leak. I find that unsettling. But this A/C repair firm doesn't pressure you into buying any products or services.

I have not heard very good things about portable air conditioners, and I would lean towards a window or wall unit in my bedroom. I'm most interested in a system I can add on to over time as finances permit, and as the old central HVAC ages.
 
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Old 06-29-15, 01:46 PM
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Your old system is aged. Its 6-7 years past average life span. Start saving now.
 
  #12  
Old 06-29-15, 02:15 PM
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he didn't find the leak and said he didn't think it was worth the labor charge
Like I said, not the HVAC guy but I like contractor's honesty. Just a couple of thoughts:

- The new unit will save you in electric costs, sometimes greatly
- Check with power company to see if any rebates are available. CA is offering serious rebates on energy efficient upgrades (cheaper than building power plants), and I would think AZ is the same. Rather warm as I recall.
 
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Old 07-15-15, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for your input Bryan and friends. I never did pay to have the leak sealer added. A/C still working well. I'll wait and see and continue saving for a cost effective replacement system.
 
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Old 07-15-15, 05:35 PM
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He recommends coming back in a couple days, and using this stop leak sealant stuff that goes in with the refrigerant.
I would NOT recommend that. That sealant causes more problems than it solves. If the leak is that hard to find/small..... then just have the system recharged every year.
 
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