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RH77 06-26-2008 03:10 AM

A/C Compressor Died
 
Well, as you may know, I installed the Cool-N-Save device a month or so ago.

There was some scale build-up, but mostly the fins were blocked by webs and dust. I usually blast water through them to keep things efficient.

04:49 PM; 92F -- The house begins to struggle to cool down. I think it's the heat wave and the stove heating things up (first 90-Degree day).

10:36 PM; 76F -- Return home from a ballgame. Indoor temp 85F.

The A/C compressor isn't running. I go out to check it out. It makes a buzzing noise every minute or so. I power-cycled the system with the same result.

After disconnecting all power, I took the fan shroud off. The fan motor was blazing hot to the touch. Further, the compressor itself was HOT. I ran cool water over the compressor and it cooled-down. No scale was noted on the internal components.

I put it all back together, gave it a shot, and all I heard was a buzzing noise and the heat builds again. ARGH! Darn thing's toast! Tomorrow will be Service call #4 in 3.5 years. The "experts" that installed the system failed to do so correctly:
  1. Forgot to completely wire the system at move in
  2. Failed to charge the system fully and/or ID a leak
  3. Found the leak and charged the system properly (after the condenser became a block of ice) -- yeah the same night my folks visit from out of town
  4. Now -- some sort of failure.

Hopefully it's a capacitor or relay -- otherwise, I don't what to think of the cost.

RH77 ("It's like a sauna in here!")

LostCause 06-26-2008 08:32 PM

Quote:

04:49 PM; 92F -- The house begins to struggle to cool down. I think it's the heat wave and the stove heating things up (first 90-Degree day).
I had an epiphany along those lines. I realized using an oven was heating up the house I was trying to air condition...It was a real, "duh" moment for me. :D

It's been around 100 here lately and I've found that I rarely need to use the A/C to remain comfortable. I open all the windows during the night and close them ~10:00am, block the windows the sun shines through, and turn off everything that uses electricity (TV, lights, computer, etc.).

I was amazed at how stable the indoor temperature was, staying ~78F. I think the A/C is a "pamper my ass" type of luxury item, but oh is it nice when it gets 79F inside. :)

Hopefully your A/C problems are fixed. I'd think with the humidity you guys get, you deserve a little pampering! :p

- LostCause

RH77 06-26-2008 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LostCause (Post 38712)
I was amazed at how stable the indoor temperature was, staying ~78F. I think the A/C is a "pamper my ass" type of luxury item, but oh is it nice when it gets 79F inside. :)

Hopefully your A/C problems are fixed. I'd think with the humidity you guys get, you deserve a little pampering! :p

- LostCause

Yeah, it's not the heat, it's the humidity :p

The problem is the entire back side of the house faces West. The living room is between the West windows and the Garage. Bake Oven. It got up to 90F around 5-6pm in here. Ya kinda move to a cooler locale around the house.

I got the compressor unit to run today. It's shaking like crazy and the lines are warm. The fan finally worked and the compressor, well, tried to compress -- but nothing but noise. They'll be out between 8 and Noon tomorrow :rolleyes: The unit is still under warranty by a year, but labor isn't. I'm curious to know what the deal is. If it lost the freon again... :mad: They still use the nasty Ozone Layer depleting stuff. The changeover is supposed to happen soon (2010-ish???)

RH77

dremd 06-26-2008 10:48 PM

So the fan was, or was not running?

I burnt up 2 fan motors last summer. I finally realized that the contact or was corroded and not providing constant voltage.

I don't know about yours but my compressor will keep running no matter how high the pressure gets; I was amazed I didn't burn it up.

RH77 06-26-2008 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dremd (Post 38763)
So the fan was, or was not running?
...
I don't know about yours but my compressor will keep running no matter how high the pressure gets; I was amazed I didn't burn it up.

I'm not sure what fail-safe triggered the shut down. Last night, nothing was running. It just made a relay type sound every minute or so. The fan motor was hot and the compressor REALLY hot.

This morning, I thought I'd give it another go. The fan and compressor both kicked-on, but it looked an unbalanced washing machine. I saw a bit of condensation on the compressor outlet on the inside -- but it stopped at the collector (or whatever it is -- could be a reverser for the heat pump).

I hear from HVAC forums that capacitors and relays frequently fail -- especially on this cheap-O brand. Hopefully the compressor itself is fine, since that would require more labor ($ out-of-pocket) time. We shall see.

RH77

elhigh 06-27-2008 10:24 AM

You can try adding what's called a "hard start capacitor" to your compressor. They're super simple to install, two wires and you're done. If your compressor is not quite up to the task of your system, the hard start might get things going smoothly again.

I'm not sure where you'd get it, though. Johnstone is my supplier but I'm in the trades and they work with me - Johnstone doesn't generally sell to the average Joe. Look in your yellow pages under electric motors and ask around.

RH77 06-27-2008 03:26 PM

Yep, it was just a Cheap-O GE capacitor that blew. The tech (and the other company I phoned earlier) reported several blown in our area. Lots of lightning strikes and probable surges.

Odd coincidence, my laptop's mem-stick fried on the same day.

For some reason we get several strikes in our area. The weirdest one -- hit pretty close and knocked out a clock-radio and the circuit that turns on the light for the garage door opener. Just odd, random stuff.

But ahhh -- air. The dew points were in the mid-70's last night before the storms rolled through -- then had to seal-up the house and roast. Now, there's a steady stream of "humidity" going down the drain. :thumbup:

Conclusion: the Cool-N-Save likely didn't have an effect on the failure.

RH77

cfg83 06-28-2008 02:41 AM

LostCause -

Quote:

Originally Posted by LostCause (Post 38712)
I had an epiphany along those lines. I realized using an oven was heating up the house I was trying to air condition...It was a real, "duh" moment for me. :D

It's been around 100 here lately and I've found that I rarely need to use the A/C to remain comfortable. I open all the windows during the night and close them ~10:00am, block the windows the sun shines through, and turn off everything that uses electricity (TV, lights, computer, etc.).

That sounds like Night Flushing :

Quote:

Using cool night air to cool down the interior mass of a building is called Night flushing. In Hot Dry Climates night temperatures usually fall well inside the comfort range. This is why adobe buildings are so cool in desert environments. In modern buildings in hot dry climates it is essential to provide a great deal of Interior Thermal Mass.
How old is your home? Does it have good insulation?

Quote:

I was amazed at how stable the indoor temperature was, staying ~78F. I think the A/C is a "pamper my ass" type of luxury item, but oh is it nice when it gets 79F inside. :)

Hopefully your A/C problems are fixed. I'd think with the humidity you guys get, you deserve a little pampering! :p

- LostCause

CarloSW2

cfg83 06-28-2008 02:47 AM

RH77 -

Quote:

Originally Posted by RH77 (Post 38751)
Yeah, it's not the heat, it's the humidity :p

The problem is the entire back side of the house faces West. The living room is between the West windows and the Garage. Bake Oven. It got up to 90F around 5-6pm in here. Ya kinda move to a cooler locale around the house.

I got the compressor unit to run today. It's shaking like crazy and the lines are warm. The fan finally worked and the compressor, well, tried to compress -- but nothing but noise. They'll be out between 8 and Noon tomorrow :rolleyes: The unit is still under warranty by a year, but labor isn't. I'm curious to know what the deal is. If it lost the freon again... :mad: They still use the nasty Ozone Layer depleting stuff. The changeover is supposed to happen soon (2010-ish???)

RH77

I want to put *externel* "vertical slats" or "Japanese Shoji's" to cover our bedroom window :

http://www.homedecorators.com/images...rs4/casual.jpg

It would have to be light enough to easily move, but sturdy enough to be outside 24/7.

CarloSW2

cfg83 06-28-2008 02:50 AM

RH77 -

Quote:

Originally Posted by RH77 (Post 38997)
Yep, it was just a Cheap-O GE capacitor that blew. The tech (and the other company I phoned earlier) reported several blown in our area. Lots of lightning strikes and probable surges.

Odd coincidence, my laptop's mem-stick fried on the same day.

For some reason we get several strikes in our area. The weirdest one -- hit pretty close and knocked out a clock-radio and the circuit that turns on the light for the garage door opener. Just odd, random stuff.

But ahhh -- air. The dew points were in the mid-70's last night before the storms rolled through -- then had to seal-up the house and roast. Now, there's a steady stream of "humidity" going down the drain. :thumbup:

Conclusion: the Cool-N-Save likely didn't have an effect on the failure.

RH77

I'm bummed about your A/C but I'm happy that you weren't "punished" for giving the Cool-N-Save a try.

Are there any additional ways you can protect your A/C from power surges?

CarloSW2

RH77 06-28-2008 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cfg83 (Post 39198)
Are there any additional ways you can protect your A/C from power surges

I could install a household surge suppression system, but those are big $$$.

Oddly enough, last night we had another barrage of lightning.

We were watching a bit of news when there was a bright blue flash quickly followed by a CRACK-BAM!

We figured it hit close. A couple minutes later... the Fire Dept rolled up to a house 5 doors down. They had a spotlight on the roof and went into the house with long pokers (pike poles) and were suited up. So something must have been smoking or on fire at some point. The house (and neighborhood) had lights, so it may have blown out an item that created some smoke.

I'll have to ask the "well-informed Neighbor" what exactly happened.

Our next place is getting lightning rods, sheesh.

RH77

cfg83 06-28-2008 09:11 PM

RH77 -

Quote:

Originally Posted by RH77 (Post 39287)
I could install a household surge suppression system, but those are big $$$.

Oddly enough, last night we had another barrage of lightning.

We were watching a bit of news when there was a bright blue flash quickly followed by a CRACK-BAM!

We figured it hit close. A couple minutes later... the Fire Dept rolled up to a house 5 doors down. They had a spotlight on the roof and went into the house with long pokers (pike poles) and were suited up. So something must have been smoking or on fire at some point. The house (and neighborhood) had lights, so it may have blown out an item that created some smoke.

I'll have to ask the "well-informed Neighbor" what exactly happened.

Our next place is getting lightning rods, sheesh.

RH77

Maybe you can just strategically "pull the plug" on the AC. Not convenient or foolproof or comfy, but potentially save a few repair bucks here and there.

My sister and her hubby used to run a Mailboxes Etc. After a thunderstorm people would come in with their Dish-TVs in droves. The dishes would be fried by the lightning, and everyone would be returning their setups for free replacements under warranty.

CarloSW2


In Hunts

dremd 07-08-2008 10:04 AM

II was taught in high school that surge suppressors essentially jumped one leg to another. (THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT IS TRUE) . So if that's the case why couldn't you (we) disassemble surge suppressors and place a suge "unit" or several between each line and neutral. May just be a crazy idea, but if true then you could have hole house surge suppression at ecomodder pricing.

RH77 07-09-2008 01:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dremd (Post 41979)
II was taught in high school that surge suppressors essentially jumped one leg to another. (THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT IS TRUE) . So if that's the case why couldn't you (we) disassemble surge suppressors and place a suge "unit" or several between each line and neutral. May just be a crazy idea, but if true then you could have hole house surge suppression at ecomodder pricing.

First, I did some research on surge protectors. No consumer-grade surge suppression system can protect against a lightning strike. The suggestion is to unplug the item. My Grandparents did that in the 70's when the big-ticket items were the TV and Toaster Oven -- not too practical today.

But what about rogue downstream surges from lightning? So far they've taken out random items around the house over the last 3 years.

Apparently the guts of a surge suppressor could be wired up to the hot and ground at the outlet like this diagram. The trick would be to maintain the fuse or have easy access to it. If wired properly, this could likely be doable -- I'd have to take apart a surge strip to see what goes on in there. It might all be "in-line" instead of per-plug.

-RH77


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