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I put my 17 year old central A/C on for the first time of the warmer weather season yesterday, and noticed that the air flowing from the vents was not as cool as usual. The A/C was run overnight, and it cooled the house, but took a long time to work. It was also run today because my wife and kids were home from work and school.

After I got home form work mid-afternoon today, I tested the vent air temperature, which was only slightly cool. I checked the outside unit and the basement air handler, both of which seemed fine. The copper refrigerant line inside and outside the house was cold, so I figured that there was refrigerant, but perhaps it was low. Since the system was constantly on because it was unable to cool the house to the set temperature, I turned if off for about 30 minutes. By running the fan only instead, the house quickly warmed up a couple more degrees, so I restarted the A/C. After a few minutes, I checked the copper refrigerant line again, and this time it was warm. Moments later, the compressor's normally loud buzz seemed to disappear. I turned off the A/C for about 10 minutes, then restarted it to test the compressor. This time it seemed to make an oddly muted flapping noise, so I immediately turned of the A/C.

Being a Saturday afternoon, I left an "office is now closed" request for HVAC service for my "trusty" HVAC service provider, but I am curious what you folks think happened, and what I should expect from the tech's diagnosis and repair recommendations. Thanks for any ideas.
 

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Bummer. Can't help you there. In the nearly 20 years we have lived here we have replaced the unit (heat pump) 2 times. After the unit (heat pump) went out the second time we switched over to propane heat with an air conditioner. I am going to say that this unit is probably 12 years old.

I just turned on our AC unit Friday night for the first time. It was way too warm, like 76 in this house and with the darn pollen count way up I wasn't about to open the windows.

Good luck!!!!!
 

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Thanks, Sailfish. I have significant seasonal allergy issues, too, but we opened lots of windows yesterday and last night in order to sleep. I prepped myself with Flonase, Zyrtec, and Pataday. I do have an albuterol inhaler that I needed a couple of years ago for pneumonia. Even though it is past its expiration date, I would try it if I ran into trouble. So far, the OTC+Pataday cocktail has worked very well. :thumb:

Regarding the A/C unit, my impression is that all of the refrigerant leaked out while running the unit yesterday. Hopefully, the reason that the compressor shut off was due to a low refrigerant pressure sensor to protect the system rather than failure from overheating without refrigerant. But, I'm not sure if these types of protective sensors were installed in units circa 1998. :-\
 

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I have an appt for the HVAC to be serviced tomorrow morning. I hope that the problem will be quick and inexpensive to resolve.

I had scheduled my Enclave's 100,000 mile service for tomorrow, so I rescheduled it for next week instead. I would have gotten the car in at just under 100,000 miles, which might have helped get customer goodwill coverage for any engine work needed to resolved my Enclave's increased thirst for oil lately, but that won't happen now. I doubt it would have made a difference anyway.
 

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I had an A/C failure about 6 years ago, when the unit was 18 years old. I had to replace the compressor.
Good luck with yours.

MRB
 

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MRBUICK, I hope that it is just the compressor. I will find out by this time tomorrow morning.
 

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It turned out to be the compressor drier/filter, which was clogged with so much debris that the Freon was unable to circulate through the system. The rest of the HVAC system checked out okay, and the financial pain for the 3+ hour service and repair was limited to roughly $500. I was fearing a lot worse. Phew! :veryhappy:
 

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GoldEnclave said:
It turned out to be the compressor drier/filter, which was clogged with so much debris that the Freon was unable to circulate through the system. The rest of the HVAC system checked out okay, and the financial pain for the 3+ hour service and repair was limited to roughly $500. I was fearing a lot worse. Phew! :veryhappy:
:thumb:
 

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:mope: The A/C in my home broke again! The symptoms are essentially the same as before. The tech that had repaired the unit a few weeks ago had warned me that the system should be replaced and that the repair might not last very long. So, I'm going to bite the proverbial bullet and replace the entire HVAC system with state of the art high efficiency heat and cooling units. Hopefully, the job can be done within a couple of weeks before the hot weather arrives. But, I do have a portable A/C to cool one of the rooms that I had used when the A/C had acted up a few years ago.

Most likely, based on a pending estimate, I will go with Lennox's 98.5 AFUE gas furnace and either the XC21 or XC17 high efficiency A/C unit. Not only will I save enormously on utility bills with these new units, but also will have much more even and quiet comfort. Though I don't really want to spend the money for a new HVAC at this time, especially with pending expensive car repair/replacement costs looming, I am looking forward to the huge leap in technology and performance. :thumb: :( :thumb: :( :thumb:
 

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GoldEnclave said:
:mope: The A/C in my home broke again! The symptoms are essentially the same as before. The tech that had repaired the unit a few weeks ago had warned me that the system should be replaced and that the repair might not last very long. So, I'm going to bite the proverbial bullet and replace the entire HVAC system with state of the art high efficiency heat and cooling units. Hopefully, the job can be done within a couple of weeks before the hot weather arrives. But, I do have a portable A/C to cool one of the rooms that I had used when the A/C had acted up a few years ago.

Most likely, based on a pending estimate, I will go with Lennox's 98.5 AFUE gas furnace and either the XC21 or XC17 high efficiency A/C unit. Not only will I save enormously on utility bills with these new units, but also will have much more even and quiet comfort. Though I don't really want to spend the money for a new HVAC at this time, especially with pending expensive car repair/replacement costs looming, I am looking forward to the huge leap in technology and performance. :thumb: :( :thumb: :( :thumb:
We have a Lennox AC unit sitting outside. The furnace is a gas (propane fueled) unit and we love it. The AC cost is a lot lower than when we had the heat pump for cooling and heating. Granted the gas furnace would have been cheaper before the cost for propane went up within the year after we had it installed.

Good luck and you will enjoy the comfort and savings.
 

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Thanks, Sailfish. I don't want to spend the money, but it should be a rewarding high tech purchase rather than just an expensive replacement. :)
 

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The job was surveyed and the final estimate was proposed, do the central air system will be installed tomorrow.

I'm going with the Signature Series XC 21 A/C and the Signature Series 80% AFUE gas furnace. Both are in the best series of equipment that Lennox makes. The initial plan was to go with the 98.5 % AFUE furnace, but it would have been very awkward and unsightly to install the 2" PVC exhaust lines that the higher efficiency units require. So, the 80% unit will provide all of the comfort improvements of the 98.5%, but not much of a step up in efficiency. My old system is either 78% or 80%; I don't recall.

Though I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's big job, nor the big bill, I am looking forward to the niceties of the new system.
 

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The installation team was scheduled to arrive between 8:00-8:15 AM. It is now 8:35 AM, and I'm getting antsy... :mope:

EDIT: They finally arrived at 9:00 AM. The installers expect that the job will be finished today, on schedule. :thumb:
 

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GoldEnclave said:
The installation team was scheduled to arrive between 8:00-8:15 AM. It is now 8:35 AM, and I'm getting antsy... :mope:

EDIT: They finally arrived at 9:00 AM. The installers expect that the job will be finished today, on schedule. :thumb:
Good luck today! AND anymore having anyone who you have hired coming on time is, sad to say, a rarity. My Father was a stickler for he and his men to arrive exactly on time, if not 10 minutes or so early.
 

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The repair tech from this company usually arrives about 10-15 minutes early, so I was expecting the installation team to do the same. I guess that I was daydreaming. :happy:
 

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The new A/C unit is f###ing HUGE! It doesn't fit neatly into the alcove where the old unit had been, so it will be intruding a bit into the small fenced in 10' x 25' patio. These 17 year old town homes weren't built with this configuration in mind. It looks a little ridiculous, but there's nothing I can do. The new units are much bigger than the old ones due to technological changes for far greater efficiency and much quieter operation. My wife and I will have to rearrange the patio furniture somehow.
 

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Humm...wow. So you didn't go with a heat pump but a central air unit. Ours is the same size as the previous heat pump.

BUT I also double checked, we do not have the Lennox as I had thought. We have an American Standard AC unit sitting outside.

That is a bummer as to how large it ended up being.
 

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It measures approximately 47"H x 35.5"W x 39.5"D. My guess is that the unit that it replaced was about 32"H x 26"W x 26"D. In addition to the extra size, the unit needs to be placed about 12" farther from the side of the house compared to the old unit, which places it at 36" away from the wall. As a result, it almost looks as if it were positioned in the middle of the enclosed patio area! It's a monstrosity that I hope the Condo Association won't make an issue about. ??? Supposedly, this company has installed similar A/C units within this community before, so I imagine that I will not encounter a problem form the board, especially since there is nothing written in the bylaws about the size and placement of replacement A/C units, as far as I know. :shrug:
 

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Well, now that the HVAC system has been operational for about 4 hours, I can say that the gigantic A/C unit outside is very quiet. I can't hear it through the window like the old one. Plus, it is quiet enough to not intrude on conversation at a distance of just a few feet away. I'm impressed! :thumb:

The air seems to be drier,and more comfortable, as well. :thumb:

The air handler in the finished basement is also quieter than the old one and has none of the annoying squeaks and rattles, either. :thumb:

But, the noise emanating from the vents seems just as loud as before, contrary to what the tech boasted before installation. :-\

Finally, the system seems to be running a greater percentage of any given hour then the old system. Perhaps this is due to the much tighter thermostat control to reduce temperature fluctuation between cycles? ???

Overall, I'm impressed with the A/C section of the new HVAC system, so far. :thumb:
 

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Some of the thermostats will allow you to adjust how much of a temperature swing you want to occur. You can take a look in the manual or google the model number or if your really bored post it here and someone let you know if you can or can't adjust the swing value.

I wonder if some of the extra runtime is just the blower running in the unit without the A/C unit going. I think some units will do that to help move the air around after the heating / cooling has ceased to try and maintain a uniform temperature in the house.

You could also call your HVAC guy and explain the situation, you just gave them 5-10k for doing the job, have them make sure all is correct.

Otherwise hope you are able to enjoy a nice cool home this summer
 
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