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View Full Version : Need advice about a problem with the house.


K80
05-27-2008, 11:04 PM
I've been looking to buy a house but settled on renting for the next year or so to see which way the economy goes but anyhow I have a problem and I'm not sure what the cause is. The problem is that it is 78 degrees in the house @ 10:50 and the thermostat is set on 74 and it is pretty cool outside tonight. I stopped by the house at 1 today and it was 74 with the thermostat at 74. When I get home at 6 it is 80 with the thermostat at 74. Since 6 the a/c has been running nonstop and has only cooled it 2 degrees. Over the last week or two I've been noticing this taking place and am not sure what is the cause. In the mornings it has been around 67-69 degrees. The a/c is blowing cool air but not cold air and I don't have a thermometer to check the temps of the air coming out of the vents.

When I first moved in I checked the heat and air to see how it was working and the fan would not blow when the a/c was on so that was fixed. I don't know if this could be related to that or not. The owner of the house has owned it now for 3-4 years and replaced the a/c after he bought it so it is relatively new. The house is only 1200-1400 sq ft. I don't know if the unit that was sold to him is to small for the house or not because I'm not an a/c guy but, think this could be possible. Another guess could be a lack of insulation but I don't know.

I need to call the owner about this but I would like to try and figure out the problem before calling because I don't want to seem like a pain. The few things that I've had a problem with he has taken care of ASAP so I would like to try and have a solution to the problem when I call to help him out.

So with this info what is y'alls guesses? I probably won't be back on until the weekend and will check for responses then. If there's any more info needed just ask and I will respond when I get a chance.

Thanks
K80

Havana Dude
05-27-2008, 11:41 PM
It is the cadipser:bounce: Sorry man, not being a hind end, just a free bump. If it were made of wood, I could probably help out. With temps going up, you need that A/C. If I had to guess though, I would say you got thermeostat problems.

Hooked On Quack
05-27-2008, 11:49 PM
You could have a freon leak, or the unit may need charging.

LadyGunner
05-28-2008, 12:19 AM
I had a coil go bad on my system
can you see it freezing up on the pipe/wire that goes out to the compressor?

Jeff Raines
05-28-2008, 02:21 AM
If the lines have ice on them start with the simple stuff.Clean the filter first,yes I found out first hand a dirty filter will cause this.Just a couple weeks ago,my lines started freezing again,this time the cause was low on refrigerant.
Check the coils under the fan,they may need cleaning.
And whoever built the house may not have insulated it properly.I've seen a whole side of a house where the insulation was forgotten.

HUNTIN4LIFE
05-28-2008, 05:02 AM
I've had the same problem before and it was a coolant leak causing the unit to freeze up and blow that cool but not cold air. Could be the unit can't keep up with the heat but I'll bet it has more to do with the coolant level.

jimbo4116
05-28-2008, 06:40 AM
Does the house feel clamy and humid when the a/c is blowing? Any ice on the lines or compressor?

Probably low freon. Either way you need to have it checked out, before you lose the compressor.

cullyhog
05-28-2008, 08:20 AM
get a cheap thermometer and stick it in the vents. If the air temp is 12-18 degrees cooler than the air in the house, the a/c is doing all it can do. Like the others said, check the filters and see if the coils are dirty. If the coils can't get air through them, the unit can't cool.
Also make sure the return air vents don't have anything stacked in front of them.
good luck.

Ta-ton-ka chips
05-28-2008, 08:30 AM
Another guess could be a lack of insulation but I don't know.

K80

Stick your head up in the attic, you need R-30 or better about 10" of fluffy insulation would be great.
Make sure you have blinds drawn on the southern side of the house to help fight the afternoon sun.

pnome
05-28-2008, 08:38 AM
You also might have an issue with the duct work. You might have a break in the ducting.

rjcruiser
05-28-2008, 08:40 AM
Might also need an attic fan. I had a similar problem in our house when we first moved in....AC ran all the time in the summer and wouldn't do a good job of cooling the house...especially in the late afternoon evening. The reason, the temp in the attic was getting up to 140-150* We had soffet vents, but nothing at the top of the roof. Went out to Home Depot and bought a $100 attic fan that has a thermostat switch on it. When the temp gets to 108 in the attic, it turns on and pulls fresh outside air into the attic thru the soffets and the old hot air out.

It has definitely reduced the run time of the AC unit and even though it runs quite a bit, it is much cheaper to run than my AC unit.

pfharris1965
05-28-2008, 08:52 AM
Might also need an attic fan. I had a similar problem in our house when we first moved in....AC ran all the time in the summer and wouldn't do a good job of cooling the house...especially in the late afternoon evening. The reason, the temp in the attic was getting up to 140-150* We had soffet vents, but nothing at the top of the roof. Went out to Home Depot and bought a $100 attic fan that has a thermostat switch on it. When the temp gets to 108 in the attic, it turns on and pulls fresh outside air into the attic thru the soffets and the old hot air out.

It has definitely reduced the run time of the AC unit and even though it runs quite a bit, it is much cheaper to run than my AC unit.

Great suggestion...we added the type of fan you described to our house several years back because the AC was running almost constantly and our cooling bill went down around $40/month...another idea is to check the seal on the windows and at the base of the exterior doors and also close off any rooms that are not used and shut the AC vents...make sure it is not a room that has a return in it though...

Swede
05-28-2008, 08:56 AM
Had the exact problem a couple weeks ago. Had the A/C dude out and it was the capacitor. Done in 5 min. BUT!!! the same thing can be caused from a number of things.

dawg2
05-28-2008, 09:26 AM
Man, could be a lot of things. If you can see the ceiling joices in the attic, you don't have enough insulation. Based on the square feet (not knowing your ceiling height, type of windows etc) it should have at least a 2-1/2 ton AC. The model number will have a "30" in it, but I will bet your AC is a 2-ton, which will havce a model number of "24" in it.

It could be low on freon, leaking at the indoor coil, the indoor coil is probably dirty and restricted and it will not cool.

It could also be a mismatched system, meaning the outdoor system is not matched up (Rated according to ARI) with the indoor coil.

whitetaco02
05-28-2008, 08:20 PM
K80, I had the same problem. My house is 4 years old and my AC unit has not been cooling properly. I set my AC on 74 and it stays on 75 and runs CONSTANTLY all day long. I just had my dad's buddy come by an hour ago and I was close to two pounds low on freon. He charged it up and within 30 minutes my ac unit cut off and the temp was down to 74 degrees. My wife actually had to get a blanket it was so cool in here. He said I have a small leak but not to worry about it just yet and keep adding freon. He said it would cost more to find it. I had this problem two years ago and the same thing fixed. Give it a try man and good luck!! Let us know!

xpertgreg
05-28-2008, 08:31 PM
see if the outside fan and compressor are coming on. If they are not when they should lay your hand on the top of the unit. If it is so hot that you can't leave it there and the compressor won't come on, then you have a bad capacitor. It helps the fan and compressor start by giving a momentary burst of energy. Just had this problem with mine.

If the compressor and fan are running on the outdoor unit it's time to call the HVAC man.

gw

crackerdave
05-29-2008, 06:06 AM
I agree with everything said,but would probably try cullyhog's suggestion first.It's cheep,and will tell you where to look next by what the temp is. I learned the hard way - try the cheap,simple things first!:rolleyes:

Smart move renting for a year,K80 - who knows what's gonna happen with the economy.

SnowHunter
05-29-2008, 11:52 AM
Sounds like its outta freon. Ours would do that too, as well as the whole indoor part of the unit would ice over. Might be a good idea to tell the owner. Someone should come out n check it for leaks. Get it fixed before it starts to rust. A condensor unit is $$$

hornhunter44
05-29-2008, 10:59 PM
Checklist: Filter, plenum/duct work, insulation, coils clean in air handler, clean around outside of outside unit (grass clippings etc ),
chk temp at vents throughout house big differences may indicate a vent or plenum leak, all else fails call a HVAC service co and have the unit chkd out. I'm no expert but I learned some of these things by having one Co. tell me I needed a new unit and another more honest Co. showing what to look for. I saved about 4g's by cleaning my coils and retapeing some of the ductwork. Good luck

K80
06-02-2008, 11:16 PM
Does the house feel clamy and humid when the a/c is blowing? Any ice on the lines or compressor?

Probably low freon. Either way you need to have it checked out, before you lose the compressor.

No it doesn't feel clamy or humid and there is not any ice on the lines or compressor. When I first rented the place the fan did not blow with the A/C on but did blow with the heat on, when the a/c was on the lines would ice over and that was fixed before I moved in.

get a cheap thermometer and stick it in the vents. If the air temp is 12-18 degrees cooler than the air in the house, the a/c is doing all it can do. Like the others said, check the filters and see if the coils are dirty. If the coils can't get air through them, the unit can't cool.
Also make sure the return air vents don't have anything stacked in front of them.
good luck.

Today the air coming through the vents was about 15 degrees cooler than the air temp in the house. Filter is nearly new. The coils are fairly clean, there is a little dirt at the top and along the edges but the center was clean. There was a little water trickling down the coils but I would assume that is normal but the only experience I have with coils are on a tractor’s, thermo king, or a carrier unit’s radiator so I don't know if it is normal.

Stick your head up in the attic, you need R-30 or better about 10" of fluffy insulation would be great.
Make sure you have blinds drawn on the southern side of the house to help fight the afternoon sun.

I checked that last week and there is roll insulation up there, I'm not sure on the R rating. There are places that the insulation is missing or pushed to the side or folded over, I think this is part of the problem.

Might also need an attic fan. I had a similar problem in our house when we first moved in....AC ran all the time in the summer and wouldn't do a good job of cooling the house...especially in the late afternoon evening. The reason, the temp in the attic was getting up to 140-150* We had soffet vents, but nothing at the top of the roof. Went out to Home Depot and bought a $100 attic fan that has a thermostat switch on it. When the temp gets to 108 in the attic, it turns on and pulls fresh outside air into the attic thru the soffets and the old hot air out.

It has definitely reduced the run time of the AC unit and even though it runs quite a bit, it is much cheaper to run than my AC unit.

This is one of the first things that I figured it needed. I wonder if this is something that I should expect the homeowner to do. There is at least one vent at the top of the roof but no fan that I could see and it was hotter than all get out when I climbed up there.

Great suggestion...we added the type of fan you described to our house several years back because the AC was running almost constantly and our cooling bill went down around $40/month...another idea is to check the seal on the windows and at the base of the exterior doors and also close off any rooms that are not used and shut the AC vents...make sure it is not a room that has a return in it though...

I guess I need to check the windows and door seals.

Man, could be a lot of things. If you can see the ceiling joices in the attic, you don't have enough insulation. Based on the square feet (not knowing your ceiling height, type of windows etc) it should have at least a 2-1/2 ton AC. The model number will have a "30" in it, but I will bet your AC is a 2-ton, which will havce a model number of "24" in it.

It could be low on freon, leaking at the indoor coil, the indoor coil is probably dirty and restricted and it will not cool.

It could also be a mismatched system, meaning the outdoor system is not matched up (Rated according to ARI) with the indoor coil.

I can see the joices because it is roll insulation but like I said before there are gaps here and there.

There is a 30 in the model number about half way through it. Tax records show that it is 1128 sq ft and I would say that it is pretty close to that. The ceiling hight is typical. Window series is: trim lok double hung type: VSDH code: MAG-K-13 and are less than 4 years old. I don't know how to check for a mismatched system.

The vents do not blow a lot of air out of them or at least it doesn't seem like much to me, if you hold your hand about 1 1/2 to 2 feet away from the vent you cant really feel the air blowing.

With the given information how would y'all approach the owner about this problem? What is acceptable for the home owner to do and not to do?

Thanks for all the responses.

MudDucker
06-03-2008, 07:40 AM
Bottom line, the A/C man will troubleshot all of these things. They are like plumbers, they charge $75 an hour if you don't help them and $150 an hour if you help.

Jim Thompson
06-03-2008, 08:59 AM
reopened at starters request

K80
06-03-2008, 11:08 AM
Thanks Jim.

dawg2
06-03-2008, 11:20 AM
I checked that last week and there is roll insulation up there, I'm not sure on the R rating. There are places that the insulation is missing or pushed to the side or folded over, I think this is part of the problem.

This is one of the first things that I figured it needed. I wonder if this is something that I should expect the homeowner to do. There is at least one vent at the top of the roof but no fan that I could see and it was hotter than all get out when I climbed up there.

I can see the joices because it is roll insulation but like I said before there are gaps here and there.



If you can see wood joices or gaps, then you don't have enough insulation. 60% of the heat gain in your house during the summer will be through the ceilings from your attic. Also no fan in the attic just lets the heat build up. I doubt the owner will do anything about it since the power bill is paid by you and not them, so there is no reason for them to address that. But you can ask. It would run around +/- $400 to have your attic blown with insulation. Maybe they'll split the price. Money well spent.





There is a 30 in the model number about half way through it. Tax records show that it is 1128 sq ft and I would say that it is pretty close to that. The ceiling hight is typical. Window series is: trim lok double hung type: VSDH code: MAG-K-13 and are less than 4 years old. I don't know how to check for a mismatched system.


Sounds like a 2-1/2 Ton AC which based on the little bit I have heard is about the right size. Just tell them the AC is not cooling and get it serviced by an AC Company. Unless your lease says otherwise, that should be the responsibility of your landlord.

hevishot
06-03-2008, 11:23 AM
what dawg said...let the landlord deal with it.

K80
06-09-2008, 08:08 PM
Had the heating and air guy out and the unit was 3/4 of a pound low freon. The house gets cooler quicker in the evening but during the day the unit is still running all day without cutting off as well as the temp getting over 80 inside.

SnowHunter
06-09-2008, 08:14 PM
Dang Steven, that really stinks. I hope yall can get it fixed, it sucks comin home to a house thats like a sauna

K80
06-09-2008, 08:22 PM
Dang Steven, that really stinks. I hope yall can get it fixed, it sucks comin home to a house thats like a sauna

Yes it does, the good thing is that after the freon was added the 80 degrees feels much better than when it was low on freon.

dawg2
06-09-2008, 08:38 PM
Had the heating and air guy out and the unit was 3/4 of a pound low freon. The house gets cooler quicker in the evening but during the day the unit is still running all day without cutting off as well as the temp getting over 80 inside.

You have more problems than 3/4 pound of r-22.

FishingAddict
06-09-2008, 09:04 PM
Buy a house now while the economy is bad. The intrest rates won't go lower, and it's likely the home prices won't either.

Or...you can wait till prices and rates get more expensive....cause they will...

rjcruiser
06-10-2008, 09:06 AM
I really think that an attic fan will help. Not sure how handy you are, but see if the landlord will pay to buy it if you install it.

Again, this helps out more than people think. I went up in my attic yesterday evening thinking it would be crazy hot in there (had to get the filter size) and it wasn't unbearable. Very close to the outside temp in there.

Yes...now is the time to buy houses. Especially if you have some cash to put down. Home auctions are the way to go. If you can put down 15%, you can steal a house. I know that this is a little off topic, but Hudson & Marshall has a big auction going on later this month (in Atl and Macon).
http://www.hudsonandmarshall.com/

dawg2
06-10-2008, 10:42 AM
I really think that an attic fan will help. Not sure how handy you are, but see if the landlord will pay to buy it if you install it.

Again, this helps out more than people think. [/url]

They are a HUGE help. I have three in mine.

K80
06-11-2008, 10:02 AM
The a/c guy was back on this am and said that there is nothing wrong with the unit but checked the attic upon the owners request and said that the insulation is very poor(which I thought it was). The owner of the house has already talked to the a/c guy about him putting a fan up there so now I guess I'll be waiting to hear from the owner to see what he is going to do. Hopefully he'll put insulation and a fan in the attic.

dawg2
06-11-2008, 10:05 AM
The a/c guy was back on this am and said that there is nothing wrong with the unit but checked the attic upon the owners request and said that the insulation is very poor(which I thought it was). The owner of the house has already talked to the a/c guy about him putting a fan up there so now I guess I'll be waiting to hear from the owner to see what he is going to do. Hopefully he'll put insulation and a fan in the attic.

If I had to pick one or the other, I would put every penny into insulation FIRST. 60% of your heat gain on your house will be through your ceiling and the biggest reduction in that load will be adding insulation.

K80
06-11-2008, 10:13 AM
If I had to pick one or the other, I would put every penny into insulation FIRST. 60% of your heat gain on your house will be through your ceiling and the biggest reduction in that load will be adding insulation.

So would I.

dawg2
06-11-2008, 10:22 AM
So would I.

Around here it runs about .38 -.40 cents a square foot to blow it in.