Need advice about a problem with the house.

Thread starter #1

K80

Senior Member
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
 
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.
 
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.
 
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

Retired Moderator
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

Senior Member
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

GONetwork Member
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.
 

rjcruiser

Senior Member
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.
 
...

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

Senior Member
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

AWOL ADMINISTRATOR
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.
 
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

Senior Member
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
 
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.
 
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 $$$
 
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
 
Thread starter #20

K80

Senior Member
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.
 
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