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HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 07:26AM
This house has dual zone HVAC, identical systems, both installed in the Fall 2019 (both inside air handlers and outside compressors). The thermostats are Honeywell but they are very old.
First floor AC unit seems to work OK.
Second floor AC unit does not always come on. I did some troubleshooting, like swapping thermostats between units (they are identical, so just swap the unit back and forth), making sure the 1st floor unit is OFF when I try to turn second floor unit ON (just in case there is a limitation and both unit cannot run at the same time, but that does not appear to be the case).
Long story short, last night I did not manage to run second floor AC.
This morning at 8 AM I did manage to run the AC on the second floor, and I even started the first floor unit and both are running full blast right now.
How do I troubleshoot this? Is it the start-up capacitor? I guess I need to look up previous owner to find out who installed these units 9 months ago and call them back for warranty...
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: clay
Date: June 23, 2020 08:02AM
most HVAC installers put a sticker/decal on any units they install. if systems are decent, they should still be under some sort of warranty.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: PeterW
Date: June 23, 2020 08:10AM
Only if the warranty transfers between owners. Some do; some don’t.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: JoeH
Date: June 23, 2020 08:11AM
Hopefully a transferable warranty, some only apply to original purchaser.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: Speedy
Date: June 23, 2020 08:11AM
Quote
clay
most HVAC installers put a sticker/decal on any units they install. if systems are decent, they should still be under some sort of warranty.

I would go this route, too. Establish a trail.

It does sound like a capacitor might be failing however the units have very few hours and there may have been an installation error. The tech will easily be able to test the capacitor, and will do so first, especially if the fan is running. But it could also be the fan motor failing which you can easily check simply by looking at it when the thermostat is calling for cooling. But I think your first thought is correct, it’s the capacitor.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: michael_s
Date: June 23, 2020 09:03AM
Does the air handler or the unit outside the home does come on?
Or nothing comes on?

Had a similar problem last year. If you feel comfortable doing so, which I bet you do cause you switched the thermostats, check the wire connections on the outside unit.
Pull the disconnect on the wall.
remove the cover, usually at the bottom. Probably 1/4 hex screws.

Look and see if anything is loose on has burn marks.

In our area, ants love to get inside and shot the contacts.

Did I mention, pull the disconnect before doing anything?
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: Speedy
Date: June 23, 2020 09:46AM
Quote
michael_s
Did I mention, pull the disconnect before doing anything?

It’s space-time, not cbelt3.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: Schpark
Date: June 23, 2020 10:08AM
Are you signed up for A/C throttling by your energy company?



"Without death, life would lose much of its meaning. My goal is to live in such a manner that I alter world in some fundamental way before I'm gone. As I get older and watch my son grow I realize I've already achieved my goal." - Ztirffritz
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: michael_s
Date: June 23, 2020 10:51AM
Now that could be the problem!

My wife's gramma would insist I call the power company and ask them to turn the electricity up because it was getting too hard to see in her house.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: testcase
Date: June 23, 2020 11:32AM
My first thought is WHY, when installing two NEW units (both inside AND outside) BUT, the who knows HOW old CONTROLS (ie thermostats) were NOT replaced / upgraded? dunno smiley

I would buy one NEW thermostat and see if that solves the problem. If it does, repeat. If not, I'd talk to the installer.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 12:14PM
Quote
clay
most HVAC installers put a sticker/decal on any units they install. if systems are decent, they should still be under some sort of warranty.

I did look for this, there are some older PSEG Worry Free stickers (PSEG is the local power company), but those are on air ducts. No labels on air handlers or compressors. I suspect the PSEG stickers are from the previous installation.

I need to look into paperwork and see if warranty was transferable or not.

Our agent asked that sellers buy a one year warranty for the house, I think this may cover some appliances, I need to look into details.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 12:15PM
Quote
michael_s
Does the air handler or the unit outside the home does come on?
Or nothing comes on?

Had a similar problem last year. If you feel comfortable doing so, which I bet you do cause you switched the thermostats, check the wire connections on the outside unit.
Pull the disconnect on the wall.
remove the cover, usually at the bottom. Probably 1/4 hex screws.

Look and see if anything is loose on has burn marks.

In our area, ants love to get inside and shot the contacts.

Did I mention, pull the disconnect before doing anything?


Nothing comes on. This was very limited troubleshooting this morning before I went to work. More troubleshooting will follow. I do have multimeter able to test capacitors, and I know better to disconnect everything and discharge capacitors before testing.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 12:16PM
Quote
Speedy
Quote
michael_s
Did I mention, pull the disconnect before doing anything?

It’s space-time, not cbelt3.

I guess cbelt3 does not find this funny...?
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 12:18PM
Quote
Schpark
Are you signed up for A/C throttling by your energy company?

I thought about this.... I think that requires some newer thermostats?

I had issues like this one evening when I checked the house a few weeks ago and I turned it ON and OFF a few times and AC came on upstairs, but only after I shut off AC downstairs, I think this was just a coincidence, as today I was able to turn both units ON at the same time.

How does the energy company control the AC units? These are programable but otherwise dumb thermostats.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 12:20PM
Quote
testcase
My first thought is WHY, when installing two NEW units (both inside AND outside) BUT, the who knows HOW old CONTROLS (ie thermostats) were NOT replaced / upgraded? dunno smiley

I would buy one NEW thermostat and see if that solves the problem. If it does, repeat. If not, I'd talk to the installer.

as I said, the thermostats are identical so I just swapped them and that didn't make a difference. I swapped back and forth a few times.

Eventually, the upstairs unit just started this morning. Not sure why it started this morning but not last night.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: June 23, 2020 12:33PM
Quote
PeterW
Only if the warranty transfers between owners. Some do; some don’t.

I'd just call and pretend to be the original owner. The address is the same, so it isn't going to matter. Pay cash. Nobody is going to know.



C(-)ris
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: June 23, 2020 12:33PM
Quote
space-time
Quote
Schpark
Are you signed up for A/C throttling by your energy company?

I thought about this.... I think that requires some newer thermostats?

I had issues like this one evening when I checked the house a few weeks ago and I turned it ON and OFF a few times and AC came on upstairs, but only after I shut off AC downstairs, I think this was just a coincidence, as today I was able to turn both units ON at the same time.

How does the energy company control the AC units? These are programable but otherwise dumb thermostats.

Equipment on the breaker box outside that cuts power.



C(-)ris
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Throwback Thursday Signature:
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: June 23, 2020 12:34PM
Do you have two electric meters. This is commonly the case when there is electricity throttling.

I would think that a 1 year home warranty would cover HVAC. Heaters and central air aren't really appliances but home systems. Of course, contract fine print governs but that would be my argument. Can't buy central air at an appliance store.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 01:11PM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
PeterW
Only if the warranty transfers between owners. Some do; some don’t.

I'd just call and pretend to be the original owner. The address is the same, so it isn't going to matter. Pay cash. Nobody is going to know.

hmm, I think people in IT do that all the time. I could try this. Also, why pay cash if it is under warranty? it should be covered.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 01:12PM
Quote
C(-)ris
Quote
space-time
Quote
Schpark
Are you signed up for A/C throttling by your energy company?

I thought about this.... I think that requires some newer thermostats?

I had issues like this one evening when I checked the house a few weeks ago and I turned it ON and OFF a few times and AC came on upstairs, but only after I shut off AC downstairs, I think this was just a coincidence, as today I was able to turn both units ON at the same time.

How does the energy company control the AC units? These are programable but otherwise dumb thermostats.

Equipment on the breaker box outside that cuts power.

The small breaker box that feeds power to AC compressor? I need to open it and inspect then. Thanks!
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 01:14PM
Quote
macphanatic
Do you have two electric meters. This is commonly the case when there is electricity throttling.

I would think that a 1 year home warranty would cover HVAC. Heaters and central air aren't really appliances but home systems. Of course, contract fine print governs but that would be my argument. Can't buy central air at an appliance store.

Only one meter (that I can see). I am not aware of a second meter, not that I can physically see on the side of the house, nor on the web site under my account.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: John B.
Date: June 23, 2020 01:31PM
I've never heard of 2 meters for utility throttling. Here in our market it's called a "saver's switch" and it's mounted immediately adjacent to the outside power disconnect for the compressor unit (because by design it has to be installed in the path of the power circuit so it can shut off the electricity). Again, in this market, if the utility activates the switch, it cuts off power to the external compressor, but the interior air circulation fan on your HVAC unit would continue to operate. And it has exterior-visible red and green LEDs so you know when it's active.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: June 23, 2020 01:37PM
Quote
John B.
I've never heard of 2 meters for utility throttling. Here in our market it's called a "saver's switch" and it's mounted immediately adjacent to the outside power disconnect for the compressor unit (because by design it has to be installed in the path of the power circuit so it can shut off the electricity). Again, in this market, if the utility activates the switch, it cuts off power to the external compressor, but the interior air circulation fan on your HVAC unit would continue to operate. And it has exterior-visible red and green LEDs so you know when it's active.

Some places use 2 meters. This might be the older method of doing it.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: June 23, 2020 02:08PM
.....can you...eVAC.....uate.....??



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: space-time
Date: June 23, 2020 02:48PM
no 2 meters, no switch next to those boxes.

I think it may be a bad contact somewhere, will track down installer and find out about warranty, and also will replace thermostats ASAP. I have 2 ecobee purchased for this purpose, just didn't have time to install yet.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2020 02:48PM by space-time.
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: June 23, 2020 02:53PM
....can you meet(h)er.....in St. Louis.....???



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: HVAC help needed
Posted by: Carm
Date: June 23, 2020 06:49PM
Quote
macphanatic
Quote
John B.
I've never heard of 2 meters for utility throttling. Here in our market it's called a "saver's switch" and it's mounted immediately adjacent to the outside power disconnect for the compressor unit (because by design it has to be installed in the path of the power circuit so it can shut off the electricity). Again, in this market, if the utility activates the switch, it cuts off power to the external compressor, but the interior air circulation fan on your HVAC unit would continue to operate. And it has exterior-visible red and green LEDs so you know when it's active.

Some places use 2 meters. This might be the older method of doing it.

My in laws have the metered throttling on their AC for a discounted rate. They recently upgraded to Solar Panels. That being said, my MIL had a window unit installed to bypass the AC meters for her room only.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/23/2020 06:50PM by Carm.
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