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Air conditioner
Posted by: davemchine
Date: July 30, 2020 11:15PM
My 20 year old house air conditioner popped the breaker twice this evening. It’s been running for over an hour so fingers crossed. Is it worth a tech call or should I wait for it to completely fail?
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: deckeda
Date: July 30, 2020 11:28PM
It’s cheap and easy to replace a circuit breaker IF you’re careful. They sometimes wear out and trip too easily.
Or just close the door so the A/C doesn’t constantly run (for an hour, really??)
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Racer X
Date: July 31, 2020 12:10AM
Every time a breaker trips, the next time is just a little easier. Eventually they can't even hold a reset. Just saying.

Low fill on the refrigerant? Compressor overworked? Any historical refference points, like "In the past, from 85 down to 75 usually takes 3 hours, now its 5" That sort of thing.



********************************************
The police have no duty to respond. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) or Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: davester
Date: July 31, 2020 01:20AM
Don't you live in the Pacific Northwest? Why on earth would you need an air conditioner?



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Racer X
Date: July 31, 2020 01:34AM
Frequently our indoor temps spike in late afternoon, as everyone on the east side of Puget Sound want windows facing the mountains and Puget Sound, for example. And E Washington frequently is over 100, and gets roughly 20ish days of rain a year. For example.

My house in Seattle used to hit high 80s in the late afternoon, even with double pane windows. Finally insulated the attic beyond code, and added a huge temp/humidity controlled gable fan as well. That way the heat didn't transfer down through the walls. Now it peaks around 80ish.

I'd love a heat pump FWIW. They work VERY well in our climate, until we hit around 35 or so, then we usually have a furnace that kicks in. A friend has a mid-century modern, 3 story home with about 1000 sq/ft of west facing glass. He left in his furnace when the heat pump was installed, because replacing those windows would be about $100K. Cheaper to heat and cool until he is dead.



********************************************
The police have no duty to respond. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) or Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Carm
Date: July 31, 2020 02:14AM
120 today and 122 tomorrow. It was hot out, I went for a walk with the dog yesterday after sunset. It was hot out. I walked barefoot to check the floor temp and the mail. Floor was warm. Did I mention it was hot out?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 02:15AM by Carm.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 31, 2020 05:38AM
Why on earth would you need an air conditioner?


FFS.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: July 31, 2020 07:10AM
The start capacitor for the compressor may be going bad. Relatively inexpensive and easy fix. If you do it yourself, be very careful as capacitors store energy and can electrocute you if you short the terminals.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: modelamac
Date: July 31, 2020 07:50AM
As a rule, capacitors are either good or bad; no in between.



Gonna ask my Mother if that offer to slap
me into next year is still on the table.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: July 31, 2020 07:56AM
Quote
davester
Don't you live in the Pacific Northwest? Why on earth would you need an air conditioner?

Perhaps he likes his house with comfortable air. Sometimes it's not so cool, and sometimes it's right at the edge of too warm or too humid and the A/C fixes this.



(BTW, it's spelled < y'all >.)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 08:10AM by Zoidberg.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: July 31, 2020 07:57AM
Quote
modelamac
As a rule, capacitors are either good or bad; no in between.

Very much this. Either they're humming along and doing their job or they've popped themselves into oblivion.



(BTW, it's spelled < y'all >.)
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 31, 2020 07:57AM
Davester,

Even the Pacific Northwest can get on the warm side in the summer months. An AC might not be as necessary as it is in, say, New York or Florida but if someone wants the comfort one can provide, then I wouldn't knock'im for it.

FWIW, it's in the low 70s and raining in NY right now. I'm thrilled! 'course, it's been in the mid to high 90s for the last week and very humid. So, low 70s in the rain is a very welcome change. smiling smiley

Robert
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Racer X
Date: July 31, 2020 08:37AM
If you are conditioned to the 60s for more than half the year, 90+ is unpleasant. We do NOT have dry heat west of the Cascades.

East is dry. I've worked in Moses Lake outside in the 11xs for a week, drinking a gallon of water each day, and NOT getting wet with sweat.

My partner's little brother gave us 2 almost new R2D2 A/C units, so we are set.



********************************************
The police have no duty to respond. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 545 U.S. 748 (2005) or Warren v. District of Columbia[1] (444 A.2d. 1, D.C. Ct. of Ap. 1981)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2020 08:38AM by Racer X.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: davemchine
Date: July 31, 2020 08:41AM
I posted hastily last night and should have included more information. The high temperature yesterday was 103 and is projected to be 105 today. The eastern side of Washington State is not the cool forest some people imagine for the PNW. Instead it is a desert with extreme temperature swings. So air conditioning in the summer is very important.

I had not considered the breaker being the culprit. Would an electrician be able to test that or is it simply something to swap out and see how it goes?

Thanks for reminding me that a resistor is an either/or situation. We had that replaced about four years ago but the correct part wasn't available. So the repair man use two resistors in series to get the correct value. I thought it might be possible his repair had failed but if the AC can run at all it can't be the resistor right?

I had the AC tested about a month ago and the refrigerant (R22) pressure was fine. I don't know how to test if the compressor is overworked.

The AC ran thru the night so I'll wait and see if the breaker pops again at some point today. If it does I'm not sure if I am to call an electrician to replace the breaker or call the AC repair man who will surely tell me to replace the 20yr old AC unit.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: davester
Date: July 31, 2020 09:09AM
Quote
davemchine
I posted hastily last night and should have included more information. The high temperature yesterday was 103 and is projected to be 105 today. The eastern side of Washington State is not the cool forest some people imagine for the PNW. Instead it is a desert with extreme temperature swings. So air conditioning in the summer is very important.

I was partly being facetious, but I also thought you lived in Seattle area and sailed your sailboat in the sound.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: mikebw
Date: July 31, 2020 09:12AM
Quote
macphanatic
The start capacitor for the compressor may be going bad. Relatively inexpensive and easy fix. If you do it yourself, be very careful as capacitors store energy and can electrocute you if you short the terminals.
With your body.

Definitely an easy fix, just shut off the power then bridge the cap with a screwdriver... heh heh. If it's bad it probably doesn't have that much charge anyway.

But seriously, be careful.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: bfd
Date: July 31, 2020 09:18AM
If this were Cali, get a new system - the SEER on a 20 y.o. system eats electricity like candy. But being the PNW, your rates are probably not as much of a concern. A new system does cost $$$, but where electricity costs are high/kWh getting a newer, high SEER system 15-18 saves money in the long run, especially in areas that run hot. For example, electricity bills in the $400-$800/month range in California are not uncommon for inland areas with older AC systems. A newer, higher SEER system can easily cut that in half or less. It doesn't take too many years to pay for itself when rates are over $0.50/kWh during peak hours in the summer.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: July 31, 2020 10:04AM
It might not be easy to find in the Seattle area but there are new variable speed heat pumps that are designed to work well down to -15ºF.

[www.fujitsugeneral.com]



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: deckeda
Date: July 31, 2020 10:25AM
Quote
davemchine
...
I had not considered the breaker being the culprit. Would an electrician be able to test that or is it simply something to swap out and see how it goes?

It's usually cheap enough to risk wasting money trying it. That said, if you're paying someone to stop by, they should check as much as they can while they're there. I don't know if whomever you hire would just swap it out on a whim however, because that implies they "found" the problem when it's actually not broken-at-that-moment, and I'm pretty sure they'd prefer to avoid being called back. Then again, many times you've already paid for a callback upfront; they just don't show that on the invoice in quite that way smiling smiley

I'm not aware of test per se. Internally its a current-resistant device that gives up the connection once current passes the threshold. It has physical properties that don't last forever. I won't try to talk you into replacing this, but it's only about a 15 minute job, and that includes turning off house power and someone else holding the flashlight and the breaker is I don't know, less than $50?

Quote
davemchine
Thanks for reminding me that a resistor is an either/or situation. We had that replaced about four years ago but the correct part wasn't available. So the repair man use two resistors in series to get the correct value. I thought it might be possible his repair had failed but if the AC can run at all it can't be the resistor right?

I don't recall anyone here mentioning a resistor?

Quote
davemchine
The AC ran thru the night so I'll wait and see if the breaker pops again at some point today. If it does I'm not sure if I am to call an electrician to replace the breaker or call the AC repair man who will surely tell me to replace the 20yr old AC unit.

If the unit blows cold but just doesn't turn on reliably, this is probably an electrical issue that they won't likely try to sell you out of.

It's when the coil begins to leak that you get to buy a new HVAC system in its entirety unless you enjoy even more risk of old not working well with new, with additional cost soon after.
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Michael
Date: July 31, 2020 10:26AM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
It might not be easy to find in the Seattle area but there are new variable speed heat pumps that are designed to work well down to -15ºF.

[www.fujitsugeneral.com]

That's amazing. Our heat pump in GA runs to about 20 degrees and then it's done and the strip heaters turn on. That gets expensive!
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: July 31, 2020 10:37AM
......A/C for life......!!!!



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: July 31, 2020 12:14PM
I don't recall anyone here mentioning a resistor?


Geeeze, you know he meant capacitor.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: July 31, 2020 02:12PM
Quote
Michael
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
It might not be easy to find in the Seattle area but there are new variable speed heat pumps that are designed to work well down to -15ºF.

[www.fujitsugeneral.com]

That's amazing. Our heat pump in GA runs to about 20 degrees and then it's done and the strip heaters turn on. That gets expensive!

It is not hard to make it run down that low. There are lots of specialty laboratory refrigerators that work down to -200ºF. Just turn it inside out so the heating coils are inside the house and the chilling coils are outside. The challenge is to design it so that every part is exactly the perfect size so that they get a SEER of 30.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: July 31, 2020 03:44PM
....what about....hair.....conditioner.....???



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Air conditioner
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: July 31, 2020 04:16PM
Quote
Michael
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
It might not be easy to find in the Seattle area but there are new variable speed heat pumps that are designed to work well down to -15ºF.

[www.fujitsugeneral.com]

That's amazing. Our heat pump in GA runs to about 20 degrees and then it's done and the strip heaters turn on. That gets expensive!

Here we just use natural gas as the backup.

But it's gotten so cheap I now lock out the heat pump and use natural gas to heat all winter long...
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