Anyone know about Air Conditioners? - FMVperformance.com : The site for all your Ford Mazda and Volvo needs
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

It's been pretty hot here lately and my home a/c doesn't get as cold as it used to, been like this for awhile now. I have an old ass thermostat, with dials and switches and whatnot, could this be causing the problem if it's incorrectly reading the ambient air temp and not telling the a/c unit to put out colder air? I can pick up a new digital one at Home Depot for relatively cheap. I don't want to have to call the a/c guys to come out, cuz it'll probably cost alot and knowing them they'll try to just sell me a whole new home a/c unit.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:10 PM
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

have you cleaned it? dust and dirt around the condenser and stuff degrade performance.
also, low/leaking refrigerant could be the cause, which means you need a recharge. if the unit is older, it may not have a leak and just needs to be re-charged.

I think the thermostat is not likely the cause of the air not being cool, as long as it is turning on the unit.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

Nothing has been cleaned in years, I know that much. What's the condeser looks like and where do I find it, I know there is a flat air-filter thing in the unit in the garage that can be cleaned but I don't think that would keep it from getting cold. It sounds like maybe it needs a recharge like you said.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:45 PM
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

it's a heat exchanger like a radiator. if it's dirty, it doesn't exchange heat as well. so if you have an air compressor, you want to blow that clean once in a while (which is something included in servicing the unit). recharge sounds like a good plan.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:50 PM
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

Get a digital one. It won't really help what temperature it is in your house, but most of the halfway decent ones can be programmed. You can save so much money doing this. Is no one home during the work day? Set the temperature higher in the summer time during that time and lower in the winter during that time. Don't mind it being cold at night in the winter cause you throw on an extra blanket, set it lower at night.

In general you can save about 1% on your electric bill for every 1 degree warmer or cooler (depending on the season and your climate) you set your thermostat. So even if just during the day time you can set your thermostat 5 degrees warmer during the week in the summer (most have 5+2 or 5+1+1 settings, IE during the week and the weekend or during the week and saturday+sunday) your probably looking at saving at least 2-3% off your electric bill every month, possibly more (means in a year I bet you saved the price of the new thermostat, maybe sooner).

Where is the thermostat located? I am guessing centrally in your house? The issue is that upstairs is hotter then lower floors due to heat rising and near exterior walls is going to be warmer then near the center of the house. So it can be easily 2-3 degrees warmer or colder near an exterior wall then near the core of the house depending on the season and 3-4 degrees warmer on the 2nd floor then the main floor (and 3-4 degrees cooler in the basement).

Also, wait you haven't cleaned the air filter for the unit???

That will deffinitely impact it. You are supposed to replace the filter about every 3 months, sooner if doing dusty things in your house (reno) maybe a bit longer if the unit doesn't run often. A clogged air filter will mean that the unit has to run longer to cool the place, puts more strain on the compressor (from running so long) and the central blower. A clogged filter will greatly impact just how much air flow and how cold/warm it will be. A clogged air filter also greatly increases your heating and cooling costs due to the unit running so much longer.

The heat exchanger is within the central air unit and as John mentioned looks like a car radiator. The outdoor unit is the big boxy thing about 3ft on a side and 3ft high with the giant fan in it. Doesn't hurt to see if that is cover in crap as well as it will impact efficiency.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

I'm gonna clean the air filter and condenser tonight and see how that does. I also want to get a digital thermostat anyways for the programmign functionality. Sometimes we sleep with the ac on but I don't want it to be on all night long so i usually have to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off.

The condenser is the big ass fan thing in the backyard right?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 04:29 PM
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

Haha, Azazel, did you major in English or something?

Everytime I see you post, it turns out to be a short essay.

Do you want to do my short essays for college?

Your a bank of useless knowledge. I KID, I KID


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 05:49 PM
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

Wow....

You have to do routine maintenance on AC units or you're going to run into these problems. During times of frequent use (summer), switch out the filters monthly. Make sure to keep the outside unit clean so it can dissipate heat efficiently (i.e. don't let grass grow all over it, hose it off every now and then, etc.).

Second, as mentioned above, the thermostat doesn't tell the unit how cold of air to put out, it simply turns it off and on as needed.

You should replace the filter and get someone out to do a recharge for the refrigerant. Or better yet, get a new unit if yours is 10 or more years old. Thankfully I have a friend that works for Trane who does installs on the side and I get equipment at cost. Got a 16 SEER complete system installed last week for $2800 total (would have run me about $6000 for that high of efficiency through anyone else).
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-06-2008, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

Well I knew about changing/cleaning the filter but I didn't realize you have to do maintenance/upkeep on it so much. I thought it was like a refrigerator, just give it power and leave it alone, wait....you don't have to do periodic maintenance on a fridge do you?
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 08:50 AM
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Re: Anyone know about Air Conditioners?

Well, you should every once in awhile (maybe every year or two). Mostly just make sure that the heat exchange coils are relatively free of dust and dirt. It'll help efficiency as well.

For the air conditioning, it is probably a disposable filter. These are not cleanable. Just check the size on it and get something similar from your local home improvement store. Target and I think Walmart also carry them. Even though it is more expensive you are better off with something like a 3m small particulate filter. They'll take more dust, pollen, etc out of the air and it'll keep the heat exchanger cleaner then the $1 woven fiber glass mat filters.

As for my essays, I really enjoy writing. I won't write about anything though, only stuff I enjoy. Part of the reason why I disliked school. I love to write, but most of the things I had to write about I really didn't feel like doing.

As for useless bank of knowledge, I like to think of myself as a semi-useful credit union of information. My products are slightly more useful and low interest to members then a bank of useless information is
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