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Thread: Air Conditioning Unit Problem, Advice Needed

  1. #1
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    Air Conditioning Unit Problem, Advice Needed

    So I have a Rheem 10 Seer Classic Air Conditioner, this is what it looks like but a little smaller, manufactured in June 2002 and installed summer of 2002:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3NoXRFJjY

    I got 14 summers out of it which are our considerably hotter southern New England summers, I ran it hard (I sleep at 70 degrees F/ 21degrees C) and now it looks like the sad end may have come for my Rheem. I came home today and usually leave my thermostat set for 78 so that AC only goes on as needed to keep it at 78/25.5 C. I came home and it was 81 degrees and I knew something was wrong. I flipped circuit breakers, returned juice and power and went outside and clearly power can he heard (whirring noise of power being supplied to the unit) but nothing is happening. I don't think it is 3 tons, probably more like 2, sufficient to cool a 1200 square foot condo. How much to replace? Should I stick with Rheem 10 Seer?

    Any AC techs out there are welcome to PM me as well if they do not wish to reveal their occupation.

  2. #2
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    Have it inspected by an AC technician. It probably needs a cleaning. Looks like it may be clogged up. Anyways, it does not look like an expensive repair.

  3. #3
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    Get rid of your old unit, spend a few bucks and buy a new one. The current one you have is 14 years old and it's time it meets its creator.

  4. #4
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    Actually problem was solved yesterday. The capacitor was busted and the repairman replaced it. He told me the unit looked pretty good otherwise. He pumped some refrigerant into the unit and told me I should be all set for a while. It ran beautifully last night.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver View Post
    Actually problem was solved yesterday. The capacitor was busted and the repairman replaced it. He told me the unit looked pretty good otherwise. He pumped some refrigerant into the unit and told me I should be all set for a while. It ran beautifully last night.
    That's great. How much were the total costs for the repairs?

  6. #6
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    The repair guy does a lot of work on properties owned by my boss. So he says to me, "you are a friend of so and so, so no charge." I said to him no way, you are getting paid. He then said "how about $25?" He fixed the problem in 15 minutes so I gave him $50. I had gone on thumbtack and gotten 4 quotes ranging from $50 an hour to $125 an hour. Since I paid him $50 for 15 minutes of work, it comes out to $200 an hour.

    The lesson I learned is it's key to get a referral from your coworkers who know the quality of people out there. My boss also told me he wouldn't charge me a lot, although I had no idea he would offer a freebie. I have had client electricians and client tile installers do work they didn't charge me for, but I didn't know this guy at all and he is not a client.

    By the way he installed a new capacitor he had on his truck and didn't even ask me to pay for this part which obviously cost him something. Anyone know what a Rheem 10 Seer Classic capacitor goes for?

  7. #7
    Capacitor was going to be my guess but did not see this thread in time. I get mine changed about once every two summers. Most of the repairman I dealt with usually have used capacitors from other cannibalized units. But if you are certain its a new one, here is a list of capacitor spare parts for the 10 Seer, all of them appear to be less than $15.

    http://www.repairclinic.com/Shop-For...apacitor-Parts

    Typically when the AC turns on without cool air coming out, it means that either:

    1. Electricity is not reaching the compressor and its usually either the capacitor or a fuse
    2. Refrigerant leaked out. Like if you puncture one of those tiny pipes and weird smelling gas comes out.

    Cleaning the unit once a year also does wonders.

  8. #8
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    Rollingstone,

    The AC wasn't turning on at all. There was a whirring noise and I could hear power going to the unit. But the motor didn't engage and the fan wasn't turning. Once he installed the capacitor and the motor and fan started and he felt the air, he then went to his truck and brought out a tank filled with refrigerant. He then ran a hose from the refrigerant tank (which was the size of a small propane tank) into my AC unit. As the refrigerant was pumping into the AC unit he was looking at two different gauges, one was red and one was blue. After around 5 minutes he determined a proper amount of refrigerant had been pumped in.

    I never understood how air conditioners actually work. However this guy clearly knew what he was doing. He is my new HVAC guy if anything happens to the furnace or the AC. Real nice guy as well, although not terribly talkative.

  9. #9
    Well by motor I assume you mean compressor. If it does not engage its a electrical problem. Refrigerant refilling is a common practice among repairman but honestly today's units are sealed pretty tight and don't lose refrigerant unless there is a crack or puncture. I just fixed my AC after my last vacation in Montreal in July, and I was desperate to get it working again so I did not say much when he said he cleaned it, changed the capacitor and refilled the refrigerant just like you. The difference is that my case the fan was working, it just was not bringing in cold air (it was same temp as outside).

    Just an FYI, an AC works by pumping refrigerant around. Refrigerant is a liquid that evaporates extremely easily, like Freon or Propane. When its inside the house, its in a portion of the pipe called an evaporator, where it evaporates by taking the heat from the air inside your house. When the refrigerant reaches the compressor its pressurized and forced back into a liquid state, releasing a lot of heat (which is why the air around the unit outside is really hot). So in short it takes the heat from inside and dumps it out. Thats why every AC has an indoor portion and outdoor portion. Hope that helps.

    *Incidentally, refrigerants are also used in aerosol cans to force the cans contents out. If you flip any aerosol can upside down and spray it, you will release the refrigerant instead and cool down whatever it is you are spraying it on. You see this in movies when cops quickly freeze a lock and then smash with heavy object like their gun.

  10. #10
    Any big problems and it is time to get a new unit, with labor what it is today it is easier to get a new one. I saw a 1.5 ton (15,000 btu ) at Reno Depot that you can install yourself. Even the Freon conduit was clip together. One at each end of your condo/house is better than one huge unit that blows cold air at one end of the house.

  11. #11
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    Dr. KImball,

    What is under discussion here is central AC units. See my first post. These units generate cold air that is circulated all through my condo, kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, living room, through vents in the ceiling in every room. Where the unit is mounted is irrelevant since it is outside my condo. It is also way too big to be installed by one person.

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