Thread Number: 43519  /  Tag: Major Appliances
Is it getting hot in here?
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Post# 454456   7/5/2022 at 18:21 (659 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Wauponsee, IL)        

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Naturally the day I was scheduled to have the Central Air Conditioning unit given its annual service, it is over 100 degrees here. The 30 minutes the unit was off really heated up the house. Now 3 hours later it hasn't cooled off yet and the A/C has run non-stop.
I finally broke down and went to the attic for my emergency window unit...needs to settle the freon in place and then I can kick it on.

This 102 year old house could use some insulation!!

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Post# 454518 , Reply# 1   7/6/2022 at 23:09 (657 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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wow thats crazy, my house is 1950 and it doesn't get that hot. definitely need to find some way to insulate the attic better, and maybe change the exterior color of the house and replace wall insulation. white siding will reflect heat and make the house cooler.

running the air conditioner for 3 hours is also a sign that something is wrong with the way the ductwork is run, full of leaks, or the entire AC/ unit is inefficient and undersized for the house.

in this day and age with how everything is priced can't afford to lose all that energy. I need to go around my ductwork with mastic and foil tape and fill in holes and try and join gaps back together where the ducting came apart.

Post# 454519 , Reply# 2   7/6/2022 at 23:10 (657 days old) by huskyvacs (Gnaw Bone, Indiana)        

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Also if you want to maximize the spread of a window A/C, lay out a train of fans together on low speed from in front of the A/C and outward of the room every so many feet or around a corner, turned on low speed, to help carry the air through the house.

Post# 454522 , Reply# 3   7/7/2022 at 00:03 (657 days old) by vacuumlad1650 (Wauponsee, IL)        

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The system has a clean bill of health. Ot was over 100 degrees here, which usually only happens for 3 or 4 days in August.

The exterior is already white, and a medium light colored roof. The biggest issue is I have 9.5' ceilings and no attic fan. There are some vents up there but it doesn't remove enough heat.

If I didn't plan to be out of this house within 10 years of purchase I would have torn each room to the studs to redo insulation, plumbing, and electrical. I just can't justify that kind of money at this point in time. The house was built in 1920, and sure has missed out on some necessary upgrades through the years!

Post# 454523 , Reply# 4   7/7/2022 at 00:59 (657 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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My previous house was built in 1928, and did not have insulation. However, it was a brick house, with 3-brick-thick walls. So it was adequately insulated for a house of its time. We had also insulated the 2nd floor ceiling - not only had it never been done, but there was no access to the attic whatsoever, we had to cut a hole in the ceiling. And we did install an attic fan.

Actually one of the big problems with old (1950s and older) home designs, in terms of attics, is that there usually aren't any soffit vents. So even though you may have installed roof vents, there's no pass-through of air. There's no thermal siphon. So the attic gets hot anyway. And adding a fan doesn't really help a whole lot, because it'll just pull air in through the roof vents that are supposed to let air out. (Although that air movement will cool off the attic.)

A/C units also - from what I've seen - always seem to be undersized for the home. And ductwork also similarly sucks. Our current home had a (broken) 2-ton unit. We took only the outdoor condensing unit from our previous home, a 3-ton unit. I'm sure any HVAC guy would cry about how 3-ton is oversized for my house. Probably is, and that's why it worked so well!

Until it didn't. After all the dust has settled, I can tell you it simply leaked some refrigerant over the years. And due to the evaporator coil being really old, it employed a system that requires a very precise amount of refrigerant in the system. I believe now that it was simply dumb luck that I got the charge right the first time around. I added and removed refrigerant later to try and hit that sweet spot, but never could. So I modified the system to use a thermal expansion valve.

In lay terms, a device that regulates the system based on temperature, which aims to keep the evaporator at exactly 32F, as cold as it can be without freezing. One might imagine that every system would have such a device. Well they don't and it's dumb. Some do, as an added extra for 'efficiency' - which I suppose it would, seeing as the expansion valve aims to keep the system operating at ideal temperatures.

I also added a sight glass so I can just LOOK at the liquid refrigerant as it passes by, for diagnosing future issues. Honestly, every system should have one.

Anyway, now it's working beautifully again. *pats myself on the back*

But I discovered my furnace is done for, so I'll probably end up replacing this A/C system with a newer one. Probably will get a combo deal furnace and A/C.

Post# 455020 , Reply# 5   7/19/2022 at 23:31 (644 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
The A/C at my aunt's house

in Texas stopped working. It would be 5 days before the guy could make the repairs. So we ran fans 24/7 and stayed in the pool longer than is healthy!

When he got the system up and running, he said 'It's going to take a couple days to get this big house completely cooled down. He said everything inside the house has also absorbed the heat, like the furnishings, the marble columns, the thick hardwood coffee tables, all that stuff needs to be chilled also, not just the air. Like stucco walls that give off heat long after the sun goes down.

The reverse is true in the winter time when trying to warm up a place that's been cold for some time.

Post# 455029 , Reply# 6   7/20/2022 at 10:02 (644 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
It's been very hot here. Only rained

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twice in almost 3 weeks.

  This old house, naturally, had no insulation in 1880.

 NOW, the walls are: vinyl siding over styrofoam, over asbestos shingles, over tarpaper, over wood clapboard.  Inside: drywall over plaster over lath, in front of 6" blown in insulation. Some walls still are plaster.  Plus 6" of attic insulation and 33 thermal windows. 

It's a lot better now.

Post# 455033 , Reply# 7   7/20/2022 at 11:24 (644 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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My house was built in 1970 and is surprisingly well constructed for a tract house. A developer built the entire neighborhood and all the houses are one of basically three floor plans, not counting mirror images and different front entrance and window treatments. Of course, in 50-odd years, a lot of them have been remodeled, added onto and otherwise modernized.

A small ranch house, it is very well insulated and I put in vinyl replacement windows five years ago. When I bought the house, the furnace and air conditioner were Singer units, original to the house, and they did indeed run like sewing machines. But all good things do come to an end and I had to replace them two years ago. The air conditioner was still working great but if I had replaced only the furnace, the warranty would have been three years, instead of ten. Even an English major like me can do that math.

But that's not to say I didn't have my share of HVAC problems. The blower motor on the furnace burned up in spectacular fashion the first summer I lived there, and thereafter, I had the occasional problem with the system burning up wires. I had a home warranty and it would always take about seven to ten days to get somebody out there to fix it. Somewhere along the line, I bought a cheap window unit to put in my bedroom to make the wait a little more tolerable. About the time I did that, I complained to the technician who came out to fix the wiring for the umpteenth time, not that it was his fault, about the frequency of the same repairs, over and over. So, rather than cut back the wiring and put on a new connector, he took the extra step of replacing the obviously inadequate wiring with a heavier gauge, which solved the problem.

Interestingly, the vinyl windows did next to nothing to help my utility bills, despite the company's assurances to the contrary. Likewise, the new gas furnace is no more efficient than its predecessor but the air conditioner makes a huge difference in the summer. My power bills for June through September are between 30 and 50 percent lower than before. Even so, I doubt the system will last long enough to pay for itself, given that modern HVAC systems, like everything else these days, are designed to self-destruct shortly after the warranty runs out.

Post# 455069 , Reply# 8   7/21/2022 at 10:50 (643 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
There's one air conditioner in my

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room.  There's also one built into the wall in the family room...which is straight across from the library. There are 2 pillars separating the 2 rooms.  That AC unit cools off most of the 1st floor.  And. it's almost 30 years old!!  shhhh


Post# 455085 , Reply# 9   7/22/2022 at 05:14 (642 days old) by Dysonman1 (the county)        

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I am blessed that the people who lived in my house before me decided to put in a new high-efficiency air conditioner and heat pump as well as furnace and roof and kitchen in order to sell the house. The only thing I did was a ripped out the brand new Maytag dishwasher. What a piece of crap. I used it once. Replaced it with a 30 year old KitchenAid. One of the things I am very blessed to have in this house is an attic fan. It is 72° outside right now in the middle of the night, and the attic fan is on. Not the air conditioner. And I have three strategic windows open. My three huge dogs and I are very cool and comfortable this evening.

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Post# 455115 , Reply# 10   7/22/2022 at 20:56 (642 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Of course, the ten foot ceilings

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on both floors don't help.
But, on a nice cool Spring day, it's wonderfully cool here.

Post# 455160 , Reply# 11   7/24/2022 at 13:47 (640 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
Attic fans...

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Attic fans are one of those great innovations that have been left behind in the modern era. I don't think I've ever lived in a house that had one. Roof soffit fans don't count. My grandparents' house, built in 1941, had one but they quit using it, once the house was air conditioned. There was a little problem if you turned it on with the windows closed. It would suck air down the chimney—and bring the soot with it!

Post# 455161 , Reply# 12   7/24/2022 at 16:04 (640 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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Very good point Edgar! My mom's family had those in OK, years ago, considering the power consumption and power bills in California right now I believe it's about time for those to make a comeback! I don't know if quiet and safety of air conditioning has everyone not considering it or what. My brother just bought a small ranch here locally and it's a '60s home, I recommended he do exactly that for the evenings.

Post# 455192 , Reply# 13   7/25/2022 at 07:49 (639 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
It was 99 degrees at 6 p.m.

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Sunday night.  Then, and now...terrific thunderstorms.

Post# 455203 , Reply# 14   7/25/2022 at 16:00 (639 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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We have been 100+off and on for a couple of weeks, pretty normal here although we don't really have a humidity issue. I realized in my OCD trying to keep everything clean, I have wall unit air conditioners that were of course meant for windows and the filters in them basically resemble window screen nowadays, so I bought cut to fit better quality filters which caught much more of the debris, I was having an issue with the thermostats not being responsive and things getting out of comfort range of course it was the darn filters that were insulating the sensor. I had replaced a 2-year-old Frigidaire last year because I was getting 9 and 10° swings, I noticed the problem just a week ago with the bedroom unit and thought I wonder if that was the problem with it as well. I carried it inside and stuck it in the window without the extra filter of course it works fine! It's coming back out of the window soon but right now my lower back is jacked up from moving it myself. Oh well good to have a spare!.

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