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a/c hints?

Posted by Carole C in NOLA on 5/04/03 at 07:56 (117783)

My A/C suddenly isn't working now that we're having highs approaching 90. :( It's the type of A/C with the compressor out back, and the other part of the A/C is in the attic.

It worked last week and was nice and cold, so it's not a coolant problem.

The compressor isn't turning at all, but it's only a year or two old. I don't see or smell any evidence of compressor problems.

The fan is working.

The thermostat is set for 72 and reads 87 in the house. I tried turning it off and back to 'cool' several times. All that happens is that the fan goes on.

I replaced the filter yesterday.

I'm going to call the A/C repairmen tomorrow. Is there anything else that you can think of that I should try first? Is the compressor usually on a separate fuse? I'll check the fuses when I wake up.

Carole C, awfully hot

Re: a/c hints?

john h on 5/04/03 at 09:48 (117784)

Carole the compressor usually carries a 5-10 year warranty. Sometimes if the freon gets very low it may automatically shut down. It is the most expensive part of your system except the coil wish is inside. Is the fan blowing on the manual setting if so then it is probably not a tripped breaker although I would go into my outside breaker box and reset the A/C breaker. Sometimes they look like they are not tripped but in realty are treipped. It will probably be a double breaker 220V..Look at your paper work if you have it and note the warranty info on the compressor. Not much you can do as you have done all you can do

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/04/03 at 10:17 (117785)

Yes, I can hear the fan blowing on the manual setting, and on the automatic setting (either one). But when I go outside and look, the compressor isn't turning either way.

My house has fuses (how antiquated!) This is a good reminder for me to write down what kind of fuses I have, and to buy spares; I should have a few spares in any case. I'll check them on the way out.

I'm about to leave the house for the day because it's getting too hot here. It was still 79 outside when I awakened at 5:30 AM. I opened the doors and windows, but that can only do so much when it's that hot outside.

I looked through my paperwork and found that I don't have the warranty info on the compressor, since it was not provided with the house; but I remain optimistic. It looks so new! And, it doesn't stink like the one at our house in Texas did when it died. I can hope, anyway!

I am ready to pay through the nose, and it sounds like I might. LOL

Thanks, John.

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

Suzanne D on 5/04/03 at 11:17 (117787)

I am so sorry you are stuck today with the house getting hot, Carole. You have the right idea to go out and spend the day somewhere where it is cool!

I had the same thoughts about the air conditioner as John, only he explained it much better than I could have! Ours has totally shut down before because of being low on freon, so I hope that is what the problem is. If so, that is easily and quickly remedied. We had to have a compressor unit replaced once when it was struck by lightning and 'burned up', but it was under warranty.

Good luck! I hope everything will be cooled down for you tomorrow! In the meantime, try to stay as cool as possible.

Suzanne :)

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/04/03 at 15:30 (117793)

Thanks, Suzanne. I had a good time shopping in air conditioned stores, and just got home. My very last purchase was a small fan, which is now on my desk blowing air directly into my face, and it does help! I also have a big glass of ice water.

It would be wonderful if it just needs more freon. That's a lot cheaper than a new compressor. :)

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

john h on 5/04/03 at 18:15 (117798)

I really cannot remember being all that hot in south Georgia growing up with not A/C. I do remember all the windows being open.

Re: a/c hints?

john h on 5/04/03 at 18:17 (117799)

Carole I got to believe you have some circuit breaker somewhere. Maybe even on the unit that is in the house. You are sure you have no breaker box somewhere outside? How old is the house?

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/04/03 at 19:51 (117803)

The house is thirty-two years old, built in 1971. There's a big box for fuses (15 and 20 amp) at the front of the house. None of them look burned out, but they are all old and it's been years since I lived in a house with fuses.

There's another small metal box attached to the outside wall of the back of the house, next to the compressor, that the line from the compressor goes through. I opened it and wasn't sure what I was looking at (big, black plastic, looked like it could be pulled out). Could be a circuit breaker, fuse, or black hole to another dimension. Maybe a huge fuse? I suspect that somewhere near the compressor there is enough power to give me quite a kick, so maybe I'll just not mess with it until I know what it is and what I'm doing.

If the electrical system ever gives me any significant trouble, I wouldn't mind having it re-vamped and circuit breakers put in at that time. Well, I wouldn't mind until I paid the bill. LOL

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/04/03 at 19:52 (117804)

John, I wasn't that hot growing up in this heat, but I was ACCUSTOMED to heat. Now that I spend all day in an office at 60 degrees, even 73 feels hot to me.

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/05/03 at 09:25 (117824)

John, you are right. It was the compressor, and Lennox will give me a new one for free since it is only three years old. All I have to pay for, is the labor.

The mysterious box was indeed a fuse box, with two giant fuses in it for the compressor. The A/C guy showed them to me. They don't appear to be burned out, though. Just the compressor. I'm so relieved that I don't have to pay for a new compressor!

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

john h on 5/05/03 at 17:28 (117847)

a compressorcould have cost anywhere from 500-1000 dollars. Labor is not cheap. Good luck and stay cool as in cold.

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/05/03 at 17:34 (117848)

They finished with it this afternoon, amazingly enough. They are going to charge (extort?) $688 total, for the labor and parts. :o That doesn't include the compressor. I also had one of the repairmen blow out the drains up in the attic while he was here, and he replaced one of the big fuses and apparently replaced a lot of non-compressor parts. I'll get the invoice tomorrow.

Although it's a whole lot more than I expected, considering that they didn't replace the compressor, I know that they do need to make a living. Also, it's definitely a LOT easier to be mellow about it while sitting here in the nice, COLD air conditioning! :D

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

john h on 5/05/03 at 21:17 (117865)

carole: sounds like they overcharged to me Carole. Generally speaking I get new compressors replaced including labor for $800-$1000. I manage several shopping centers and office buildings so I deal with this regularly. Did you ask him about labor charges ahead of time. They should known close to what a standard labor charge for a compressor replacement would be. Anyway you are cool again. I am sending this message from my living room sofa as I now have a wireless airport station and can use this laptop in bed on the sofa or back deck and commect to the net. Now that is cool.

Re: a/c hints?

Necee on 5/05/03 at 21:58 (117870)

I feel like John does Carole.... you got ripped off. These repairmen are like used car salesmen...(sorry, I don't mean to offend anyone), but I just don't trust them at all, they will take advantage every chance they get...sure they need to make a living, but they don't have to be dishonest about it. Did you happen to watch that show, I think it was 20/20, Dateline, etc. They investigated home repairmen and the majority were scam artists.
All I can say is..... beware!

Happy trails...**==
Necee

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/06/03 at 08:05 (117886)

I am not happy about the cost, though I won't know what the charges were for until I see the invoice. They said there were a lot of other parts other than the compressor that were taken out when the compressor failed and had to be replaced, and they did a lot of other stuff like blow out the drains. They had to charge the new compressor with freon, which might not be covered by the warranty. The invoice should make interesting reading, at the very least! According to what I read online last night, a new Lennox compressor for their new home units costs $1500-$2500 these days (depending on the size), believe it or not. I am used to thinking of a compressor as costing about $600-800 too, like you. I would have really choked at a charge that high!

Your wireless network sounds like fun and I might get one too some day. What a great luxury. By the way, I did hear about one thing with wireless networks to be careful about. You probably already know this. The danger is that anyone can make an antenna out of an old soup can and drive around their neighborhood with their 'cantenna' and a laptop, gaining access to unprotected wireless networks. Probably you have some sort of protection but apparently a lot of people don't. My daughter found 51 unprotected wireless networks in her small Portland, Oregon neighborhood that way. She didn't do anything malicious (or anything at all), but was just getting statistics out of curiousity after reading about the problem in a magazine. I'm sure you've probably protected any important files, but if not it's a good thing to know about.

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/06/03 at 08:26 (117889)

I know. I was pretty unhappy about the charges for that reason.

Actually, I think that probably what they charged is about right if they actually DID what they said they did, but then I really don't know all of what I'm being charged for since I haven't even seen the invoice yet. I don't like that, and I have some other reservations.

They didn't want me there while they were working. I had the back yard locked up. They told me they couldn't work on it right then, but would come back later. I said, 'Fine, just give me a call at work at any time, and I can be here in ten minutes and let you in'. Their boss called me at work a few minutes later and asked me if I could leave it unlocked for a couple of days so they could go in and out. I did that, but it seemed kind of strange to me. They were only there about two and a half hours maximum before they were done; I unlocked it, went to work, and they called me that fast saying they were done. That seemed a little peculiar.

They also said they thought the compressor was taken out by a power spike, which is simply untrue since my PC is always on. I've never had a surge protector in the 20-25 years since I've had a PC, since I decided early on to get one if/when I had any damage from power surges and I never did. Anyway, my PC remained on and unaffected, and I am rather dubious that a power spike would take out my compressor and not my PC.

On the other hand, maybe I'm more suspicious of them because they are A/C people. I saw a consumer show on TV that may have been the same one you saw. They 'tested' a dozen or so A/C people selected at random, and found that just about all of them were gypping their customers.

I'm happy to have my A/C working again, at any rate, with new freon and ready to face another New Orleans summer.

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

john h on 5/06/03 at 11:13 (117906)

Carole: the Apple Airport comes with built in Firewall. You can addjust the range that your aiport transmits so I guess that is a good reason for me to bring it on down. You can normally transmit 150' but I will bring it down to about 30 or so feet which should keep people in the street from picking up my signal.

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/06/03 at 15:13 (117927)

That should do the trick!

It sounds really nice. :)

Carole C

Re: a/c hints?

Suzanne D on 5/06/03 at 21:40 (117975)

Glad you are cool again tonight, Carole! =D>

Suzanne :)

Re: a/c hints?

Carole C in NOLA on 5/06/03 at 21:47 (117977)

It feels WONDERFUL....... =D>

Carole C