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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    512
    I last posted about my system a few months ago. At that point, the coil had been cleaned as much as practical and the heater was doing okay. (This is a 10-year-old Frankensystem that was *VERY* poorly installed by the previous owner of my house.. we're talking "no filter dryer" class hack job here. I am planning to replace it this season.)

    We had a warm snap last week and I turned the AC on for the first time this season. No cool. Scheduled a service call and annual PM. The tech who came out got it running - there was a wiring problem in the outdoors unit, a wire that had come loose. He also redid some of the inside wiring that was a rat's nest (while tracing out the connections from the thermostat) and also snapped my condensate line off accidentially. Not a problem - got a free EZ-Trap out of it, and those things happen.. I mention it because I was impressed with how professionally they handled an "oops". I've had other contractors break things and either leave it or try to charge me to fix it - it definitely does make a good impression when someone says "oops, well, I'll make it better than before for free."

    Basically, the tech said that there was no point even doing a PM on this system. To check subcool obviously requires gauges, and he said that a mismatched system with no filter dryer wasn't something that he'd put gauges on. I can't really argue with that, unless you guys tell me it's unreasonable.. the system IS an obvious hack job and it's not worth it to pump down and install a filter dryer.

    Because he couldn't/wouldn't put gauges on it, there was no subcool done. He did say that, while there was no way to know for sure, it wasn't showing any obvious signs of the charge being off, and it was pulling out plenty of moisture. Even though this was an "eyeballed" inspection, he was very upfront that eyeballing was NOT a proper way to do it, and he was only eyeballing as better than nothing because it wasn't possible to do it right. So no PM has been done.

    Obviously I need to replace it soon. I have one bid and am going to get the other two next week, while it's still cool out. After that I think I'm pretty much ready to buy. Man J, finding that a heat pump is the way to go in my area, etc is pretty much stuff I did months ago. This is in the home stretch now.

    The system ran fine for the next day or so, then the warm snap ended and we were right back to heating. I turned it on yesterday and no cool. They're coming back out later today on a callback, we'll see from there.

  2. #2
    Senior Tech Guest
    Sounds like it's time...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    3,987
    Hopefully its just one of the wires that he just fixed, broke or came loose. Watch what he does.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    512
    Will do. Last time it was a wirenut in the LV wiring on the outside unit, plus straightening out a bunch of stuff inside. Basically, whoever hooked this thing up in the first place decided to not use the Y terminal on the furnace. Instead, they wired up some rat's nest involving the thermostat Y wire, the C wire from the furnace, and the two wires from the outside unit all hooked up to a four-terminal 5-minute delay-after-break thingie.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Valdosta Ga
    Posts
    847

    Cool

    It is hard to work on junk and look out for the customer. You know on these 20 year old systems your going to go from one problem to the next at labor plus parts and your company name is on the line.
    Word will get out about a companys high repair cost and nobody has a clue what it took to get it going. Also if you overlook one thing they want you back out there for nothing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northern VA
    Posts
    512
    Agreed. I am impressed that they were as thorough as they were, and that certainly weighs in their favor when it comes to replacing the system. If their service department is willing to do this much on an old, decrepit system, and even do a no-hassle free callback on that system, that makes me pretty confident that they'll do that well or better on an actually properly installed new system.

    As for the system, it's dead. Both compressor windings are grounded. The tech appeared very thorough to me. He found that one of the old cartridge fuses in the disconnect had blown, and then spent a while poking around with a multimeter inside the outside unit. He then went back to his truck for a megohmmeter and confirmed with that. The service reciept I have says "No A/C. Found grounded compressor and open fuses. Used meg ohm meter."

    I knew this was going to happen, it doesn't surprise me, and it's early enough in the season that I don't really *need* A/C yet most days. Now it's just time to finish lining everything up to replace it.

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