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  1. #1

    PLEASE help me! AC keeps breaking

    This is at least the 5th time my AC has broken since putting a new unit in 8 months ago. The copper pipe that should be cold is NOT cold. Same problem as every other time. I live in an apartment so it is not my duty or right to fix this on my own. They just replaced the compressor (for the 3rd time) and valves 3 days ago. It worked great for a day (like usual), but now it has stopped blowing cold air once again. I can't really say it's maintenance this time because I made them call out a private company to get the problem fixed. Like I said, it worked for a day, and now it has stopped blowing cold air. The copper pipe that should be cold is not cold. The fan on the outside unit turns on when I turn my thermostat on.

    Please, I'm looking for specifics here. I'm convinced there is some sort of ELECTRICAL problem that is causing my compressor to break/leak. This is the third compressor that is has broken. I am certain there is bad wiring somewhere between my indoor fan and the unit outside, but where and what that wiring is I do not know. If you can give me specifics on what this electrical problem could possibly be, I would greatly appreciate it. I know the compressor is broken. I know there could be a leak somewhere (I just went out and it was "whistling" as if there was a leak) but they said they've pressure tested everything, and fixed every possible leak there could be. They've also replaced some fuses and the capacitor. The broken compressor is obviously NOT the primary problem. There is an underlying problem that keeps causing the compressor to fry. They even installed a new "compressor protector" when installing the new compressor. They also replaced the "outside casing," whatever that means, on my AC unit. My old AC unit had this exact same problem. I'm sorry if my tone here is a little off, but I'm extremely frustrated here and want to be able to call them out and recommend other solutions than merely replacing the compressor, which obviously isn't fixing the problem. I'm about to lose my mind

    ANY feedback here is welcome. If you would like more info, let me know. Thanks everyone

    Edit: I just went and looked at my unit again, and it appears there was a leak, as there is what looks like an evaporated puddle surrounding my unit. The compressor goes off and on, and when the compressor is on is when it is making that "whistling" noise. Any ideas on what this leak is and what could keep making this happen on multiple compressors?

  2. #2
    Thanks for the reply. I have no intention, or ability, to make any repairs on my unit. Just wondering what could possibly cause this problem as maintenance seems incapable of figuring it out. I know I'm going to look like a typical guy that doesn't know what he's talking about, but I'll bring this up with them

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,876
    healthyair guy, this is the Ask Our Pro's forum, and only Pro members that have been vetted by the AOPC may post advise here. Please apply to the AOPC today, thank you.

    You can find the rules for posting and qualifications here.


    Further infractions may result in loss of posting privileges.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,052
    Sounds like time for the factory to get involved. Some brands require the local supplier to have a tech rep on staff to look at issues like this. Others have regional techs who can help out. Something fishy for any unit to have this much trouble.

    Have you had a good electrician look at the house wiring? Talked to your electric company? Any other appliances or electronic products failing?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    4,975
    Quote Originally Posted by FrustratedMan View Post
    This is at least the 5th time my AC has broken since putting a new unit in 8 months ago. The copper pipe that should be cold is NOT cold. Same problem as every other time. I live in an apartment so it is not my duty or right to fix this on my own. They just replaced the compressor (for the 3rd time) and valves 3 days ago. It worked great for a day (like usual), but now it has stopped blowing cold air once again. I can't really say it's maintenance this time because I made them call out a private company to get the problem fixed. Like I said, it worked for a day, and now it has stopped blowing cold air. The copper pipe that should be cold is not cold. The fan on the outside unit turns on when I turn my thermostat on.

    Please, I'm looking for specifics here. I'm convinced there is some sort of ELECTRICAL problem that is causing my compressor to break/leak. This is the third compressor that is has broken. I am certain there is bad wiring somewhere between my indoor fan and the unit outside, but where and what that wiring is I do not know. If you can give me specifics on what this electrical problem could possibly be, I would greatly appreciate it. I know the compressor is broken. I know there could be a leak somewhere (I just went out and it was "whistling" as if there was a leak) but they said they've pressure tested everything, and fixed every possible leak there could be. They've also replaced some fuses and the capacitor. The broken compressor is obviously NOT the primary problem. There is an underlying problem that keeps causing the compressor to fry. They even installed a new "compressor protector" when installing the new compressor. They also replaced the "outside casing," whatever that means, on my AC unit. My old AC unit had this exact same problem. I'm sorry if my tone here is a little off, but I'm extremely frustrated here and want to be able to call them out and recommend other solutions than merely replacing the compressor, which obviously isn't fixing the problem. I'm about to lose my mind

    ANY feedback here is welcome. If you would like more info, let me know. Thanks everyone

    Edit: I just went and looked at my unit again, and it appears there was a leak, as there is what looks like an evaporated puddle surrounding my unit. The compressor goes off and on, and when the compressor is on is when it is making that "whistling" noise. Any ideas on what this leak is and what could keep making this happen on multiple compressors?
    When you say "your old ac unit", that tells me that the one that is currently hooked up to your house is "new". How long ago was the entire unit replaced?

    Last time I saw a unit lose a compressor every year, 3 years in a row, the company who installed the outdoor unit did not install it correctly. Acid got in the system, they replaced the compressor, without doing an acid cleanup. Then it ate another compressor. So on, and so on, 3 compressors in a row.

    These systems have to be "pumped down", using a vacuum pump, and a special guage (micron gauge) that shows the level of vacuum.

    It is still possible, that the private company installed the compressor correctly, and now something else has happened though.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  6. #6
    The new AC unit is 8 months old. I haven't seen maintenance do any electrical testing. They've said it's still under warranty, but say the company won't exchange it if it only has faulty valves, which I'm assuming is what they thought the problem was. I'm pretty sure this is all stemming from a subpar installation the first time around. The guy working on it at the time honestly seemed like he didn't know much about HVAC. I'll be filing a complaint and threatening a lawsuit this afternoon. The staff in the office has been really nice about it and offered me some money, but I don't care. They need to fix the problem permanently. I've talked a a neighbor, and his AC just went out too. It sounds like he's having the same issue I am. I don't think the maintenance crew around here has a clue what they're doing. Thanks for the feedback guys

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,317
    Allow me to spill a little light on life as an apartment maintenance tech, since I've been in that realm at one point in my career:

    Most apt. maintenance guys face a double whammy the day they are hired: they are undertrained and overwhelmed with work. Add to this in many cases a management company or property owner reluctant to spend what is required to properly resolve a problem or maintain the property's equipment. "Fix on failure" is a common apartment complex maintenance strategy.

    When it comes to HVAC, these guys often try to learn it OJT. Problem is they so often pick up all the myths and wrong info that freely circulates about how HVAC systems work, so they end up parts changing and beating their heads against a wall as they try to take care of you. It is true some maintenance guys aren't highly motivated to expand their learning to where they become more proficient...that's an attitude issue. The ones who are motivated eventually figure out they can get better pay for their advanced skills, so they move on, whether to another management company that appreciates their value, or into service work. Often leaving the underachievers behind to muddle through.

    In your case, it sounds clear your maintenance guys are in over their heads. And apparently the pro company called out did not do much better. Your management office needs to find a different pro and try again.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Houston area
    Posts
    1,493
    Just an on the fly guess is you have a refrigerant leak. It cools for a day and then quits, you also said the compressor cycles on and off. I'd do a pressure test with notrogen and then a deep vacuum check.
    The picture in my avatar is of the Houston Ship Channel and was taken from my backyard. I like to sit outside and slap mosquitos while watching countless supertankers, barges and cargo ships of every shape and size carry all sorts of deadly toxins to and fro. It's really beautiful at times.....just don't eat the three eyed fish....

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    `... `. .` .>(((>

    .` .>(((>

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