Problems With Carrier System
I know this has been asked and discusses Ad nauseum, but, I have a 2100 sqft ranch style home in north Texas. I should also point out that I have a terrible east / west exposure. The west side of my house is the entry way with huge windows all the way across. The house came with a 4ton York contractor grade crap AC that never was able to get the mid summer temp in the house below 82 degrees.
We started by having all the windows in the house tinted, which made a huge difference. We then added an additional 9 inches of insulation in the attic. I also improved the ventilation in my attic space as well. At about 7 years we decided, after the compressor locked up to get a new AC unit. My big mistake was not replacing the furnace and all at that time. We got a new Carrier (38TXA048-321) and an new evaporator coil as well (CE3AXA048).
This unit seemed much more capable of handling the summer heat. With this set up I was a least able to get to and hold my set point for most of the day. Currently I set the thermostat at 76 Hold and it will hold it until about 3pm at which point the temp begins to rise steadily in the house until about 7pm where it peaks at about 79.
The system was fine for the first 3 seasons and then every year since that it has had some kind of MAJOR malfunction. Last year the compressor locked up and had to be replaced along with the cap. Yesterday.....the same thing happened except this time the fan motor went with it. Again, this unit was installed new in 2001 and is now on it's 3rd compressor. I should add that I have always maintained my units in good working order, that is to say I always change out my filters every month and have a season checkup for both furnace and AC every year. I also keep all the grass and dust washed out of my condensor unit grill.
My first question, and forgive me for asking, do you think I need more capacity? Is 5tons what I really need considering my high ceilings throughout the house and crappy east/ west exposure? It just seems to me that 4tons has never been enough for this house. I know that slightly under size is better then over but, if I set the therm to 76 is it too much to ask that the unit keep the temp at 76 all day?
Second question, is Carrier junk or did I just get a lemon? Again this is a 7 yr old unit that has broken down every year for the past 4 years. While all this work has been done under warranty it's still a major pain in the rear to have to sit in a sweltering house while the techs chase down new compressors and fan motors to replace the year old ones.
Thanks in advance for any constructive advice you can offer.
Carrier is junk. Find you an old Janitroll. They run like a bat out a hell!!! Well worth the extra money.
Originally Posted by fiosfiend
What you need is more intelligence applied to your problem, from more than one angle.
First, you have already done a bit to reduce the summer heat gain to your house. You may need to do more. A more satisfying, more permanent solution than bumping up tonnage of the a/c system.
Secondly, sounds like three compressors were replaced without anyone EVER bothering to find out why all three failed. Three failures in a row likely indicate whatever caused the first one to fail also killed the next two. You need a competent technician who will not balk at finding the cause, and not just throw in another pump and call it good.
Back to the first point; reducing heat gain...two beneficial remedies are make the house less leaky, and make the house gain less heat from the attic. It's a one-two punch that will help make your house more bearable during our hot weather. On Saturday we hit 101 in Fort Worth and I was comfy as could be in my 1,800 square foot house, thermostat set at 75, unit cycling, humidity well in hand. This house has radiant barrier on the roof decking, R30 ceiling insulation, and most every penetration between ceiling and attic sealed (I have a few yet to complete). True, my house is not your house, but I know had I not done these things, my house would be harder to keep comfortable during 100+ degree days.
They're all junk
But look at it this way, your unit runs at least 2000 hrs per year, if it was a car, going 50 mph, that would amount to about 100,000 miles per year, so your unit has about 700,000 miles on it.
The condensor fan motor went out and caused the compressor to go out, all could have been prevented by a few inexpensive controls, but then it wouldn't have been the low bid so no one will buy them
Originally Posted by Catpower
Okay, perhaps you didn't read the post fully. It's a 7 yr old unit that has been maintained regularly and it's breaking down every year after about the 3rd year. You should like one of those guys that can find any reason to blame problems on the customer. So far I haven't had to pay a penny with any of these repairs so I'm not sure what your talking about when you say "wouldn't have been the low bid". It's great that all of this is covered under warranty but I'd much rather have a system that didn't break down every year.
Thats profound! My new sales tool.
Originally Posted by Catpower
My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more.
your problem sounds like its with your service company your using. if they are replacing compressors and not doing it right ?(acid away, vacuums, liquid and suction line driers , then removing the suction line drier within 48 hours) your bound to keep having problems. a bad install of a compressor may not rear its ugly head for months or years after the replair.
if this isnt the problem, something is causing this to happen. chances of you just losing 3 compressors just doesnt happen!
lastly, just dont jump to a bigger unit without having j-loads done on your house. if so, you can cause yourself some other problems, such as high humidity.
The only way to properly size a house thats having problems is with a manual J load calculation. This would take into account all the building factors of your house and you would know what the true size needed is. Did your install company do this?
As stated you need to get a new set of eyes on this unit. The compressor problems need to be diagnosed not just replaced. I would guess that it is not a equipment problem but a install problem. This could all lead back to how your house cools. Is the ductwork sized right? Is there enough airflow from the furnace. These are the types of things that take out compressors. Call around and find a contractor that can diagnosis your problems instead of thinking its the equipment.
Its a good Life!
Thanks for the replies guys this is helpful and confirms what I thought was probably at issue. We have done quite a bit to help out we currently have R50 in the attic and much improved ventilation. I've also done as much as I can find to do with regard to sealing things up. I'm sure I've missed something by I know that all my windows are tight and the seals are still in place so as far as that goes I don't know what else to do in that area.
As far as the duct work being in order, I really don't have a clue. I do have one room thats consistently hotter then the others but thats probably because it's my office and has 2 computers and a tv and a copier that are always running. Other then that, the temp throughout the house is pretty consistent. And no, the guys that installed this unit did not do a J load calc. I've learned alot about HVAC (from this site) since then and would have done things completely differently if I knew then what I know now.
I'm going to switch service companies after this fiasco. The only reason I've stuck with these idiots is because they installed the damn thing and by god I wasn't going to let them off the hook for the breakdowns. I'm starting to realize that I'm just cutting off my own nose.
Originally Posted by fiosfiend
it sounds like it was never running right!
or it's always been undersized for your heat load!
I never blame the customer, you're always right.
Air conditioning is one of the most competitive, cut throat businesses there is. In the past the higher end units used to all have high pressure switches low pressure switches, time delay compressor protection, hard start kits, accumulators, and the tubes in the condensor and evap coils were thicker than paper.
But you must understand that all these things cause the unit to shut down when something went wrong instead of beating themselves to death because there was a malfunction. This caused less sales of new equipment so the manufacturers had to come up with a way to sell more equipment as the chief bean counter was going to fire them if they didn't as the head cheese wanted more money.
So for the manufacturer it was a win win, put less money in the machine, so it could be sold at a lower price, and it would kill itself when something went wrong or it wasn't maintained properly.
So everyone lowered the price and the result is junk, sorry that's just the way things happen.
But the other side of the coin it that those controls would fail from time to time so in the eyes of the beholder (the manufacturer) they were turning out a more reliable product.
They've covered it under warranty, I know it's a pain when it breaks down, but, as you grow older I guess you will figure out thats life.
If it's that big of a imposition you could really save alot of money and make your carbon footprint much smaller and help save the world from burning up.
Just leave it off, then it will never breakdown
you need the correct acronym, its "POS"
No Heat No Cool You need Action Fast