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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte,NC
    Posts
    5

    Does this sound fishy to anyone?

    Two days ago I had a local HVAC company come out and do a check up on the A/C system of my home. The system wasn't giving me any problems. It had been over a hundred degrees here for about six straight days and the temperature in the house was lagging about three degrees behind where I had the thermostat set (74 degrees) and I just wanted to make sure the system was full of freon and working properly. My house is fourteen years old and so is the Carrier unit so I have it serviced every spring and fall to keep it running smoothly.
    Here's where the fishy part starts. The guy who came out said he had to add 1.5 pounds of freon. They have told me this each spring for the last five years. They always say the same thing, that the coils are leaking and need to be replaced, but I always just have them top off the freon and everything has been just fine until this year. When he left everything was running properly. He checked all the vents with a thermometer to make sure they were cooling at the proper temperature and the a/c compressor pump and motor were purring like a kitten. The air worked perfect, just like it did before they did anything to it. The following day I came home from work to find my house a staggering 88 degrees inside. The outside unit was working and the fan was blowing air out the vents inside but it was blowing out hot air.(It was 98 degrees outside). Every few minutes I could hear a groan from the attic (where my heat/ac unit is located) like something was trying to cut on but the lights would dim slightly and then it would stop groaning and just keep blowing hot air. They came out the next day and said that my compressor motor needed a "hard start" kit because it was getting old and needed a boost with cutting the compressor on. My question is could this just happen to the a/c motor overnight? I just can't believe my a/c unit went from running perfectly (never one problem with starting the compressor motor) to not running at all one day after they serviced it and added freon. Has anybody ever heard of this before? Any answers are greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,795
    Its possible. May just be coincidence that it happened after they were there.
    Or, it could be its just a bit over charged.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte,NC
    Posts
    5

    My first thought also:

    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Its possible. May just be coincidence that it happened after they were there.
    Or, it could be its just a bit over charged.
    Thank you for taking time to answer my question. It's really frustrating when you (I) know absolutely nothing about HVAC. That was also my first thought, that the tech had overcharged it, but how would I even start to prove that with my utter lack of knowledge on the subject? It's an expensive lesson to learn. I need to take the time to find a tech that I trust and am comfortable with. Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,795
    Its not uncommon for a compressor to all of a sudden need a start assist 10, 12 years after they have been installed.

    On a real hot day, with just a couple extra ounces, you won't be able to tell, and neither will the average tech.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte,NC
    Posts
    5

    Jeff Mauney

    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Its not uncommon for a compressor to all of a sudden need a start assist 10, 12 years after they have been installed.

    On a real hot day, with just a couple extra ounces, you won't be able to tell, and neither will the average tech.
    Hey, you're right, I can't blame the tech for that. I was just wondering. If it was slightly over charged could he let a little bit of freon out so that it would start working properly again or would it be too late at that point to do anything but put on a "hard start" kit?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio, United States
    Posts
    12,921
    Twilli had to put one on a 6yr old system this week
    No Heat No Cool You need Action Fast

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,795
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mauney View Post
    If it was slightly over charged could he let a little bit of freon out so that it would start working properly again or would it be too late at that point to do anything but put on a "hard start" kit?
    If it was caused by a 2 oz over charged, yea. Of course, only way to know would be to do it. And then if if it does cool enough later, that would mean it wasn't an over charge that wasn't the problem, and would have to charge you to come back, add the charge again, plus the hard start.

    Putting the kit on was the right thing to do.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    713
    I have had brand new compressors that needed a hardstart. Compressor tested fine eletrically> Copeland would not warranty compressor as long as it would run. Barely got credit for hardstart. 14 years old you got remember compressors like car motors have bearings sooner or later the bearings do begin to wear. Not uncommon for old compressors to need a kick in the pants to start. But a hard start is just a bandaid might last 5 years or 5 seconds no way to tell. Start saving your pennies time for new unit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,613
    Hard to say with oldies.

    Was on one last Friday that got ugly. Oldie, working great. Shut her down to wash and check out. Turned back on. No compressor, went off on overload after sparks flew. Finally found the start assist had blown. Put on another one, like your tech did, and soon as compressor cooled back up and running.

    Just coincidence on this one, probably same as yours.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte,NC
    Posts
    5

    Thanks for the info!

    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    Hard to say with oldies.

    Was on one last Friday that got ugly. Oldie, working great. Shut her down to wash and check out. Turned back on. No compressor, went off on overload after sparks flew. Finally found the start assist had blown. Put on another one, like your tech did, and soon as compressor cooled back up and running.

    Just coincidence on this one, probably same as yours.
    Hey, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my question. I've been scratching my head over this all day. I had to let the guy fix it because my wife and dog had nowhere else to go, but I just wanted a little assurance that my scenario was possible. Thanks again!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    2,193
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mauney View Post
    Two days ago I had a local HVAC company come out and do a check up on the A/C system of my home. The system wasn't giving me any problems. It had been over a hundred degrees here for about six straight days and the temperature in the house was lagging about three degrees behind where I had the thermostat set (74 degrees) and I just wanted to make sure the system was full of freon and working properly. My house is fourteen years old and so is the Carrier unit so I have it serviced every spring and fall to keep it running smoothly.
    Here's where the fishy part starts. The guy who came out said he had to add 1.5 pounds of freon. They have told me this each spring for the last five years. They always say the same thing, that the coils are leaking and need to be replaced, but I always just have them top off the freon and everything has been just fine until this year. When he left everything was running properly. He checked all the vents with a thermometer to make sure they were cooling at the proper temperature and the a/c compressor pump and motor were purring like a kitten. The air worked perfect, just like it did before they did anything to it. The following day I came home from work to find my house a staggering 88 degrees inside. The outside unit was working and the fan was blowing air out the vents inside but it was blowing out hot air.(It was 98 degrees outside). Every few minutes I could hear a groan from the attic (where my heat/ac unit is located) like something was trying to cut on but the lights would dim slightly and then it would stop groaning and just keep blowing hot air. They came out the next day and said that my compressor motor needed a "hard start" kit because it was getting old and needed a boost with cutting the compressor on. My question is could this just happen to the a/c motor overnight? I just can't believe my a/c unit went from running perfectly (never one problem with starting the compressor motor) to not running at all one day after they serviced it and added freon. Has anybody ever heard of this before? Any answers are greatly appreciated!
    Jeff, It is not an insult i just want you to think. You say your ac was working fine before he came out, But then in the same sentence you said it was running 3 degrees behind. Well then was it running fine??? If they put 1.5 lbs of "Freon" in for the past five years every year, Then wasn't it giving you problems? Can you say at this point that your ac was always running fine? Your ac didn't go from running perfectly to not running at all in one day, The compressor went form running to needing a hard start kit IN 14 YEARS!!!!!!! It didn't just happen overnight, It happened in 14 years, Your lucky you got 14 years with only adding 7.5 lbs of "Freon" to your AC. 1.5 pounds can be a significant amount to a residential system. Adding refrigerant every year to your system does not mean you never had a problem with your system. And also means your compressor runs without the proper charge, Compressors use the proper charge to cool themselves, So without it you have a strain on the compressor. I hate to say it but start budgeting for a new unit.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Charlotte,NC
    Posts
    5

    Jeff Mauney

    Quote Originally Posted by d_griff View Post
    Jeff, It is not an insult i just want you to think. You say your ac was working fine before he came out, But then in the same sentence you said it was running 3 degrees behind. Well then was it running fine??? If they put 1.5 lbs of "Freon" in for the past five years every year, Then wasn't it giving you problems? Can you say at this point that your ac was always running fine? Your ac didn't go from running perfectly to not running at all in one day, The compressor went form running to needing a hard start kit IN 14 YEARS!!!!!!! It didn't just happen overnight, It happened in 14 years, Your lucky you got 14 years with only adding 7.5 lbs of "Freon" to your AC. 1.5 pounds can be a significant amount to a residential system. Adding refrigerant every year to your system does not mean you never had a problem with your system. And also means your compressor runs without the proper charge, Compressors use the proper charge to cool themselves, So without it you have a strain on the compressor. I hate to say it but start budgeting for a new unit.
    I appreciate your input, and no insult is taken. I freely admit to knowing nothing about HVAC work whatsoever. That's why I guess it seemed so strange in my "layman's" way of thinking. On the surface I just saw that for five years in a row the HVAC company I use has told me (my wife actually, I have been at work each time they have come) they had to add 1.5 lbs of freon because of a leak in the coils. Never more, never less than 1.5 lbs. To me the unit was "running perfectly" because, like I said in my query, it had been over a hundred degrees for six straight days and it was still only running three degrees above where the thermostat was set. I have no trees in my yard and nothing at all blocking the sun off my house. I assumed that it was "normal" for the HVAC to lag a little behind under these servere conditions. The compressor has never had a problem turning itself on before so I just thought it seemed a little weird that it "all of the sudden" started having problems. I understand now that there could be many explanations for why it happened the way it did. I just needed a little reassurance that what had happened to my unit was expainable because the cost and aggravation of the experience was quite large. Thanks again for your help.
    By the way, with the "hard start" kit now installed the unit is cooling great. I believe I will, however, take your advice and start saving my pennies for a new unit.

    Jeff Mauney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio, United States
    Posts
    12,921
    Dear Marge,

    Twilli says sell cat and buy ant eater.
    No Heat No Cool You need Action Fast

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