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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    483

    PTAC smelled like ammonia, and stopped cooling

    Not sure if I should post here, or a pro forum.

    I have a PTAC in a sunroom that was installed in the house in 2003, before I bought it. it's a friedrich. I've posted here before about trying to wire a remote programmable stat to it, and it can't be done....easily.

    Yesterday, I turned the unit on, it started cooling the room rapidly, and then I started smelling something between ammonia and citrus, and then the room got warmer and warmer. It sounds like some seal or something let go. it sounds at least as though the compressor is still running, just no coolant moving through.

    The situation is, I have a home warranty till Sept. I am about to call them about this issue. I know it'll cost me 60 to have them come out, but they will fix it or replace it. I don't know if the issue is severe enough to consider it a replacement or if they can fix it for a hundred bucks.

    I'm an HVAC engineer, and have some contact to prob buy a new unit at near cost, IF they will agree to pay me off for the unit in lieu of repairing it. However, I have no idea who they use for repair and if i have a contact there.

    I guess, my question is, does anyone familiar with these units have a guess as to whether this is likely a simple fix, or if I should attempt to make arrangements to replace it.

    aka, if their repair guy says they can fix it for 100, I'll pretty much be stuck there. If their repair guy says repair will be 400 and they will replace it, then I'd rather take their 400, and attempt to buy one through a contact at cost (paying the additional) and get a very quiet unit with a programmable stat. (This one is rather loud.)

    Any thoughts?

    Also, the prices listed are pure guesses and in no way indicate a price quote of any kind.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    483
    Also, I'd like to add, I had a dishwasher issue a few months ago that I used the warranty on. Ultimately, they would only allow a max of 200 dollars OR replace the dishwasher. They can buy builder grade cheap washers for 200 apparently. I took their money, and bought a NICE Bosch that is so quiet you can barely hear its on.

    In this case, most homes dont have PTACs, so I'm doubting they have a ridiculous builder grade price point for these. So, hopefully, their alloted payoff for one of these will be in the 80% of retail range, or more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,358
    I wouldn't expect anything miraculous out of a home warranty. They cut it close on everything so they can make some form of margin over costs.

    What type of HVAC engineering do you do?
    • 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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    483
    I'm in commerical consulting. We do HVAC designs for new construction schools, office space, some residential including condos and apartments, and .....dare I say, the occasional restaurant!! (Always lose on restaurants).

    I'm normally dealing with larger DX equipment, or chillers and cooling towers, large air handlers, both chilled water and DX. Some data rooms, things like that. These PTACs are not my expertise.

    I think using the warranty is still better than not, even if their payoff amount isn't that great.

    I want to open up a wall in my house to tie the sunroom into a more open space, and the noise level of the current unit just wont cut it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,358
    I got my start in this trade pushing PTACs around a hotel during the lava hot summer of 1980. Fedder units that had separate condenser and blower motors. They used automatic expansion valves and had electric resistance heat. Fairly quiet unless a compressor slugged liquid or internal springs broke. Then came the work order to change the unit out (we had lots of spares) due to a guest complaint of PTAC noise.

    I'm also in the large equipment end of the trade now. Not as much in design as in management, operation, and repair. Nevertheless I read all the time about HVAC design to keep up with the latest stuff. It's a never ending endeavor to do that.
    • 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.

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