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  1. #1
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    Question regarding installation in an apartment

    I recently moved to an apartment away from my home and I have been dealing with some extremely high costs of electricity. I kinda know a little about how the install should look and what I saw concerned me. I'll take a photo to post later tonight.

    The AHU is sitting on a shelf in a service closet with the air filter installed in the top of the door of the closet. The shelf sits at about 30" above the floor with an electric water heater below it. The supply for the unit has to come in through the filter and then down through a roughly 60" square opening between the shelf and the door before it runs across the top of the water heater and up in to the unit. The hot water line is about dead center of the supply intake and less than an inch from the unit above it. The unit is a 3 ton unit and the apartment is about 1500' square.

    I am trying to convince my complex to reinstall the unit with proper insulation between the water heater and the unit and a supply intake box above the shelf instead of below it. I think the proximity of the water heater and the lack of proper supply combine to cause an extreme inneficiency.

    Is there a building code that supports me to make them change this? The complex was first built in 1999 and then renovated in 2007 in Louisiana.

  2. #2
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    That's the way we do it here in the land of condo's. I'm curious why you think an electric water heater is an issue?

  3. #3
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    AHH-COOL my main concern is because the heat I know it isn't super hot but it's hot to the touch (not warm but hot) from the top of the water heater is going directly into the air handler. and there is limited air flow to the unit. The thing never shuts off.

    the 3 ton unit should certianly be given a supply of greater than 6" by 10" opening don't you think?

    There is a new chapter to the story and I will be posting a photo with it soon.

    They come out and wedged some 2x4's under the front of the unit to lift it up a little. Now the pan falls away from the drain line. This will be one for your wall of shame for sure.

    Shouldn't they at least have a licensed HVAC tech working on this stuff?
    Last edited by thg8711; 09-10-2009 at 10:23 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by thg8711 View Post
    AHH-COOL my main concern is because the heat I know it isn't super hot but it's hot to the touch (not warm but hot) from the top of the water heater is going directly into the air handler. and there is limited air flow to the unit. The thing never shuts off.

    There is a new chapter to the story and I will be posting a photo with it soon.

    They come out and wedged some 2x4's under the front of the unit to lift it up a little. Now the pan falls away from the drain line. This will be one for your wall of shame for sure.

    Shouldn't they at least have a licensed HVAC tech working on this stuff?
    Only if your state or local code requires them to be licensed.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by thg8711 View Post
    AHH-COOL my main concern is because the heat I know it isn't super hot but it's hot to the touch (not warm but hot) from the top of the water heater is going directly into the air handler. and there is limited air flow to the unit. The thing never shuts off.

    the 3 ton unit should certianly be given a supply of greater than 6" by 10" opening don't you think?

    There is a new chapter to the story and I will be posting a photo with it soon.

    They come out and wedged some 2x4's under the front of the unit to lift it up a little. Now the pan falls away from the drain line. This will be one for your wall of shame for sure.

    Shouldn't they at least have a licensed HVAC tech working on this stuff?
    If the water heater is hot to the touch that's a different problem. If you are talking about the hot water line coming from the water heater that should not be a problem. 6X10 is too small of an opening for a 3 ton unit. What size filter does it take? Down here we use slatted doors for the return air and that door should be about 6' X 2.5".
    As far as licensed HVAC tech, if it is an apartment building and they are not working on the refrigerant than they probably do not need to be licensed since they own the equipment.

  6. #6
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    Thread Starter
    the filter for the unit is a 20" square installed in the door of the closet. Before the air can get to the unit it has to pass through the 2" x 30" (60") space between the shelf and the closet door and then across the top of the water heater with about 3" clearance. The air flow is limited tremendously. Perhaps the heat from the water flow out is not a concern but none the less I doubt you would decide to plumb the hot water line within an inch of the supply intake and I am sure you would not put such an obstruction to the air flow as is in this case, a shelf that reduces the intake from 400" square to 60" square. I'll get the photo this morning to show you the latest joke that is becoming my AC unit.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by thg8711 View Post
    the filter for the unit is a 20" square installed in the door of the closet. Before the air can get to the unit it has to pass through the 2" x 30" (60") space between the shelf and the closet door and then across the top of the water heater with about 3" clearance. The air flow is limited tremendously. Perhaps the heat from the water flow out is not a concern but none the less I doubt you would decide to plumb the hot water line within an inch of the supply intake and I am sure you would not put such an obstruction to the air flow as is in this case, a shelf that reduces the intake from 400" square to 60" square. I'll get the photo this morning to show you the latest joke that is becoming my AC unit.

    I know you plan to post pics, but I wanted to use the following smiley anyway:




    Electric water heaters are not cheap to operate. It could be contributing to your high bills along with the a/c installation.

    As for the installation, try this: with the unit running, open the closet door and go to a nearby cold air outlet. If you feel more air emerging from it than with the door closed, you're choked for return air. Sometimes you don't even need to go to a supply outlet...you open the closet door and the rush of air entering the air handler gets louder.
    Psychrometrics: the very foundation of HVAC. A comfort troubleshooter's best friend.

  8. #8
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    thanks shophound. you made me laugh anyway. I am waiting on some batteries for a flash and the pics will be up. They are certain to make you laugh in return.

  9. #9
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    Or it'll pull the door shut from say 35" away.... Yeah, working on getting a friends fixed that does that right now. Apparently the installer said there is no problems and a $300 electric bill for a 1452 sq ft condo with a 2.5 ton unit is normal.

  10. #10
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    So here are the photos. I suggested that they lift it up about 18" and put a filter box directly under it instead of what's on the door. you can see that the tape measure he used was a little off.

    the other issue here is that the thermostat says 80 when my thermometer says 82. I think that thing is compounding my low flow problem.

    so you can see that the filter is in the door and in the last photo with the door almost closed you can see that there is only a couple inches of room between the door and the shelf to allow for air flow. You can clearly see that the latest modification has made the drain pan and safety switch rather dangerous for the surrounding drywall.

    I guess I kinda thought they would discharge the system and lift the box up to provide better airflow then reconnect the lines and recharge the system. There are two photos here showing the top of the water heater and how the supply air is at least impeded by the water heater and possibly warmed a bit by the hot water output. I wonder if that works to cause the water in the lines to be cooler as well? hmmm.
    Last edited by thg8711; 09-11-2009 at 03:01 PM. Reason: comentary on photos

  11. #11
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    Thread Starter

    thermostat photo

    here is a quick shot of the thermostat and the space at the top to allow us to raise the unit.

    It seems a no brainer to me.

  12. #12
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    I see you got an aftermarket upgrade apartment style... Pimp my mechanical closet.

  13. #13
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    Thread Starter

    unpimped

    well I just had the maint guy out here and he was really in a tough spot yesterday. The management told him to do that so he did what he was told. I think they really wanted to show me just how bad it could be so I would appreciate what I have.

    He did remove the blocks so that the drain will function now and the compromise is to cut a hole in the bottom of the door to try to improve flow. I am not convinced.

    I will now call it the Apartment Kompleksia

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