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Heat and A/C on 2nd Floor

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by Capricorn1964, May 30, 2011.

  1. twohokies

    twohokies New Member

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    The standard windows that VM put in are garbage. I can't wait for a reason to replace them. Our upstairs gets super hot as well during the summer even though we have an attic fan and a programmable thermostat. When it hits 80 or above, I keep all the front windows closed during the day; we have blackout shades in 2 rooms and those stay the coolest. One day when the kids are out of daycare we'll have some $ to upgrade the ductwork which I'm sure is just like the windows - garbage.

    Good luck this summer!
     
  2. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    When Climatic replaced ours we got a rebate for recycling the old unit. It's the copper inside that is valuable.
     
  3. latka

    latka Member

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    Agreed on VM's windows.
     
  4. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    Most attics that have the units in them do not have enough insulation. R30 was the code for most homes in Broadlands when they were built. Most HVAC people will tell you need up to R60 to help keep the upstairs cool during hot summer days.
     
  5. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    Im wondering if the Attic Fan is also to blame here? I am not sure what temperature will trip the attic fan to go on....in the attic. I plan to come home in the middle of the day to find out if the attic fan will be on and running. Right now, its off and the temperature upstairs on 2nd floor is 80 degrees...its been like that all evening even though the thermostat is set at 74....Not sure if I need more freon or attic fan is to blame.

    A neighborhood friend said that freon may no longer be sold nowadays and there is a new freon replacement so A/C units that we all have today would have to be replaced as there are no more freon to be had. Im not entirely sure that is the truth. I am pretty sure that there is freon available as we all still have the older units around that use Freon. Any truth to that?
     
  6. Villager

    Villager Ashburn Village Resident

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    Yes there is. That's part of the reason we decided to replace our old unit with a more efficient one. Below is an excerpt from the US EPA information.

    http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/22phaseout.html

    What Does the HCFC-22 Phaseout Mean for Consumers?

    Availability of R-22


    The Clean Air Act does not allow any refrigerant to be vented into the atmosphere during installation, service, or retirement of equipment. Therefore, R-22 must be recovered and recycled (for reuse in the same system), reclaimed (reprocessed to the same purity standard as new R-22), or destroyed. After 2020, the servicing of R-22-based systems will rely solely on recycled or reclaimed refrigerants. It is expected that reclamation and recycling will ensure that existing supplies of R-22 will last longer and be available to service a greater number of systems. As noted above, chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce, and companies will no longer be able to import, R-22 for use in new A/C equipment after 2010, but they can continue production and import of R-22 until 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment. Given this schedule, which was established in 1993, the transition away from R-22 to the use of ozone-friendly refrigerants should be smooth. For the next 10 years or more, R-22 should continue to be available for all systems that require R-22 for servicing.

    Alternatives to R-22 in Residential Air Conditioning

    As R-22 is gradually phased out, non-ozone-depleting alternative refrigerants are being introduced. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA reviews alternatives to ozone-depleting substances to evaluate their effects on human health and the environment. EPA has reviewed several alternatives to R-22 for household and light commercial air conditioning and has compiled a list of substitutes that EPA has determined are acceptable. One of these substitutes is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, but, like R-22, contributes to global warming. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A, and Puron®. An additional refrigerant on the list of acceptable substitutes for R-22 in residential air conditioners and other products is R-407C. Residential air conditioners and heat pumps using R-407C are not available in the U.S., but are commonly found in Europe. EPA will continue to review new non-ozone-depleting refrigerants as they are developed.
     
  7. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    Follow-up--

    I came home around 5PM and checked the attic fan and since it was still very HOT in the attic, I was surprised to find that the attic fan wasn't running at all. Im beginnning to wonder if the attic fan has failed after 8 years?!? Is that the norm? Am the second owner of the house...

    Now, who do I contact? Electrical guy or shall I contact the Heating/Cooling guys for the attic fan? Advice would be appreciated... Sigh..I hate the heat season since that can wreak havoc on the systems!

    Thanks!!!
     
  8. twohokies

    twohokies New Member

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    Ours wasn't on today either. We're the original owners, house built in 2005 and I'm not sure if it's ever worked (today's the first hot day I've checked). I'm not sure who to call though. Climatic?
     
  9. Mr. Linux

    Mr. Linux Senior Member & Moderator Forum Staff

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    Not sure how yours is setup, but mine, while activated by hot temps, is also connected to a 'wall switch' on one of the attic studs. If yours is setup the same way, make sure the switch is on :)
     
  10. twohokies

    twohokies New Member

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    Hmmmmmm............we just figured the switch was to turn on the fan so that it would be heat-activated, not that it would override the heat-activation. Maybe it's never worked b/c the switch is on every summer (and flipped off every winter). :angryfire: Go figure that VM would install something that doesn't work.
     
  11. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    I've always left it (wall switch) on so that way when its too hot in the Attic, it would be activated. Guess the attic fan is shot....My last home's attic fan lasted more than 15 years...Dunno why the attic fan that VM put in lasted only 8 yrs...sigh.

    So the question remains...do I call electrical guy or can the HVAC guy also handle attic fans as well? Not sure if HVAC guys also handle attic fans or not. Sigh...this royally sucks.
     
  12. Mike-and-Kim

    Mike-and-Kim Member

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    This might help in your adventure

    http://www.broadlandshoa.org/hoaforum/showthread.php?t=21569

    Perhaps it is harder on the fan being mounted at an angle, in our house anyway. I added a high power dimmer up there (picked up at Lowe's) and have it running at about 75% does not seem to vibrate as much.
     
  13. Mike-and-Kim

    Mike-and-Kim Member

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    Also, all fans have greatly shorter lifespans as time has progressed, I'm not sure VM is the root cause. On the other hand they did probably not buy a top of the line fan...

    I have a few fans circa 1930-50's that run cool and obviously have lasted.

    What happened is that since copper for the windings costs money, they have reduced those. Fan runs hotter now. They include a thermal circuit breaker so if things get too hot it opens. Usually sandwiched in the windings and a pain to replace...

    Another mechanism at work in ALL your electronics since they are lead free now is that they cannot handle the thermal cycling and will give up.

    Part of the reason we still use lead solder in satellites (to get 15+ year life), plus helps minimize tin whiskers - solder without lead will actually grow little whiskers and eventually short out to what it is next to.
     
  14. Capricorn1964

    Capricorn1964 Active Member

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    Well, with the way everything is made in China nowadays, why am I not surprised that things aren't lasting a long time anymore!

     
  15. twohokies

    twohokies New Member

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    Thanks! I'm sure my husband will love it when I suggest he climb up there to check out the fan. :devil2:
     
  16. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

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    I don't think motors are meant to be run on light dimmer switches... it's better to use a fan speed controller.
     
  17. Mike-and-Kim

    Mike-and-Kim Member

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    I agree, I did not state that very clearly.

    The thing I also remember is it took a while to find one with a 5A rating. It had a rotary control, something like the "Leviton 6616-1XW 5 Amp Rotary Fan Speed Controller". I just replaced the on-off switch with that.
     
  18. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    Well, I just got an attic fan installed by Roofer911 - can't yet comment on the effectiveness of the fan to help cool, as we have had such nice weather the last couple of days, but I can report the following:

    1. Steve was quick to get back to me, very nice, answered all of my questions
    2. He came out, inspected the roof area, and had a written estimate to me within the hour.
    3. I agreed to the estimate, and he had one of his crews out within the next 2 hours.
    4. The crew was efficient, courteous, and had the job completed within an hour. The electrician followed - and Steve worked with me to get him out before an event we had later that afternoon.
    5. The electrician was equally courteous, finished the job, showed me where the controls and fan were located, and how to set the temp threshold.
    6. Steve called me to follow up, make sure everything was fine, and asked if I had any more questions.

    This was one of the best contractor experiences we have had. I'll report back on the effectiveness of the fan, but big thumbs up for Roofer911. Highly recommended.
     
  19. rich351854

    rich351854 New Member

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    As an FYI our goodman AC broke last year, it was barely blowing and wasnt able to keep it cool upstairs - the coil started leaking... There are reports on internet about goodman havings some issues with its coils, needless to say within 5 years of when you moved in to your house it will be under warranty, and even slightly beyond that (goodman covered ours even though it was past the warrenty period)....

    1. Call goodman
    2. Call VM and find out who installed your unit and have them come out (you would be surprised how helpfull they can be)
     
  20. hberg

    hberg give me some of your tots

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    We had same issue with our upstairs AC. Two years ago it needed Freon. Last year it was fine. This year it would be set at 72 and house upstairs was 81! Shades down, filters clean, attic fan on. Called ME Flow who does our maintenance. The unit was low on Freon. Because they came out the same day and got it working - they said we need to have a leak check down. I am afraid it is the coils. Anyone give me a good idea on replacement cost so I can prepare myself now? Pretty sure we no longer get a tax break either.
     

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