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Air Conditioning Problems

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by CoachCal, Jun 7, 2009.

  1. CoachCal

    CoachCal New Member

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    Brainstorming some ideas (before spending money on having someone come out and look at it) and thought I'd ask if anyone else is having similar problems. We live in the Townhomes section built off of Village drive in 2005.

    We've never had this problem in previous years, but suddenly this spring our house is getting up to 78-80 degrees almost every day that it is above 80 outside. Our AC is always running full blast (set to 73) and I feel cold air coming out of the vents.

    Couple of things I've noticed:
    - A lot of heat comes through the windows, and having the blinds shut usually helps unless it is really warm out (like today when it almost got up to 90)
    - Birds have been making nests up in the highest vents of the house. I've seen this in almost all of the townhomes around us too. Could they be clogging the attic fan vent? Or does that not sound like it would be a problem?
    - I've noticed that in the winter our basement gets extremely cold compared to the rest of the house. I'm guessing the walls have very poor insulation. This could be the problem now in the spring also with the heat?
    - Change the air filter regularly, so it's not clogged there.

    Any advice on where to start and what to look at would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure if someone else has run into the same problem and might help us avoid some wasted time troubleshooting all of the above.
     
  2. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    If you get a new air conditioner with a SEER rating above 15, you are eligible for up to $1500 tax credit. That pushed us over the edge to get a new unit - especially since they are discontinuing the freon type which is in most of the older (>5 years old) units, so after next year if you have a leak, you will be out of luck.
     
  3. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    one thing to check - and I have no clue how your system is designed or installed, but in your utility room where you have the furnace/fan and duct work, look for the baffles in the ducts. They look like levers usually and you should see 2 of them. They may even have a mark on them for "summer" "winter". You need to adjust them for each season. You can play with them for the amount they are open vs closed.

    Another investment idea would be to get tinting for your windows on the side where you get afternoon sun. That can block like 50% of the radiant heat.
     
  4. lilpea

    lilpea Member

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    I agree with Zeratul - check you baffles.

    FWIW - Our home is the Cedardwood model w/ the 2 story living room - it has 15 full size windows as it is adjacent to our stairs and gets LOTS of sun.

    A few years ago we invested in the UV Film, Plantation Shutters, (REAL) Woodblinds and a Regency Fan - all of which have helped keep our house cool.

    In the summer months this is what I do:

    1) Reverse the fceiling fan blades (to draw the hot air up)
    2) Close the blinds upward to reflect the heat out (if you close them downward you actually draw the heat into the room)
    3) Close all 7 vents in the basement.
    4) I run the Fan in both of our AC units continuously


    But as I've said Van Metre installed Goodman HVAC systems in most (if not ALL) of the homes in SW and these units stink.
     
  5. Ozgood

    Ozgood Not a space alien

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    This sounds like important stuff. Can you go a bit further into detail on what these levers control and what I should be looking for when "playing around with them"?

    Through experience I have learned not to mess with mysterious "levers" in my house until I understand what they are levering. :conf2:
     
  6. Mazinger

    Mazinger New Member

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    These two are normal.

    If you have direct sunlight on the windows you should close the blinds to block the solar heat load.

    Hot air rises, so the lower floors will be much cooler than the top floor.
     
  7. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    Oz - The places to check to find them are around the furnace in the utility room located on the actual duct work probably 3-5 feet from the actual furnace. There should be one lever for each main branch of duct. In a townhouse with 3 levels I would think there will be 2 baffle levers.

    "In some forced-air distribution systems, balancing dampers may be located in the secondary warm air ducts, close to where they branch off from the rectangular main heating duct. Often the dampers can be identified by a small lever on the outside of the duct"

    [​IMG]

    This is not the best picture but should give you an idea of what the actual lever should look like. The lever should be horizontal (open) for the rooms and higher floors (Summer) and the lever should be closed vertical for the bottom floor in the summer. You reverse this for winter. The lever does not have to be completely horizontal or vertical, you may have to play around with how little or how much you open and close these to see if it helps.

    Make sense?
     
  8. lilpea

    lilpea Member

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    Z - I had the hubby check the main unit & the one in our attic he couldn't locate one on either unit. I then called my friend who is a PM for Van Metre in Lansdowne and he told me our AC units do not have baffles on them Is it possible or is my friend pulling my leg?
     
  9. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    it is possible. I do not think they were required as part of code but I may be wrong. For the townhouse models, I understood that having the baffles for summer and winter was standard practice (I had a Miller & Smith). This is not the same case for homes with 2 units or multi-zone systems. It is much more relevant with the typical 3-level town home because of the differences in temperatures/elevation.

    You have a courtyard home with 2 systems if I remember.... so you would not have this on yours.
     

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