A/C outside fan not running

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Bruce writes:

That's only the theoretically best possible performance.
For various reasons, the actual performance savings are typically half of what SEER figures would suggest.
There's a lot of wishful thinking when it comes to AC efficiency. Thermodynamics is unforgiving.
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TURTLE writes:

I'm curious when new 7 or 8 SEER systems were last typical. Seems like 10 has been the minimum back to the late 1980s, if not before.
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This is Turtle.
Rheem made a Builders 8 SEER up to around 1991 or 1992 and the 10 seer was the super high efficent model. The 10 seer was the bottom after this time.
TURTLE
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So Kinch the Grinch thinks most old inneficient furnaces and heating equipment has been swapped out !! Haaaa Haaaa Haaa what a bozoo you are kinche . Its a fact that even in new construction most people opt for the hot tub or other " luxery " item and and go for the 82% vs the 94.5 % You are wrong again kinchee
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He dosen't think so.

Well, he just bought the house and it had a lot of delayed maintance. I told hime the equipment wouldn't last long and I was right. BTW, the old unit was 17 years old and looked like it had never been serviced. The coil was plugged with grass clippings and the contactor was in bad shape.

believe.
We'll see. I told him it would save energy and I know it will. The truth will show in about a month when his new bill comes in.
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I got to replace the entire outdoor unit for a fellow last year. He poked the fan with a stick, and it ran. Did this again and again until one time he wasn't there, and the compressor burnt out.
You make more work for me. True story.
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Kamal wrote:

yes, call an a/c guy and not a handyman.. i can work on a/c units and there are things that i cant fix, but a handy man????? run the guy up the street....
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1st problem: Handymen normally do not have a clue to what is wrong with AC units, and we, as professionals, LOVE to get our hands on units that the average "handyman" has worked on.
A clicking noise can indicate that you have a heat pump, and the reversing valve is indeed working, OR, it can indicate that the contactor is closing, but the contacts are burned, or an insect is crushed between the contactor, not allowing current to flow.

If its a split system, air hardly being felt...humm...when was the last time you had your filters changed? Evap coil and blower cleaned andserviced???

First, get a real tech...
Second, it could be..in no particular order:
Out of R22--Low pressure switch is not allowing 24VAC control voltage to close contactor. Contactor bad, or burned Contactor has an insect between the contact points If its a heat pump, defrost control board may be bad, depending on model. If its a Rheem/Ruud unit, the high pressure switch might have tripped, not allowing 24VAC current to close relay. If the fan is the only thing not running, meaning the compressor IS starting, either a bad cap, or fan motor. If the fan motor is indeed bad, the cap should be replaced at the same time. Could be, not likely, but COULD be a bad stat...very rare...perhaps only 1% of the time will we actually find a bad thermostat.
Also, anyone can diagnose that problem with a meter, and a manifold. There are no super special tools needed on a problem this simple. It sounds like you need to seriously get rid of this guy, before he creates more problems for you, or even worse, screws up and gets hurt...ten to one he is not insured to work on such, and unless he is EPA licenced, legally he can not work on your unit for profit... If your state requires an HVAC card, or licence to work on units, and he is just a handyman and not a licenced HVAC tech, then you may not have any recourse should he damage anything.
Once he gets the unit running, he will probably tell you it needs R22, or freon. IF this happens, ask him why. If he says its low, ask him how he knows. In order to know for sure, he needs to know the superheat, or subcool, depending on the metering device in the airhandler at the evap coil. If he shows you the manifold and the low side is showing under 58PSI, then you should automatically check the airflow over the EVAP coil at the air handler. If the coil is dirty, or the blower is dirty, then the reduced airflow will translate to reduced heat transfer to the coil, thus lowering the pressures. Once that is properly cleaned, and airflow is restored, and the fan speed is set up properly for your ductwork (yes..thta needs to be checked as well) then, and ONLY then, can he take the 4 temp readings he needs to take to properly be able to read the manifold, and translate the pressures, and temps into one number we call superheat, or in the case of a TEV metered evap, subcool.
IF, and thats IF it does actually need R22..then, if he brings out a 30lb jug of 22, and starts to hook up, and you do not see a platform scale, you can tell him that unless he is weighing in the charge, you are not going to pay for it. I dont care what they say, he CAN NOT tell you how much he put in without a SCALE. The jug of R22 will need to be placed on it...allowed to settle since the liquid will be moving around, and the scale set to ZERO. The tare weight needs to be removed from the readout, set to zero, and as he puts in the refrigerant, the scale will read the amount of R22 being introduced to the system. Also..about this time I would be setting up the vid camera...as he is installing the refrigerant, I would then ask to see his EPA ident card..:)
No scale = no pay. Period.
If the units over 20 years old, and you get a tech that suggests replacement of the unit..(NOT your handyman hack) .dont dismiss him like a con artist. Many times it is actually cheaper for you to have a new efficient system than it is to throw parts at an old 6 SEER at best unit. Make sure however, they can tell you what is wrong with the unit in question.
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Usually there is a disconnect switch located near the outside unit. If it has a circuit breaker in it, turn the breaker off and then on again to reset. If it has fuses, replace them. Also check your main circuit breaker or fuse panel for the same thing: A tripped breaker or blown fuse.
When the air conditioning is turned off and then back on again without enough time for the pressure to equalize, the fuse or circuit breaker to the outside condenser will blow. After turning off your air conditioning, you should always wait a few minutes before turning it back on again.
In response to another poster: I do get get dirty in my job, but get compensated well for it and I am not worried about my job being outsourced to a low paying, economically developing nation.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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I'm not an AC repairman, but I do believe John is right, my money would be on the fan side fuse being blown, easily replaceable from Home Depot, check it first of course!

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When we switch on the A/C (or just the fan), the unit inside the house comes on CY: Yes, the fan on the furnace or air handler.
but the outside fan does not run. CY: OK, that's not good.
Importantly when the A/C unit is switched on or off, we can hear the "clicking" sound in the outside unit. CY: The click is a relay which is powered by the inside furnace or air handler. You can pull the disconnect for the outside unit, and the relay will still click.
Also power seems to be coming to the outside unit (this was checked by a handyman) but fan does not turn on. CY: Wonder if he checked for power before or after the relay?
Air being blown through the vents in the house can hardly be felt and it is not cool. CY: No outside unit run, no cool. Simple matter.
Any ideas what could be wrong. The handyman who came to check the unit didn't have all the diagnostic tools but he felt that maybe either the capacitor or the compressor is defective. He says he cannot say for certain yet and is going to bring more diagnostic tools day after tomorrow. CY: You didn't tell us if the compressor was running. The options that come to mind are
1) Outside unit not getting power 2) OUtside unit getting power, but not the full 220 volt circuit 3) Bad relay 4) Bad capacitor for the fan 5) Bad fan motor, or dry berrings in fan motor 6) I reserve the right to add more options as more information is presented.
From the description I have given above, can someone suggest the reasons for the problem ? Also, I think the handyman guy may be trying to fleece me. Is there something I can look over his shoulder or are there any questions I can ask him that can help figure out the real problem (and prevent him from unnecessarily replacing the part that doesn't need replacement) ? CY: At this point, we would like to know if the compressor runs, or if both the compressor and fan are not running.
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Thanks for all the responses. Just to clear a point of contention. When the A/C unit is switched on, I do hear the clicking sound outside but nothing gets switched on in the outside unit. I guess thats what you guys were asking when you said whether the condenser and/or compressor were running. The only thing running is the inside blower.
I am guilty of doing what one of the posters has suggested- switching off the A/C and switching it on without giving it enough time (just couple of seconds time difference between the two). I have mistakenly done this a couple of times.
The handyman guy never showed up but he basically said that if he figured out that the compressor was the problem, he recommends replacing the entire unit rather than just the compressor. When asked the approx. price, he said "couple of hundred dollars" and won't go into specifics. Now I am thinking maybe Home Depot won't be a bad idea. At least they are reputable + hopefully I won't get fleeced + they will stand behind their work. What do you guys say ?
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I say again, find a reputable licensed air conditioning contractor in your area and have your unit properly diagnosed. If you don't have any friends that have recommendations, try the yellow pages.
- Robert
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Have you looked closely at the outside unit? There may be a button somewhere called "high-limit reset". Give it a push. Someday, it'll all be over....
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First, dump the idiot that you have working on the unit. Thats the simple thing right there.
Second, Home Depot is NOT a dealer. Home Depot is a third party outsourcing partner with Trane. If you want to put a few hundred EXTRA into the pockets of a company that will do nothing but contact a local Trane rep for you and have them come out to install a new unit, then go ahead...if you want to save a bit, call around and find yourself a a local, licenced, and insured company that can properly diagnose your equipment...not some jackleg wannabe handyman.
I had a call last night, Home Depot had a quote in, as did 4 other companies...said that the compressor was toast...the unit was shot...etc...
No one had diagnosed the ants in the contactor....a $45 part and a good service later, the unit was running like new... hey..its your money..you throw it at what you want..
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Thanks for the advice everyone. Looks like I am not as "handy" as I would like to be and I will end up calling the local HVAC contractors.
Thanks again,
Kamal
p.s. The advice on Home Depot was an added bonus
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I say try and find an AC guy who has more experience than your handyman. I'm not there to meter it, but it is very possible that your problem is as simple as a $50 contactor. Or a bad connection. Or a bad......
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Christopher A. Young
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We still don't know if the fan and the compressor both were not running. Changes diagnosis considerably.
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Christopher A. Young
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