A/C window unit: compressor or not?

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I live in a rented apartment (small) and it has a window AC unit. It's turned super hot (heat index 100+) and the unit didn't seem like it was cooling as well as usual.
I've lived here just over a year, and hadn't yet cleaned the filter...I went to do so and no filter! The metal fin things that easily bend were totally clotted with crud. I did the best I could cleaning it up, between a toothbrush and vacuum cleaner. (I probably bent some in the process) Should there have been a filter???
But I've been noticing the cooling goes on and off much more than (I think) it should in such hot weather. I've been timing it this afternoon, and it seems to be pretty precise:
every six minutes, the compressor kicks on and it cools...for six minutes. Then it goes off and the fan runs out regular (warmish and stinky) air for...six minutes.
So exactly every six minutes it cools six minutes, then fan but no cool for six minutes and so on.
Is this normal and something I just never noticed before, or is this wrong? The cooling seems okay, though I was thinking I should call the rental company and have them come over and do a good cleaning of the unit. Unfortunately (I've gone through this with a different apt. they managed before) their procedure is this: two handymen guys come by early morning and remove the unit, then set it in the yard. At some point during the day, an AC repair guy comes by, picks it up and takes it off for cleaning/repair. He returns it the next day, setting it in the yard, and then some time that day the handymen guys come back and put it back in the window. So I have to go without any AC for about a day and a half.
It's supposed to cool down (to the 80s) tomorrow, Wed and Thurs, so if y'all think it sounds like it needs a repair, I was thinking I'd call Wed and hopefully schedule pickup Thurs morning. I could live through 80s for a day with no AC, but I'd like to have it done and running right before the heat comes back this next weekend.
So...if this six minute on/off thing doesn't sound right, what do I tell the person at the rental office who is semi stupid? I need to clearly communicate the problem, or they'll just tell the AC repair guy to hose it off and call it done. I need some expert talk to say, or they'll tell me the six minute cycle is perfectly normal, and I really do not think it is. I think during 100 degree heat, that sucker ought to be running 24/7, not every other six minutes.
Am I wrong?
Thanks for listening while I sweat!
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Yes,m there should be a filter. It does not take much, just a cheap foam filter from the home center will do.

If the coils are as dirty as you say, air flow is blocked and pressures inside are building and tripping the compressor out.

If is is a large apartment complex, they may have an extra unit and can swap it out. Call them anyway.

No, you are not wrong. Just tell the person it is not working at all and there is no filter. Giving too many details may actually hinder progress in this case. Firmly as for a repair quickly.
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Thank you. :)
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On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 23:21:00 GMT, Carol

Sure. It's good that you cleaned it. A little fin bending will only hurt a little. If I bent a bunch, I would eventually straigten them out.
It's hard to tell how dirty the thing is now that you tried to clean it.

Do you have the recirculation valve closed. It might be labelled "outside" or something. The air that comes out with that valve closed should be the same temp as the air in your room, even with the compressor off.

That strikes me as pretty good service, considering it takes 3 stages to do this.
I guess the best thing to have done was to have checke this in April or May or early June. There were a few hot days during that period, but I think testing could have been done on even a 68 degree day.

Hey, you're the guy who waited until July. I'll bet the office has air conditioning. :)

If the room is cool enough, that's ridiculous. You said the cooling seems ok.

You said the cooling seems ok.
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There's a closed and open button, and I've googled trying to figure out what it means. As far as I can tell, open means it's sucking in outside air and closed means it's recycling inside air. I might be totally wrong on that. ;) Anyway, I've switched it back and forth between open and closed, and I can't tell a bit of difference.

LOL, okay.

True, but if you just call for a cleaning, they won't come. There has to be something wrong before they'll send them out. And there was nothing wrong as far as I knew. It's only recently I noticed the apt. isn't at all comfortable.

I meant that when the AC sends out conditioned air, it seems cool enough. In other words, it's cool air. But this cycling of cool vs. plain fan on and off is new. I use a button called Energy Saver, and when the place is cool enough, the entire unit turns off until it senses it needs to work again.
In high heat, I think, it needs to run continually in order to keep the place at a comfortable level. Running cool air then fan air every six minutes...it's NOT okay. It isn't cooling the place down. I work from home and have gotten in a cold shower six times today to cool off. The thermostat in the room with the AC is reading 90 degrees, and that's not very comfortable when the AC is running constantly. It's even hotter in the bedroom.
So that's why this on/off six minute thing had me concerned...what it was. Last summer, the unit didn't cycle that I'm aware of...during heat waves, it ran all the time and at least kept the place livable.
Anyway, tomorrow's a holiday, but I'll call them Thurs. morning and try to get serviced.
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On Tue, 04 Jul 2006 05:23:53 GMT, Carol

1. For less than a hundred bucks you can get a new windows unit at Lowes, then carry it with your when you leave.
2. The thermostat should stop the cycling but in some cases it has been removed. There should be a bulb that measures your temp and shuts down the compressor as the goal temp is reached. You need to move that bulb to the outside so that the temp is never reached and the cycling stops.
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JimL wrote:

And buying a new one on your own might actually give you an AC to keep for free. If the tenant is paying for the electricity, a new efficient and properly functioning unit is going to use less power than an old malfunctioning one. Unless she can get a relatively new and decent working one from the landlord, I'd go with buying one.
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I've actually been thinking of putting another unit in the bedroom...and saw that Lowes had inexpensive ones that would do the job. The other one that came with the apt is in the living room, and I use a floor fan to push the cool air down the hall, but when it gets into the 90s, that bedroom isn't comfortable. (There's a ceiling fan that helps, but I don't do well in heat...I'm apparently an Eskimo living in the muggy midwest)
They have a kind that has sliding slat things and it looks like I could install it myself.
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Carol posted for all of us... I don't top post - see either inline or at bottom.

Explain a little more.
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Carol wrote:

KEEP it "CLOSED," you do not want outside air entering into the cooling coil!

It is cool air however, it is NOT delivering enough air through the cooling coil! The CFM Cubic Feet per Minute is too low because the coil is still partially blocked and also may not be clean enough to absorb its BTUH rating. Blower wheel needs thorough cleaning, too!

Right.
The TH sensor bulb may need relocating so it senses only the air temperature!

- udarrell - Darrell
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Thanks for that info! I've wondered for so long which it should be.
Crazy question...why do they even give a choice? What's the purpose of using outside hot air?
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On Tue, 04 Jul 2006 21:46:43 GMT, Carol

It's usually hard to open the window when the ac is mounted in it. Open is for fresh air. Same as in the car.
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wrote:

It's running continually now, by your own description. You want it to run continuously, at least until the room is cool enough.
"Continual is chiefly restricted to what is intermittent or repeated at intervals: The continual banging of the shutter in the wind gave me a headache. Continuous implies lack of interruption: The horizon is a continuous line." AHD4

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Am I speaking Chinese?
The fan runs continually, but the cool air (compressor kicks on) comes and goes, every six minutes. There is no "room is cool enough" because half the time, it's recycling air that is at 90 degrees.
Or maybe 90 degrees is "cool enough" for you. It's not for me.
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wrote:

I shouldn't have said "by YOUR own description" since I was replying to udarrell. I lost track of which poster I was replying to. So instead: It's running continually now, by the OP's own description. One wants it to run continuously, at least until the room is cool enough.
The distinction is in the dictionary:

Easy way to remember: the "al" in interval is also in continual.
If it were running continuously, since the output air is cool, I think eventually the room will get cool enough. Arigato.

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In my experience with window units, the condensor is usually far worse than the evaporator.
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On Wed, 05 Jul 2006 03:30:49 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"

Also, it occurs to me: Isn't the missing filter placed to filter the air just before it comes out? That is, it doesn't have anything to do with keeping the crud from collecting on the fins??
I don't remember for sure.

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wrote:

The filter goes on the intake portion, just ahead of the fins on the coil. If you have to cut a replacement foam filter, you can even lay it right on the fins.
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wrote:

OK. Nevermind.
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Carol wrote:

NO, the adjustable thermostat setting should cause the unit to run continuously unless it is icing the cooling coil and cycling off on a freeze stat. If it is, both coils need to be washed thoroughly clean along with the squirrel cage blower wheel! When the cooling coil is matted with lint the squirrel cage blower wheel blades will also be loaded with lint and it will not deliver sufficient airflow! The squirrel cage blower wheel blades have to be thoroughly cleaned or it will be unbalanced! They need to make certain they do not knock the balance weights off the blower wheel blades or you will have another problem!

They should take it to a car wash and use pressure washing "straight inline with the fins or it will bend them," also with the motor and electrical covered with plastic bags. Use a big floor fan along with the window unit!
Optimizing a Room or Window Air Conditioner's EER and Btu/hr Performance Output! http://www.udarrell.com/airconditioner_current_temperature_btuh_charting.html

You are RIGHT! KICK-ASS until it is done RIGHT! - udarrell - Darrell
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