Air Conditioning Question


Hi,
Had a new A/C installed. Typical system with the evaporator in the furnace, and the Condenser outside.
Couldn't get a really good answer from installer.
a. Live in New England; lots of snow in winter. Do folks usually put a cover of some sort over the outside Condenser in the winter ?
b. He mentioned that there is a small heater in the unit that is on all the time; even if the unit is not actually running
Does it make any sense to shut off the 220 V power in the winter to the outside Condenser, thus killing the heater ?
Or, best to have the heater always on, even in the winter time ?
Thanks, Bob
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I can not say about the cover. Sometimes it is beter to not cover things so air can circulate and keep it dry inside. If you cover something up tight against the ground, water will condense inside the unit. YOu may want to put something just over the top.
The heater will probably be off while the compressor is running and on when the compressor is off. It is to keep the refrigerant boiled out of the oil in the compressor. If you do cut off the power to the unit, when you turn the power back on, do not run the compressor for about 24 hours. That is to give the heater time to boil the refrigerant out of the oil.
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Surprised?
Some may just put a sheet of plywood on top and call it good.

What about the warranty, being new an all, will it be voided if you do this? Call the company and ask.
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I had a company (the owner) quote me on a new a/c earlier this spring and I asked about covering the unit. he says he prefers to send customers to a place that specializes in condenser covers because some manufacturers have poorly designed covers that do not provide protection in poorer conditions.
A good cover allows air circulation so the unit won't rust but blocks blowing snow and dirt from blocking the fins. In My case (southern Ontario Canada) he says he wouldn't bother getting a customized cover because my unit' location was sheltered from the wind and there is no dirt or debris in the vicinity that can lodge into the fins. he said just use a loose cover to keep leaves out.
Those were his thoughts not mine.
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Bob wrote:

I live in Alberta colder in winter than New England. Our Carrier unit came with a custom cover with Carrier logo on it. I use thi cover every winter. If covering is bad how come manufacturer would supply one? I think the cover keeps the debris, dirt, critters away.
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I live in New England also. I've never seen a unit covered in winter. You don't want to provide a well protected place for mice or chipmunks to nest and you don't want to hold in moisture to rust stuff.
I covered my grill in the past and won't do it any more for the above reasons.

Turn the power back on at least a day before first use so the heater does warm up the oil.
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It all depends on where the units are installed Ed... I have seen split units installed on two and three story commercial buildings in New England that were covered in the winter because they were in the "drop zone" for snow and ice sliding off a metal roof... Usually the cover is just a wooden cap made to just fit over the top of the unit to prevent the falling snow and ice from entering the top of the unit...
So unless your home unit is located in the line of fire for falling snow and ice from either your roof or nearby trees/shrubbery you really wouldn't have a need to cover it...
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What I have heard is a total cover that causes excessive heat and humidity will affect the relay(s). Cover the top in winter. The fins are clogged by air drawn in by the fan...not by blowing debris.
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I reccomend put a board over the top so that snow and such doesn't get into the fan and inside the unit. Trash can lid is OK, or other item. Leave the sides open, so it doesn't get totally humid and rusty.
The heater is typically 54 watts. Yes, it's OK to turn off the double breaker to the outdoor unit. It is important to turn the breaker on several days before using the AC.
Please remit $48.50 for professional advice.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Jul 20, 9:13pm, "Stormin Mormon"

Do those heaters really run ALL the time that the system has power to it? Wouldn't they be on a thermostat of some kind? I can see the need if it's a heat pump system when it could turn on from a dead start when it's 15 degrees outside. But if it's only AC do they need a heater when it's June-Aug and it's at least 70 outside? Or in Miami?

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On 7/23/2010 6:30 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

base of the compressor. There is another type that wraps around the base of a compressor and looks like a long hose clamp. The heaters keep the compressor warm to prevent liquid Freon from migrating to the compressor's crankcase. Liquid Freon can get sucked into the head and break a connecting rod in a reciprocating compressor, it's not a good idea to try to compress a liquid. The heaters should be left on all the time, even in summer to help keep things dry. The extra heat will help prevent corrosion to the compressor electrical connections.
TDD
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The heater is typically on only when the compressor is off. The purpose is to help keep liquid refrigerant from collecting in the compressor oil. Yes, it's needed even when it's warm out.
Please remit $48.50 for professional advice.
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