Home ac having problems - freon doesn't seem to be circulating

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It gets used periodically, albeit sparsely in the winter as well. There is no "season". In fact in Florida, you might use the heat one week, the A/C the next.
But okay.

It frequently rains *while* using the A/C. I'm in the habit of shutting it off during lightning storms. I don't run it at all when I'm at work unless I forget to turn it off.

Okay, what "maintenance" will prevent this?

If I'm doing what I've outlined, I deserve some clue credit, since the alternative is to not do them.

Okay, such as..? You haven't really given any specifics. Coils inside and outside cleaned. Filter changed periodically. What else?

It didn't appear to be struggling at all.
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How do you know this ??
You sit outside next to it as it runs -- no -- maybe you leave your windows open so you can hear it running from inside the house -- no...
You don't know how it was working when it was running last, all you do know is it made the air cold at that time...
~~ Evan
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Having been in houses where the A/C was clearly struggling to do a minimal job of cooling the house - and being familiar with the performance of this A/C system since it was brand new.
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Go ahead, tell us the specific items you do for pm on a split system ac?
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Not wrong, just incomplete. The professional coil cleaning chemicals do wonders.
--
Christopher A. Young
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After reading your messages, and your replies to the tradesmen who have commented. It's obvious to me that you're a hard core do it yourselfer. And that if a tradesman writes "Well, your service guy needs to.... A, B, C..... that you will take the covers off, and do your own version of what the service guys do. Which may help, or it might not.
I've been servicing refrigeration and AC systems long enough to know that there are a lot of things that are not obvious to the untrained eye. I'm in the rapid learning part of my career, it seems that every time I service a system, I learn somthing new. I've only been in the trade for 15 years. So, I encourage you to ask your friends and neighbors, and see who they reccomend.
It sounds like you are going to keep coasting down the road of "well, it's working....". Which might be successful for you, or it may lead to an early failure. I guess we'll never know.
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Christopher A. Young
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On Apr 6, 8:56am, "Stormin Mormon"

Well, I tend to do it myself within the bounds of common sense. Almost never pay an auto mechanic, have replaced engines, trannies, etc. myself. Installed my own water heater, repaired an entire section of carpenter ant damaged wall, etc.
However, I'm also conscious of possible hazards of fumbling around something I'm not familiar with or accidentally trashing a unit that *could* have been salvaged by a reputable pro had they been given the chance to work on it before I wreaked havoc on it.
If I can find something obvious that I can remedy it myself, I'm more than happy to tackle it. But at this point I'm trying to become educated as much as anything.
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brassplyer wrote:

You know how to revive dead person? Your a/c system is dead or dying due to old age. Time for new one. Economy needs you spend money. That Freon filled old machine is power sucking low efficiency monster. Upgrade. Even if you fix it, it won't last long. Be wise and do a right thing. Not all HVAC techs are crooks. There are more honest good ones than bad ones. Ask around, you'll find good honest dependable one near you. Treat him/her well, He/She will treat you well. You brass player? Me too low brass all my life.
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I played trumpet when I was in about 4th grade. Years later, I got a chance to try a bugle. I'd lost all the skill I had.
I couldn't even brass my way through. I tried, but I didn't have the pucker any more. I shoulda kept on with the lessons. I'd like to play, these days. Taken some piano lessons, but carrying a piano in a marching band is a pain in the brass.
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As old as your system is, it very likely needs professional cleaning. I'm sure a few on alternating havoc are tired of hearing me say "have your condensing unit professionally cleaned". I've found over the years that even condensors that look clean are often dirty. Which interferes with cooling, and drives the electric bill up. One Trane I cleaned, the amp draw dropped about amp after cleaning. Which is equivilant to turning off two 100 watt light bulbs.
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"Stormin Mormon" wrote

Grin, I'm hopeful that is all I need! In fact, it's a possible. I asked for servicing too.
Groan, when we got back they hadn't changedd the filters since we left in 2001. We even left then with with 6 of them (anticipating 3 years away).
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There are some people who don't maintain anything till it breaks. Sounds like you had those type of people.
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"Stormin Mormon" wrote

While I am willing to know when I need a pro.

I doubt I will see a problem. I don't know what to look for.

I have a company coming out tomorrow to check mine. I probably do not need a full HVAC reoplacement (combined heat and AC and heat worked while AC is under cooling). All I know we skipped HVAC maintenance while paying off 25,000$ in rental damage and some 5,000$ in materials to 'DIY' repairs.
I am pretty sure we just need added coolant. We have not done that in 3 years since return as as far as we lnow, it was last done in 1998. The renters were not bashful at all at getting contractors in the reducing their rent by the cost and filing after the fact but there is no referent to Freon added. Heck I was in Japan. I can just reasonably guess last fill was 1998.
In my case, still have AC but it is not as cool as it should be. Last year it was 'ok' but I recall it being better.
Professionals due in tomorrow to service the unit and do what is needed.
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OK just so you know, house AC systems have a hermetically sealed refrigerant circuit, that means the entire thing is all metal except for the Fusite where the electrical terminals enter the compressor. As such the system should NEVER require adding refrigerant EVER. If it needs any added then there is a leak somewhere plain and simple. Car systems however can sometimes require topping off every several years due to the refrigerant permeating through the rubber hoses.
And the term is refrigerant not "Freon" or coolant. Freon is DuPont's trade name for CFC and HCFC refrigerants manufactured by them This does include R22. However DuPont's trade name for HFC refrigerants such as R134a is Suva. Hence anyone you may hear referring to the refrigerant in their '94 or newer car as Freon is dead wrong. The same can be said for anyone with a new AC system using R410a
Coolant stays the same phase (solid, liquid, gas) as it carries heat around, refrigerant changes phases.
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brassplyer wrote:

Twice today I had to replace the combination fan/compressor capacitor on two different AC units. One of them was a Trane, the other a Goodman. Both capacitors had swelled so the top with the terminals had gone from flat to dome shape, this broke the connections inside the capacitor which kept the compressor from running. If you see a cylindrical or oval shaped capacitor with three connecting points for one or more 1/4" Faston or flat push on connectors, that could be your problem. Often there are separate capacitors but usually the manufacturer installs a combination capacitor. The red wire is usually the common going to the "C" terminal sometimes along with a purple wire, a brown to the "fan" terminal and an orange, yellow or blue to the terminal "herm" which is hermetic for the hermetically sealed compressor's "S" terminal. If it is the capacitor, I would recommend installing a 440vac rated capacitor if it already doesn't have one. Many are rated a 370vac and you can go up in voltage rating but it's not a good idea to go down in voltage rating. Check out this link with pictures:
http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/Air-Conditioner-Dual-Run-Capacitor-Replacement-Guide/index.html
http://tinyurl.com/66jdnv
TDD
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wrote:

With a 22 year old unit, and depending on how often it's used, the best thing may be to take advantage of all the fed tax credits and rebates availabe and get a new one. A new one is going to be significantly more efficient and use less electricity.
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On Apr 6, 8:37am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Difficult to make that call. If it is only used occasionally and it's just got a bad cap? Replace/repair decisions have a lot of factors. If it needs a compressor then yea, replace.
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Difficult to make that call. If it is only used occasionally and it's just got a bad cap? Replace/repair decisions have a lot of factors. If it needs a compressor then yea, replace.
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If it has a leaky evap coil, your already done... time to replace it. Generally, if the system is more than 15 years old, you would be better served by replacing the system. Here in south Mississippi, the energy savings alone will normally give an ROI of 4 - 5 years..... *provided* the system is correctly sized, and correctly installed, by a certified Master Tech..... not just the lowest bidder.
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Again, specific situation that may or may not apply to the op. Maybe he's in the upper pennisula, it just needs a little freon, and the guy has been laid off for 6 months now. You can list cases supporting replace and I can list cases for repair. My point was if you don't have all the facts you can't just make a blanket recommendation.
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Again, specific situation that may or may not apply to the op. Maybe he's in the upper pennisula, it just needs a little freon, and the guy has been laid off for 6 months now. You can list cases supporting replace and I can list cases for repair. My point was if you don't have all the facts you can't just make a blanket recommendation.
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In case you missed it, R22 refrigerant that is in the old systems if being phased out, and is rapidly going away. I give it 6-8 months before the *WHOLESALE* cost of R22 is going to jump to $500 for a 30lb jug..... before any mark-up, or the techs time to put it in. Add to that that the manufactures no longer make anything that takes the old refrigerant. You can pay me now, or you can pay me now, *and* pay me later. http://www.epa.gov/Ozone/title6/phaseout/hcfc.html
FWIW, in 2004 when production and importing of R22 was cut back 35%, the wholesale price jumped from $1,600 for a pallet, to $6,800 for a pallet. January 1st of this year, it was cut back an additional 75%, and in January of 2015(5 years from now) there will be an additional 90% cutback. The new systems with the "new" refrigerant (R-410a), use half the amount of refrigerant for the same capacity as the old ones, use a whole lot less energy to run them, and are extremely quiet. Where is there a down side to increasing comfort, and lowering utility bills, as well as getting tax credits, and manufacturer as well as utility company incentives??
BTW... according to Appliance Magazine, the average lifespan of heating and cooling systems is 13 - 17 years.
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