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Old 07-04-2012, 10:38 PM  
Carefulicarus
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Default Suggestions for improving AC

I live in a rented 3rd floor apartment with central air/heat. Our 3 year old AC is terrible each summer. We set it at 70 - 72 and it cant keep up once it gets to the mid 80's. Trying to make it better for my 7 month old son, looking for suggestions.

We keep electronics and lights off as much as possible, have covered, energy efficient windows, nothing helps.

Would getting a blanket for our hot water heater help significantly? It's just in a closet off the living room.

I think our biggest problem may be the cold air return. Our ac system is in a closet on our balcony. Air is pulled from our living room into a compartment that is the floor of the balcony closet, where air then goes into the ac unit. There is no ductwork, just mdf. It has no insulation, and the closet is not insulated. there is a big gap under the closet door and the mdf compartment isn't caulked well and has noticeable gaps in the seams. (it is also incredibly filthy in the compartment, which worries me with the new baby) How big of a role could this be playing and could someone tell me how to insulate it myself if I need to?



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Old 07-04-2012, 11:17 PM  
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Originally Posted by Carefulicarus View Post
I live in a rented 3rd floor apartment with central air/heat. Our 3 year old AC is terrible each summer. We set it at 70 - 72 and it cant keep up once it gets to the mid 80's. Trying to make it better for my 7 month old son, looking for suggestions.

We keep electronics and lights off as much as possible, have covered, energy efficient windows, nothing helps.

Would getting a blanket for our hot water heater help significantly? It's just in a closet off the living room.

I think our biggest problem may be the cold air return. Our ac system is in a closet on our balcony. Air is pulled from our living room into a compartment that is the floor of the balcony closet, where air then goes into the ac unit. There is no ductwork, just mdf. It has no insulation, and the closet is not insulated. there is a big gap under the closet door and the mdf compartment isn't caulked well and has noticeable gaps in the seams. (it is also incredibly filthy in the compartment, which worries me with the new baby) How big of a role could this be playing and could someone tell me how to insulate it myself if I need to?
You probably have identified the problems. Are their returns in the bedrooms? You need a balanced system that gets cool air to all parts of the apartment. You also need it to be sealed so that expensive cooled air gets into your unit, not escaping outside. Start by fixing those issues first. Silver tape can do wonders as opposed to caulk. The water heater blanket will not help cooling. DO what you can to improve passive solar gain from direct sunlight into the unit too.

Get back to su with your progress!


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Old 07-05-2012, 07:43 AM  
Carefulicarus
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Thank you for your reply.

I hope I am using the terminology right here, but to answer your question, there is just one cold air return in the living room that brings air back to the AC unit. There are vents that deliver the cooled air in every room, no idea if that duct work is insulated or not. Starting to even wonder how much the attic is insulated. The vents are above large windows, which probably doesn't help.

I will go get silver tape today. Is there anything you would recommend to line the outside of the cold air return with to better insulate it? Since the outside closet sits elevated on the cold air return compartment, the top and one side of the compartment are only separated from 90 degree air during the daytime by mdf.

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Old 07-05-2012, 04:09 PM  
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I would bet the closet outside would be a lot more than 90 degrees inside when that thing is running. It is trying to dissapate the heat outside and closing up the closet will only make it work harder.

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Old 07-06-2012, 02:00 AM  
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Well, have a professional check your air conditioner's unit refrigerant at least once every two years. If you're low and need recharging, this may improve your unit's efficiency by as much as 20%!!

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Old 07-06-2012, 01:59 PM  
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Install a window unit, the landlord will not be willing to invest the money to help you.

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Old 09-16-2012, 08:15 PM  
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may be under sized or low on refrigerant



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