DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Electrical and Wiring > Am I being abducted (ie taken for a ride)?

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Old 07-04-2014, 12:37 AM  
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Default Am I being abducted (ie taken for a ride)?

A/C is misbehaving. Compressor/condenser is throwing the 50amp breaker at the house panel. It runs for about 8 minutes then breaks. If I immediately flip the breaker on, and re-start, each time the run time shortens steadily down to a minute or two. Let it sit for an hour and I'm back up to 8 minutes or so.

There's a dangly black start booster that a previous tech had installed a few years ago under the cover too.

Ok, call for help. Ask a neighbor who they use for A/C. Man shows up, puts an ampmeter on something under the removed cover plate, shows me the number steadily rising, through 22.xx, 23.xx, 24.xx etc.

Man says the amperage is going up and shouldn't be -- it started at 20. Didn't see the number when it finally shut off (wish I had) maybe in the 35 range? but for a 50a breaker?

Anyway, man says the compressor is bad. To replace the compressor, $2800. Its a freon comp and they're not normally stocked because of the fed phaseout of freon so it'll take some time to get one.

Goes on to tell me: Or you can replace the entire unit with a Carrier Puron unit -- but the kicker is because the HydronicA/H is freon too -- it'll have to be replace also. We can get it all installed next week.

A little 'net searching and I come to believe the amp meter was attached to the run capacitor. It seems that $25 item is a good candidate as the failing piece.

Does anyone agree?

While writing this, I also thought, (now that I'm just a teensy bit suspicious), maybe the A/H doesn't care what kind of coolant flows through its pipes. True?

Just how big an adventure am I being invited to take? Am I going to Fantasy island after I hit the bank for some cash? Or am I staying home with an undepleted credit card?

I'll hold off on reporting what the cost for an all new A/C system is going to run me until I hear back from you guys. Thanks so much in advance!

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Old 07-04-2014, 05:21 AM  
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What about calling someone in for a second opinion...just a thought.

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Old 07-04-2014, 05:24 AM  
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I'm no expert the experts will be along shortly, just a home owner like you. I would if there is any doubt get a second opinion. If the second opinion comes out the same now you can add conspiracy to the list.

The things he said sound plausible enough and your testing by seeing the run time diminish with each start fits in with something mechanical failing. Heat related bearings, bores and pistons etc.

Because of holiday pros might take a bit to post.

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Old 07-04-2014, 02:01 PM  
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The orifice is different from R12 to R134A and probably built into the A/H. I know in automotive that if you mix the lubes for the 2, it turns into slurry.
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:42 AM  
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I'm trying to find a replacement capacitor, probably tough this wknd, but I can wait till Monday AM too.
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:43 AM  
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Could only find a universal cap didn't buy it. Tested the orig cap found 82mfd. Figured I'd try removing the corrosion from the contacts/leads. Ran 15+min then shutdown. Changed the filter on the A/H (yeah it was dirty but not abysmally so), hey, I'm running out of small straws and trying to avoid the big one.
Started up again within 5-6 mins of the last stop, ran about 6 mins this time. Unless someone here's got a better option, I'm willing to bet my head's about to go into that big straw...anybody laying odds?
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:41 AM  
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I'm no expert but when my old air conditioner kept breaking down it was because the capacitor kept blowing. I had to have it replaced a few times before I talked with my A/C guy about preventing the problem. He had a look at my unit and it was deemed a "dinosaur". The company that made it went out of business in 1973 and he suspected that the particular model had been put in during the 40s or 50s-- possibly 60s. It was on its last leg so we ended up buying a new unit. It was less than $5k for the unit and installation.

I do hope you get this figured out and get your air working soon.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:44 AM  
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Install a whole-house fan and wear shorts

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