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Air Conditioner Problem - 1st time home owner

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  • Aug 27th, 2021 9:45 pm
[OP]
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Aug 21, 2008
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West Side GTA

Air Conditioner Problem - 1st time home owner

So with the current heat wave in the GTA, my a/c unit decides to crap out on me last night (5 yrs old according to info/documents from previous owners).

Anyhow, symptoms are:
- no cold air coming out of registers
- no water draining from the water pan (very dry).
- fan motor spins and powers up, but don't hear a compressor sound (?)
- no evidence of icing on the unit.
- A coil area doesn't seem to get "cold" to the touch when "on" (it used to)

What I've done:
- changed to new furnace filter
- cleaned outdoor condensor coils/fins of dust/debris with gentle water spray
- bleached water pan to prevent algae build up (this is how i know it was very dry)

Do you think the compressor has died on a 5 yr old unit? I know service calls to most heat/cooling companies are ~$150, wondering what the cost would be for a new compressor or if anyone else has possible ideas of the culprit that'd be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance from 1st time home owner.
42 replies
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Sep 27, 2006
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Not so easy there Ma…
I'd place my bets that it's something electrical though not a failure of the compressor. It might help if you post the brand and model.
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Nov 12, 2006
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-=phelan=- wrote: - fan motor spins and powers up, but don't hear a compressor sound (?)
I assume you mean the furnace fan.
fergy wrote: I'd place my bets that it's something electrical though not a failure of the compressor.
Agreed.
My bet is a capacitor, based on personal experience and numerous other posted experiences.
The odds would suggest this.

There is a trick to test this, by [safely] spinning the fan to get the motor started.
That would even get the A/C running to cool things down, until it can be repaired.

They other things like cleaning the tray are very unrelated.
Sr. Member
Jan 7, 2006
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Toronto
I'm going to go with:
1 - check the AC breaker on main panel.
2 - check the disconnect (gray metal box on the wall) outside the house by the condenser. Did somebody disconnect it for whatever reason?
3 - check wiring on the thermostat, see if anything popped off the terminals (particularly Y and C wires in this case)
[OP]
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fergy wrote: I'd place my bets that it's something electrical though not a failure of the compressor. It might help if you post the brand and model.
Thanks for the replies guys...

Brand is a Carrier, Model is a Performance Series 16 Seer

Other things I need to clarify are:

The circuit breaker did trip from the main panel last night, i simply turned it back on from the panel (didn't pull the breaker from outside though).

When powered up again, the outdoor A/C fan motor itself runs (no heat seems to be pulled out though when I run my hand on top of the fan). So i know it's got power.

I have also reset/restarted my NEST thermostat, will check the thermostat wires but I doubt the wires would have popped off for some odd reason(?)
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I don't know anything about air conditioners but it's going to get really hot inside of your house. My suggestion is to think about getting a portable AC unit (the ones that stand up and have wheels; the ones at Costco are good but I have no idea if they still have any instock in the store). You have to put the hose out to the window.

You can always sell it afterwards if you want or just keep it upstairs in the bedroom if it's always hot upstairs.
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Dec 26, 2012
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-=phelan=- wrote: Thanks for the replies guys...

Brand is a Carrier, Model is a Performance Series 16 Seer

Other things I need to clarify are:

The circuit breaker did trip from the main panel last night, i simply turned it back on from the panel (didn't pull the breaker from outside though).

When powered up again, the outdoor A/C fan motor itself runs (no heat seems to be pulled out though when I run my hand on top of the fan). So i know it's got power.

I have also reset/restarted my NEST thermostat, will check the thermostat wires but I doubt the wires would have popped off for some odd reason(?)
did the AC unit trip it when it kicked on? one of your wires may have made contact with a source and it's tripping every time.
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-=phelan=- wrote: I have also reset/restarted my NEST thermostat, will check the thermostat wires but I doubt the wires would have popped off for some odd reason(?)
Those spring terminals don't always hold the wires tight, I've had a wire pop off before when I was certain it was in tight.

But it seems like this isn't the issue now that we know the breaker trips.
[OP]
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After turning the unit back on, it has not tripped the circuit breaker from the panel.

As for the wires on the thermostat seems like it's fine and on there correctly tightened.

With the current heat, if I've lost refrigerant (possible due to the extreme heat, perhaps something expanded and it slowly leaked out?) what are the signs of that ? Icing on the exterior compressor unit? Is there a pressure reading I could take to ensure that my line is "sealed"?
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Mar 21, 2002
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If the Freon has leaked out then you probably won't be able to find the small leak, you won't be able to seal it and you won't be obtain/able to add the Freon it needs. Other than the Freon, Arisk is probably right about the capacitor having gone. 50-50 for those two things.

Get a professional in to fix it.
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Jan 23, 2017
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As a first time home owner and this heat wave, I would gladly spend the $150 for a service call and observe what they do for future reference. They could diagnose faster and likely fix it faster. Check to see if there is any warranty that may cover it as its only 5 years old?
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If you're savvy with electrical stuff, you could try and change the capacitor. I find they're hard to come by during the summer season, so you might have a pretty long lead time for replacing it.

If you're not savvy, just get a pro in. Those capacitors can hold a literally fatal amount of energy, so don't change it if you're not comfortable around this type of electronic device.

You'll get ripped off really bad by the service person ($10 parts for $150), but having it work in a day is possibly worth it.
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ChubChub wrote: If you're savvy with electrical stuff, you could try and change the capacitor. I find they're hard to come by during the summer season, so you might have a pretty long lead time for replacing it.

If you're not savvy, just get a pro in. Those capacitors can hold a literally fatal amount of energy, so don't change it if you're not comfortable around this type of electronic device.

You'll get ripped off really bad by the service person ($10 parts for $150), but having it work in a day is possibly worth it.
The 10 dollars in parts includes their labour. Their expertise. Their service vehicle etc.

What do you do for a living?
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KevinM56081 wrote: The 10 dollars in parts includes their labour. Their expertise. Their service vehicle etc.

What do you do for a living?
I eliminate jobs.
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-=phelan=- wrote:
- no evidence of icing on the unit.
- A coil area doesn't seem to get "cold" to the touch when "on" (it used to)

So you popped the front of the unit in your basement off and took a look?
[OP]
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Thanks for the advice guys. I've decided to call a professional in (surprisingly they are able to fit me in this afternoon yay!). However, if it's a capacitor, that's no issue just buy/replace it. I know i'll end up paying through my nose for a simple $10 part (that's a given), but with the heat wave right now, it might actually be worth it from my perspective (typing this from the basement as the house is at 29 C and muggy (ugh)

However, it's it puron that's leaked out, do they normally trace the leak > seal it > re-fill with puron or do they simply get a new copper line and forget tracing it and just fill with new puron?

Thanks again.
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Jun 12, 2007
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I checked my last order from Amre
A fan cap = $12
A compressor cap = $53
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Hamilton
-=phelan=- wrote: Thanks for the advice guys. I've decided to call a professional in (surprisingly they are able to fit me in this afternoon yay!). However, if it's a capacitor, that's no issue just buy/replace it. I know i'll end up paying through my nose for a simple $10 part (that's a given), but with the heat wave right now, it might actually be worth it from my perspective (typing this from the basement as the house is at 29 C and muggy (ugh)

However, it's it puron that's leaked out, do they normally trace the leak > seal it > re-fill with puron or do they simply get a new copper line and forget tracing it and just fill with new puron?

Thanks again.
im curious now, let us know
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KevinM56081 wrote: For a discount rate right?
Obviously, yes. I work for about 1/4 what others would traditionally make doing this job. I make up for it by getting AI to do a lot of my analysis so I actually work fewer hours.

Efficiencies, it's where it's at.
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