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Old 06-28-2016, 04:37 AM   #101
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I've got re-fridges and freezers that run 24/7/365 (at ~ 50% duty cycle) and are still going at 25 to 30 years old (and they are not energy hogs). Are the seals different? My freezer has been in the unheated garage, so environment not so different from outside. So an AC with far fewer hours on it annually (for us northerners at least) ought to last. Of course they are larger units, more power, more everything.

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I have my late DMIL 1949 International Harvester fridge running in unheated garage/winery. I do have to defrost icebox which is a pain. She used it in the house til January 2015
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Old 06-28-2016, 07:52 AM   #102
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Hope it can be fixed for cheap, but at age 22 it may be near end-of-life? At least you got to 75, but running 100% it probably won't be able to keep up for long, and is probably effectively about a SEER 3?
Yes, I expect a "thank you" note from the shareholders of my electricity supplier this month. I definitely need to get moving to fix/replace my AC. If it crumps out entirely I have a portable room AC that we could use for awhile, but DW (a very patient soul) would not put up with a lot of delays. Today I'll do some quick checks (try to gaze up into the evap coil and see if it is a matted mess of goopy dust, check to see if something obvious has come apart in the ductwork, etc) and make a service appointment.

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Now I'm curious what causes most AC to fail. I've got re-fridges and freezers that run 24/7/365 (at ~ 50% duty cycle) and are still going at 25 to 30 years old (and they are not energy hogs).
I think maybe the intermittent use over the course of the year could be one issue. I know that cars, airplanes, and many other mechanical things often don't like to sit--seals "set" or dry out and get brittle, belts also take a set, bearings and wear surfaces corrode if they don't get a re-coating of lube from use, etc. The 'fridge gets turned on every few hours, but the AC sits for months unused. In my car, I turn on the heater periodically in the summer (to run fresh coolant through the heater coil), and the AC compressor sometimes gets a workout in the winter if "defrost" is selected. Maybe I should briefly run my home AC every few weeks in the winter?

While AC units in the South tend to wear out in fewer calendar years, I'll bet they die with more running hours on their clock than the typical unit in the North which sits idle for 8 months.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:18 AM   #103
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While AC units in the South tend to wear out in fewer calendar years, I'll bet they die with more running hours on their clock than the typical unit in the North which sits idle for 8 months.
+1

Our AC (heat pump) runs 9-10 months out of the year and runs for much of the day from June through September. I don't expect it to make it past the 12 year mark. Our last unit (Trane) died one month short of it's 12th birthday. We are coming up on year 7 of the Amana (Goodman) replacement and I'll be budgeting for a new unit starting with year 10.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:43 AM   #104
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Your unit may be under warranty--Goodman AC units started coming with a 10 year warranty starting in January 2007 (more here), and they had a lifetime warranty on the compressor even before that. It might be limited to the original purchaser, I'm not sure.

Meanwhile, ERD50, thanks for NOTHING! You have jinxed my home AC . I came home from trip and found that my AC was barely keeping the house at 75 degrees when the temp was 90 outside--was running constantly and would not get the house any cooler than 75.

On a 90 'F day we're lucky to get below 77 and one of our units is only 4 yrs old. We're comfortable even with a houseful of guests going in and out when we cookout. Couldn't make it without ceiling fans, though. Worst case we set it to 75 (never below) and it'll run pretty much 100% until the sun starts going down.


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Old 06-28-2016, 09:48 AM   #105
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The humidity in this area is very high, so I'm thinking the whole house fan would pull in more humidity.
it will - you need A/C to remove the humidity
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:53 AM   #106
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it will - you need A/C to remove the humidity
Or a dehumidifier.
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:56 AM   #107
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Or a dehumidifier.
not sure it works as well as a full house a/c with one or two units

the number 1 purpose of a/c is to remove the humidity - that's what the evap coils do

trust me, I lived on the gulf coast for 40 years - Houston, etc. wouldn't exist without a/c
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:57 AM   #108
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my sister (in Houston) had an attic fan - man that thing worked great for about two weeks, then it just made things worse
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:14 AM   #109
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my sister (in Houston) had an attic fan - man that thing worked great for about two weeks, then it just made things worse
As noted, attic fans need to be used strategically. If used under the wrong conditions, they don't help.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:18 AM   #110
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..........Now I'm curious what causes most AC to fail. ...........-ERD50
I have only one data point. I replaced my central AC in 2014 and it was installed in 1972. I'd lived here since 1989 and never serviced it other than a contactor re-solder job - it was still working when I replaced it. I got tired of waiting for it to die.
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:38 AM   #111
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my sister (in Houston) had an attic fan - man that thing worked great for about two weeks, then it just made things worse

Attic fans are not a good idea in Houston... they only bring in very moist air... there are no dry days here...


Then you have to run your AC to get the moisture out!!!
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Old 06-28-2016, 11:40 AM   #112
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Attic fans are not a good idea in Houston... they only bring in very moist air... there are no dry days here...


Then you have to run your AC to get the moisture out!!!
hey now, I know there are at least 5 dry days a year in Houston - I lived there 40 years
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Old 06-28-2016, 03:32 PM   #113
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hey now, I know there are at least 5 dry days a year in Houston - I lived there 40 years
I guess it makes a difference in what you consider dry Yep, it does get dry a few days a year.... but it looks like those are the days you want HEAT!!! (just having some fun with you)....


Here is a site about the humidity for Houston...

Humidity

The relative humidity typically ranges from 49% (comfortable) to 95% (very humid) over the course of the year, rarely dropping below 24% (dry) and reaching as high as 100% (very humid).
The air is driest around October 4, at which time the relative humidity drops below 58% (mildly humid) three days out of four; it is most humid around July 11, exceeding 92% (very humid) three days out of four.
Relative Humidity


The average daily high (blue) and low (brown) relative humidity with percentile bands (inner bands from 25th to 75th percentile, outer bands from 10th to 90th percentile).




Here is the site if you want to look at more info...


https://weatherspark.com/averages/30...-United-States
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:02 PM   #114
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it will - you need A/C to remove the humidity
Two 2.5 ton units are doing that. First summer in 25 that we can achieve lower humidity and temp consistently.





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Or a dehumidifier.
Because of the basement humidity we run a unit 24x7 from June to Sept.
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:09 PM   #115
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Because of the basement humidity we run a unit 24x7 from June to Sept.
I also use one as my AC is only used 30 or so days each summer. I set it at 45% for comfort and because that's ideal for acoustic guitars. The model I have has no problem maintaining the set level.
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:50 PM   #116
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On a 90 'F day we're lucky to get below 77 and one of our units is only 4 yrs old.
Did you specify units that small, or was it that way when you moved in? You might be okay with their capacity, and I'm sure they do a good job of reducing humidity, but the >average< daily high temp in Laurel during July is about 88 degrees, so you surely see a lot of days above 90. I wouldn't be happy with a system that couldn't get the indoor temps more than 13 degrees below outside temps. It gets to be 100 there sometimes, and 87 degrees inside wouldn't be comfortable regardless of the number of ceiling fans running.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:01 PM   #117
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I have three Goodman units. One in my home, one in my commercial property and one in my rental home in Florida. All have worked flawlessly and all professionally installed. The quotes that I got were all similar. The Goodman's were about 1/2 the price of a Trane and about 2/3 the price of a Carrier all with similar specs.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:16 PM   #118
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Having a Goodman Furnace *installed*

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Did you specify units that small, or was it that way when you moved in? You might be okay with their capacity, and I'm sure they do a good job of reducing humidity, but the >average< daily high temp in Laurel during July is about 88 degrees, so you surely see a lot of days above 90. I wouldn't be happy with a system that couldn't get the indoor temps more than 13 degrees below outside temps. It gets to be 100 there sometimes, and 87 degrees inside wouldn't be comfortable regardless of the number of ceiling fans running.

The builder put in 2 Goodman units total 5.5 tons and its adequate for us and the neighbors seem satisfied as well. House built in 2000 and one unit was replaced with Carrier unit 4 yrs ago. It's new style scroll compressor (eg big footprint and extremely quiet). I recall somewhere that a new system was only guaranteed for 10 degrees below ambient but we can generally cool to ~77 even when it's 100'F. Adequate and that's all but we do have many windows and minimal shades. As the trees mature the heat load decreases.
I am looking forward to replacing the 2nd Goodman unit but in the meantime I plan on getting a power ventilator for the attic, possibly solar powered. I am surprised this wasn't mentioned in this thread along with the whole house fan discussion.


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Old 06-29-2016, 11:43 AM   #119
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I am looking forward to replacing the 2nd Goodman unit but in the meantime I plan on getting a power ventilator for the attic, possibly solar powered. I am surprised this wasn't mentioned in this thread along with the whole house fan discussion.
I replaced the gable end fan a year or so ago. This was a few years after adding blown-in insulation to the attic.
Recently we had someone replace the louvers on both ends of house. What he used had more ventilation possible. In combination with the new, quiet fan, heat is exhausted from the attic space much more quickly.

When we replace roof next year, I might add the solar-powered ventilator. Need to research that a bit more.
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Old 06-29-2016, 12:07 PM   #120
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I replaced the gable end fan a year or so ago. This was a few years after adding blown-in insulation to the attic.
Recently we had someone replace the louvers on both ends of house. What he used had more ventilation possible. In combination with the new, quiet fan, heat is exhausted from the attic space much more quickly.

When we replace roof next year, I might add the solar-powered ventilator. Need to research that a bit more.
If there's a lot of heat in the attic, mechanical ventilation (solar or line electric powered) sometimes makes sense. It's really important that whole ventilation scheme be thoroughly thought out, though.
- There needs to be plenty of make-up air available from down low (soffit vents, etc).
- "Short circuiting" needs to be prevented. I see lots of solar/powered vents on the same roof with a ridge vent. What often happens is the powered vent draws directly from the nearby high vent (rather than the soffit vents) and most of the attic remains unventilated.
- There needs to be very good gap sealing between the the attic and the living space if mechanical ventilation is installed. Even with lot of "net free area" in soffit vents, mechanical ventilation will partially depressurize the attic (that's what makes the hot air move to the fan). This depressurization can suck in considerable amounts of cool, conditioned air from the living space. Obviously, this greatly reduces any cost/energy savings that mechanical ventilation might have provided.

Best bang-for-the-buck:
- Good sealing between attic and living space.
- Lots of insulation between the living space and the attic (pays off winter and summer).
- Lots of passive ventilation in the attic: Runs for free, never breaks, requires no maintenance, reduces moisture problems in winter, reduces threat of ice dams in the winter. >In general<, ridge vents are best, but gable vents and "can" vents can be fine, too. There needs to be as much soffit vent area as there is high vent area, and it needs to be unblocked (no insulation in the way, etc).
- In areas with a lot of hot weather, consider radiant barriers in the attic (usually stapled up to the bottom of the rafters/joists that support the roof deck). No maintenance, does a good job of stopping the radiant transfer of heat from the underside of the roof deck to the top of the insulation (which can be considerable, and which isn't directly addressed by attic ventilation). An easy DIY project with good payback >if< the home is in a hot climate. Virtually zero benefit when the weather is cold.
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