Author Topic: Air conditioning nightmare  (Read 2217 times)

KungfuRabbit

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Air conditioning nightmare
« on: July 03, 2018, 08:47:05 AM »
So Iím in the middle of an air conditioning nightmare and losing hope. To give some perspective on how dire the situation is I have had 4 professionals come to the house, refuse to fix my current AC, and tell me there are literally zero options to install a new AC anywhere in my house. 4 companies, zero paths forward.

So hereís the situation:

My house is a 1962 rambler, originally built with no air conditioner and hot water baseboard heating.  The finished area is 3200sq ft, probably 1800 upstairs. 

In 1988 the previous owners installed an air conditioner in the attic, the air handler and condenser coils are roughly in the middle of the house, the main air intake is in the middle of the house, and then there are a half dozen lines with the cold air with vents in the ceiling. All of the stuff is in the attic, nothing in the walls and nothing in the basement.  The compressor is outside, next to the house.

The attic is miserable to work in. There is loose blown fiberglass installation, exposed rafters, a really narrow pitch roof (maybe 4í headroom in the very middle), 3 skylights, and all of the duct work making it not only uncomfortable but practically impossible to maneuver to some places.

The air conditioner has broken the last 3 years in a row, and previously Iíve fixed it. The current problem Iím struggling with. Basically the house has settled over the years, and since the air handler is hanging from the roof it is now angled the wrong direction, so instead of the water going to the drain it floods my ceiling. The fix is easy on paper (correct the slope), but in practice it is logistically near impossible.  Itís also possible this has been the case for the past decade - thereís decent odds the condensate has been flowing down a wall or something since I moved in, the House was not used for 5 years before I got it (previous owner died, kids didnít want to sell during recession is my theory). 

So I want to replace it. I wonít go in to the reasons why, but other traditional  options such as a mini split or a traditional split with the air handler in the basement wonít work. See above, many professionals told me there are literally zero options. Pros are not known to be as creative as Mustachians though.

So I have two classes of questions. The first is regarding replacing it with a new unit of the same style. The reasons why they wonít do it are because itís too miserable to work up there, and there is not a big enough hole to get a new air handler and condenser up there. So:

-how do I make it less miserable up there?  Right now itís exposed rafters and blown fiberglass insulation. Can I put plywood covering the insulation so at least it is contained and you can move around without needing to step joist to joist?  What else could I do?

-the best access hole to get a new air handler in is the air intake, which uses a 20x24Ē filter (not sure how far I could take it apart without ruining the ceiling. Are there options for really skinny air handlers and coils ?  Or one that comes apart easily.   The one up there now is probably 30x40x24 or so.

The other class is regarding other options.

-there are no options for a traditional horizontal mini split (wonít go in to why...). Does a mini split exist that mounts inside vertically?  Something tall and skinny? 

-the basement is finished and we may demo and remodel eventually, but not now.  So ductwork throughout the basement is not an option.  However, I could put a mini split (or just cheap window units) in the basement easily. To cool the upstairs I was then thinking about putting a few fans through the floor that literally just suck air from the basement and push it upstairs. So then air flow in the house would have those fans pushing air up, and it would wonder down through the stairway.  Would that work at all?  It seems like a great way to cool since basements are always cold, but I canít find a single person online that put fans in the ceiling of their basement to push air upstairs through a small duct - so i feel there is some reason it wouldnít work

I donít love the above two options, but they are better than nothing. Iím also really really worried about resale. In this price point and area not having central AC is laughable and a deal breaker, and even having a paperweight in the attic, unused vents in the ceiling, and 3 ugly mini split fans on the wall would make it a tough sell. So I really want to make the attic work again.

lthenderson

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2018, 09:00:59 AM »
I don't have any answers to your questions but I would never install a condenser unit and ducting in an unconditioned attic. Studies have shown that even with a well sealed and insulated system, putting it in an unconditioned attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%. I also think exposing your condenser to all that humid air in an attic shortens it's life significantly. Here is an in depth study on the subject:

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy10osti/48163.pdf

MMM98

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2018, 12:33:27 PM »
I don't have any answers to your questions but I would never install a condenser unit and ducting in an unconditioned attic. Studies have shown that even with a well sealed and insulated system, putting it in an unconditioned attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%.
There is certainly more to the world than where you live.  Entire states have their AC done this way, Florida immediately comes to mind..

To the OP:  How did they get the original unit in the attic?  I presume the AC techs simply do not want to access the attic in the heat of summer and it will be up to you to install the unit.  After getting as much cool air in there as possible and working in the cool of the day I would use one of these to work on the install https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071VBKNM5/ref=sspa_dk_detail_1?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B071VBKNM5&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=1713835751726239774&pf_rd_r=GCE7K1SB9M21FE5Q2378&pd_rd_wg=mi76u&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&pd_rd_w=JEB5k&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pd_rd_r=fb2df7fc-7eee-11e8-ba43-c5fa41fe5587

MMM98

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2018, 03:10:13 PM »
attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%. I also think exposing your condenser to all that humid air in an attic shortens it's life significantly. Here is an in depth study on the subject:

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy10osti/48163.pdf

Garbage.  The 20% loss quoted is based upon a 2004 ASHRAE standard which was updated in 2007 and 2010.  The old standard did not require duct sealing.  Even California did not require it until 2005.  Certainly duct sealing needs to be done, if is is done your losses will not be 20%.  Ideally ducts should not be in an attic but the OP wants them to be there.  For others there is no other choice.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2018, 03:30:59 PM »
Regarding the attic comfort. Personally, I would put some plywood down at least temporarily and at least in the area you plan to be working.

Perhaps a ducted mini-split (yes there is a such a thing) or two (depending on your cooling needs) would be easier to fit and work into you existing space and  maybe could use some of your existing duct work. I believe LG makes one. Perhaps you could DIY the install or contact an LG installer in your area and explore that route vs a traditional HVAC system.

lthenderson

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2018, 03:39:51 PM »
attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%. I also think exposing your condenser to all that humid air in an attic shortens it's life significantly. Here is an in depth study on the subject:

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy10osti/48163.pdf

Garbage.  The 20% loss quoted is based upon a 2004 ASHRAE standard which was updated in 2007 and 2010.  The old standard did not require duct sealing.  Even California did not require it until 2005.  Certainly duct sealing needs to be done, if is is done your losses will not be 20%.  Ideally ducts should not be in an attic but the OP wants them to be there.  For others there is no other choice.

It's a matter of elementary thermodynamics. Across any combination of insulation, even a perfectly sealed air duct, there is going to be heat transfer from the hot side/attic to the cold side/interior of the air duct. If the delta between temperatures is greater, i.e. the difference between 150 F - the temperature of the chilled air versus a conditioned space where you would expect it to be 75 F - the temperature of the chilled air, that is DIRECTLY proportional to the amount of heat transfer to said duct. Google Fourier's Law.

lthenderson

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2018, 03:51:27 PM »
I don't have any answers to your questions but I would never install a condenser unit and ducting in an unconditioned attic. Studies have shown that even with a well sealed and insulated system, putting it in an unconditioned attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%.
There is certainly more to the world than where you live.  Entire states have their AC done this way, Florida immediately comes to mind..

Saying entire states have done something a certain way doesn't really build a valid argument. Most houses used to be built using balloon framing until we realized that that method made them drafty and fire hazards. Houses used to be built with knob and tube wiring so does that mean that is the best way to do it today? How about use of lead paint? Asbestos for insulation? There are literally tens of thousands of things we no longer do today that used to be done in home construction. We have learned from our mistakes which is why codes are continually being updated.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2018, 04:22:59 PM »
Thanks for all the comments.

As far as efficiency goes I understand itís not good to have cold air in a hot place, but not really much choice. And Iím in Minnesota, we only cool a few months of the year, my total cooling electric bill is maybe $200-$300 per year. So a 20% loss in efficiency is like $50 - insignificant compared to costs of moving it.

I hadnít heard of a ducted mini split. Itís a very interesting option I need to read more in to it.

Jon Bon

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 07:02:59 AM »
I don't have any answers to your questions but I would never install a condenser unit and ducting in an unconditioned attic. Studies have shown that even with a well sealed and insulated system, putting it in an unconditioned attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%.
There is certainly more to the world than where you live.  Entire states have their AC done this way, Florida immediately comes to mind..

Saying entire states have done something a certain way doesn't really build a valid argument. Most houses used to be built using balloon framing until we realized that that method made them drafty and fire hazards. Houses used to be built with knob and tube wiring so does that mean that is the best way to do it today? How about use of lead paint? Asbestos for insulation? There are literally tens of thousands of things we no longer do today that used to be done in home construction. We have learned from our mistakes which is why codes are continually being updated.

I feel like your comparing different things here.

ACs in the attic in Florida because of storm surge and ruined AC's are a bad thing.
Knob and tube wiring used to be the best product available now we use romex, which is the best thing available.

Just make sure the attic is well vented and keep the AC where it is.

So how to fix your problem? Active cooling in your attic might be a good idea for a day or 2 to get the them down. Throw a few box fans by the gable vents to get at least get them temp down close to ambient temp.

Attic access..... make the hole bigger? a few 2x4's and a saw zall would make it much easier. Plus its attic access, is already probably kind of ugly already and hopefully located in a closet or something you dont see.  Yeah it would be a mess, but it sounds like you only have so many options.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 07:17:59 AM »
Yes, put planks over the insulation so you can walk in the attic.

Can you remove the planks on the side of the house to make an opening for the unit?

Have you considered renovating/replacing the whole roof and install things properly? Maybe that would make your house worth more and could be worth the investment? Maybe even make it into an extra room?

lthenderson

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2018, 07:27:48 AM »
I don't have any answers to your questions but I would never install a condenser unit and ducting in an unconditioned attic. Studies have shown that even with a well sealed and insulated system, putting it in an unconditioned attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%.
There is certainly more to the world than where you live.  Entire states have their AC done this way, Florida immediately comes to mind..

Saying entire states have done something a certain way doesn't really build a valid argument. Most houses used to be built using balloon framing until we realized that that method made them drafty and fire hazards. Houses used to be built with knob and tube wiring so does that mean that is the best way to do it today? How about use of lead paint? Asbestos for insulation? There are literally tens of thousands of things we no longer do today that used to be done in home construction. We have learned from our mistakes which is why codes are continually being updated.

I feel like your comparing different things here.

ACs in the attic in Florida because of storm surge and ruined AC's are a bad thing.
Knob and tube wiring used to be the best product available now we use romex, which is the best thing available.

The point I am trying to make is simply that technology and knowledge bases change. Just because something was done a certain way in the past doesn't make it the best way to do it today.

The OP doesn't live in Florida and in fact lives in Minnesota, far from any storm surge and where attic installations of A/C condenser units is not common. It is in an un-insulated attic where temperatures can get below freezing nearly six months a year which is very hard on mechanical things in general and perhaps the reason it has broken down three years in a row.

Jon Bon

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2018, 07:56:45 AM »
I don't have any answers to your questions but I would never install a condenser unit and ducting in an unconditioned attic. Studies have shown that even with a well sealed and insulated system, putting it in an unconditioned attic where temperatures can easily approach 150 F during the summer decreases it's efficiency by 20%.
There is certainly more to the world than where you live.  Entire states have their AC done this way, Florida immediately comes to mind..

Saying entire states have done something a certain way doesn't really build a valid argument. Most houses used to be built using balloon framing until we realized that that method made them drafty and fire hazards. Houses used to be built with knob and tube wiring so does that mean that is the best way to do it today? How about use of lead paint? Asbestos for insulation? There are literally tens of thousands of things we no longer do today that used to be done in home construction. We have learned from our mistakes which is why codes are continually being updated.

I feel like your comparing different things here.

ACs in the attic in Florida because of storm surge and ruined AC's are a bad thing.
Knob and tube wiring used to be the best product available now we use romex, which is the best thing available.

The point I am trying to make is simply that technology and knowledge bases change. Just because something was done a certain way in the past doesn't make it the best way to do it today.

The OP doesn't live in Florida and in fact lives in Minnesota, far from any storm surge and where attic installations of A/C condenser units is not common. It is in an un-insulated attic where temperatures can get below freezing nearly six months a year which is very hard on mechanical things in general and perhaps the reason it has broken down three years in a row.

Very possible. A basic google search did not tell me an answer. My guess yeah it would probably age your unit, you might only get 2/3 of its recommended life. However 3 breakdowns in 3 years just sounds like its junk and needs to go.

The Internets recommended dropping the unit to a conditioned closet or something like that. I assume the OP has considered this and ruled it out.

Sounds like if OP wants AC its gonna be in the attic. (baring lottery winnings)


AZDude

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2018, 01:46:36 PM »
Maybe you could rig up a new drain on the side where the leak is happening and funnel the water outside instead of flooding your ceiling?

bacchi

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2018, 10:40:42 PM »
There are also cassette mini-splits that fit in the ceiling/attic and blow out of a vent. They're smaller than a traditional HVAC condensing unit and will fit in the access hole. A Daikin model is 10x23x23, for example.

https://www.daikinac.com/content/assets/DOC/SubmittalDataSheets/Single-Split/FFQ09Q2VJU-RX09QMVJU%20Submittal%20Sheet.pdf

Though that may not solve cooling the first floor....

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2018, 05:06:42 AM »
Hi, fellow Minnesotan here. Your attic system sounds like an invitation for mold. I have not used my AC in two years now, just run fans in the windows at night (if you feel safe leaving them open) and close the windows and curtains when you wake up in the morning, the house stays cooler than the outside until dinner time. Shade trees help too. I also dry my clothes outside, wait until evening to run my dishwasher, and avoid using the oven/stove on really hot days (microwave is ok, or pick up a rotisserie chicken at Costco). If this doesn't work for you then just buy a couple of window units.

robartsd

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2018, 11:33:50 AM »
Regarding the attic comfort. Personally, I would put some plywood down at least temporarily and at least in the area you plan to be working.

Perhaps a ducted mini-split (yes there is a such a thing) or two (depending on your cooling needs) would be easier to fit and work into you existing space and  maybe could use some of your existing duct work. I believe LG makes one. Perhaps you could DIY the install or contact an LG installer in your area and explore that route vs a traditional HVAC system.
In addition to the ducted mini-splits, LG has a picture frame unit that is about 2 feet square.

sol

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2018, 12:19:15 PM »
Why do you need to fix the slope of the drain line?  Lots of units are installed with pumps instead of gravity drains.  Water is easy to reroute.

dragoncar

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2018, 12:30:50 PM »
Yes, put planks over the insulation so you can walk in the attic.

Can you remove the planks on the side of the house to make an opening for the unit?

Have you considered renovating/replacing the whole roof and install things properly? Maybe that would make your house worth more and could be worth the investment? Maybe even make it into an extra room?

Yup, replace the roof.  While itís off, redo AC and insulate up the wazoo.

Op doesnít want to use the obvious solution (mini split) so has to pay the pickiness fee

Fishindude

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2018, 12:43:15 PM »
If I was in this situation, I would do a complete re-work.    You've got 3,200 SF so with a little imagination you have some room.   Create a mechanical closet somewhere for a new air handler and run proper ductwork, possibly a system for each floor?  Get that unit out of the attic, those are miserable and they never get serviced like they should.
A smart HVAC contractor will be able to figure this out.   It won't be cheap, but it will be a whole lot better.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2018, 08:18:38 AM »
If I was in this situation, I would do a complete re-work.    You've got 3,200 SF so with a little imagination you have some room.   Create a mechanical closet somewhere for a new air handler and run proper ductwork, possibly a system for each floor?  Get that unit out of the attic, those are miserable and they never get serviced like they should.
A smart HVAC contractor will be able to figure this out.   It won't be cheap, but it will be a whole lot better.
This.  If you've got 1,800 square feet on your 2nd floor, you can almost certainly find yourself a dozen square feet to build a closet for a furnace.  My guess is that the HVAC contractors didn't suggest it because they were thinking inside the box.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2018, 02:44:00 PM »
Sorry if I missed this above, but out of curiosity: could you just use a few
Hi, fellow Minnesotan here. Your attic system sounds like an invitation for mold. I have not used my AC in two years now, just run fans in the windows at night (if you feel safe leaving them open) and close the windows and curtains when you wake up in the morning, the house stays cooler than the outside until dinner time. Shade trees help too. I also dry my clothes outside, wait until evening to run my dishwasher, and avoid using the oven/stove on really hot days (microwave is ok, or pick up a rotisserie chicken at Costco). If this doesn't work for you then just buy a couple of window units.

Everyone has different tolerances for heat/humidity, but I also wonder whether a couple window units might suffice, at least as a stop-gap solution.  Our house is a similar size, in a similar climate, and we're currently using one 8,000BTU unit on the 3rd floor and one 5,000BTU unit on the 2nd floor.  We recently had a fairly hot spell of mid 90's and very high humidity for ~4 days, and those two window units kept the indoor temperature below 80 and the relative humidity in the mid 50's on every floor of the house, running about 12 hours per day.  Not as efficient as central air, but simple and effective, at a cost of about $2/day.  And that's with some of the highest electric rates in the country.

Granted, OP's 1964 Rambler probably has relatively poor insulation.  Might need three or four 5,000BTU units to achieve a similar effect.

Cadman

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2018, 06:05:37 PM »
Ignoring the issue of the drainage, does the A/C work adequately otherwise? If it's hanging, could you fabricate a drip pan and hose under the unit? That would certainly buy you some time for a better long term solution.

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2018, 08:30:14 PM »
Thanks for all the comments.

As far as efficiency goes I understand itís not good to have cold air in a hot place, but not really much choice. And Iím in Minnesota, we only cool a few months of the year, my total cooling electric bill is maybe $200-$300 per year. So a 20% loss in efficiency is like $50 - insignificant compared to costs of moving it.

I hadnít heard of a ducted mini split. Itís a very interesting option I need to read more in to it.

A ducted mini-split has a condenser head that hooks up to your ductwork, like a traditional air handler. Its variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology, vs. cycling on and off, makes it more efficient, but you'd lose a lot of that efficiency through your ductwork.  Also, you'd have to remove the current air handler, and/or move the ducts, to hook up to the new head.

If you don't like standard mini-split heads, you can get recessed ceiling (or wall) vent ones that aren't as obtrusive.  They're a bit more expensive.  In my own house I could replace the wall vents with recessed mini-split heads that would look the same but be about twice as large.  All the major mini-split companies have these.

But you're looking at >$4k, just for the equipment, before installation.

By all means, lay some boards in your attic so you can work up there.  I can't believe it's impossible to jack up and refasten your air handler to correct the drainage angle, or fix the drainage some other way.  So just fix it.  Your cooling costs don't justify a major investment.

You might improve your attic venting.  Also seal/insulate your ducts.  Are they metal, or flex hose?  I replaced a bunch of haphazardly draped, single wall flex hose with modern insulated stuff for less than $100, and got the system blowing noticeably stronger and colder.

plantingourpennies

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2018, 05:41:53 PM »
When times are good  we see contractors pass on jobs that aren't cash cows.  I'd keep trying to find some hungry young guy who is still building his reputation and is willing to give it a shot.

This just can't be that tough-they managed to get it up there in 1988.

If the house is stick built (studs and 2x4s) then you can disassemble and reassemble large areas of it at will. You might have to remove part of the siding and exterior wall, rent a scissor lift and push it out on to the lift, but I promise you there is a way to get it out, and the new one in.

GuitarBrian

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2018, 07:39:33 PM »
How about removing one 4x8 sheet of the roof? It is easy to reroof a small area like that... And it would make the attic easy to access... Make sure you can get acceptably colored shingles before you start tearing (if that is important to you).

Or, build a closet, and route the ductwork through the walls.

Ply laid over the ceiling joists compressing the insulation makes working much easier...

Why replace the air handler? Is it hanging from the rafters? Or a stand built? Can't it be leveled? Most attic mounted air handlers I've seen are sitting in a metal pan, hanging from the rafters. You could retrofit it, buy an air handler pan and hang, allowing you to level easily.

If you are needing to move on from r22, you can get a new coil.

Also eBay has a 15% coupon today.. it works on ACs, so $100 off! I am looking at a 3 ton heat pump with air handler for $1689.

Or I am a huge fan of window AC units. They are cheap, easy to install.. will almost certainly save you money... you don't use every room, every day do you??

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2018, 07:13:35 PM »
So Iím in the middle of an air conditioning nightmare and losing hope. To give some perspective on how dire the situation is I have had 4 professionals come to the house, refuse to fix my current AC, and tell me there are literally zero options to install a new AC anywhere in my house. 4 companies, zero paths forward.

So hereís the situation:

My house is a 1962 rambler, originally built with no air conditioner and hot water baseboard heating.  The finished area is 3200sq ft, probably 1800 upstairs. 

In 1988 the previous owners installed an air conditioner in the attic, the air handler and condenser coils are roughly in the middle of the house, the main air intake is in the middle of the house, and then there are a half dozen lines with the cold air with vents in the ceiling. All of the stuff is in the attic, nothing in the walls and nothing in the basement.
  The compressor is outside, next to the house.

The attic is miserable to work in. There is loose blown fiberglass installation, exposed rafters, a really narrow pitch roof (maybe 4í headroom in the very middle), 3 skylights, and all of the duct work making it not only uncomfortable but practically impossible to maneuver to some places.

The air conditioner has broken the last 3 years in a row, and previously Iíve fixed it. The current problem Iím struggling with. Basically the house has settled over the years, and since the air handler is hanging from the roof it is now angled the wrong direction, so instead of the water going to the drain it floods my ceiling. The fix is easy on paper (correct the slope), but in practice it is logistically near impossible.  Itís also possible this has been the case for the past decade - thereís decent odds the condensate has been flowing down a wall or something since I moved in, the House was not used for 5 years before I got it (previous owner died, kids didnít want to sell during recession is my theory). 

So I want to replace it. I wonít go in to the reasons why, but other traditional  options such as a mini split or a traditional split with the air handler in the basement wonít work. See above, many professionals told me there are literally zero options. Pros are not known to be as creative as Mustachians though.

So I have two classes of questions. The first is regarding replacing it with a new unit of the same style. The reasons why they wonít do it are because itís too miserable to work up there, and there is not a big enough hole to get a new air handler and condenser up there. So:

-how do I make it less miserable up there?  Right now itís exposed rafters and blown fiberglass insulation. Can I put plywood covering the insulation so at least it is contained and you can move around without needing to step joist to joist?  What else could I do?

-the best access hole to get a new air handler in is the air intake, which uses a 20x24Ē filter (not sure how far I could take it apart without ruining the ceiling. Are there options for really skinny air handlers and coils ?  Or one that comes apart easily.   The one up there now is probably 30x40x24 or so.

The other class is regarding other options.

-there are no options for a traditional horizontal mini split (wonít go in to why...). Does a mini split exist that mounts inside vertically?  Something tall and skinny? 

-the basement is finished and we may demo and remodel eventually, but not now.  So ductwork throughout the basement is not an option.  However, I could put a mini split (or just cheap window units) in the basement easily. To cool the upstairs I was then thinking about putting a few fans through the floor that literally just suck air from the basement and push it upstairs. So then air flow in the house would have those fans pushing air up, and it would wonder down through the stairway.  Would that work at all?  It seems like a great way to cool since basements are always cold, but I canít find a single person online that put fans in the ceiling of their basement to push air upstairs through a small duct - so i feel there is some reason it wouldnít work

I donít love the above two options, but they are better than nothing. Iím also really really worried about resale. In this price point and area not having central AC is laughable and a deal breaker, and even having a paperweight in the attic, unused vents in the ceiling, and 3 ugly mini split fans on the wall would make it a tough sell. So I really want to make the attic work again.

Does this mean that only the upstairs in climate controlled and the first floor is left at natural conditions or cool air convecting down from the second floor?

SaraArch

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Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2018, 01:09:35 PM »
Air conditioning problems always depend on the condenser unit

reverend

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    • RobDiesel
Re: Air conditioning nightmare
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2018, 09:22:40 PM »
There are plenty of good ideas here.

Ducted mini-split.

Move the air handler outside or in a closet inside somewhere (you only need to pipe up the air to the ducting in the attic that then goes to each room).

Wait until fall or spring when neither heater nor AC work is used as much and HVAC guys are idle and eager to make money.

Have a carpenter cut a large attic ladder box to your attic and then you lay down plywood. That gives the HVAC equipment room to move in and out of the attic AND makes it easy to get up there.