How to repair your air conditioner and save a few bucks.

While this post is only applicable to a small subset of scenarios, you may find a nugget of information in here that could save you several hundred dollars of repair cost.
As has been the case in the last several post, this communication began in our regularly scheduled weekly meeting, and carried over into the binary communications. The real value in this conversation comes from the later discussion about sizing of breakers for outdoor units, and how they are often undersized!

Subject line read “My Air just quit working!”
-Guys, the air is still out, but I think it’s a problem with the thermostat. Moving the controls around doesn’t seem to affect the unit at all. Ideas?

-Check the wiring from the thermostat to the outdoor unit for breaks in continuity.

-alright, I’ll do that when I get home tonight. At least it’s only 82 degrees today!

-Thank you. Found a broken low voltage wire at the outside unit.

I owe you a beer or 6.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

-So you don’t want to buy my old unit anymore! Damnit…

-Sorry many, KB pointed me in the right direction, I’m good now!

-Awesome you just needed nudge in the right direction

Sent from my iPhone

-YEP Thanks for the help you saved me a couple bucks on a Sunday.

Total cost to repair.

Non-Fused air conditioning disconnect $8
A/C capacitor $22
A/C switch $18

-You saved yourself around 290 bucks

Sent from my iPhone

-WOW You guys really make the big bucks, especially on weekends.

-It s a good thing Handy has taken a temporary hiatus from the list or he might break on off on you for so many emails related A/C.

-For fuck sake.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

-Over the cliff ?

-Yea, that’s it Mr Over The Hill

-Another question. I was told by an electriction I should change my breaker to 45amp since my A/C unit says 45amps max. But then I was told by someone else the breaker should be 50% more than the A/C uni is that’s why I have a 60amp breaker.

So Which is it ???

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

-Breaker capacity is married to wire gauge… Breaker must be less than the current rating of wire. or else an overload condition in load (in this case the AC) can demand too much power, since voltage is fixed, demand will result in pulling too much current, wires will over heat, burn up, and so will your house.

The rating on the unit is all you should need the to breaker and wire to be. although motors dynamically draw more current at start up, that capacitor (as in capacitor start) mitigates some of that spike, also breakers are heat devices themselves, so the short (millisecond) spike of current draw as the motor starts is “allowable” in the breaker as it will not build up enough heat to trip the breaker.

so, the installed system(wire and breaker) should not take into consideration the load, only the wire and the breaker. Like the outlets in your house, they are rated 15A, and you don’t cause any trouble plugging your 100mA cellphone charger in. Until such time as you put a new load out there and it is too much for the system and you have a major upgrade to do that mandates changing the wire and breaker.

Q1. have you fucked with it already? Like changing the breaker from something smaller to the 60 you currently have… but not changed the wires.

If you don’t think is has been redneck-tampered, leave it alone. If you want to check; since you stated that you have a 60A breaker on it you should also have AWG #4, if the wire is #5, you really need that smaller breaker, if its any smaller, then you need bigger wire, or more fire insurance.

-No the 60amp breaker is original unrednecked. The A/C unit on the other hand is only about 14 years old.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

-And again. Thank you Mac. This was another one of your emails that I actually appreciate your detail.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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