Resetting AC indoor breaker; and what's wrong with my AC.


M

mm

I would google but my house is so hot, opening the browser again makes
the computer overheat.

Someone posted that he feared resetting a high current breaker when
the device it powered was on, was bad for the breaker, because of
arcing.

I think there was only modest agreement with him, but still, if I'm
resetting the indoor double breaker for my AC, and the outdoor double
breaker is ON, and the temp of the house calls for cooling, could I
stop the load on the indoor breaker by turning off the indoor single
breaker that controls my oil furance, which in turn controls the AC?

Normally I wouldn't care, but the indoor double breaker for the AC
seemed to make a strange noise when being reset, like a few little
metal blades from a tiny metal fan hitting something, like a Chinese
fan that a woman carries, which I feared was actually the noise of
arcing. And the breaker would NOT reset! So this moise made me feel
I was damaging or further damaging it.


But the bigger question is what's wrong with my AC? We have had 5 or
7 days above 90 degrees**, so I broke down and started using it 3 days
ago. Normally it turns off after about 4 hours, even when first
turned on, but this time it ran many hours, maybe 3 solid days,
without stopping, even though the house was cool enough for me after
less than a day, and eventually too cold. (I coudn't see and had set
the thermostat too low.)

Did running for 3 days damage the breaker?

Or do you think there's a bigger problem?

If there were a short in the compressor, it woudln't reset either.
Will turning off the outside double breaker and trying to reset the
inside double breaker prove that the problem is the inside breaker if
I still can't reset it. Naybe writing this post got me to my next
step.

But I still wonder if running constantly for 3 days would damage a
breaker, or a compressor?

Thanks a lot.


(For a while I thought it was the radio control by the power company,
but that was before I looked at the inside breaker.)


**Already labeled maybe the hottest summer ever, after we had
snowmageddon this past February, and the coolest summer of my life
last summer (26 of which were here, Baltimore, and others in NYC,
Chicago, Indy, and western Pa.).
 
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R

ransley

I would google but my house is so hot, opening the browser again makes
the computer overheat.

Someone posted that he feared resetting a high current breaker when
the device it powered was on, was bad for the breaker, because of
arcing.

I think there was only modest agreement with him, but still, if I'm
resetting the indoor double breaker for my AC, and the outdoor double
breaker is ON, and the temp of the house calls for cooling, could I
stop the load on the indoor breaker by turning off the indoor single
breaker that controls my oil furance, which in turn controls the AC?

Normally I wouldn't care, but the indoor double breaker for the AC
seemed to make a strange noise when being reset, like a few little
metal blades from a tiny metal fan hitting something, like a Chinese
fan that a woman carries, which I feared was actually the noise of
arcing.  And the breaker would NOT reset!   So this moise made me feel
I was damaging or further damaging it.

But the bigger question is what's wrong with my AC?  We have had 5 or
7 days above 90 degrees**, so I broke down and started using it 3 days
ago.  Normally it turns off after about 4 hours, even when first
turned on, but this time it ran many hours, maybe 3 solid days,
without stopping, even though the house was cool enough for me after
less than a day, and eventually too cold. (I coudn't see and had set
the thermostat too low.)

Did running for 3 days damage the breaker?

Or do you think there's a bigger problem?

If there were a short in the compressor, it woudln't reset either.
Will turning off the outside double breaker and trying to reset the
inside double breaker prove that the problem is the inside breaker if
I still can't reset it.   Naybe writing this post got me to my next
step.

But I still wonder if running constantly for 3 days would damage a
breaker, or a compressor?

Thanks a lot.

(For a while I thought it was the radio control by the power company,
but that was before I looked at the inside breaker.)

**Already labeled maybe the hottest summer ever, after we had
snowmageddon this past February, and the coolest summer of my life
last summer (26 of which were here, Baltimore, and others in NYC,
Chicago, Indy, and western Pa.).
Im no electrician or AC pro but I would use a clamp on amp meter at
the panel and if load isnt about what is stated on the unit I would
call a pro now, if the breaker was cutting out at a low load I would
put in a new breaker and hope its a bad breaker. I would not feel safe
running it until I knew the issue. Just last night the fire dept was
called to my neighbors house for the AC system smelling like smoke,
alot of components could be in question on a system, you shouldnt be
guessing.
 
M

mm

If the breaker is not resetting and making lots of noise you probably have a
short someplace. Running three days straight wound not ruin the breaker, but
evidently, there is a problem of either low charge or possibly a compressor
problem.
This seems pretty clear now that you've said it. Last night my mind
was a blank, other than focusing on my unresettable breker. A low
charge would account for its cooling more slowly these 3 days. (I
didn't use it all last summer.) OTOH, it was working until or almost
until the breaker tripped, maybe it's a compressor problem.

I will check the breaker in a little while, and see if I smell
anything at the compressor, and maybe open up the case. Yeah, I know
about 220.
My advice would be to call a service tech. Breakers are fairly
cheap if it was ruined.
I'm supposed to get a new furnace this summer. I've used the AC very
little over the last 27 years so I considered not replacing it,
despite what you all said about efficiency. But I guess I'll get
one. Still, I can easily live without it until then.



It's 85 out at 8:30AM and still very pleasant in the house.
Expected 92 today, 88 tomorrow and low 80's after that. I
 
S

Stormin Mormon

You could, of course, try shut down the furnace. Reset the breaker,
turn furnace back on. The funny noises, sounds like the current draw
is about trying to trip the double breaker for the outdoor unit. If it
trips again, I'd call a service company for help.

An AC shouldn't trip the breaker. If it is, something is wrong.

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..


I would google but my house is so hot, opening the browser again makes
the computer overheat.

Someone posted that he feared resetting a high current breaker when
the device it powered was on, was bad for the breaker, because of
arcing.

I think there was only modest agreement with him, but still, if I'm
resetting the indoor double breaker for my AC, and the outdoor double
breaker is ON, and the temp of the house calls for cooling, could I
stop the load on the indoor breaker by turning off the indoor single
breaker that controls my oil furance, which in turn controls the AC?

Normally I wouldn't care, but the indoor double breaker for the AC
seemed to make a strange noise when being reset, like a few little
metal blades from a tiny metal fan hitting something, like a Chinese
fan that a woman carries, which I feared was actually the noise of
arcing. And the breaker would NOT reset! So this moise made me feel
I was damaging or further damaging it.


But the bigger question is what's wrong with my AC? We have had 5 or
7 days above 90 degrees**, so I broke down and started using it 3 days
ago. Normally it turns off after about 4 hours, even when first
turned on, but this time it ran many hours, maybe 3 solid days,
without stopping, even though the house was cool enough for me after
less than a day, and eventually too cold. (I coudn't see and had set
the thermostat too low.)

Did running for 3 days damage the breaker?

Or do you think there's a bigger problem?

If there were a short in the compressor, it woudln't reset either.
Will turning off the outside double breaker and trying to reset the
inside double breaker prove that the problem is the inside breaker if
I still can't reset it. Naybe writing this post got me to my next
step.

But I still wonder if running constantly for 3 days would damage a
breaker, or a compressor?

Thanks a lot.


(For a while I thought it was the radio control by the power company,
but that was before I looked at the inside breaker.)


**Already labeled maybe the hottest summer ever, after we had
snowmageddon this past February, and the coolest summer of my life
last summer (26 of which were here, Baltimore, and others in NYC,
Chicago, Indy, and western Pa.).
 
M

mm

Im no electrician or AC pro but I would use a clamp on amp meter at
the panel and if load isnt about what is stated on the unit I would
Don't I have to somehow separate the black and white wires to measure
current with a clamp-on? So I can go around just one of them.
Woudln't that be a lot of work?
call a pro now, if the breaker was cutting out at a low load I would
put in a new breaker and hope its a bad breaker. I would not feel safe
running it until I knew the issue. Just last night the fire dept was
called to my neighbors house for the AC system smelling like smoke,
alot of components could be in question on a system, you shouldnt be
guessing.
Thanks for replying. I turned off the outside breaker and the inside
one reset with no problem.

While I'm outside, the young wman next door has guys there replacing
her compressor. They have to go to their next job and won't look at
my unit, but tell me it's the compressor.

They're going to give me an estimate for a new AC and furnace.

My next door neibhor also has original AC and furance from 31 years
ago, and I believe all the families who lived there used their AC a
lot. Carrier, fwiw. Though that's not the brand they're replacing it
with. She's keeping her furnace.
 
R

ransley

Don't I have to somehow separate the black and white wires to measure
current with a clamp-on?   So I can go around just one of them.
Woudln't that be a lot of work?


Thanks for replying.  I turned off the outside breaker and the inside
one reset with no problem.

While I'm outside, the young wman next door has guys there replacing
her compressor.  They have to go to their next job and won't look at
my unit, but tell me it's the compressor.  

They're going to give me an estimate for a new AC and furnace.

My next door neibhor also has original AC and furance from 31 years
ago, and I believe all the families who lived there used their AC a
lot. Carrier, fwiw.  Though that's not the brand they're replacing it
with.   She's keeping her furnace.
On your circuit panel its the one wire that goes to each circuit
breaker, it shouldnt be a problem with the large spacing and extra
wire in there to get a meter on a wire. As motors and the compressor
near failure they can draw alot more amps than rated. When the tech
comes out and checks my AC he checks for amp draw at the units to
check all components individualy, doing it at the circuit panel will
give you an idea as long as you read the units running load. At 27
years Im sure it could use service, have you ever looked at the air
handler coil, I saw my neighbors that was so clogged he couldnt get
heat one winter, we pulled the coil for the winter, it was caked shut.
Maybe a full service call would get you through the summer and save
alot in electricity
 
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T

Tony Hwang

mm said:
I would google but my house is so hot, opening the browser again makes
the computer overheat.

Someone posted that he feared resetting a high current breaker when
the device it powered was on, was bad for the breaker, because of
arcing.

I think there was only modest agreement with him, but still, if I'm
resetting the indoor double breaker for my AC, and the outdoor double
breaker is ON, and the temp of the house calls for cooling, could I
stop the load on the indoor breaker by turning off the indoor single
breaker that controls my oil furance, which in turn controls the AC?

Normally I wouldn't care, but the indoor double breaker for the AC
seemed to make a strange noise when being reset, like a few little
metal blades from a tiny metal fan hitting something, like a Chinese
fan that a woman carries, which I feared was actually the noise of
arcing. And the breaker would NOT reset! So this moise made me feel
I was damaging or further damaging it.


But the bigger question is what's wrong with my AC? We have had 5 or
7 days above 90 degrees**, so I broke down and started using it 3 days
ago. Normally it turns off after about 4 hours, even when first
turned on, but this time it ran many hours, maybe 3 solid days,
without stopping, even though the house was cool enough for me after
less than a day, and eventually too cold. (I coudn't see and had set
the thermostat too low.)

Did running for 3 days damage the breaker?

Or do you think there's a bigger problem?

If there were a short in the compressor, it woudln't reset either.
Will turning off the outside double breaker and trying to reset the
inside double breaker prove that the problem is the inside breaker if
I still can't reset it. Naybe writing this post got me to my next
step.

But I still wonder if running constantly for 3 days would damage a
breaker, or a compressor?

Thanks a lot.


(For a while I thought it was the radio control by the power company,
but that was before I looked at the inside breaker.)


**Already labeled maybe the hottest summer ever, after we had
snowmageddon this past February, and the coolest summer of my life
last summer (26 of which were here, Baltimore, and others in NYC,
Chicago, Indy, and western Pa.).
Hi,
Which breaker? One for the ODU or blower?
One is 220V one ganged, one is 120V one usually.
 
S

Smitty Two

mm said:
While I'm outside, the young wman next door has guys there replacing
her compressor. They have to go to their next job and won't look at
my unit, but tell me it's the compressor.

They're going to give me an estimate for a new AC and furnace.
You're going to hire someone who diagnosed the problem without looking
at it? I think the heat is affecting your reasoning.
 
T

trader4

On your circuit panel its the one wire that goes to each circuit
breaker, it shouldnt be a problem with the large spacing and extra
wire in there to get a meter on a wire. As motors and the compressor
near failure they can draw alot more amps than rated. When the tech
comes out and checks my AC he checks for amp draw at the units to
check all components individualy, doing it at the circuit panel will
give you an idea as long as you read the units running load. At 27
years Im sure it could use service, have you ever looked at the air
handler coil, I saw my neighbors that was so clogged he couldnt get
heat one winter, we pulled the coil for the winter, it was caked shut.
Maybe a full service call would get you through the summer and save
alot in electricity- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
I don't see how he's gonna measure current with a clamp-on amp meter
when the breaker trips as soon as he tries to reset it. To answer
some of the other questions and issues along the way:

You can prevent the AC from starting while you reset the breaker by
moving the thermostat to the off position or setting it to temp above
the actual room temp.

Given the symptoms, it does not sound like it's low on refrigerant, as
I don't believe that woud cause it to trip a breaker on reset. It
does sound like a short somewhere, either in the wiring or the
compressor could be toast

Running it constantly for 3 days should have nothing to do with
destroying it, provided it was running normally to begin with as they
are rated for continuous duty. However the fact that it ran for 3
days without ever reaching desired temp would indicate that something
was already wrong and letting it continue to run like that I would
think could have finally resulted in the compressor failing.

If it were my unit, I'd verify that nothing is shorted in the wiring
up to the unit. You could do that by disconnecting the two incoming
wires from the AC that are connected to the relay in the condenser.
Then, with the wires not touching anything, the breaker should
reset. If it does, then you could inspect the wiring inside the
condenser going to the compressor, fan etc. If no shorts are found,
then it's time for a service call.
 
M

mm

On your circuit panel its the one wire that goes to each circuit
breaker, it shouldnt be a problem with the large spacing and extra
wire in there to get a meter on a wire.
Oh. Okay. Thanks.
As motors and the compressor
near failure they can draw alot more amps than rated. When the tech
comes out and checks my AC he checks for amp draw at the units to
check all components individualy, doing it at the circuit panel will
give you an idea as long as you read the units running load. At 27
Can't do that. It trips immediately. Once I held it closed for
about 3 seconds. That was a mistake. Might have damaged it. It
doesn't seem so but I'll see when the new one is in.

I turned off the outside double breaker, turned the inside back on,
and turned it on again outside while watched the compressor fan. It
ran for a second and stopped, and the inside double breaker wss
tripped again.
years Im sure it could use service, have you ever looked at the air
handler coil,
Everyone here uses the phrase air handler, but I don't know what it
means. The condensor coil doesn't get very dirty, but I've cleaned
it a little and it's clean enough. The A coil is not accessible. I
cut a 3" x 5" hole to see why the condensate was going on my floor,
but never tried to make a bigger hole. I haven't looked for 10 years.
I saw my neighbors that was so clogged he couldnt get
heat one winter, we pulled the coil for the winter, it was caked shut.
Well the AC was working fine the last time I used it, almost two years
ago, and pretty well for three days just now. It was actually cool
enough in the house after 4 or maybe 6 hours but it never turned off,
because I had the thermostat too low (68, from the winter), When I
set the thermostat to 72 or 3, the AC went off a little while later,
and didn't go back on. I guess that's was either a coincidence, or I
still think maybe something about running for 3 days straight cause it
to fail.
 
M

mm

You're going to hire someone who diagnosed the problem without looking
at it? I think the heat is affecting your reasoning.
I was too brief. He said it was probably the compressor. Given that
it and the coil are no dirtier than it was two years ago, when the AC
worked fine, is there any part that can trip the breaker other than a
burned, shorted compressor?

And this is only an estimate and one out of several.

I already know I need a new furnace, and everyone says if my AC is 31
years old, I can buy a more efficient one. (Not that I disagree, but
when I only use it zero to 15 days a year, it's probably still cheaper
not to replace it. Until it broke, that is.)
 
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M

mm

Thanks, and thanks to Tony and gfretwell and everyone.
I don't see how he's gonna measure current with a clamp-on amp meter
when the breaker trips as soon as he tries to reset it. To answer
some of the other questions and issues along the way:

You can prevent the AC from starting while you reset the breaker by
moving the thermostat to the off position or setting it to temp above
the actual room temp.

Given the symptoms, it does not sound like it's low on refrigerant, as
I don't believe that woud cause it to trip a breaker on reset. It
does sound like a short somewhere, either in the wiring or the
compressor could be toast

Running it constantly for 3 days should have nothing to do with
destroying it, provided it was running normally to begin with as they
are rated for continuous duty. However the fact that it ran for 3
days without ever reaching desired temp would indicate that something
was already wrong and letting it continue to run like that I would
think could have finally resulted in the compressor failing.
Well it actually got cold enough, in maybe 6 hours and it even got too
cold by the third day. But it never turned off because the temp was
still set for the winter, at 68.

Still, it might not have been working as well as it used to.
If it were my unit, I'd verify that nothing is shorted in the wiring
up to the unit. You could do that by disconnecting the two incoming
wires from the AC that are connected to the relay in the condenser.
Aha! Thats what I should do. Later today when it's not so hot.
Then, with the wires not touching anything, the breaker should
reset. If it does, then you could inspect the wiring inside the
condenser going to the compressor, fan etc. If no shorts are found
then it's time for a service call.
In that case, I'll just hurry up finding someone to replace the
furnace and the AC.

It's interesting that when I was out there this morning, my next door
neigbor had someone replacing her compressor, also from 31 years ago.
And all of the people who lived here used the AC all summer. I used
mine no more than 20 days a summer, usually 0 to 10. And the guy
before me was from Louisiana and always too cold, so he probably
didn't use it much either. Yet mine and my neighbors failed within
less than a week of each other. (of course the others in the n'hood
were replaced over the last 15 years.)

He told me she has the original furnace too, but I'm guessing didn't
have enough money to replace them both, even with the energy credit
that she will lose by waiting until 2011.

Thanks.
 
S

Stormin Mormon

Run! Run!

Would you go to a doctor who didn't examine you, but tell you it's
your liver?

--
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
www.lds.org
..



They have to go to their next job and won't look at
my unit, but tell me it's the compressor.
 
E

Evan

I was too brief.  He said it was probably the compressor.  Given that
it and the coil are no dirtier than it was two years ago, when the AC
worked fine, is there any part that can trip the breaker other than a
burned, shorted compressor?  

And this is only an estimate and one out of several.  

I already know I need a new furnace, and everyone says if my AC is 31
years old, I can buy a more efficient one.  (Not that I disagree, but
when I only use it zero to 15 days a year, it's probably still cheaper
not to replace it.  Until it broke, that is.)

WOW, talk about uninformed... Your AC unit and furnace share the
same air ducts... When was the last time you used your furnace
for heating ? The AC coils can get dirty from dust and particulates
like pet fur and human hair that get sucked into the ducting when the
heat is being used and build up and restrict airflow...

Your mistake was leaving your AC off for two years and expecting it
to turn right back on with no issues... YEARLY maintenance is
required on split AC systems to keep them in peak operating condition
and ready to cool...

Sounds like you are looking at cleaning the coils first then looking
at
why the heat pump unit outside is not working... Two years is a long
time for a slow leak to let out your refrigerant and you might not
have
enough left in your system for it to do anything at this point...

~~ Evan
 
T

The Daring Dufas

I would google but my house is so hot, opening the browser again makes
the computer overheat.

Someone posted that he feared resetting a high current breaker when
the device it powered was on, was bad for the breaker, because of
arcing.

I think there was only modest agreement with him, but still, if I'm
resetting the indoor double breaker for my AC, and the outdoor double
breaker is ON, and the temp of the house calls for cooling, could I
stop the load on the indoor breaker by turning off the indoor single
breaker that controls my oil furance, which in turn controls the AC?

Normally I wouldn't care, but the indoor double breaker for the AC
seemed to make a strange noise when being reset, like a few little
metal blades from a tiny metal fan hitting something, like a Chinese
fan that a woman carries, which I feared was actually the noise of
arcing. And the breaker would NOT reset! So this moise made me feel
I was damaging or further damaging it.


But the bigger question is what's wrong with my AC? We have had 5 or
7 days above 90 degrees**, so I broke down and started using it 3 days
ago. Normally it turns off after about 4 hours, even when first
turned on, but this time it ran many hours, maybe 3 solid days,
without stopping, even though the house was cool enough for me after
less than a day, and eventually too cold. (I coudn't see and had set
the thermostat too low.)

Did running for 3 days damage the breaker?

Or do you think there's a bigger problem?

If there were a short in the compressor, it woudln't reset either.
Will turning off the outside double breaker and trying to reset the
inside double breaker prove that the problem is the inside breaker if
I still can't reset it. Naybe writing this post got me to my next
step.

But I still wonder if running constantly for 3 days would damage a
breaker, or a compressor?

Thanks a lot.


(For a while I thought it was the radio control by the power company,
but that was before I looked at the inside breaker.)


**Already labeled maybe the hottest summer ever, after we had
snowmageddon this past February, and the coolest summer of my life
last summer (26 of which were here, Baltimore, and others in NYC,
Chicago, Indy, and western Pa.).
Your compressor is probably toast. I've heard that dreaded sound
many times and had to deliver the bad news to the owner.

TDD
 
R

ransley

Oh.  Okay.  Thanks.


Can't do that.  It trips immediately.   Once I held it closed for
about 3 seconds.  That was a mistake.  Might have damaged it.  It
doesn't seem so but I'll see when the new one is in.

I turned off the outside double breaker, turned the inside back on,
and turned it on again outside while watched the compressor fan.  It
ran for a second and stopped, and the inside double breaker wss
tripped again.


Everyone here uses the phrase air handler, but I don't know what it
means.   The condensor coil doesn't get very dirty, but I've cleaned
it a little and it's clean enough.  The A coil is not accessible.   I
cut a 3" x 5" hole to see why the condensate was going on my floor,
but never tried to make a bigger hole.  I haven't looked for 10 years.


Well the AC was working fine the last time I used it, almost two years
ago, and pretty well for three days just now.  It was actually cool
enough in the house after 4 or maybe 6 hours but it never turned off,
because I had the thermostat too low (68, from the winter),   When I
set the thermostat to 72 or 3, the AC went off a little while later,
and didn't go back on.   I guess that's was either a coincidence, or I
still think maybe something about running for 3 days straight cause it
to fail.




- Show quoted text -- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -
That 3x5 hole might be bigh enough to see if the coil is dirty, I cut
in a 12x12 hole and made a cover. You really need a pro to go over
everything, your monkeying around wont address any of the many issues
you have from wear and a lack of regular proper maintenance, so pay
the 200 and get it checked out right, you might save 400 in operating
it this year.
 
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M

mm

She is not very smart. In five years she'll be paying a lot extra to have
an inefficient furnace replaced. Easier to to it all now.
Yeah, she didn't ask my advice. I may have overdone it with the
advice on plugging her basement sink, so that when the stream floods,
her basement won't. The lowest 4 townhouses in my n'hood have this
problem, especially mine and hers, which are lower than the next two.

I'll bet she didn't do it, because it's hard to worry about something
she's never seen that even I say might not happen for 5 years
(although on average it's once ever two years).

She's a school teacher and just bought the house, started with a
roommate, whom I never see anymore**, so maybe she's paying the
mortgage alone.

**Of course I see her only once every several months, and I know she's
there.
 
M

mm

Your compressor is probably toast. I've heard that dreaded sound
many times and had to deliver the bad news to the owner.

TDD
It may be a good thing. I was flirting with only replacing the
furnace, since I use the AC so little. But I'll do both.
 
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M

mm

I used to run our (window) AC about the same. As we get older and health is
not quite as good. I'm quick to flip the switch these days.
Yeah, that might happen to me too. I've noticed once I turn it on, I
want to use it the rest of the summer, even if it gets cooler.
 
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