New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

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Elemental
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New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm

I need some advice with yet another consumer issue. I bought a brand new HVAC system almost exactly 1 year ago from an HVAC company in my area. They installed the system and removed the old system. It worked great through last Summer and Winter, and so far this Spring. I replace the filter every month or so.

Then, yesterday, the AC seemed to be fine through the day (it was 92 degrees) until the evening. I noticed the house was getting warm and the system sounded loud outside my window. I checked the outside unit to see if it was just rattling or something. The HVAC fan was running inside.

Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze. I don't believe this, as my thermostat is set for 76 degrees inside (my family hates me) and it was only 92 degrees outside. In addition, it ran fine all last summer with many much hotter days in a row. He told me I must have not changed the filter, but seemed to believe me when I assured him I change it every month.

What can I do? I feel like they sized (or should have sized) the system for my home and it had been performing fine. The parts are under warranty and labor should be covered for the next few weeks until I reach the 1-year mark.

Also, how much damage is done by an AC unit that "froze"? Thanks!

sco
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by sco » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:35 pm

Something is faulty with the unit or you don’t have enough Freon in it. If it is sized right it is unlikely you damaged anything, or that it would freeze under normal operation.
Last edited by sco on Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Alexa9
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:37 pm

I would be firm but polite with them until they fix it.
Did you pay with a credit card? You may call your card company if they don't fix it.

Elemental
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:38 pm

Alexa9 wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:37 pm
I would be firm but polite with them until they fix it.
Did you pay with a credit card? You may call your card company if they don't fix it.
I tried, but they wanted an additional 3%, so I paid with a check. It might have been worth it in hindsight.

Elemental
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:39 pm

sco wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:35 pm
Something is faulty with the unit or you don’t have enough Freon in it. If it is sized right it is unlikely you damaged anything, or that it would freeze under normal operation.
Would not enough freon cause it to freeze? I don't know anything about it, but I would guess too much would cause it to freeze too maybe?

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by livesoft » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:39 pm

I never heard of running a system "too hard." I would just laugh in the guy's face or on the phone about that one.

You can get them to come out and show you why they are master HVAC specialists at no cost to you.

One more thing: Years ago in a rental home, the attic where the AC was got so hot that the glue holding the ductwork together melted and thus the AC was trying to intake hot air from the attic and cool it. Needless to write, that didn't work. So check all your ductwork or have them check it if they installed it.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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p14175
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by p14175 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:41 pm

Is your AC filter is too restrictive? The HVAC company that replaced our heat pump several years ago recommended using the thinnest, cheapest filters we could find and replace the filter on a monthly basis or when it got dirty, which ever came first.

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Pajamas
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Pajamas » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:43 pm

Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
The parts are under warranty and labor should be covered for the next few weeks until I reach the 1-year mark.
I agree that sounds ridiculous if your unit is even roughly the right size.

Do something such as send a certified letter to assert your warranty rights with proof of having done so in case they stall and you have to go to small claims court or similar.

You might also contact the manufacturer even if the warranty is through the installation company.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:43 pm

Does your furnace room have proper outside air coming in? Is the drain/drain plug not plugged?

It sounds like you need a new HVAC "guy". If they put the system in, they should verify air mix, cold air returns and proper sizing.

Is the unit in the basement? Do you do any vent opening/closing based on temps? We have a two story with basement. I close the basement vents during cooling season.
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mouses
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by mouses » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:45 pm

Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze.
That's crazy.

As noted above, losing the coolant can make it not run well. That happened to mine when the maintenance person left something loose during its periodic inspection and the coolant drained out. When I called in, they said they were too busy to return (!), so I called another place that found the problem, fixed it, and became the new maintenance people. Coolant, by the way, costs a lot.

You need to find a good repair person who can figure out what is wrong. I am going to guess the system is sized properly since it ran over the past year.

Elemental
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:45 pm

p14175 wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:41 pm
Is your AC filter is too restrictive? The HVAC company that replaced our heat pump several years ago recommended using the thinnest, cheapest filters we could find and replace the filter on a monthly basis or when it got dirty, which ever came first.
These guys recommended the same thing to me, so I've been replacing it with cheap filters every month. I'll double-check, but I'm not buying the high-end fine pollen-filtering filters.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:47 pm

livesoft wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:39 pm
I never heard of running a system "too hard." I would just laugh in the guy's face or on the phone about that one.

You can get them to come out and show you why they are master HVAC specialists at no cost to you.

One more thing: Years ago in a rental home, the attic where the AC was got so hot that the glue holding the ductwork together melted and thus the AC was trying to intake hot air from the attic and cool it. Needless to write, that didn't work. So check all your ductwork or have them check it if they installed it.
I've never heard of that before. When the system went out last year (and we decided to replace), the house did get pretty hot for a week or so. I'll have them check that.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by mouses » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:49 pm

p14175 wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:41 pm
Is your AC filter is too restrictive? The HVAC company that replaced our heat pump several years ago recommended using the thinnest, cheapest filters we could find and replace the filter on a monthly basis or when it got dirty, which ever came first.
For several years I used an allergy filter with no problems. Then one year the AC guy predicted doom because of the filter and I let him put in a cheap one. After I was hacking my lungs out, I put an allergy filter back in. That was a couple of years ago, and the sky has not fallen. Some of the cheap filters actually block more air than the expensive allergy filters. This is the one I use: Filtrete Elite 2200 Filter by 3M.
Last edited by mouses on Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Elemental
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:50 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:43 pm
Does your furnace room have proper outside air coming in? Is the drain/drain plug not plugged?

It sounds like you need a new HVAC "guy". If they put the system in, they should verify air mix, cold air returns and proper sizing.

Is the unit in the basement? Do you do any vent opening/closing based on temps? We have a two story with basement. I close the basement vents during cooling season.
The unit is in the basement. I have one of those crappy "multi-level" homes with a lot of stairs and uncomfortable heating / cooling year-round. I think I closed some of the very basement vents but wasn't ready to admit that in case the HVAC guy says that's the problem and I should have left them open.

I'm not sure about the drain - the floor drain seems dry. I'll ask HVAC guy about the drain line being plugged. The furnace room does have air coming in from the outside.

UALflyer
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by UALflyer » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:55 pm

mouses wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:49 pm
Some of the cheap filters actually block more air than the expensive allergy filters.
They don't, at least not if they are the same size. Here's a MERV rating chart: http://www.mechreps.com/PDF/Merv_Rating_Chart.pdf

All allergy filters are designed to trap allergens, which, by definition, requires them to have high MERV ratings. High MERV ratings mean that you are trapping more particles, which also means that airflow is restricted, particularly as the filter gets dirty, which causes a/c breakdowns.

What is true is that the deeper your filter is, the less airflow restriction it will develop over time, as you're increasing the overall area of the filter. So, good allergy filters are 5" thick, which allows them to provide air filtering without choking off the air handler in the process.

If you use 1" allergy filters, you are asking for trouble.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by mikebee » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:19 pm

mouses wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:45 pm
Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze.
That's crazy.

As noted above, losing the coolant can make it not run well. That happened to mine when the maintenance person left something loose during its periodic inspection and the coolant drained out. When I called in, they said they were too busy to return (!), so I called another place that found the problem, fixed it, and became the new maintenance people. Coolant, by the way, costs a lot.

You need to find a good repair person who can figure out what is wrong. I am going to guess the system is sized properly since it ran over the past year.
Refrigerent is not expensive. A lot of HVAC firms are crooked and will quote crazy prices for R410a. On Amazon it is only $5-6 a pound and don't let them tell you that you can't buy it without a licence. You can

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by mouses » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:21 pm

UALflyer wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:55 pm
mouses wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:49 pm
Some of the cheap filters actually block more air than the expensive allergy filters.
They don't, at least not if they are the same size. Here's a MERV rating chart: http://www.mechreps.com/PDF/Merv_Rating_Chart.pdf

All allergy filters are designed to trap allergens, which, by definition, requires them to have high MERV ratings. High MERV ratings mean that you are trapping more particles, which also means that airflow is restricted, particularly as the filter gets dirty, which causes a/c breakdowns.

What is true is that the deeper your filter is, the less airflow restriction it will develop over time, as you're increasing the overall area of the filter. So, good allergy filters are 5" thick, which allows them to provide air filtering without choking off the air handler in the process.

If you use 1" allergy filters, you are asking for trouble.
I don't have the link at hand, but I know I saw a chart of air obstruction or whatever it's called where some cheapo filters were worse.

As to a 5" filter, one has never set foot in my house. Without digging around in my storage closet, I would guess that the ones I have used for years are indeed 1".

killjoy2012
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by killjoy2012 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:28 pm

Call another HVAC pro that services your brand and see what they find.

Odds are it's an air flow problem if it's freezing up. Are all of your air registers 100% open? Cold air returns not blocked by furniture? Have you hosed out the outside condenser to get rid of all of the gunk (spider webs, insects, other floaties) from the air exchanger? Are you using an overly-high MERV rated filter?

Yes, it could also be low on refrigerant, but not nearly as likely as the potential issues listed above.
Last edited by killjoy2012 on Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

UALflyer
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by UALflyer » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:28 pm

mouses wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:21 pm
I don't have the link at hand, but I know I saw a chart of air obstruction or whatever it's called where some cheapo filters were worse.
Again, for identically sized filters, this is simply not possible.

If you have two identically sized filters, but one is capturing significantly more particles than the other one, then the former is going to have significantly greater airflow restrictions, particularly as it gets dirty.

http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php ... ct-airflow
http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php ... ts-Airflow

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by strafe » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:36 pm

Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
I need some advice with yet another consumer issue. I bought a brand new HVAC system almost exactly 1 year ago from an HVAC company in my area. They installed the system and removed the old system. It worked great through last Summer and Winter, and so far this Spring. I replace the filter every month or so.

Then, yesterday, the AC seemed to be fine through the day (it was 92 degrees) until the evening. I noticed the house was getting warm and the system sounded loud outside my window. I checked the outside unit to see if it was just rattling or something. The HVAC fan was running inside.

Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze. I don't believe this, as my thermostat is set for 76 degrees inside (my family hates me) and it was only 92 degrees outside. In addition, it ran fine all last summer with many much hotter days in a row. He told me I must have not changed the filter, but seemed to believe me when I assured him I change it every month.

What can I do? I feel like they sized (or should have sized) the system for my home and it had been performing fine. The parts are under warranty and labor should be covered for the next few weeks until I reach the 1-year mark.

Also, how much damage is done by an AC unit that "froze"? Thanks!
They are lying to you to avoid a warranty claim. There is no such thing as "running it too hard." In an ideal world, A/C systems are sized so that they run 100% of the time. Running continuously causes less wear and tear than cycling.

A frozen evaporator coil indicates one of three things: 1) low refrigerant charge, 2) a restriction in the liquid line (such as a faulty evaporator metering valve), or 3) insufficient airflow (as might be the case with a completely clogged filter).

It probably won't cause any permanent damage because there are high and low pressure cut off switches that maintain safety limits.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:56 pm

mikebee wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:19 pm
mouses wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:45 pm
Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze.
That's crazy.

As noted above, losing the coolant can make it not run well. That happened to mine when the maintenance person left something loose during its periodic inspection and the coolant drained out. When I called in, they said they were too busy to return (!), so I called another place that found the problem, fixed it, and became the new maintenance people. Coolant, by the way, costs a lot.

You need to find a good repair person who can figure out what is wrong. I am going to guess the system is sized properly since it ran over the past year.
Refrigerent is not expensive. A lot of HVAC firms are crooked and will quote crazy prices for R410a. On Amazon it is only $5-6 a pound and don't let them tell you that you can't buy it without a licence. You can
+1
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by mrc » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:02 pm

Be sure all the vents and plenum dampers are wide open, and pull all the filters. Run the AC. If the coil freezes, it's the system (charge, valve, etc). If not, it's the filters/dampers. I shut our upper story damper half way in the winter so the upstairs doesn't get too hot. In the summer, I would like to shut the lower story damper half way to force more cool air upstairs. But if the dampers aren't wide open, my coil will freeze.
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:27 pm

By “freezing” I assume you mean that a layer of frost or ice is forming on the copper lines.

I worked my way through technical school working summers at an air conditioner repair shop. One of the prime causes we saw of window units freezing up was insufficient coolant. If the unit was installed last year, it’s quite possible that the coolant has leaked through a pinhole leak. Get someone out there that knows what they’re doing to check the amount of coolant in the system.
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Big Dog » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:18 pm

Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze.
Utterly ridiculous. Either he sold you the wrong size equipment, or something is up. AC units are made to run; in fact they are more efficient when they run, vs. constant cycling on and off.

Find a new guy. Get a second opinion.

check out hvac

http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/forumdisplay.p ... ntial-HVAC

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by mix » Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:56 pm

Where did it freeze at? Outside on the copper pipes next to the compressor or inside the furnace/air handler at the A-Coil? The pipes being frozen is sign of low freon and inside at the A-Coil is a sign of bad air flow. Honestly, you can probably just remove the air filter from the rack for a few weeks to rule out the air flow. The first things HVAC guys do is take it out when they are troubleshooting.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by RetiredAL » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:18 pm

strafe wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:36 pm


They are lying to you to avoid a warranty claim. There is no such thing as "running it too hard." In an ideal world, A/C systems are sized so that they run 100% of the time. Running continuously causes less wear and tear than cycling.

A frozen evaporator coil indicates one of three things: 1) low refrigerant charge, 2) a restriction in the liquid line (such as a faulty evaporator metering valve), or 3) insufficient airflow (as might be the case with a completely clogged filter).

It probably won't cause any permanent damage because there are high and low pressure cut off switches that maintain safety limits.
I concur with strafe's comments of three things, and that A/C's are designed to run continuous. They run the best when running full time on a hotter day.

If your system actually freezes, you will find that the air flow at each register will be significantly lower and if you turn of the A/C off leaving the fan on, the blocking frost on the coils will melt and the airflow will increase back to normal. However, all that confirms is its basically broken, someplace.

I'm assuming you have not messed with the fan speed. Typically, the circulation fan runs at a higher speed with the A/C running, for many reasons.

Question? Did the installing company come out and diagnose the system, or are they telling you that over the phone without testing.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Turbo29 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:23 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:27 pm
By “freezing” I assume you mean that a layer of frost or ice is forming on the copper lines.

I worked my way through technical school working summers at an air conditioner repair shop. One of the prime causes we saw of window units freezing up was insufficient coolant. If the unit was installed last year, it’s quite possible that the coolant has leaked through a pinhole leak. Get someone out there that knows what they’re doing to check the amount of coolant in the system.
I had a new 3-ton split unit installed a few years ago. It leaked coolant from the get go, bad pressure valve in the outdoor (compressor) unit. Fortunately the installing contractor came out, found the leak, replaced the part (all under warranty) and it's been fine since.

Just like cars, a AC can come from the factory with defects.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by letsgobobby » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:51 pm

Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
I need some advice with yet another consumer issue. I bought a brand new HVAC system almost exactly 1 year ago from an HVAC company in my area. They installed the system and removed the old system. It worked great through last Summer and Winter, and so far this Spring. I replace the filter every month or so.

Then, yesterday, the AC seemed to be fine through the day (it was 92 degrees) until the evening. I noticed the house was getting warm and the system sounded loud outside my window. I checked the outside unit to see if it was just rattling or something. The HVAC fan was running inside.

Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze. I don't believe this, as my thermostat is set for 76 degrees inside (my family hates me) and it was only 92 degrees outside. In addition, it ran fine all last summer with many much hotter days in a row. He told me I must have not changed the filter, but seemed to believe me when I assured him I change it every month.

What can I do? I feel like they sized (or should have sized) the system for my home and it had been performing fine. The parts are under warranty and labor should be covered for the next few weeks until I reach the 1-year mark.

Also, how much damage is done by an AC unit that "froze"? Thanks!
If you let them get away with this, I’ll tell you one thing they sized up correctly: you.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by bottlecap » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:03 pm

They are wrong. You likely have a leak. Get a second opinion. Tell them you are doing so and will send them the bill if there is anything wrong.

Good luck,

JT

Elemental
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:24 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:51 pm
If you let them get away with this, I’ll tell you one thing they sized up correctly: you.
lol, I think you're right

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by 2comma » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:28 pm

strafe wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:36 pm
Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
I need some advice with yet another consumer issue. I bought a brand new HVAC system almost exactly 1 year ago from an HVAC company in my area. They installed the system and removed the old system. It worked great through last Summer and Winter, and so far this Spring. I replace the filter every month or so.

Then, yesterday, the AC seemed to be fine through the day (it was 92 degrees) until the evening. I noticed the house was getting warm and the system sounded loud outside my window. I checked the outside unit to see if it was just rattling or something. The HVAC fan was running inside.

Long story short, the HVAC guy tells me it's my fault because I ran the system too hard and it froze. I don't believe this, as my thermostat is set for 76 degrees inside (my family hates me) and it was only 92 degrees outside. In addition, it ran fine all last summer with many much hotter days in a row. He told me I must have not changed the filter, but seemed to believe me when I assured him I change it every month.

What can I do? I feel like they sized (or should have sized) the system for my home and it had been performing fine. The parts are under warranty and labor should be covered for the next few weeks until I reach the 1-year mark.

Also, how much damage is done by an AC unit that "froze"? Thanks!
They are lying to you to avoid a warranty claim. There is no such thing as "running it too hard." In an ideal world, A/C systems are sized so that they run 100% of the time. Running continuously causes less wear and tear than cycling.

A frozen evaporator coil indicates one of three things: 1) low refrigerant charge, 2) a restriction in the liquid line (such as a faulty evaporator metering valve), or 3) insufficient airflow (as might be the case with a completely clogged filter).

It probably won't cause any permanent damage because there are high and low pressure cut off switches that maintain safety limits.
Bingo! Either fight them or get someone honest to find the issue. If the company is not a one man show I'd ask to speak to the owner and see if he is honest. If you want to fight it I'd threaten with small claims court because judges have seen all to many contractors trying to baffle their customes with BS!
If I am stupid I will pay.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Elemental » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:33 pm

Thanks for all the great help and suggestions. I originally got that treatment and diagnosis over the phone. I have an appointment for them to come look at it. I will turn it back on tonight to see how it goes. I've checked all the registers (some in the very basement were closed) and cold air returns (one was semi-blocked by a couch). I also changed the filter for good measure (but I do that every month anyway). I double-checked and I have a 4-ton AC unit matched to a furnace with a DC variable motor. Thinking back to last night, there was a light frost on the pipes coming out of the furnace compared to when it just sits over the winter (I thought that was normal for summer operation). So I don't think it "froze" but maybe was on its way there when I caught it. After sitting for the day, the pipes are dry and normal. Thanks again everyone!

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:47 pm

I am no expert, but I have had this problem and being an engineer had to find a fix.

Our coil unit in the duct work had frozen and thus was restricting airflow. This happened when we had a lot of humidity before turning the ac system on.

The solution: Run the heater for about 15 minutes. I mean set the system to heat and the temp to as high as it will go. This melts the ice on the coils and blows them dry. If you can see where condensed water is pumped from the duct area, you'll see water being pumped out.

Next, simply set to ac again and set to the desired temperature. I would also run the system with the fan always on for a while. This way, if any ice started to form again, when the system isn't calling for cooling, the air will be warm enough to melt the small amount of ice that might start forming.

This problem has happened with our system maybe 2 or 3 times in ten years.
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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:08 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:47 pm

The solution: Run the heater for about 15 minutes. I mean set the system to heat and the temp to as high as it will go. This melts the ice on the coils and blows them dry. If you can see where condensed water is pumped from the duct area, you'll see water being pumped out.
Depending on how your unit is designed and the popsicleness of the condenser coil, this might dump a bunch of water on the blower. I'm not sure that is any worse than a drip drip drip on the blower though.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by sco » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:38 pm

Oh and make sure your filter isn’t clogged. Restricted airflow can do it too...

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by squirm » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:46 pm

How does a compressor run "too hard"? It's either on or off. The worse thing is a compressor that switches on and off constantly. Sounds like their pulling your leg.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by mhalley » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:27 pm

At 76 deg, you are certainly not running it too hard. My wife likes it at 68 (freezes me to death). No problems at that setting.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by lazydavid » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:45 am

whodidntante wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:08 pm
Depending on how your unit is designed and the popsicleness of the condenser coil, this might dump a bunch of water on the blower. I'm not sure that is any worse than a drip drip drip on the blower though.
This could only be an issue in an updraft unit, and I would hope that they were designed to handle it. The blower motor is off to the side, so the water would fall on the squirrel cage and then drip down the sides to (hopefully) a drain.

For a downdraft or horizontal unit, the liquid would just drain directly from the coil unit.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by carolinaman » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:02 am

Pajamas wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:43 pm
Elemental wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:31 pm
The parts are under warranty and labor should be covered for the next few weeks until I reach the 1-year mark.
I agree that sounds ridiculous if your unit is even roughly the right size.

Do something such as send a certified letter to assert your warranty rights with proof of having done so in case they stall and you have to go to small claims court or similar.

You might also contact the manufacturer even if the warranty is through the installation company.
I agree with sending letters to both the installation company and the manufacturer insisting that this problem by fixed according to your warranty. Once you are past the warranty support from the installer, I would look for a new HVAC maintenance company. It is important to have this documented now before your warranty expires. Installer could be stalling for the warranty date to expire.

I am assuming your manufacturer warranty is much longer. Most mfr's warrant their systems for 5 to 10 years.

You also may want to complain to BBB and Internet consumer sights like Angieslist or others.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by barreg » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:49 am

The line from our compressor to our condenser froze right shortly our new A/C unit was installed a few years ago. It turned out that there was a leak in the condenser and the HVAC company replaced it for no cost.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:02 am

If the 1yr warranty on parts and labor is from the factory and you can have any authorized dealer work on it, you should find another one.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by NHRATA01 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:17 am

I would suspect, being a new installation, there is likely a leak in the system (probably due to the install) and you are now low on refrigerant. As mentioned assuming flow across the coil isn't a problem (a restriction such as a clogged filter, collapsed duct, or blockage at one or more of the outlets) low refrigerant tends to freeze the coil into a block of ice. You can try running it with just the fan on (a/c off) which will thaw it a little quicker.

"Running it too hard" would only be a problem if it was incorrectly sized - in which case it falls back on the installer's shoulders. But as mentioned you really can't "run it too hard", as long as there sufficient flow through the unit you can run it for hours on end without issue - I mean this is basically why occurs in larger units for office and commercial type environments, it is better for the lifespan of the unit (albeit not the energy bill) to run continuously in a steady state vs. frequent cycling. Incorrect sizing more typically is the unit is too small and can't make setpoint temperature - and 76 is hardly excessive when most prefer 72 - or the unit is much too large and cycles too frequently.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:09 pm

I have had issues with my unit "freezing up" a few times in the past. Usually it was corrected by adding refrigerant. One time that didn't do it, and I needed a new compressor.

A couple of years ago the outside unit froze up, and my AC guy was stumped as adding refrigerant or changing the compressor (twice!) didn't solve it. He eventually discovered that the air handler in the attic needed replacing. That did the trick.

Advice for OP: keep after them until they figure it out. You are being fed a line by lazy or incompetent AC guys.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by jerryk68 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:18 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:27 pm
By “freezing” I assume you mean that a layer of frost or ice is forming on the copper lines.

I worked my way through technical school working summers at an air conditioner repair shop. One of the prime causes we saw of window units freezing up was insufficient coolant. If the unit was installed last year, it’s quite possible that the coolant has leaked through a pinhole leak. Get someone out there that knows what they’re doing to check the amount of coolant in the system.
About 30 years ago I had a house built with a heat pump. It worked great for about a year then a coolant leak occurred some where. Every year I had have coolant added to the unit. Every year technicians attempted to find the leak to no avail. I should mention that every year the technician claimed to have found the leak. I eventually replaced both the indoor and outdoor units plus the copper lines in between each unit. I suspect the leak was in those copper lines; however, the copper lines were wrapped in some type insulation and portions of those lines were behind walls so looking for the leak was questionable because it might not be in the lines. Once I got away from everything associated with that particular heat pump everything was fine. The new heat worked great. The lesson for me was replace everything associated with a lemon.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:59 pm

My impression is that your blower (you said fan) works well... if that is not the case, and the frosted lines are right at the blower... the motor or capacitor for the blower may be the issue.

Running it too hard... that is a huge BS line... and tells you something about those guys.

good luck...

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:03 pm

My impression is that your blower (you said fan) works well... if that is not the case, and the frosted lines are right at the blower... the motor or capacitor for the blower may be the issue.

Running it too hard... that is a huge BS line... and tells you something about those guys.

good luck...

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by cutehumor » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:40 pm

If the a/c unit is frozen, it's either an air filter issue or you have a freon leak. Since you have changed the filters, it's a freon leak somewhere in the system. I had a freon leak a few years ago, it was coming from the compressor line. The warranty should take care of it, since it's 1 year old.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by criticalmass » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:10 pm

cutehumor wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:40 pm
If the a/c unit is frozen, it's either an air filter issue or you have a freon leak. Since you have changed the filters, it's a freon leak somewhere in the system. I had a freon leak a few years ago, it was coming from the compressor line. The warranty should take care of it, since it's 1 year old.
Beware the false dichotomy fallacy. Numerous other issues can cause frozen coils, including a fan issue, blower running to slow, compressor issue, or duct issue. But the OP said his ice was on a pipe, not necessarily a coil.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by wander » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:04 am

One time it happened to me that the fan of the outside unit failed. It turned out one of the capacitor failed. The HVAC serviceman replaced it for $250. The other time, because the filter was clogged. Probably the system is not efficient and requires running all day long. You may need to check for leak.

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Re: New AC Unit broken or "feezing". HVAC company says it's my fault for "running it too hard". What can I do?

Post by SittingOnTheFence » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:50 am

I just had a new R-410A unit (& furnace) installed in my 60 yr old house. I research a lot before I bought this replacement unit. My house was originally designed for an oil furnace and the ducting is 4". This is technically insufficient for running an R-410A system because of constricted air flow through the small ducts. This causes the Evap coil to freeze up because of the lack of proper air flow (or so I've been told).

One company told me it simply would not work and recommended a ductless ($$$$) system.

The company I went with said they thought it would work but I needed to replace the furnace also to obtain sufficient headroom for the large evap coil (updraft system). A week later it was warm enough to run it and after 6 hrs the suction line (larger of the 2 copper lines running from outside unit to the inside system) was icing up (Frost). This is what I was told might happen because my ducting was to restrictive.

They came out, said there was insufficient R410A, it still iced up. Finally, the tech pulled the "expansion valve sensing bulb" out from inside the evap compartment and taped it under the insulation of the suction line. The system has been running ok, the suction line gets damp w/ condensation, presumable so does the evap. I will keep a close eye on the drainage pump as the summer goes on.

I'm not saying the solution is to relocate the sensing bulb but it's a question you might ask a tech when they come out. If your duct lines are of sufficient size then my comment is probably not applicable, but if there is a flow restriction due to the ducts then it might be a solution.

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