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Thread: Is it safe to turn our air conditioning on?

  1. #1

    Default Is it safe to turn our air conditioning on?

    Hi all,

    We had a bad rainy day one day this last winter, and our ac / heating unit is outside. It tripped the switch at the fuse box. We turned it back on and went about our business. A couple days later my husband noticed that the air coming from the vents did not feel warm - it felt more like room temperature.

    We continued to use it for the rest of the winter, and imo it heated the condo just fine.

    Ok, now it's warming up, and he won't let me even turn on the ac - he thinks we have to run it on fan only. He thinks turning on the ac will further damage it.

    I've turned it on for short periods when he's not there, and it does not seem to be having serious problems. I'm not sure either that it cools enough, but it seems to operate ok to me. It does seem to cool down a little more than just running the fan. I'm getting a digital room thermometer soon.

    Does it sound like it's safe to at least run it? Neither of us know that much about air conditioning.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    8,482

    Default

    Is this a heat pump? If so, that outside unit runs in both heating and cooling modes. If it is messed up, it should be messed up in both modes. I think you should find out what is wrong and fix/repair/replace it. You could call a service person to check it, or keep running it until it dies. You'll need to do it by next winter regardless.

    There are multiple things that could trip the circuit breaker for the outside unit. If it keeps tripping, you need to call a tech. If it isn't heating or cooling properly, you need to call a tech. If it seems OK, I'd run it but still consider calling a tech for a check up if it hasn't been serviced in years, but that may be wasted money.

    Have you changed the filters in your air handler within the last 6 months?
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3

    Default

    Yes we changed the filter recently.

    The AC was serviced almost 2 years ago.

    We do not have moderate cooling needs here, we have extreme heat in summer, so I don't think
    it's a heat pump.

    I guess from what you are saying it is quite ok to keep running it to see if it trips again, right?
    Sorry it seems like a dumb beginner question, but my husband is a stroke survivor who sometimes
    gets strange ideas, and I'm trying to assure him that it will be ok to run the ac while we try to
    ascertain whether it needs a repair.

    That is where we are at right now. If I can tell him that the air conditioning forum people say it's
    ok to run the ac, so that we can then figure out if it does have a problem, that will help me -
    to figure out whether it does have a problem.

    Thanks.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    8,482

    Default

    A heat pump is an AC unit that can run in reverse (it heats in winter, cools in summer). They are commonly installed in hot areas because they have somewhat low heating ability if your outside temperature gets below 10F in winter. So if that outside unit that runs in summer is also running during the winter, then you have a heat pump. If it is low on refrigerant or the compressor is failing, you'll find out soon enough when it reverses and is in cooling mode. The point being, a heat pump runs all the same items in summer and winter -- the refrigerant is just going in opposite directions and the cold and hot sides swap. If you're going to break it, is is best to do it now while winter is fading and we're not in the heat of summer yet.

    It is difficult to tell you what is OK or not when you don't know what type of system you have.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

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