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Electricity / Wiring / AC questions...help needed!

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Electricity / Wiring / AC questions...help needed!

Old 08-13-05, 08:05 PM
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Electricity / Wiring / AC questions...help needed!

Ok...my parents bought a massive 24,000 btu air conditioner. We mounted it in the attic so that the face sticks out of the wall (it vents to the outside).

We had to run new wires up to the attic to power the 220v 20amp beast. We used standard 12 gauge wires. We powered it up and the cold air is less than we hoped...it's a tad chilly at best.

After inspecting the other 220v appliances in the house (washing machine, etc), they all use a much bigger gauge of wire. Almost the same diameter of a nickel.

Could the fact that we used a standard 12 gauge wires be the reason why the AC is operating at full cooling capacity?
And yes we're sure we read all the directions...it says nothing about the air now being cold enough.

Last edited by namrufmot; 08-13-05 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 08-13-05, 09:31 PM
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The wire would have nothing to do with it. 12 gauge is rated for 20Amps. You did use 3 wires right?
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Old 08-13-05, 09:51 PM
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Yes we did Mike....

A few charts online said that 12 gauge wire can handle 20 amps only for certain lengths..

We're running over 50 feet...

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Old 08-13-05, 11:07 PM
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Is the wire warm when the AC is on?
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Old 08-13-05, 11:18 PM
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doesnt feel it no...
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Old 08-13-05, 11:19 PM
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Are you cooling the attic ?? If you are venting down into the house but the A/C is sucking in the hot air from the attic that may be why it's not so cold....
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Old 08-13-05, 11:25 PM
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we're venting the hot air out of the attic...

the ac takes air from the room and spits it back out..
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Old 08-13-05, 11:32 PM
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AC units work by blowing air at the coldest temperature it's capable of at different variables of airflow and duration. So if it doesn't feel like the air is cold enough, it's the unit. In other words, when you adjust the temperature on an AC, it'll blow air out at the same temp (which is supposed to be colder than what you set it at) until the room is cooled to the temperature you set - if the room never gets that cool, the unit wouldn't ever stop. Some window units have variable fan speeds, but the air will blow the same temperature.

If the air in the room that it's taking in is hotter, the air coming out won't be as cool (for window units - depending on how they cool the air)... once the temperature in the attic cools down more, the air coming out will become cooler. Just give it some time. Another factor is possibly that it's just a new unit and it has to get 'warmed up' for a few days or weeks before it runs optimally. Hang on to your receipt.

I think your wiring is probably fine.
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Old 08-13-05, 11:38 PM
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we ran it for 5 hours today/tonight...the air was noticeably drier inside, but not much colder...

even has the sun went down and the temp in the attic went way down, the air was not any colder..

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Old 08-13-05, 11:41 PM
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Then I'd take it back.
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Old 08-13-05, 11:43 PM
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they sell thermostats that go inside car air conditioners so you know exactly what the temp of the air coming out is - get one of those and report back what temp the air is blowing out... should be in the 60s or low 70s for a window unit - colder depending on how nice it is.
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Old 08-13-05, 11:44 PM
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gas it up

The freon could be low, or there could be a leak.

I'm still confused on the attic part. Is the unit actually venting outside or in the attic? Why is it in the attic anyway?
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Old 08-13-05, 11:53 PM
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When you walk into the room you look up and can see the front of the AC unit (we have high walls). The ass end is in the attic with a vent to the outdoors (and the apropriate pipes to catch the water).

We have casement windows that are unable to hold window mounted air conditioners, and cetral air is too expensive up here right now.

Last edited by namrufmot; 08-13-05 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 08-14-05, 12:10 AM
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Dude - you've got it blowing the cold air outside - it's backwards!

just kidding, I'm sure you've got it in right - that would be fucking funny though

I was thinking it had a leak or was out of freon which is why I suggested taking it back - no sense in keeping a unit that doesn't work right out of the box.
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Old 08-14-05, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by namrufmot
we're venting the hot air out of the attic...

the ac takes air from the room and spits it back out..
I think you were getting right tip above. Let me try a more detailed explanation.

The a/c has two complete air paths. On the cold side, it takes in room air, blows it over the cooling coils, and spits in back in the room. (The compressor pumps the refrigerant around to create the hot and cold coils)

On the hot side, it takes in air (usually on the sides) blows it over the hot coils and spits it out the back.

I think you have arranged to vent the hot side exhaust, but have not arranged the coolest possible air intake on the outside. I think you are using hot attic air to "cool" the hot side coils. Since that air is hot, that is limiting performance.

Look at the a/c. It probably has vents on the side and is sucking in air there. You need to build some kind of box and vent arrangement that gets them cool outside air, and prevent it from ongesting attic air.
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Old 08-14-05, 10:11 AM
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Then how does an AC that hangs out a window get cool air? It was 92 outside here, and 94 in the attic.

Every other AC I've seen manages to suck in the hot 90+ degree air and spit it out frosty cold
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Old 08-14-05, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by namrufmot
Then how does an AC that hangs out a window get cool air? It was 92 outside here, and 94 in the attic.

Every other AC I've seen manages to suck in the hot 90+ degree air and spit it out frosty cold
It sucks outside air. If your attic is only 2 degrees hotter than outisde, that is exceptional for an attic, and not your problem. Take the unit back.

My attic must be 30 degrees hotter than outside, and I can feel the extra warmth in the upstairs ceilings.
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Old 08-14-05, 10:23 AM
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Yes it was only 2 degrees hotter....it receives shade for nearly the entire day, and has a massive exhaust fan.

I'll try running the AC during the early morning when the temp up there will be in the 80's and see...

thanks olddude
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Old 08-14-05, 10:33 AM
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Any chance the side vents are blocked? Is it exhausting a good stream of hot air out the vent you have cut in wall? You should be able to feel a pretty good air velocity, and the air should be HOT.
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Old 08-14-05, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by namrufmot
When you walk into the room you look up and can see the front of the AC unit (we have high walls). The ass end is in the attic with a vent to the outdoors (and the apropriate pipes to catch the water).
Are you saying the unit is in the ceiling? I don't know anything about anything, but maybe if it's tilted 90 degrees from what it's designed for that may be a problem.
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Old 08-14-05, 03:13 PM
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no no..we have catherdral ceilings...so if you look 3/4 of the way up the wall (not the actual ceiling) you can see the AC

we brought it back for another unit...hopefully that was the problem
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Old 08-15-05, 11:26 AM
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I would use bigger than 12 gauge wire, personally.

But the air coming out of the unit doesn't necessarily have to be freezing, if there's a LOT of air coming out. I had a 25k BTU window AC unit once. It didn't blow out particularly cold air when you'd first start it up, but it moved a ton of air. Like gale force wind, sort of thing. After about 15 minutes, the air cooled enough and it got real, real cold in the room.

In other words, it didn't cool the air more than 10 degrees or so, but it moved a freakin' ton of air and cooled it all down by 10 degrees. And after a short while, this made a big difference.
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Old 08-15-05, 01:16 PM
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Did you try the new unit yet?
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Old 08-15-05, 01:45 PM
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Yes we did..

We plugged it in and WHAMMO! Crisp cold air...of all the air conditioners, we had to buy a faulty one...

namrufmot - sitting in his new meat locker of a house
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