Beyond My Pay Grade

 Posted by at 1:36 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 172017

Since I have a well-deserved reputation for being a klutz, and because Miss Terry is the handyman in the family when it comes to most things, a lot of people are surprised to learn that I actually know quite a bit about basic electricity. Not just that if you stick a fork into an electrical outlet bad things are going to happen but actually a couple of useful things too!

In fact, I completely wired both the 12 volt and 110 volt circuits in our MCI bus conversion when we were building it. And just a week or so ago, I replaced a circuit breaker in my buddy Jim Lewis’ house and taught him how to do it himself the next time around.

I also did most of the plumbing in our bus conversion. Plumbing is easy. I had a friend who owned a big plumbing company in Tucson, Arizona years ago and he told me there are only three things a plumber needs to know – water and poop flow downhill, payday is Friday, and don’t put your fingers in your mouth.

But I ran into a problem yesterday that is above my pay grade. We have a big air-conditioning/heat pump unit in the carport outside of our house. It feeds into ductwork that goes through the place. It was in the 80s yesterday and the AC unit was chugging along just fine, but Terry noticed it was getting warmer inside. That’s when she realized that though the AC unit was running outside, nothing was coming out of the vents inside the house.

I went outside to confirm that the compressor was running and the fan on the unit was blowing, and they were but, we weren’t getting any cold air inside. But the metal top of the unit was very cold, so there was cold in there somewhere that wasn’t getting into the house. I checked the breakers to see if there was another fan or motor somewhere that had tripped, but with no luck. And of course, it being Easter Sunday, we didn’t have many options except to open the windows, turn on our portable fans, and sweat.

Next I called Greg White, my go to guy for just about everything, and Greg told me there should be a separate motor and fan somewhere that circulates the air inside the house. I looked, Terry looked, and Jim looked, all with no success. I also put in a call to the fellow we bought the house from, because he works in heating and AC, and he’s the one that installed the unit.

I got his voicemail and left a message, and he called me back later and left a voicemail because we have really bad Verizon here and I missed the call. He said that the unit was a self-contained AC/heat pump and there was no other fan unit inside the house. Later that evening, talking to Greg again, he found some information online including brochures and an installation manual for the unit, and it looks like there is a blower motor inside it right where it ducts into the house. Greg’s research also revealed that there should also be a sort of flapper valve or louver in the ducting that may be stuck closed or blocked in some way.

So today’s project will be taking the unit apart and seeing if I can figure out what’s wrong with that motor, if there is a blocked duct, or whatever the heck is going on. Oh, the joys of home ownership!

Congratulations Bonnie Rose, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Crazy Days In Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. We had 87 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon.

Thought For The Day – Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Unless you died yesterday.

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Nick Russell

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  8 Responses to “Beyond My Pay Grade”

  1. Could the cooling unit be iced up?
    Turning off the A/C for maybe a half hour to let the ice melt and turn it back on?

  2. From 40 year HVAC guy
    There are 2 round 12 to 14 inch ducts that come off the unit on the side next to the house. Most likely they are black or gray flexible duct. Standing on the outside of the unit as the picture is showing, the blower and outlet is on the right side.

    It is not uncommon for the supply duct to become disconnected and the air is not being routed into the house.

    Follow the supply duct from the unit to the diconnected section, reconnect, and you should be back in operation.

    Hope this helps!

    Bud in Pa.

  3. There is a filter on the system. Is it dirty?

  4. it’s the squirrel cage ‘blower’ motor !!! usually inside the squirrel cage fan!!

  5. after looking @ your pic – you need some serious servicing !
    maybe get some ‘cold zinc’ paint for the rust –
    but cleaning the coils @ the compressor and the ‘a’ coil would be a wise thing – depending on the age of the unit –

    but here in florida – salt in the air is a hard thing for ac units

    also – be it known – epa – has changed coolants and to upgrade to a new unit may give you more (longterm) piece of mind!!

  6. How nice!! You don’t have to climb on the roof or shimmy under the rig. And you can actually maybe be in a comfortable position and your hand’ll fit. If you drop parts they will land on the ground not somewhere in there that you can’t reach.
    Bytheway when we bought our home we found out that you can contract with a service company and they will come out twice a year and service the heating system in the fall and the cooling system in the spring and when our compressor started sounding ugly we called them and we got jumped to the head of the list and there was no service charge associated with that call. Sweet. New neighbors told us about the service provider. It is $145 a year. This nice young man gets to climb the ladder and change the filter and go into the attic ( with the loose insulation) and change the humidifier parts in the fall and he takes the covers off the compressor and fusses with meters and stuff and then checks every vent inside with a meter testing airflow and temperature in the spring.

  7. nic’dic- get 3 bid= you f’up- the unit it saltwater ”’history”’ = don’t bevieve =

    axe – your wife….!

  8. be glad – it did hppn on the 4th- july — –

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