questionsdoes your ac unit blow (in a bad way)?

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.... and this is when it freezes. if the temp in the house is 73, and i turn the unit to 72, its fine. one little digital fan shows up on the thermostat display. but if its 73 in the house, and i crank it down to 70 or 71, two little fans show up on the display, letting me know its working harder. thats when it freezes. you're probably thinking, just turn it to 76 in the afternoon. then i get home and its 79 and still working overtime just to keep it there. if there is more than 1 degree difference in the room temp and the thermostat setting, it works overtime and freezes up. i am at a loss. i can't afford a new unit. i cant afford to use a space heater to keep my ac running. i cant stand a blazing hot house (SC summers are brutal, heat stroke is very common here.) so i am at a loss. any HVAC guys on here that can help out? do filters have anything to do with freezing up? i read online cheap filters can do that but i dont understand how. please help

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It is freezing over due to inadequate airflow, when the moisture comes off of the condensers it has no where to go, so ends up falling back on the condensers and freezing. Same thing happens when your windows frost in the winter. You need to open it up and clean it out, clean the vents and clean the coils on the condenser. Clean all of the dust, dirt, dead bugs and whatever else out of it. I recommend using an air compressor but I've seen people use pressure washers before too. You probably don't need a new A/C unit, you just need to clean it out.

edit wait until the A/C defrosts obviously, and check/replace any air filters too.

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@eraten: thanks for the response. we did clean the condensers a while ago. my wife was concerned that the build up was black mold, but i told her it looked more like caked dust. so i got in there and wiped it down with a damp cloth but didn't pressure wash or anything like that. now sure how to do that inside a house, and i have no idea how to remove all that stuff.

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You could try Coil Cleaner, made by Web. Both Home Depot and Lowes carry it. It can be used on window units or outside compressors. Cleans out the gunk caught between the fins.

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hmmm.... i think i'm a little confused. so the metal screens inside the house that get covered in ice/frost are the coils right? so what do you need to clean on the compressor? is the compressor the whole outside unit with the fan, or is it a specific part of that unit? i've always rented before this house, so i've never had to do any kind of hvac stuff before so i'm completely new to all this.

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My AC also blows. Or, more accurately, doesn't blow enough! It's an older and underpowered unit for the size of my top-floor apartment. It works overtime all day long on a hot day like today, and still struggles to stay under 80 or 82. I've mitigated the problem somewhat by hanging insulated curtains over the large window, and by adding a small portable A/C unit in one room, but it still gets uncomfortably warm.

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@ndcouch: I assume that since you're hesitant to remove it to clean it that is an in the wall unit? Or just a window unit, either way those are easily removable to clean them. I'm pretty sure those wall mounted ones are just as easy to remove. Depending on which type you have this guy does a great walk through of removing it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXI99VWGCZ8

Obviously take care when removing them and cleaning them, and make sure the unit is unplugged/the breaker is turned off before doing any type of work on it.

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@djp519: i feel your pain. my man cave is on the 2nd floor and we have a metal roof. the cave is always about 10 degrees hotter than the downstairs. plus if i play a pc game upthere it gets brutally hot. i mean sitting in a chair in boxers and a wife beater and still sweating through it all. i'd love to put an ac unit in the window but the wife and i are trying to fix up the house a bit, and nothing looks trashier than an window ac unit. if it were in the back of hte house i wouldn't care, but its in the front and faces the street. they're fine for apartments, but i've never liked them on houses. living in the south, we have tons of beautiful old homes and plantations and farm homes that look absolutely breathtaking in a field or grove of trees.... but because of the age they either don't have cental air, or the house is very inefficient and they put ac units in the window and i've always hated it.

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@eraten: its in the wall, not a window unit. thanks for the link, i'll have to check it out when i get home.

thanks to everyone who's replied so far. much appreciated

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@ndcouch: i was amazed at how much of a difference insulated curtains made in my upstairs. also have you considered a portable window fan to use (have it in the window only when you are in the room)?

@ndcouch: most wall units are the same as window units, just put in a different hole. you can replace them relatively cheap at most box stores or amazon.

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No but my vacuum cleaner sucks!

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@ndcouch: The outside portion of your air conditioner also has fins. That is what I was talking about cleaning.

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This probably isn't what you want to hear, but I think it is time to bring in a professional (or two, maybe three) and have them look at the unit and recommend fixes. It really sounds like you have done what you can on your own, but something more is wrong. Get it fixed now, then have comfortable summer.

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@ndcouch: For that upstairs room, if you don't want the visual of the window a/c, you should look into a portable A/C unit, like the one I'm linking below. The entire unit sits inside the room, with a small vent hose that hooks up to a bracket you mount in the window. From the outside, you can barely tell it's there, nothing sticks out from the house. They are not quite as efficient or cheap as window units, but they do work reasonably well, especially in smaller rooms.

Note - if that link is too much, just Google "portable air conditioner"

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=portable+air+conditioner&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=Z3S&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvnsr&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1366&bih=627&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=15633864499063488835&sa=X&ei=VS-jT9aBDfCI6AHE3oAd&ved=0CLcBEOUNMAI

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thanks for all the feedback. we're now making sure it's completely dry after defrosting before we turn it back on. i think that was one of hte reasons it kept freezing so fast. after talking to the wife i think we're gonna bite hte bullet and get a window unit for upstairs. no point in having a nice looking house from the outside if the top half is off limits to you. hopefully that will help. also gonna clean everything real good like in that youtube vid.