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Old 09-01-2012, 11:12 PM   #1
musicmantrs
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A/C Help!

Not a fantastic time... I'm close to paying off my Disney trip and next weekend I'm supposed to go out of town and spend a few hundred dollars on hotel and gas. Today I noticed a weird smell in my laundry room where my air handler/furnace is. My girlfriend says the smell is like burnt plastic but I'm just not sure what to compare it to. I've got a CO2 sensor right outside my laundry room and one in the main hall near my bedroom and neither one has made a peep so I don't think that is an issue (I hit the test button today to make sure). The other symptom of the AC is the coolant line having a lot of condensation on it. My drain line seems to be draining fine as it has a little pool under it. For tonight I've turned the AC completely off but I was wanting to see if any DISers could give me any tips on what to check. Full disclosure my outside unit went out a few weeks ago (when it was in the 100s!) and it was a blown capacitor that I had to replace. Also, in case I have to bite the bullet, should I call the AC people tomorrow, Monday, or stick it out until Tuesday because of the holiday?

Thanks!
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:43 AM   #2
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I can only offer sympathy. When I got home from work Wednesday (temps in the upper 90s) DH informed me that our AC downstairs wasn't working. He pulled the fuses and took them to a neighbor Thursday, but they all seem fine. He wanted to wait until after the holiday to call service, so we have been using fans and sweating all weekend. It is supposed to start raining today (which is not good news for our holiday plans) so hopefully it will be a bit cooler.

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Old 09-02-2012, 08:58 AM   #3
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Have you checked the air filters? Depending on the unit, there can be a smaller filter near the compressor. I have found that out the hard way.
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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We had the burnt plastic smell before too and it was our motor that was burning. Our drainage line was not able to drain properly and was leaking onto the motor. After awhile it shorted out and had we not turned off the a/c when we smelled the burning, the unit could have caught on fire (There were burn marks on the motor). The drain line would drain fine from the pump to the outside, but the problem was the way the drainage from the condenser drained to the pump. Once we fixed that line and replaced the motor, we have not had anymore problems. Hope you can get it fixed soon. We had this problem last summer right after we got back from Disney.
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the replies! turtlebean, I'm thinking this is what was happening. I took my ShopVac and got a good seal to the end of the drain line... since it isn't a true wet vac I just ran it for a few seconds and I got close to 2 gallons out of the drain. I turned it on after that and no more smell... I'm going to keep a close eye on it and use it sparingly until Tuesday when I can get someone out for a reasonable rate.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicmantrs View Post
Thanks for all the replies! turtlebean, I'm thinking this is what was happening. I took my ShopVac and got a good seal to the end of the drain line... since it isn't a true wet vac I just ran it for a few seconds and I got close to 2 gallons out of the drain. I turned it on after that and no more smell... I'm going to keep a close eye on it and use it sparingly until Tuesday when I can get someone out for a reasonable rate.
If it is in fact your motor that has burned out and you are handy, you may be able to fix on your own. We fixed ours on our own. The a/c guy that came to look at ours took too long trying to find a motor and I was able to find a motor on my own and we replaced it ourselves. You will need to rerun your drainage line from your compressor most likely because if you don't it will happen again. Ours had a lot of 90 degree angles along it. We cut that out and make it a diagonal line to the main line down to the pump. I want to say our motor cost us around $100. All this had happened when temps were over 100 degrees w/out the heat index. So I really feel your pain right now. Hope you get it fixed soon and at least it was at the end of summer. Ours burnt out right in the height of summer.
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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my hubby is a Ac tech I will have him read what you wrote and get back to you on it. Maybe it is something he can walk you through. I would try and wait till Tuesday if you can because his Emerg fee is $150 just to show up EKKS. I will ask him for you though
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:13 PM   #8
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Our capasitor went out this summer and DH looked on youtube and found a video on how to replace it. Cost was $30 and took him about 1 hour to find the part at a local store and to get the part and installed.

So if you have to replace a motor I would try doing it yourself and save the $$$$. Look on youtube and see if it is something you fell comfortable doing yourself. Good Luck.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:49 PM   #9
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Yeah, I got to change the capacitor at the end of July... The A/C seems to like to go out at night so I have a miserable and sleepless night. The drain from the coils was clogged with green mucuss-y stuff and I got that cleaned out. I've been running it sparingly with no smell so I'm hopeful it was just the backed up drain. I'll still take any advice anyone has. Thanks!
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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Hubby said hold out till Tuesday. He said its either the fan or the heater. Nothing He can tell you to do that will help you at this point. He said you can still use the AC unless the fan is dead. If the heater is stuck on then the Ac wont work either because the heater is fighting with the AC .He said the plastic smell could be the heater, fan switch or blower motor but without looking at it he dosent know for sure plus he cant smell it. Sorry We couldnt be of more help. he said dont sweat it out till Tuesday use the Ac for now if it will run and the fan works. then call Tuesday in the morning to have someone come out.
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Old 09-03-2012, 09:26 AM   #11
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We use to have a lot of problems with funky stuff in our drain line, until our new A/C guy started putting algaecide tablets in our drain pan at his service check ups. It's been a couple of years and haven't had any back up issues due to gunk in our drain line! Just an idea
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:29 AM   #12
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When we bought our house, during the pre-close walk-through, we were told we should put bleach in the condensation drain line once a year. We did at first, but then completely forgot for a few years. Cut to walking by the side of the house to see water dripping from the backup drain line. We went into the attic and saw the drain pan was full of water. We were just lucky it hadn't overflowed and caused water damage. Plus, we suddenly made the connection that our a/c hadn't seemed to be keeping up with the heat lately. What we did was take our wet/dry vac up there and suction out the pipe. We could immediately tell as cold air started pouring out of that pipe as soon as it was clear. We then poured some bleach down and checked it every few days. Did have to suction it out again a few days later and add some more bleach, but it's been fine since.

Needless to say, we don't forget to add that bleach annually anymore And I tell anyone I know who is buying their first house this little tip. I'm amazed so far that not a single person knew about this. We sure wouldn't have if we hadn't been told!
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