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Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
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Adamelama
Mueller Community

Posts: 28
Joined on January 19th, 2009
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by Adamelama on June 25th, 2009

I as well live in a David Weekly home and we found our AC stalling out around 78 degrees. We called Christianson as well and they are telling us that most A/C's are set for a 25 degree temperature in fluctuation. We can pay for the visit but they seem to think this is what's happening. We are seeing some of the same symptoms as the first post last summer. Set for 75 and stalling at 78. Any suggestions or expertise in the neighborhood?
 
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Ms Ice Monkey
Mueller Community

Posts: 460
Joined on November 18th, 2007
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by Ms Ice Monkey on June 25th, 2009

We've been in our David Weekley house for over a year now, and have never been satisfied with the functioning of the HVAC system. Our main complaint is that on very hot days, it takes hours on end for the house to cool down if we use the energy-saver thermostat settings during the day. Mike A. relayed that the design temperature is 95 degrees, based on the requirements of the Austin Energy Green Building program, so the systems really are not adequate for these 100 degree days. His suggestion is to just keep it cool all of the time. I can't believe that's what Austin Energy had in mind.

Our other complaint is that the damper doesn't seem to work properly. Conditioned air comes out of the vents with the system set to a higher temperature, or even when it's turned off entirely. Over the winter, we shut all of the vents upstairs to try to combat the sweltering heat, but I'd prefer not to do that during the summer - and it simply should not be necessary.

We are almost ready to hire another A/C contractor to come out and give us a second opinion of the design and operation of the system. I'm going to give Christianson one last chance to explain and/or fix the problems before resorting to that.

(Sorry, I just realized we have taken over the Stan Pac forum with our DW complaints!)
 
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clintdawson
Mueller Community

Posts: 28
Joined on June 30th, 2008
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by clintdawson on June 26th, 2009

your a/c problems are not restricted to your home or your builder. Our house on Scales also had problems with cooling, and it took a lot of complaining and finally talking to a guy at the city of Austin to get permission to get a bigger unit, which the builder provided at no cost to me. I think they undersized the a/c's in a lot of these houses. If you're willing to keep your house at 77-78 it's fine, but if you're having company and you need to cool the house down it's not going to happen on a hot day like today.
 
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SleeperService
Mueller Community

Posts: 186
Joined on July 17th, 2008
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by SleeperService on June 26th, 2009

Which builder did that ?

Ezra.
 
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smittyhoo
Mueller Community

Posts: 445
Joined on November 4th, 2008
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by smittyhoo on June 26th, 2009

There are a number of ways to decrease the load on your A/C. I can't say I've done all of these myself. Some are expensive, some not so much. Here's what I was able to learn:

*run the ceiling fans in your house to aid in air circulation
*clean or replace your furnace filters per the manufacturer’s recommendations
*pull drapes or shades over sun-facing windows
*stir up breezes using the “Fan Only” setting on your HVAC system
*when possible, minimize mid-day activities that add humidity to the air, such as washing and drying clothes, showering, and cooking. When doing these activities, use ventilating fans.
*replace incandescent/halogen bulbs with CFLs, as the former produce a ton of heat - also a good way to save on energy costs
*install solar shades on southern and west-facing windows-these can block 80-90% of the sun's energy - if you need help or advice on making your own please ask me - all the materials are available at Home Depot

So, I think ultimately instead of putting larger A/C units another option would be to ask Austin Energy/the home builders with financial assistance for exterior, color-matched solar shades, which turns this situation into a win-win-win.
 
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Siebrise
Mueller Community

Posts: 52
Joined on August 23rd, 2008
A/C problem for Blanton; A/C general tips
by Siebrise on June 27th, 2009

Great hints, smittyhoo. Thanks.

Not too closely related to this string's original Blanton issue (which has been well addressed), another A/C hint is that if a home's temperature (and possibly humidity) is allowed to remain high for a while, when the thermostat is turned low again, the A/C must cool (and dry) not only the air inside the home but also all the furniture, walls, etc. Depending on the home and contents, that can take a while.

Energy-saving daytime settings (both temperature and end time) might have to be tweaked a bit to fit your particular home, especially during these strings of triple-digit days.
 
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Lorrie
Mueller Community

Posts: 554
Joined on May 3rd, 2008
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by Lorrie on June 27th, 2009

Just curious - do ceiling fans use a lot of electricity? I'm just wondering if I should run them all the time on these hot days.
 
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Siebrise
Mueller Community

Posts: 52
Joined on August 23rd, 2008
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by Siebrise on June 27th, 2009

The Ceiling Fan Installation and Usage Tips page of the Energy Star Web site suggests that ceiling fans should be turned off when no one's in the room.

Specifically, the site instructs that the advantage of ceiling fans in the summer is a wind chill effect, which allows the thermostat to be set a few degrees higher but which also exists only when someone is in the moving air.

(In winter, the goal is to move warm air from up near the ceiling down into the lower parts of the room without creating a wind chill. Thus, the suggested reversal of fan direction.)

In general, electric motors use more energy when they start or accelerate than they do when simply maintaining movement, so if you're going to return to a room within a few minutes, I'd suggest leaving the fan on.

I'm sure, too, that it depends on the efficiency of the fan in question.
 
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smittyhoo
Mueller Community

Posts: 445
Joined on November 4th, 2008
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by smittyhoo on June 27th, 2009

I just installed a few more ceiling fans. I just took a look at the quoted energy use for them (in watts):

Low - 13
Medium - 34
High - 70

So, even on high with a couple 13 watt CFL bulbs to light the room, it uses less energy than a single incandescent bulb. I typically run it on medium.

A typical 2.5 ton central A/C uses 3,000-3,500. In fan-only mode, 750.
 
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smittyhoo
Mueller Community

Posts: 445
Joined on November 4th, 2008
Air conditioning problem for Blanton Floor plan
by smittyhoo on June 27th, 2009

I've also been scouring the net about A/C unit sizes. Obviously, if a unit is undersized for a house, then it will run all the time and not be able to keep up. However, having an oversized unit will also not provide optimal cooling. The frequent on/off cycling associated with an oversized unit will result in poor airflow and hot/cold patches in the house.

One other thing, an A/C unit will run 10-15% more effectively if it is not exposed to direct sunlight, so putting some tall shrubs 1-2 feet away from the unit (to still allow proper airflow) is another inexpensive way to increase system performance.
 
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