The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 July 2006

Everything's a tradeoff

The thing about this brand of air-conditioning unit, I am told, is that their coil design provides for good airflow even with small accumulations of the inevitable crud.

The downside, of course, is that you tend to postpone cleaning until the accumulations of the inevitable crud are no longer so small, and when the time comes, you start wondering if maybe it wouldn't be easier to reroute a river through it, since the very design that makes them somewhat resistant to crud also makes them more than somewhat difficult to clean.

So now you know how my morning went. My participation in the actual activity was limited to asking stupid questions and then writing a large check, but life, they say, is for learning.

Posted at 10:12 AM to Surlywood

Cheer up - I paid a small amount yesterday for a similar cleaning of a heat pump in the production studio, but it hasn't helped a whole lot. What's more, since the unit is closed/sealed and can't need freon unless there's a leak, it means that the new heat pump, just six years old, is officially too small for the room when the temp tops 98°.

Fortunately, sweating is free.

Posted by: Matt at 5:33 PM on 20 July 2006

The question of "too small" did come up, and the usual rule of thumb — one ton per 500 square feet — was invoked.

Said the tech, a two-ton unit in a 1060-square-foot house is kinda marginal.

On the other hand, he added, the design calls for a 25-degree drop: if it's 105 outside and you're getting consistent 78s inside with coils that look like Hungarian herding dogs, maybe it's not as marginal as it seems.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:11 PM on 20 July 2006

I've been reading up on this myself. Evidently the calculation should be much more complicated than figuring square feet and dividing by 500.

Also, a unit that is too big will cut on and off too often, resulting in poorer cooling and shorter life. But a properly sized unit will run constantly at your maximum expected temperature. (I guess that's around 106 in OK) Too bad about today.

Posted by: Dan at 1:16 PM on 21 July 2006

No regrets here: I would much rather pay for something that's considered routine than let it go and then pay far more for actual repairs somewhere down the road. I'm hoping that this particular unit (age 9) has a few more years left in it, and maybe I bought one of those years.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:25 PM on 21 July 2006