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Home Improvements & Maintenance Every once in a while we have to come out of the shop and fix something on the Honey-do list. This is a place we can discuss those projects.

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Old 06-16-2005, 01:37 AM
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Air Conditioner Placement. Question

The house we bought last summer has the central air conditioner unit right outside the back door and under the deck. When your sitting on the deck, it's so loud you can barely hear people talking.

I want to have it moved to the side of the house where there are no windows which would put it about 35 feet from the air handler. Is this unreasonable. Is there a practical limit on how far the air conditioner can be from furnace's air handling unit?

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Old 06-16-2005, 08:48 AM
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There is a practical limit, but I don't know what it is, and it may vary with the make/model of unit, size of unit, etc. All I can tell you for sure is that the mechanical engineers we work with always like to keep the send/return lines as short as possible; but we've had plenty of instances where the lines are longer (sometimes considerably longer) than 35'. This is on commercial projects, however, since those comprise the bulk of our work.

I'll be speaking with one of our consultants this morning on another matter. I'll try to pick his brain on this one, and will let you know what he says.
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Old 06-16-2005, 10:01 AM
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My liquid and suction lines are over 50' long and also rise one story from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit. The contractor put in the next size larger lines to compensate for the extra pressure drop. Get a good contractor and they know what to do.

Try to place the outdoor unit in a shady spot. This helps efficeincy a good bit. Don't place it too close to walls or plants that could restrict air flow. Anticipate problems and make sure a mechanic can get to it easily. We had one customer that insisted that we put the outdoor unit on the roof. The roof was so steep, the only way we could replace it when it broke was to get a cherry picker and mess up his yard to get to it.

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Old 06-16-2005, 10:37 AM
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Coincidentally, I just had my A/C system replaced on Tuesday. One thing to consider is the cost of moving the existing unit versus replacing it with a newer unit. The new scroll compressors that many of the newer A/C units use are extremely quiet. You may be able to upgrade to a newer, quieter, more efficient system for not much more than it would cost just to move your existing unit.

My compressor is about 20 feet from my deck. With the new unit running, you cannot hear it at all while sitting on the deck. As you walk towards it, at about 10 feet you can start to hear a low hum. You could stand right next to it and easily hold a normal conversation. The specs on the unit rate at 69db, but from hearing it in person that may be (to my pleasant surprise) conservative. I really didn't expect the new unit to be this quiet.

Just some food for thought.
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Old 06-16-2005, 12:23 PM
os1kne os1kne is offline
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To go along with what TundraMan said, the newer a/c units tend to be much more energy efficient and less loud. Do you know what the seer rating is on your present unit? If it is more than a couple of years old, it is likely a 6 or 8 seer unit. Most newer units are 10-13 seer, with 12 set to become the minimum soon. Supposedly, each 1 seer increase results in about a 10% increase in energy efficincy. So, if your present unit is a 6 seer, replacing it with a 12 seer could solve your noise problem and save on your electric bill. Living in MN, you likely don't use your a/c for enough months out of the year to have this upgrade pay for itself in less than 5 years - but depending on the age/condition/efficiency of your present unit it may be worth thinking about. Depending on the above factors and on how much moving your present unit would cost, it may make more sense to upgrade rather than paying to move the old unit.

Good luck!
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:35 AM
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I didn't have an opportunity to check into this for you after all, but it looks like the others have answered the question.

The suggestion to upgrade to a more efficient unit has merit. A lot of times a vendor/contractor will make you a better deal on a new install than they will on service work, especially if the service work involves a unit they didn't install themselves.
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Old 06-18-2005, 09:57 PM
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Another big reason to consider a replacement compressor is the need to relocate the refrigerant lines. If they are inside the walls of your house (like mine are, especially for the upstairs unit) it would be a real mess. The lines have to run from the compressor unit to the airhandler. If they can run through a crawl space or something, it wouldn't be so bad to relocate but you'd still have to move the 220V and 12V switching circuits.

Jim
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Old 06-29-2005, 05:04 PM
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I also just replaced my central A/C system. My set-up requires a 50' run. As stated above the diameter of the lines is slightly larger to accomodate the pressure drop. Also, my system was pre-charged but it is charged to handle a 25' run of std. dia. piping. There was a chart that came with the unit that told you how much additional R-22 needed to be added to account for the larger line volume. So your longer run should not be a big deal.


Mike

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Old 06-30-2005, 09:21 AM
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put the compressor on the north or east side of the house if possible.
this will keep it in the shade during the hottest part of the day. It won't have to work as hard and thus save you money.
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Old 07-03-2005, 06:01 PM
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Thanks everyone.

The unit is only 3 years old and has a SEER rating of 12.00. It does have the scroll compressor also. LOML says it is too loud so it will need to move. It's also in the SW corner of an L shaped rambler and the sun beats on it most of the day.

There used to be a heat pump with a propane burner in the same location and the gas line comes up out of the sidwalk righ next to it. We're also having the propane tank and lines moved due to landscaping so we'll have it all done at the same time.
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