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DC Power Outages

Discussion in 'The OT' started by RasputinAXP, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. Jul 4, 2012 #61 of 101
    AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    Still about 100,000 out in Washington, DC/ Northerrn Virginia/ suburban Maryland metropolitan area... but not me!
     
  2. Jul 4, 2012 #62 of 101
    Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    There was a time in my life that I would have rented a truck, filled it with generators and hawked them on the streets. I did that a couple times in NYC with firewood. You would not believe how many apartments in the City have working fireplaces and no firewood. Made a lot of money. Paid a lot to be left alone, too. I do love corruption.

    Rich
     
  3. Jul 4, 2012 #63 of 101
    1980ws

    1980ws Legend

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    Yep. Use whats on hand for mower & trimmers, rotate through the cars 5 gallon at a time, then replace with fresh. Usually fill up near end of July and disperse all by beginning of October. That's my official end of Hurricane season.
     
  4. Jul 6, 2012 #64 of 101
    Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Power back on - again. After what was a 20-hour tease, it went back off for another 48 hours.

    Whereas before I thought I was about an hour from having the big generator up and running, it took me another 3 to get it operational. But it worked. Powered my entire basement and a couple of rooms upstairs. Our power goes out a few times a year, sometimes for a couple of days, so this was well worth it.
     
  5. Jul 6, 2012 #65 of 101
    TBlazer07

    TBlazer07 Grumpy Grampy

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    My daughter's lights came back today at around 3PM ... finally. (N.VA)
     
  6. Jul 7, 2012 #66 of 101
    Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I went thru a four day A/C loss last weekend. The company I have the warranty with was swamped. Turned on all seven of my ceiling fans and my whole-house fan and my wife and granddaughter (I'm getting really tired of typing "granddaughter", her name is Sadie and I'll be using that from now on) were on a Scrapbooking weekend locally, so they stayed in the hotel.

    I gotta admit, it wasn't all that bad. With all the air moving in the house, it was kinda pleasant. Not that I'd like to go without A/C, but it kinda reminded me of my childhood when only "rich" folks had air conditioners.

    Anyhow, I didn't know if opening up the condenser and seeing if I could fix it myself would void the remaining years of my warranty, so I waited. Finally a guy showed up and opened the panel I would have opened up and there it was, a capacitor that had blown and all the gushy stuff was blown out of it. If I had just opened that panel I could have bought a capacitor of the same size and put it in myself.

    So the guy writes out a bill for ~ $300 and I told him the condenser was still under warranty and he made up a new bill for $97, the cost for a "service call". Nowhere on my warranty is there a mention of service call charges, but they insist that the service call charge is legit. Told the manager I was speaking to that I'd never been charged a fee for warranty work since I got my first A/C unit in ~ 1986. He checked and said, "You've been lucky." I told him I thought this was an instance of price gouging and he denied it. Asked him how much that capacitor cost and he didn't know. Kinda doubt it cost the $200 the tech was gonna charge me.

    This is the last time I buy a central A/C unit from them. Two years left on the warranty and when something happens after that, I'll find someone else to buy one from.

    The company that put me thru all this is Speer Air of Denville, NJ. I've had to help every "tech" they've sent me over the years (I've got a good background of working on A/C unit and understand how they work), so I know they don't train their techs well. That capacitor was blown a couple years ago and replaced. In my experience, that type of capacitor should last a lot longer than that. Oh, when the cap was replaced two years ago, I wasn't charged a service call for that.

    Rich
     
  7. Jul 7, 2012 #67 of 101
    AntAltMike

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    I went through a 40 year A/C "loss" at the start of my life. An interesting comment I heard from film critic Roger Hebert is that the great movies set in the throes of long, hot summers can never resonate the same way with modern audiences because summer just doesn't mean the same thing to people today that it did to people back then.
     
  8. Jul 7, 2012 #68 of 101
    Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Been there, done that. Last year around this time we had a huge storm that knocked out our power. Since it happened after dark, and the basement was cooler, we all just slept in the basement. The next day when power came back on our main floor A/C would not work. Called the HVAC company and they came out and said they needed to order a part as they didn't have one in stock. Since it was Friday, that meant Monday. Wife didn't ask what part.

    When the guy showed up Monday, he had a condenser motor. Seriously you had to order that? I could have gone to a competitor and picked it up and installed it myself.

    Since it was this time of year and hot as h---, I "reconfigured" some of my ductwork. I ran a couple of 8" ducts from my basement unit supply to the main floor unit return. My basement unit is a 3-ton which I think is oversized for my basement. My previous house with the basement taking the afternoon sun load only had a 1-ton. So the basement A/C runs very little. But this "fix" helped quite a bit. The main floor was not cool, but not hot either.

    After this recent power outage I am think of having a HVAC company come in and make a permanent connection like this with a manual damper. Then my big gen only has to be able to run the basement A/C and I can still moderate the main floor if power goes out in the summer. The big gen will run the main floor A/C, but it strains it.
     
  9. Jul 7, 2012 #69 of 101
    Rich

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    I did kinda enjoy not having to change into warmer clothing to use the bathrooms. Brought back a lot of memories. I can see what Hebert meant.

    Rich
     
  10. Jul 8, 2012 #70 of 101
    TBlazer07

    TBlazer07 Grumpy Grampy

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    Yikes, I'd have moved into a hotel!

    That's why when I had my new Heating & A/C system & Tankless water heater (not very happy with that item, but it's not their fault) last year I made sure there was a minimum 5 year contract on all parts & labor w/no exceptions + a 24hr service guarantee including weekends. Been dealing with these guys for many many (30+) years for home and former business and they have been great with no "surprises."
     
  11. Jul 8, 2012 #71 of 101
    Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    Why not? I installed on this past spring and couldn't be happier. Just curious. Gas or electric?
     
  12. Jul 8, 2012 #72 of 101
    TBlazer07

    TBlazer07 Grumpy Grampy

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    Gas, Navien NR180A with the internal "buffer" tank.

    Problem 1): No electric, no HW! My wife gets up for work at 4AM and I had to run the plug over to my computer backup a couple times over the last winter so she could shower when we had short power outages. Fortunately the computer in the water heater pulls under 2 amps so my APC keeps it going for quite a while.

    Problem 2): The biggest problem. We have water temp set to 130F. If it hasn't been used for an hour or so it takes UP TO 90 seconds for the water to reach temperature so we are wasting 1.5mins of water waiting for it to get hot. My wife is constantly b1tch1ng when she wants to rinse off dishes that she has to stand around waiting for the water to get hot. Our water bills have gone up about 20%/month since we got it.

    I laughed my arse off when we first got it and we had a glitch, the company rep told us to "reboot our water heater." I think it is running Windows Me. :lol:

    The BEST part is the unlimited hot water (once it gets hot), the small size and it's something like 94% efficiency. That plus our super high efficiency A/C and heating with ~90something percent efficiency our gas and electric bills have gone way down.

    I just think I should have stuck with the 55 gallon tank gas HW heater . The $2000+ difference in cost just didn't make the tankless worth it in my opinion. There are only the 2 of us, the kids have long ago left the nest.
     
  13. Jul 8, 2012 #73 of 101
    Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

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    I saw the Navien at Ferguson's when I was buying the vent piping for the Rinnai. I bought a Rinnai off of Amazon and installed it myself. Local plumbing company quoted me $1700 for a power vent tank (what I had) and $2800 for a tankless. Got it from Amazon for $850 delivered the next day. Add in $200 worth of vent piping and I was good to go.

    Like I mentioned, I had a power vent tank before so I always needed power, although it would allow me to use what was hot in the tank. It just wouldn't heat anymore.

    I don't notice much difference between the tankless and the tank in terms of the time it takes for hot water to get to the master bath. But they are right above the unit, so even if the time doubled, it would probably not be noticeable.

    I do like that I am able to fill my entire hot tub with hot water. :)
     
  14. Jul 8, 2012 #74 of 101
    TBlazer07

    TBlazer07 Grumpy Grampy

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    With the various tanks we had over the previous 40 years (probably 3 of them) we lived here we'd have hot water literally within seconds anywhere in the house anytime, well, maybe on 15 degree winter days it would be 15 seconds. With this it's usually around 60 seconds and occasionally 90 seconds.
     
  15. Jul 9, 2012 #75 of 101
    Rich

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    What company is that? I gotta find someone new. When I called the other day, I asked one of their "experts" what temp I should be getting out of my registers, his reply: "About 60 degrees or so." OK, it was a loaded question, but I had to see if he had any clue about AC units.

    Rich
     
  16. Jul 9, 2012 #76 of 101
    RasputinAXP

    RasputinAXP Kwisatz Haderach of Cordcuttery

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    So what temp SHOULD I be getting out of my registers? My upstairs is still sweltering hot, and we have a brand new AC system that they say 'just can't be balanced' because of my house.
     
  17. Jul 9, 2012 #77 of 101
    Nick

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    Close all your downstairs registers and open all upstairs.
     
  18. Jul 9, 2012 #78 of 101
    TBlazer07

    TBlazer07 Grumpy Grampy

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    RYAN Heating & A/C (and plumbing and everything else - I think they cater weddings too) out of Union (www.ryanbuilds.com). I don't believe they sell service contracts any longer. They used to but now they have this stupid program where you get a discount. We got a contract because the system was newly installed. What I can say about them is they are there when we call. Skeleton crew on weekends but if you are down they are (usually) there.

    As for that question, I would think that is very difficult to answer as there are just so many variables involved. I can say that since I got my new system (using the 63yr old old existing mostly uninsulated steel duct) is soooooooo much better than it was before. Our previous system was 22yrs old and was installed 3 days after my oldest daughters wedding. Our first system (20 yrs old) failed the day before the wedding and the temps were 100+. Kinda killed the rehearsal dinner.
     
  19. Jul 9, 2012 #79 of 101
    TBlazer07

    TBlazer07 Grumpy Grampy

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    Sounds like an undersized system or a blower running too slow. With our new system our upstairs is actually cold in rooms that never were even cool on a hot day. This is a 60+ year old home with absolutely no insulation at all and old metal uninsulated heating ducts used for the A/C which all pass through the garage to the bedrooms. I did cover those ducts with insulation since the were out in the open.

    Edit: To answer your question I just measured the bedroom duct furthest away from the furnace. Getting 49 degrees there. The vent in the office where I am sitting is right next to the furnace and is around 44 degrees. Right now it's ~79 outside.
     
  20. Jul 10, 2012 #80 of 101
    Rich

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    We always shot for 45 degrees. And usually got that. Mine are at 50 degrees in all this heat. I'll measure it now...can't, the ACs not running at the moment. Next time it kicks on, I'll measure it. Just came on and I'm still getting 50 degrees. Might be because of the new refrigerants, I stopped working on ACs when the switch over from Freon to whatever they're using now was just starting.

    Our house came without AC, so that was the first upgrade we made on it 26 years ago. The home was not built with AC in mind. You can tell if a home is built for AC if it has registers near the floor and registers near the ceilings.

    Did the new AC come with a "sight glass" on the copper tubing just outside the condenser unit? If it does have one, do you see bubbles? That's an indication of low refrigerant. Newer ACs don't seem to have the sight glasses anymore, don't know why, but the schools are teaching that seeing bubbles in the sight glasses in nothing to worry about. Not in my years of experience, but it might be true with the new refrigerants.

    How to balance out your house? I have the same problem and I do just what Nick advised in an earlier post, shut off the downstairs registers or some of them. Been doing that for years and it does work. Forced air has to go somewhere.

    Did the company that installed the new AC unit suggest a two zone system? That's what you really need. That's what I really need, too.

    Rich
     

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