Updating heat/air unit... not sure what to look for...

Discussion in 'Home Construction and Remodeling' started by PopPopT, Dec 12, 2018.

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  1. Dec 12, 2018 #1

    PopPopT

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    Awesome Friend Neighbor Contributor

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    A year ago, we bought a house on a few acres. It's not horrible but it's something we could afford. It's crap land, which makes gardening frustrating, and a 2008 house that was basically built with little attention to any sense of code except maybe the electrical.

    The house has an all-in-one heat /ac unit that sits up against the side of the house and is basically supplying, though air ductwork, heat and air to the house through the crawl space. It's all electric. It's what was here when we bought and is still under warranty.

    But the thing is LOUD! It does work. It gets the job done all the way from 0 to 100 degrees (F) without problems. But dang it all, my old F350 diesel, with a hopped up exhaust, traveling down the road, isn't any louder than this thing. Seriously, I'm sitting in the bedroom of the house closest to it right now listening to it run, windows (double pane) closed tight, and it's still louder than what riding in most modern cars would be. Standing beside it would be about the same noise level as my push lawn mower running. UUGHH!!!

    I remember a few years back, when we lived in Louisiana, we had a system that had most of the thing in a closet inside and only the condenser outside. The condenser did have a fan on it and made some noise, but not anywhere near what this thing here makes. It also had the main blower fan inside the unit in the house that ran to the inside ductwork. Unless it was dead quiet in the house or you were standing right next to it, you'd never know if it was running or not. I liked that.

    So if I were to decide to upgrade this thing, what would be a good thing to look for? It's probably still going to be all electric. City gas doesn't run out this far and propane dealers out here aren't a lot of fun to deal with. Wood may happen at some point (though I don't have a source of wood on the property) as a supplemental heat. But it's gonna remain electric. The quietest is probably baseboard heat but if I read right, it's probably less efficient. I suppose I could put that in and still keep the noise maker, which would be just as noisy during AC season.

    I don't know. Maybe I should just suck it up and pretend while we put some lipstick on the ol' pig and move on. Or maybe there is something that wouldn't be uber expensive that could help. Heck, a better window and some more insulation would probably be cheaper than a new AC unit.

    Anyway, if you have any ideas, I'm listening.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dec 12, 2018 #2

    zoomzoom

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    Awesome Friend Neighbor Contributor

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    What kind of noise is it making?
    There's some capacitors in there that if going bad will make the heat pump get really noisy.
    I'd call a HVAC tech and have them take a look.
    Mine was noisy, an $80 capacitor fixed it.
     
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  3. Dec 12, 2018 #3

    PopPopT

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    Awesome Friend Neighbor Contributor

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    zoomzoom, it's mostly the noise of the fans. The compressor does make a hum, and it's a surge when it starts and stops, all normal... just loud.

    It's probably a testament to the cheap nature of the house construction, too...
     
  4. Dec 12, 2018 #4

    JAC

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    We put a mini split system in and love it. It handles heat and air and each room has it's own unit and it's own temp controller. No duct work needed.
     
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  5. Dec 12, 2018 #5

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    Fan out of balance or damaged? That happened to mine once due to ice and it shook the crap out of the unit. I just replaced the fan.
    It could be the motor too which may be replaced.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
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  6. Dec 12, 2018 #6

    Caribou

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    I had my own heating business for several years. While we didn't use heat pumps in a area that got -40º I have some advice that I gave all of my customers. You need more than one source of heat and at least one of them needs to run without electricity. I am in the process of installing a wood stove. I have it setup to burn coal also. I have a coal source twenty minutes or so from here. I plan to have a few cords of wood also. I don't have enough wooded land to heat my home and I don't relish the idea of cutting and splitting firewood but they sell it around here.

    My recommendation for you is to try to get the noise fixed. If the doesn't work out then add in a second heat pump as the first one is already in place and would work well enough as a reserve system. A wood stove as a fallback in case of a grid failure. Our grid went down a few days ago and while my power was only out for an hour and a half about 40,000 customers were out of power for over a day. I lived in a community where the power plant caught fire and the entire town was out of power for months.

    A number of my friends have heat pumps where they live and like them. I'll get you a link as soon as they respond.
     
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  7. Dec 12, 2018 #7

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    Awesome Friend Neighbor Contributor

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    I'll second having a secondary (and maybe tertiary) heat source depending on where you live.

    I live in a cold environment (basically between Buffalo and Pittsburgh). My heat pump is OK down to about 25° but after that, I need a 2nd source. Instead of the heat strips, I do use wood stoves. Using 1 wood stove, I'm good to about 20° and the furnace/heat pump won't come on. Below 20°. I kick on the 2nd wood stove and that'll keep us toasty until it drops to -10°. At that point, I need to add the furnace back in.
     
  8. Dec 12, 2018 #8

    PopPopT

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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I don't live in the ultra cold. I live in north central Tennessee. We do occasionally see zero (F) but that's pretty rare and doesn't generally last long. So far this year, we've had a low of about 15, which happened a couple of nights but the temps popped right back up into the 30's or 40's in the daytime. There will be weeks that'll get a little below freezing and stay there but not many, probably in Jan and Feb.

    To be honest, I'm planning to shut the place down in a couple of weeks and head to AZ for a couple of months. Nothing here for me this time of year except dreary and cold. Son lives in Phoenix and says, "come on out"! So I'm gonna.

    I did just have a thought about whether I could put some kind of baffle above the main unit, not to block air flow in any way, but maybe something to come between the house and the fan(s), something to reflect the sound out away from the house. Gotta ponder that one a bit. I think that would probably help my level of satisfaction quite a lot. The actual sound of the compressor, now that I sit and listen, isn't so bad. That part is reasonable.

    Anyway, thanks again for the thoughts.
     
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  9. Dec 12, 2018 #9

    Cnsper

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    I have one heat source and 3 cooling sources.

    One wood stove, for heat, two windows and a door for cooling.
     
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  10. Dec 12, 2018 #10

    Terri9630

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    Thats what we are going with too.
     
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  11. Dec 13, 2018 #11

    viking

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    That's about how we do it, open windows, turn on a few fans and pump in the cool night air then about 10:00 AM we close all the windows and the home stays at least 20 degrees cooler than outside all day. Our wood stove more than heats our slightly over 1,300 square foot home, DW often complains that it's too warm. I used to install heat pumps in the Denver area, it always seems like the outdoor unit would always be installed in a shady place and the coils would end up with really thick chunks of ice build up and the homeowners would be out there with torches melting them. I used to get a lot of complaints about the supply air being very cool and their electric bills being extremely high, power company sold them on installing power factor meters, that would have worked with all the high amperage equipment in the house being computer controlled, but if people were cooking , doing laundry and heating at the same time the multiplier needle would go up to above 3, in those days I only saw one guy that had computer controls in his home and I'm not sure he had everything figured out.
     
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  12. Dec 13, 2018 #12

    The Lazy L

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    How about stacking some cement blocks beside the H/AC unit on the house side? Bounce the noise off the blocks away from the house?
     
  13. Dec 13, 2018 #13

    Meerkat

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    My motto is ' if it works, don't fix it' if it cost a lot of money that is. I'd go for the sound proof window and heavy drapes you speak of.
     
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  14. Dec 14, 2018 #14

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    If you're going to go with the soundproofing route, I'd suggest Homasote. It's a much better sound barrier than most materials. It'll have to go inside or somehow be enclosed as it'll get ruined if it gets wet. You can buy it at any box store (Home Depot, Lowe's, Menard's....).
     
  15. Dec 14, 2018 #15

    Caribou

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