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Problem My Gas Furnace will not turn On? Nothing Happens?

Troubleshooting Gas & Electric Furnaces

Problem: My gas furnace will not turn on? Nothing happens when I turn the heat up on my thermostat to start my furnace. What could be the reason that my gas furnace will not start?

Answer: We have this question and problem asked many times. I have had this problem with my own furnace over the years. Below we have a great YouTube video made by AC Service Tech LLC that explains 8 reasons why that a gas furnace will not turn on. Many thanks to AC Service Tech for making this excellent troubleshooting video! Here are the 8 short reasons why the gas furnace will not turn on. If you would like an explanation of the reasons I would highly recommend watching this 12-minute video.

Reasons why a gas furnace will not turn on:

  1. No power to the furnace. Make sure that you check the power switch, the circuit breaker, and the door safety switch to make sure they are all on. You can tape the door safety switch down so the furnace will be on and check with a voltmeter set to “Volts AC” to see if you are getting power between L1 and neutral wire on the control board. You should be getting between 110 to 125 volts AC between L1 and neutral.
  2. You could have a bad transformer or a bad low voltage fuse. You should be getting 24 to 29 volts AC between the R and C terminals on the control board. We sell low voltage transformers on the following page: Please click here if you are interested in the low voltage transformers that we sell.
  3. Something could be opening the low voltage circuit like a condensate pump low voltage safety switch. Please click here if you are interested in the low voltage condensate pump safety switches we sell. 
  4. The thermostat wire could be shorted out or you could have an intermittent electrical, loose connection.
  5. The thermostat could be bad. If your thermostat has batteries make sure the batteries are in good condition.
  6. The control board could be bad and the board might not be allowing power to go to the inducer motor. You could have a bad relay on the control board. Please click here if you are interested in the furnace control boards that we sell. 
  7. The inducer motor might have a bad inducer motor capacitor. Please click here if you are interested in the inducer motor capacitors that we sell. 
  8. The inducer motor might be bad. You might need a new draft inducer. Please click here if you are interested in the draft inducers that we sell. 

Below is a great video made by AC Service Tech that explains the 8 reasons why a gas furnace does not start. Thanks so very much AC Service Tech!

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Question: What Are the Top 10 Furnace Troubleshooting Problems?

Troubleshooting Gas & Electric Furnaces

Question: What are the top 10 gas furnace troubleshooting problems? What should I be looking for if my furnace stops working?

Answer: We have this question asked quite often. We have a really good YouTube video from Word of Advice TV that discusses the top 10 furnace problems. Jay took the list from 315 service calls that he made during one heating season. One half of the video discusses the top 10 furnace problems and the other half of the video discusses honorable mention furnace problems.  Many thanks to Word of Advice TV for making this excellent video!  Here is the list of the top 10 problems and some of the honorable mention furnace troubleshooting problems. Please feel free to email us anytime if you have any questions. Our email address is Support@arnoldservice.com We would love to try and help you out and earn your business!

  1. A dirty flame sensor is the number one furnace troubleshooting problem.
  2. Having a dirty furnace filter that causes the furnace to go off on high limit. The furnace has poor airflow.
  3. Bad inducer motor.
  4. Bad blower motor.
  5. Bad control board.
  6. Bad gas valve and tied with having found a bad heat exchanger in the same number of service calls.
  7. Bad ignitor and tied with having found a plugged or stopped up evaporator coil in having the same number of service calls.
  8. Bad ignition module.
  9. Bad thermostat and tied with having found a dirty pilot assembly in having the same number of service calls.
  10. Plugged or stopped up condensate trap.

Honorable Mention Problems: 

  1. High limit switch stuck open.
  2. Bad pressure switch.
  3. Noisy blower wheel or motor.
  4. Bad 3 wire pilot.
  5. Blown control board fuse.
  6. Furnace breaker tripped.
  7. Leaking collector box.

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Question: Where should I look for refrigerant leaks on my AC unit?

ultrasonic leak detector

Question: My air conditioning system is leaking refrigerant somewhere? Every year we have to call an HVAC company to charge our system which is quite expensive! Where should I look for refrigerant leaks on my AC unit? Where are the most common places in the air conditioning system where leaks are found most often?

Answer: We have this question asked quite often. Finding refrigerant leaks is probably the most difficult joy that an HVAC tech has to do. Refrigerant leaks can be found in easy to see places or in almost impossible to see places. When I was doing HVAC service work if I did not see any leaks (oily spots) on the outdoor unit or oily spots on the refrigerant line set I would inject fluorescent dye in the system, allow the dye to circulate for a few days then come back with a black light in dark conditions to try and find the leak. Most leaks that I found were in the indoor evaporator coil. The dye was good but time-consuming. It was good that I could show the customer where the leak/leaks were, but bad that I had to make two trips and spend lots of time uncovering the evaporator coil to see the leaks. Probably 90% of the time the customer needed a new evaporator coil to stop the leaks. Below we have a really good YouTube video made by AC Service Tech LLC that explains and shows the top 10 spots where air conditioner leaks occur most often. Thanks so very much to AC Service Tech LLC for making this excellent YouTube Video! AC Service Tech uses an ultrasonic leak detector to find many of the leaks in this video. I sure wish they had ultrasonic leak detectors when I was doing service work. Those ultrasonic leak detectors are not cheap about $450 to $600, but seem to be really good!  Here is the written list of the 10 most common spots where refrigerant leaks are found. The YouTube video is really good at explaining these leaky areas in more detail. If you have any questions please comment below or email us anytime support@arnoldservice.com We would love to help you out and earn your business!

Here are the top 10 spots where leaks in air conditioners and heat pump occur most often:

  1. Leaking Shrader valve caps or sometimes called Schrader valve cores. Make sure the Schrader valve caps are in good condition. We sell a set of 10 really good Schrader valve caps on the following page. Please click here if you are interested in seeing the Schrader valve caps that we sell.
  2. Leaking on the indoor evaporator coil where the tubing goes through the galvanized tin.
  3. Leaking in the joints of the evaporator coil tubing where the tubing is brazed together.
  4. Leaking in the refrigerant distributor tubes at the evaporator coil.
  5. Leaking in the middle of the tubing in the evaporator coil. The tubing is extremely thin.
  6. Leaking “O” rings on the outdoor service valves.
  7. Leaking outdoor condenser coil.
  8. Leaking filter driers where brazing has burnt the paint off the drier and rusted over time. Poor brazing on the filter driers.
  9. Leaking accumulator tank. Some AC units and many heat pumps have accumulators than are prone to rusting and leaking.
  10. Leaking bottom tubes on the condenser coil where leaves and debris have been allowed to accumulate causing the tubing to rot and leak.

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Question: Is it OK to allow my HVAC contractor to by-pass my AC’s High-Pressures Switch?

AC high pressure safety switches

Question: Is it OK to allow my HVAC contractor to by-pass my air conditioning unit’s high-pressure switch? We have had several contractor call-backs because our unit continues to trip our high-pressure switch. This happens routinely, each summer. The latest incident, the technician came and reset the switch after noting that all pressure levels were good, coils clean, and no apparent blockages. The unit shut down again, about 30 minutes after he left.  The second technician came the following day, ran a full diagnostic of the furnace and air conditioning system, and reported that “sometimes these switches are just bad, and trip for no reason.”  He by-passed the high-pressure switch- after discussion, and he was concerned that it would happen again in short order. Now, I’m wondering whether to replace the high-pressure switch or leave it by-passed?  Old Lennox unit. (Pulse 21) The compressor has been replaced, the capacitor is new. I would be very interested in your opinion?

Answer: We have a post that explains why AC’s high-pressure switches trip sometime on the following page: https://arnoldservice.com/problem-my-outdoor-air-conditioning-units-high-pressure-switch-trips-ever-so-often-why-does-it-high-pressure-switch-trip-so-often/ Most of the time high-pressure switches trip because the condenser fan motor stops or is running too slow When the fan motor stops or runs slow the unit will produce high pressure and the unit will trip the high-pressure switch to protect the compressor from being damaged. This could be also caused by a restriction in your refrigeration cycle like dirt or moisture in the system. A bad TXV (thermal expansion valve) can also cause high-pressure switches to trip. Most contractors do not want to replace high-pressure switches because it is quite time-consuming and expensive for the homeowner. It is also not a good idea to open up the refrigeration system that exposes the system to air, dirt, and moisture. The worst enemies of the refrigeration system are air, dirt, and moisture.  In replacing a high-pressure switch the contractor would need to reclaim the refrigerant, cut the old, bad high-pressure switch out, and braze in a new high-pressure switch in. Install a new filter drier, test for leaks, evacuate the system for at least an hour with a vacuum pump then charge the system back up with refrigerant and test the operation. Yes! this is very time-consuming.  Hopefully, they installed filters driers and evacuated your system when they replaced your compressor. Any moisture in the system can freeze up after running a while then cause a restriction in the system and cause the high-pressure switch to go off. I would recommend that you keep a close eye and ear on your AC to make sure that the fan continues to run properly and you are not getting a restriction in your system. The unit will start sounding funny and will sound loud if the fan stops and if there is a restriction in your system. Your service tech needs to make sure that your AC system is not creating a high head pressure condition before bypassing the high-pressure switch. I would only recommend by-passing the high-pressure switch if your air conditioner is old over 15 years and the contractor is confident the problem is with the high-pressure switch and not some other problem in your AC system. If your unit is going off on high pressure then this will cause the compressor to overheat. The compressor is thermally protected and the thermal protection will cut the compressor off temporarily until the compressor cools down then the compressor will start again. The problem is that the thermal protection switch inside the compressor will only reset so many times. When the thermal protection switch is worn out then the compressor is bad and you would need to get a new compressor or a new air conditioning unit. I hope this helps in answering your question. Below we have a really good YouTube video on how high-pressure switches work and how to troubleshoot high-pressure switches. Thanks so very much to AC Service Tech LLC for making this video.  God Bless You and Your Family Today and Always! Steve

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Problem My Air Conditioner Is Not Cooling My House? 20 Reasons Why

troubleshooting air conditioners and heat pumps

Problem: We have many people ask us this general question, “Why is my air conditioner not cooling my house? I set my thermostat on 72 and our AC never reaches the 72-degree temperature!”

Answer: There are many reasons why your air conditioner or heat pump might not be cooling your home properly. We have a really good YouTube video made by Word of Advice TV that explains in detail 20 reasons why that an air conditioner or heat pump will not cool your home. Thanks so very much to Word of Advice TV for making this great video! I list the 20 reasons below, but the video does a much better job of explaining.

Here are the 20 reasons:

  1. Outdoor unit not running at all. Please click here to see how to troubleshoot when the AC will not come on at all. 
  2. The unit has a bad, weak, or dead capacitor. Please click here to see the new capacitors that we sell.
  3. The unit has a locked up compressor.  We sell compressor hard start boosters that might help free a locked up compressor on the following page: Please click here to see the compressor hard start boosters that we sell. 
  4. The unit has a bad condenser fan motor. We sell condenser fan motors on the following page: Please click here to see the condenser fan motors that we sell: 
  5. A dirty furnace or a dirty air handler filter. A dirty filter will restrict airflow and cause freeze-ups and other problems.
  6. A plugged or dirty evaporator coil. If the evaporator coil is dirty it will restrict airflow and cause freeze-ups. Many coils will accumulate dirt, lint and hair on the underside of the coil. The evaporator coil needs to be inspected and cleaned if dirty. Please click here if you are interested in some evaporator coil cleaner that we sell.
  7. A dirty outdoor condenser coil. If the outdoor coil is dirty it will cause the unit to run at high pressure and cooling will be greatly reduced! We need to have a clean condenser coil for the AC unit to be able to do its job and run properly. Please click here if you are interested in some condenser coil cleaner that we sell. 
  8. Dirty return grill. Make sure that your air conditioner return registers are not blocked with furniture, dirty, or lint.
  9. Bad or malfunctioning thermostat or thermostat batteries. Yes, make sure that the batteries are in good condition.
  10. Programmable thermostat problem where the programmable thermostat is not set to the right program. This makes you feel like the thermostat has a mind of its own or is haunted! Ha! To over-ride most programmable thermostats just push the “Hold” button and then the desired temperature that you want.
  11. The homeowner waits too long to turn the AC on and the AC can not catch up in cooling the home for a long time because the home started out too hot. For example, If a homeowner waits until the home gets to 85 degrees on a 95-degree day then it can cause the AC to run probably all day long and most of the night to cool the home down.
  12. The unit is low on Freon or refrigerant. Of course, the AC can not cool properly if the unit is low on refrigerant charge. You or a service tech would need to attach gauges and temp sensors to make sure that your unit is charged properly.
  13. Leaks in the ductwork can cause the air conditioner to not cool properly. We would suggest inspecting your ductwork to make sure there are no leaks in the ductwork. You may need to go into the attic, crawl space, or basement to inspect the ducts. We sell some really good foil duct tape on the following page: Please click here if you would like to see the duct tape that we recommend and sell.
  14. An under-sized unit can cause a unit to not cool properly. A Manual J heat gain and heat loss calculation should be completed before any air conditioning system is installed. The Manual J calculation will tell the homeowner how much heat is lost in the wintertime and how much heat is gained in the wintertime so the homeowner and contractor can install the right size furnace and air conditioner.  The Manual J calculations take into consideration many variables that are calculated on most of the time a computer program the contractor has. The Manual J calculation considers the number of windows, doors, what kind of windows and doors, the R values, the amount of insulation, which direction the home is facing, and whether or not the home is brick or vinyl siding.  This Manual J calculation is very important so that the homeowner knows he/she is getting the right size furnace and air conditioner.
  15. An Air to Air or HVR (heat vent recovery) system that is running all the time can cause a home to not cool properly. If you have an HVR system I would recommend making sure that it is running properly.
  16. Open window or doors. This is common sense to have windows and doors closed. Heat travels from hot to cold so if a door or window is open the outdoor heat will seak to enter a cool house.
  17. A bad air conditioning installation job or a hack job where the contactor or installer did not know what they were doing and did not install the AC system right.
  18. Bad zone controllers or bad dampers. Make sure that if you do have zone controllers and dampers that they are opening and closing properly. If you have a manually controlled damper like in the pictures below make sure that the dampers are open on all your duct runs so that air can circulate through the duct and into your home. Many times I will find that the dampers are loose and have become closed thus restricting airflow! On most round duct dampers if the handle is parallel with the duct run then the damper is open. If the handle is perpendicular with the duct run then the damper is closed.

19. A poorly vented attic where the roof vents are stopped up with insulation or are nonexistent. A poorly vented attic causes a tremendous build of heat that can be transferred into the homes living space. Make sure that the attic is vented properly.

20. A poorly insulated house can cause heat to enter and leave the home. Make sure that you have enough insulation in your home to stop so much heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.

 

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How Do I Bypass My Thermostat to see if the Thermostat is Bad?

Problem: My air conditioner or furnace will not work. Is there a way to test the thermostat to see if the thermostat is the problem? Can I bypass my thermostat to see if the thermostat is bad?

Answer: We have this question asked many times. The first thing that I would like to suggest that you do would be to make sure that if your thermostat uses batteries to make sure the batteries are in good condition. Also, make sure that the power switch on the side of the furnace is turned on. We have seen many preventable service calls where all our customers had to do was flip the power switch on the side of the furnace! With the furnace door’s safety switch taped down and with the furnace’s power switch turned ON use a voltmeter set to “Volts AC” and test between R and C (com) terminals on the furnace’s control board. You should get 24 to 28 volts AC (alternating current) between R and C on your furnace’s or air handler’s control board. If you are not getting 24 volts AC then you might have a blown fuse on the control board/transformer or a burnt-out low voltage transformer. We sell low voltage transformers on the following page: Please click here to see the low voltage transformers we sell. 

If everything checks out on the low voltage side then you can test to see if the thermostat is at fault by bypassing the thermostat. Bypassing the thermostat is a great way to troubleshoot the thermostat to see if the thermostat is at fault. We have a really good YouTube video from Word of Advice TV that explains in detail how to bypass the thermostat to see if the thermostat is bad. Thanks so very much to Word of Advice TV for making this informative, excellent video. If you have any questions please email us anytime. Our email address is Support@arnoldservice.com  If you would like to comment then please feel free to comment in the comments section below. We Would Love to Help You Out and Earn Your Business! 

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10 Reasons Why AC Contactor is Not Pulling In

Bryant Carrier Air Conditioner Contactor

Problem: My air conditioner or heat pump contactor contacts will not pull down. If I press in on the contacts with an insulated screwdriver the unit will run just fine. When I quit pushing down manually with the screwdriver the contacts open and my AC shuts off!  What is causing the contactor to not pull down and start my air conditioner?

Answer: We have this question asked many times during the air conditioning season. There are at least 10 reasons why the contactor on an air conditioner or heat pump will not pull in. Below I listed the 10 reasons. We also have a great YouTube video made by Word of Advice TV that explains these 10 reasons in detail. Many thanks to Word of Advice TV for making this informative, excellent video! If you have any questions please email us anytime support@arnoldservice.com. We would love to help you out and earn your business! 

10 Reasons why the Air Conditioner Contactor is not pulling in: 

  1. The furnace power switch or the air handler breaker might be turned off. The furnace door might be loose and allowing the door safety switch to not be engaged. Make sure the furnace power switch is on and your furnace blower door is on tight.
  2. Make sure that your condensate pump safety switch has not tripped. Make sure that your condensate pump is working. If a condensate pump is not working then sometimes (if connected) the safety switch will go off and cause the entire AC system to shut down so that you do not get water damage in your home.
  3. You could have a bad thermostat or bad, loose thermostat wiring. Make sure that all your thermostat wires are good and tight.
  4. You could have bad wiring. I would recommend that you check all wiring to make sure that the insulation is good and there are no breaks in the wires. I have seen animals and weed eaters damage the thermostat wires and cause the fuse to blow on the control board or cause the low voltage transformer to burn up.
  5. You could have a bad 5-minute delay board. We sell some of these delay timers on the following page: Please click here if you would like to see some of the delay timers we sell. There are different makes and model timers, but they can go bad and cause the air conditioner to no come on.
  6. You could have a bad control board in the furnace or loose wires coming from the furnace control board.
  7. You could have a bad power saver switch that is installed by the electric company to control the time that your air conditioner is on in the summertime. There is a way to temporarily bypass this switch to see if this is the problem.
  8. You could have an open, tripped or bad HPS (High-Pressure Switch) LPS (Low-Pressure Switch).  If your unit is low on refrigerant charge then the low-pressure switch might be open or tripped. If your unit is dirty, over-charged, has a restriction in the system, or has a slow or broken fan motor (might need a new capacitor) then the high-pressure switch might be open or tripped.
  9. You might have a bad contactor. Either the contactor 24-volt coil can go bad, the contacts could be burnt or pitted or insects and dirty might get in between the contacts and cause the contactor to not work. We sell many different contactors on the following page: Please click here if you would like to see the contactors we sell. 
  10. You could have a bad low voltage transformer. Most of the time when a low voltage transformer is bad or burnt out it is caused by a low voltage short in the low voltage wiring. Most of the time it is in the low voltage thermostat wires where animals, weedeaters, or a breakdown of the insulation in the wires from being exposed to sunlight over the years. Check the thermostat wires for breaks, worn insulation, and grounding out where the wires travel through the furnace, air handler, or air conditioner’s frame. I have seen many ground out shorts and burnt out transformers caused by animals and worn wire insulation where the wires travel through the frame of the furnace, air handler, air conditioner, or heat pump unit.  We sell many low voltage transformers. Please click here if you would like to see the transformers that we sell. 

Below is an excellent YouTube Video that discusses these 10 reasons in detail. Thanks so very much to Word of Advice TV for making this great video!

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Problem: Why is my Air Conditioner Contactor Going Out So Often?

Bryant Carrier Air Conditioner Contactor

Problem: Why do I have to replace my air conditioner contactor so often? This happens every couple of weeks. Either my contactor’s contacts are welded closed which keeps the air conditioner running continuously without me being able to turn it off without pulling the high voltage disconnect or the contactor quits working altogether?

Answer: Thanks so much for asking this question!  I have seen many contactors go out prematurely in our HVAC business.  Contactors going out prematurely are usually caused by dirt, moisture, or low voltage. I would like to suggest that you test your coil voltage and make sure that you are keeping a minimum of 24 volts AC to the contactor coil. If you are not getting at least 24 volts AC to the contactor coil then contactor contacts will chatter, vibrate, arc, and burn the contactor out prematurely. If you are not getting at least 24 volts to the contactor then you might have a loose low voltage wire connection, a thermostat that needs new batteries or you might need a new transformer or a transformer with a  higher VA rating. Most transformers are 40 VA. You might want to get a transformer that is more than 40 VA. We have a really good YouTube Video made by #ToolboxTuesday below that describes what causes contactors to fail. Thanks #ToolboxTuesday for making this excellent video!   Please click here if you are interested in a good universal low voltage transformerPlease click here if you are interested in a new contactor. Please email us anytime if you have any questions. Our email address is support@arnoldservice.comWe would love to help you out and have your business! We hope that this post helps you find out what is causing your contactor to fail so often.  We hope you all have a great and blessed day! 

 

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Problem: My furnace needs a new control board. Is there any way I can bypass the control board so I can run my air conditioner?

troubleshooting air conditioners and heat pumps

Problem: My furnace needs a new control board. Is there any way I can bypass the control board so I can run my air conditioning? We have this question asked quite often during the summer months. The problem is that the blower fan will not come on because the fan relay on the control board has failed. It is on the weekend when getting a control board is impossible or the person does not want to wait on a new control board to be shipped in before they can use their air conditioner.  It is hot and they need air conditioning now.  I wanted to make a post and write about how to bypass the control board to get air conditioning back on while waiting for a new control board.

Answer: This answer is intended to be used on PSC  (Permanent Split Capacitor) motors and not ECM (electronically commutated motors). If you have an ECM motor do not try this. If you have a 220-volt air handler do not try this.  If you are not comfortable working with electricity and working with your hands then do not try this. We here at Arnold’s Service Company, Inc. are not responsible for any injury or damaged equipment that might occur when doing this control board bypass. This answer is intended to help you get your air conditioning working again while you wait to have a new furnace control board installed. I feel so very sorry for people who have to wait on a control board to come in when wanting to run their air conditioner on those hot summer days and nights! I know that I would want to have air conditioning if there was any way possible! I hope this will help you get your air conditioner back on until you can get a new control board installed. We have a really good video below made by Travis Poe and HVAC contractor. Mr. Poe explains how he bypassed a furnace control board to run the blower by tying into the furnace door switch. This is an excellent idea! Thanks so very much to Travis Poe for making this great YouTube video. Below the video, I have another idea where I explain how to bypass the control board and connect the blower motor using an extension cord. You could use either method. Mr. Poe’s explanation seems to be a lot simpler than my explanation. 

You can also bypass the furnace control board with a heavy-duty extension cord as I describe here. This is the email I wrote to one of our potential customers when they asked if there was a way to bypass the furnace control board so the family could get air conditioning while waiting on a new control board. Here is my answer: The control board is used to start and stop the fan motor on your indoor furnace blower motor in both heating and air conditioning mode. There is a fan relay on the board that controls the blower motor. The control board should have nothing to do with the AC coming off and on because on most boards unless you have a high efficiency two speed AC. The only function of the control board for most AC installations is to provide a junction for the two Y wires at the furnace control board and the control board is not used to turn the outdoor unit off and on. The thermostat controls the AC outdoor unit to go off and on through the Y connection. The control board is used to turn the fan blower off and on. If you could by-pass your control board fan relay and run an extension cord to your fan blower motor then this would allow you to run your AC. You should be able to do this by turning the power off to your furnace and disconnecting the wires that go to your blower motor from the control board. Usually, there are 5 wires that come from the blower motor. Black, White, Blue, Yellow, and Red.  The Black, Blue, Yellow and Red wires are the furnace speed wires. The white wire is usually the neutral or common wire. You will only use two of the wires black and white coming from the blower motor to connect to the extension cord. I would suggest using a heavy gauge extension cord with at least 14 gauge wire because some blower motors require on the average 5 to 12 amps of power. You will need a good extension cord so it does not rob the blower motor of electricity. I would suggest using electrical tape to tape over the ends of the blower wires that you do not use so they will not short to ground.  You would hook the hot wire usually black (high speed)  on the blower to the black wire of a stripped extension cord with a wire nut then hook the white (neutral wire) of your blower motor to the white wire of the extension cord and plug the extension cord into a 120-volt outlet. The blower motor should start and run.  Turn your furnace back on so you will get 24 volts to the thermostat. Turn your thermostat to cooling and turn the thermostat down so your outdoor AC comes on. This should provide AC for your home. You will need to of course manually unplug the blower and turn up the AC thermostat when you want the AC to stop. I hope this helps you get air conditioning until your new control board arrives. God Bless you and your family today and always! Steve

 

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Problem: Please explain the refrigeration cycle that is used in air conditioners and heat pumps?

troubleshooting air conditioners and heat pumps

Problem: Please explain the refrigeration cycle that is used in air conditioners and heat pumps? I do not understand how an air conditioner changes a vapor into a liquid? How can this cool my home?

Answer: Great question! This question and how the refrigeration cycle works in air conditioners and heat pumps is what totally excited me about learning the HVAC business! This is totally amazing how this works!  Can you imagine how excited and jubilant Willis Carrier was in 1902 when he invented the first air conditioning system! The refrigerant cycle amazes me how a high-pressure high-temperature gas vapor can be changed into a liquid in the condenser, then shot through a metering device to produce low pressure, low-temperature vapor in the evaporator to cool our homes!!! We have two really good quick YouTube videos below where AC Service Tech explains the refrigeration cycle. I explain the refrigeration cycle in more detail below the video. This really amazes me how air conditioners and heat pumps work!  If you have any questions please let us know. Our email address is Support@arnoldservice.com

We would love to help you out and earn your business!

 

I explain the refrigeration cycle in more detail below:

  1. The refrigeration system, your air conditioning system is a hermetically sealed system. You do not want any dirt, moisture, or foreign materials inside the refrigeration system or you will have problems over time. This is why HVAC techs evacuate the system with a Vaccum pump and install filters driers to make sure the system is clean and sealed. No leaks are a must.
  2. The compressor is the heart of the refrigeration cycle. The job of the compressor is to take a low-pressure low-temperature gas and make it into a high-temperature high-pressure gas.
  3. The compressor sends this high-temperature high-pressure gas into the air conditioner’s condensing unit where the refrigerant goes through a long series of tubing and coils where the condenser fan cools the refrigerant so that the high-temperature high-pressure vapor is cooled and condensed into a high-pressure medium temperature liquid! My HVAC teacher said to think of the refrigerant being cooled and turning into a liquid as like at night time when the air is cooled by not having the warm sun. The vapor water in the air is cooled and it comes down on the grass like dew. This made it so easy for me to understand. Yes! Water in the air is cooled at night then we have dew on the ground in the morning!
  4. This high-pressure medium temperature liquid is sent to the metering device. This metering device could be a capillary tube, TXV (thermostatic expansion valve), or a restrictor orifice. I have pictures of these three different metering devices below.
Above Cap Tube metering device.
Above TXV Metering Device:
Above Orifice Metering Device:

5. The metering device has a high-pressure liquid refrigerant (R22, R410A) on the front side and as the refrigerant passes through the metering device and is sprayed into the evaporator coil it changes the high-pressure medium temperature liquid into a low pressure, low-temperature vapor. This is where we get cooling in the evaporator coil where the liquid refrigerant is being boiled into a low-temperature low-pressure gas! I have a picture of the evaporator coil below. This is so amazing to me!

Above picture of an evaporator coil:

6. The evaporator coil gets really cold and our furnace or air handler’s blower blows our home’s unconditioned warm air across the evaporator coil where much of the heat and humidity is removed and we get that nice, fresh air-conditioned air! Thanks be to God on a hot, humid summer day!!

7. The cool gas in the evaporator is returned back to the compressor where the compressor takes the cool refrigerant gas and makes the gas into a high-temperature high-pressure gas where the refrigeration cycle starts all over again! This cycle continues on and on until your home is cool enough and the thermostat turns the AC or heat pump unit off. I hope this amazes you as much as it amazes me! If you have any questions please comment below or email us at support@arnoldservice.com

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