Pet and central AC units

9 Replies

If you are wondering what pets do to the central AC units, here is something a little more than just speculation.

I have a triplex, where each unit has the same exact central AC handlers and condensers and same age.

December 2014, I had an air conditioning company cleaned all three evaporator coils - pulled the coils out and acid wash them.

Here is a picture of what the coil looked like immediately after the cleaning.

I personally change the filter in all three units once a month.

Now, only eight months later, units 1 & 2's coils look about the same with just a little more dust.

Unit 3's coil look like this.

Same size apartment, same central AC units, same age, all cleaned at the same time, had filter changed by me every month at the same time.

The only difference is unit 3 has two dogs, one 40 pounds and one 50 pounds.

I am not against pets, but thought I would share this.

do you charge for pets? I charge a $200 non refundable fee and 25 per month, per pet. 2 pet max.

Are you positive that the filter is not being bypassed?

Thank you Sam.

These pictures shed a lot of light about allowing pets.

Deanna

Originally posted by @Clay Smith :

do you charge for pets? I charge a $200 non refundable fee and 25 per month, per pet. 2 pet max.

Are you positive that the filter is not being bypassed?

 I am not sure what you mean by bypassed.

All three units were installed the same exact way, used the same exact filter, changed the same time, there is a dramatic difference what they look like after 8 months.

The only other difference of course is the temperature settings of individual tenants - some like it cooler than others, but other than that the three units are the same in every which way.

When I changed filter every month, when I open the closet door to the air handler, the floor is always black in unit 3, the unit with two dogs.  The floor is actually terrazo.  The reason it's black is because the black dog hair pulled into the closet and fell to the floor.  I clean that floor every month and by the time I return next month the floor is a carpet of pet hair again.

I think what he means by bypassed is that sometimes/ all the time, the tenant is operating the system without the filter in place. If not, nothing should be getting through unless the filter isn't fine enough. I have allergies and I know a HEPA filter won't let anything through, it will oil can the ductwork if it gets clogged enough.

I wish I still had the pics of an A-coil we took out when they had pets & smoked heavily & it had a 3M 'heavy density' filter in place. The vents were just as bad but a poor filter housing can allow significant bypass.

OK you mean the tenant may be removing the filter after I put them in every month and restoring it before I came back?  I doubt it.  When I changed filters unit 3's filter is always the dirtiest BY FAR.

In fact, in May 2015 had a malfunction for 1 day.  The unit stopped working and the AC company (I have a maintenance contract on all three) came out and the compressor outside had an electrical arc.  One of the solid conductors wiring broke off from the wire nut and caused an arc, touched a copper pipe and blew a hole.  All the refrigerant leaked out.  The tech repaired it and while he did it, he removed the filter and told me the filter had not been changed for six months at least.  I said no, it was changed 12 days ago by me.  He said no way, no way it can be so dirty.

The whole point of all this is the units were installed the same way, same model, same manufactured sate, same installed date, with identical filter housing and identical closet size and doors, using the same filters, same apartment location, same apartment square footages, different tenants.  If the filter type (I use a pleaded disposable) is the problem and there is a bypass, then unit 1 and 2's coils should be the same way.  But units 1 and 2 have clean coils.

Now usages could be another variable.  If units 1 and 2 sets their temp to be 78 degrees and unit 3 sets it to 72, then unit 3 may be having it ON a lot longer.  But this is as close to comparing apples to apples as one can get.

Have you had your ducts cleaned recently?

See post below.
Originally posted by @Sam Leon :

OK you mean the tenant may be removing the filter after I put them in every month and restoring it before I came back?  I doubt it.  When I changed filters unit 3's filter is always the dirtiest BY FAR.

In fact, in May 2015 had a malfunction for 1 day.  The unit stopped working and the AC company (I have a maintenance contract on all three) came out and the compressor outside had an electrical arc.  One of the solid conductors wiring broke off from the wire nut and caused an arc, touched a copper pipe and blew a hole.  All the refrigerant leaked out.  The tech repaired it and while he did it, he removed the filter and told me the filter had not been changed for six months at least.  I said no, it was changed 12 days ago by me.  He said no way, no way it can be so dirty.

The whole point of all this is the units were installed the same way, same model, same manufactured sate, same installed date, with identical filter housing and identical closet size and doors, using the same filters, same apartment location, same apartment square footages, different tenants.  If the filter type (I use a pleaded disposable) is the problem and there is a bypass, then unit 1 and 2's coils should be the same way.  But units 1 and 2 have clean coils.

Now usages could be another variable.  If units 1 and 2 sets their temp to be 78 degrees and unit 3 sets it to 72, then unit 3 may be having it ON a lot longer.  But this is as close to comparing apples to apples as one can get.

Another issue of infiltration:

1.  If there is a door to an AC cabinet, is it air tight?  I have to put door sweepers at the bottom of mine to keep air from going in. Does it needs weather stripping?

2.  The return cavity may be sucking in air elsewhere i.e. walls with a bad seal or the attic, therefore bypassing the filter. 

I have had similar issues with long hair dogs.  Although most of the hair should be at the surface.  This means that I can be easy to clean if the coils are accessible.  No need to cut out coils and acid wash. You can get most of hair/dirt out with a shop vac and the coil cleaner Lowes uses. Just be careful not to smash fins down.

Also, you may want to use a better filter.  The cheap ones have a super low MERV value and let all sorts of stuff through.  A good pleated filter works better at keeping stuff out, but will clog if it goes past 30 days, even though some say they are good after 90.

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