What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

Does An Old AC Compressor Turn Gray?

Everything gets old.  Some things turn gray as they age.

Like this AC compressor.  Poor thing.  Getting old and gray, leaning a bit.  It will only get older as the summer gets hotter.

Actually this AC unit is only 4 years old.  Sure, it shouldn't lean, but that is an installation problem and an easy fix.

But why so gray?

Look under the gray box on the wall.  The white trapezoid near the ground is the dryer discharge vent.  The dryer is about 4' below that cover, just inside that wall.

THIS DISCHARGE IS TOO CLOSE TO THE AC COMPRESSOR!  Why?

Air is drawn in through the fins to cool and discharge heat from the house a bit before the gas gets compressed and super cooled.  The fins are gray, but with dryer lint.  Notice how on the right side of the compressor the fins look a bit darker?  That is opposite the dryer discharge opening.  Less lint gets drawn in over there!  Up close you can actually see little puffs of lint.  But the "gray" color is actually a fine layer of lint all over the fins.

An AC compressor really should be about 12' from a dryer discharge opening.  That minimizes its opportunity to draw in lint and get clogged.  The compressor here is stressed, to say the least.  That will not only affect the efficiency of its ability to cool the house, but also make it age faster.

My recommendation:  When you look at a house, check to see if the dryer vent is blowing too near the AC unit.  If so, make a note!  It may be an issue that comes up later!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • June 20 2010 07:34AM

Comments

Sure, that and moving the compressor!  Thanks for stopping by Michael.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Yicks....loving care (it's hair dye...) won't take care of this...mooove over compressor...and get a whole new life !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

It needs to be moved Sally.  That laundry room has been there for a long time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, I have seen this same thing many times. I once saw it in a condo complex where every dryer vent was right next to the compressor. The homeowner 's response was, you know what's coming, everyone is the same, it's not a problem.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 8 years ago

That is logic only bias can follow Jim.  Pretty sad!

We all probably see it a lot and could post on it many times.  This one was pretty instructive, though, as the lint blanket was very thin.  Also, it makes for a good blog for my website!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

Great post as always. I sure appreciate you inspectors having these eyes that actually SEE this stuff!

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 8 years ago

Thank you Bill, as always!  This is the kind of thing most homeowners know NOTHING about.  Or buyers, for that matter.

There will be two more posts about this house.  Very interesting place...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay,

Good eye.  Is there any applicable building code for the issue, or do we depend on common sense(always a scary area!)?

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

I honestly don't know Mike.  Should I guess, I would say there is no code because I see it a lot, even on new construction.  The Counties here pay attention to things like direct vent units or fireplaces venting just under or too close to windows, but I suspect they don't pay enough attention to dryer vents.  And dryer vents can be issues in many ways, as you know.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, that's a compressor that can't get either Clairol or Grecian Formula help to get fixed. A bit of plumbing divert to the duct discharge is in order if they're not going to get after it regularly.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 8 years ago

Ed, I am sure it has never occurred to the sellers that this is a problem.  It surely didn't occur to the HVAC installers four years ago!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Mr Jay,

As an FHA certifried inspector, I think that you might be mistaking that trash can as an A/C unit.

Nutsy, federally certifried, inspector

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) over 8 years ago

You may be mistaken Nutsy.  It could be a cage as well.  And a pretty secure one at that!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, I've seen this as well.  I always thought gray meant the unit was old.  Thanks for explainiing things.

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL - (561) 716-7824 - CRS, ABR, GRI (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Elyse - in some cases the gray does indicate age, but in this case it was a fine lint blanket!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I have actually run across this before! thanks for the great blog!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 8 years ago

Too close to the dryer vent Barbara-Jo?  It happens more than people think, and some don't realize that it is not a good thing!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 8 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments