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  1. #1
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default A/C Condenser in Attic

    I guess I've not been around as long as I think. This morning I looked at a house with the A/C consdenser located in the attic, of all places. Of course, in these days of elevated copper values, I can understand the urge . . . but, it's a first for me.

    What next?

    Aaron

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    In the attic?

    How hot is that attic when it is running? Jeeezzzz.

    Got any pics of that?


  3. #3
    imported_John Smith's Avatar
    imported_John Smith Guest

    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    I would love to see some pictures of it. I havent came across anything like that in the Houston area.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    ...This morning I looked at a house with the A/C consdenser located in the attic...
    I suppose now you're going to tell us the evaporator is outside! It's just more evidence that the End Times are near.


  5. #5
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    OK guys, I'm sorry I did not take a photo of it. It's in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas and,no, the evaporator coil was not outside, but I might not have been surprised . . .

    Aaron


  6. #6
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    There is a retirement community nearby that used water cooled (!) air conditioners. These date from the 1960s and, to the best of my knowledge, have all been replaced by now. No, not evaporative/swamp coolers. These were air conditioners that used a controlled stream of water flow to cool the condenser coils. As you can imagine, they used a lot of water. A solenoid valve would allow a steady stream of water as long as the condenser was running. The condensers were fairly small and generally installed in the garage attic.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    As I recall ... every single a/c condenser unit I've seen states "Outdoor Use" on them ...

    "Outdoor Use" does not include "Outdoor Use or Indoor Use".

    With but one exception - years ago, in South Florida, in garages of mid-upscale homes in Palm Beach County, the use of an a/c compressor designed to set on top of the water heater in the garage (they were actually heat pumps) and cooled the garages by transferring the heat to the water heater.

    Other than being noisy in the garage, they did cool the garage pretty well, however, they also did heat the water in the water heater pretty hot if run long enough. The hotter the water got, the less efficient they became (not that that mattered to the owners), however, the hotter the water got, the more risk of scalding there was.

    Good idea someone just did not think all the way through.

    Anyway, *those* were rated, listed, labeled, and approved for 'Indoor Use'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    There is a retirement community nearby that used water cooled (!) air conditioners. These date from the 1960s and, to the best of my knowledge, have all been replaced by now. No, not evaporative/swamp coolers. These were air conditioners that used a controlled stream of water flow to cool the condenser coils. As you can imagine, they used a lot of water. A solenoid valve would allow a steady stream of water as long as the condenser was running. The condensers were fairly small and generally installed in the garage attic.
    If what you are describing is what is common in condos in South Florida (sounds like it is), then the terminology would be "package units" instead of "a/c condensers".

    It is common to use water-to-air heat pumps with chiller systems for a/c, and boilers come on to make them into heat pumps.

    They are package units with connection to chiller risers, there is a compressor in them, they are installed in most high rises instead of split system a/c condensers / air handlers.

    I am envisioning that Aaron found a straight up "condenser unit" designed for outdoor use in that attic.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
    Kevin VanderWarf's Avatar
    Kevin VanderWarf Guest

    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    reminds me of a big comercial building I worked on. It had 2 big package units on a flat roof.
    Someone got the bright idea of building a shed type roof over the flat roof. The upper end tied in to a taller attached building.
    They built dog house style covers over the HVAC units, with lots of ventilation.
    The fist hot day, I was called out to service the A.C. I made a few trips in the spring after that. After deciding not to continue throwing effort after foolishness, we told them either the roof or the HVAC had to go.
    It is impossible to maintain a reasonable head pressure in an attic


  10. #10
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    There's a whole 'village' of condo type units in an area west of Portland that are like Aaron describes. There's a huge gable vent and they're plunked right in front of it. I've done probably a half dozen of these over the last couple years. Some actually have some installed and some are just setup for it. I can always tell by the super-huge attic access hatch.

    These places are so close together I don't there is anywhere outdoors to put the compressors. The buildings are all pretty much 06 construction and newer and appearanty the AHJ is okay with it.

    Last edited by Matt Fellman; 03-31-2008 at 07:49 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    Matt,

    I can just imagine what that does to heat gain energy calculations ...

    Those suckers are going to heat those attics up beyond anyone's imagination.

    Also, that may be okay with the AHJ, but have you contacted the manufactures? I'm guessing that would void their warranty if they knew about it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
    Patrick Norton's Avatar
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    I have seen a few old condensing units in the attic at the outside wall and exhausting to the exterior. I does'nt seem much different than a packaged unit.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Norton View Post
    I have seen a few old condensing units in the attic at the outside wall and exhausting to the exterior. I does'nt seem much different than a packaged unit.
    I've seen some which were designed to be installed in a wall.

    The difference is: Where does the air discharge from?

    Those designed and intended to be installed that way are designed for that.

    A package unit is not, neither is a regular condenser unit.

    That's like taking a "window unit" and installing it through a "wall" ... the wall block much/most/all the vents, whereas units designed and intended to be installed through a wall have the vents designed for that.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
    Patrick Norton's Avatar
    Patrick Norton Guest

    Default Re: A/C Condenser in Attic

    The units I have seen appeared to have been designed for the location and were operating properly as intended.


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