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Non-Structural Question - Air Conditione

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Dennis,

You have the right idea in sheltering the condenser on your A/C.  In 
actuality, what you are doing is reducing the temperature of the air 
crossing the condenser coils to make it more efficiently.  I might have a 
suggestion that may work better, and possibly cost less.

Get an old, side draft evaporative cooler that has a good pan that doesn't 
leak.  Take the squirrel cage and squirrel cage enclosure out so that you 
have nothing inside the cooler other than the recirculating pump and spider 
distributer tubes. . Set it on the roof so that the duct opening is facing 
the condenser coil.  For initial testing, connect the duct opening to the 
condenser end of the A/C with plywood or masonite.  When the A/C compressor 
kicks on, it will draw cool air in thru the evaporative cooler and it will be 
much cooler than any shelter would provide.

It sounds as if you are unaware of having bleeders on your evap cooler 
recirculating pumps.  One of the things that builds up mineral deposits in 
evaporative coolers is that as the water evaporates, the concentration of 
minerals in the water reservoir builds up and eventually leaves a heavy 
deposit of lime on the cooler louvers.  I get recirculating pumps that have 
built-in bleeders that continuously bleed off a little bit of water 
continuously which keeps the mineral concentration down. (Recommended bleed 
off is 10 percent, but I don't think that I bleed off that much.)  You can 
also get an in-line bleeder adapter that fits between the pump and the 
spider.  I pinch the bleeder hose so that only a small, tiny stream of water 
comes out, and put the bleeder hose in a hole in the side of bathroom sewer 
vent.  Although I usually change pads each year, I can go two years without 
changing pads and all I have to do each year is take a stiff brush to the 
louvers to remove the loose deposits and vacuum out the pan.

I haven't got my cooler running yet, but then it hasn't hit 100 yet either.  
When I shut my cooler down for the winter, I discovered that the roof jack 
had rusted thru pretty badly and just picked up a new roof jack this week.

Hope this helps.

Roger Turk

P.S.  A number of years ago, a minister who was a chaplain in the Naval 
Reserve commented on his success in cooling his church.  He had the evap 
cooler put in a pit in the ground on the east side of the church --- said 
that it worked as good as an A/C and was much less expensive to operate.

Dennis Wish wrote:

>>Sorry to take up the bandwidth on this one, but I could use some advice. My
home is "Sante-Fe" Style home in the desert near Palm Springs. High summer
temperatures can reach 130 degrees for weeks on end.
I have two Swamp Coolers for temperatures less than 110 degrees (although I
rarely use it over 100 degrees) and a central A/C for hotter temps.
My A/C unit is mounted on the roof (flat roof with parapets).  It is exposed
on all sides to allow adequate air flow, but is subjected to excessive roof
top temperatures during the day. 130 degrees on the ground can be over 170
degrees on the roof.
I want to add some type of solar cover over the A/C unit, but don't want to
penetrate the composition roofing to secure it in place (if at all
possible).

Does anyone know of a solar screen that can be placed above the unit like a
box within a box that will shade the condenser but allow adequate air flow.
I have considered using a mist system above the unit (as is common in
outdoor restaurants here in the desert). Mist systems can reduce the ambient
temperature by as much as 30 degrees and therefore make the A/C unit more
efficient. The downside is that our water has a very high mineral content
and this can leave deposits on the A/C condenser filters - plugging up the
air flow.

Do any of you desert dwellers out there have some suggestions to provide
shelter for my A/C unit and make it more efficient? One final comment - the
condenser is taller than the parapet. You can see the unit as you come up
the hill. It was hidden (and shaded) by a massive old tree in the neighbors
yard when we built the house, but the tree was subsequently cut down.
Whatever I do should be attractive.

If necessary, I can provide some pictures of the home to show what the A/C
unit looks like and where it is situated.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.<<