Does An Old AC Compressor Turn Gray?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

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!

 

 

Posted by

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


close

Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Active Rain Block Party
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Professional Home Inspectors
Tags:
dryer venting
ac compressor placement

Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the computer to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Jun 20, 2010 08:03 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,366,091
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS

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

Jun 20, 2010 08:10 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Jun 20, 2010 08:15 AM #4
Rainmaker
632,850
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

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.

Jun 20, 2010 08:32 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Jun 20, 2010 09:12 AM #6
Rainer
71,840
Bill Saunders
Hot Springs Arkansas homes for sale (Diamondhead Realty) - Hot Springs, AR
Honesty, integrity

Hi Jay,

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

Jun 20, 2010 09:15 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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...

Jun 20, 2010 09:18 AM #8
Rainmaker
765,808
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

Jay,

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

Jun 20, 2010 10:31 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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.

Jun 20, 2010 11:43 AM #10
Ambassador
1,530,683
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

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.

Jun 20, 2010 12:58 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Jun 20, 2010 02:48 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,180,786
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

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

Jun 20, 2010 04:58 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Jun 21, 2010 07:07 AM #14
Rainmaker
486,578
Elyse Berman, PA, ABR, GRI, Realtor
Realty Associates Florida Properties, Boca Raton, FL - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton, Delray & Highland Beach- 561-716-7824

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

Jun 21, 2010 11:56 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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

Jun 21, 2010 05:16 PM #16
Ambassador
1,739,378
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi & Corinna Birgit Cromartie
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Palm Harbor, FL
Palm Harbor & Dunedin FL Residential Real Estate

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

Aug 11, 2010 01:01 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,231,326
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

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!

Aug 11, 2010 05:39 PM #18
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,231,326

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
You may contact me anytime...
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the tag to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information