Air conditioning service horrors and hacks

Originally published at: Air conditioning service horrors and hacks | Boing Boing


I’m going to have my oil tank removed (I’ve switched to an air source heat pump system*) and the oil tank is under the stairs to the basement, so the oil tank removal guys are going to have a tough time with it. I hope they don’t take one look and nope out of here.

*AMA about air source heat pumps for heating; I’ll answer if I can. I’ve been very happy with it over the first winter and it got down to -20 C/-4 F on several nights in January, and it worked like a dream. My total heating costs the beginning of November to the end of March was $440.

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I haven’t heard the term “air source” heat pump. Is it different from just a regular heat pump?

I’m getting a ducted heat pump. Basically just a regular minisplit, but the indoor unit gets tucked out of sight in the roof rafters, and ductwork brings the cool air to the rooms.

We’ll finally have A/C, and get to get rid of all our old steam radiators.

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Yeah, air-source is a regular heat pump. Generally when you’re talking residential it’s an air-source heat pump, moves heat to or from the air outside. Alternatives are geothermal that use the ground as a heat source/sink, or even ones that use the pool water!

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They’ll suck the remaining fuel out THEN “nope out of here”.


I was in that situation about 10 years ago (rather than under the stairs, mine was sandwiched between the basement ceiling and the floor above, with only about 10% actually accessible from the back corner of a small utility room). They drained the tank and then cut it apart to get it out. Didn’t seem like it was that big a deal to them. Hopefully your experience will be similar.


Yep, what Coyote Den said. There are geothermal, which aren’t practical for most residences in cities, water source, which seem to be quite new, and air source, which sounds like yours is.

I don’t have ducts, just hot water radiators fueled by an oil boiler, and I didn’t want to install duct work, so I have the indoor “head” units installed just under the ceiling. Once outdoor compressor unit and three indoor units.

And as you say; A/C as well, and “studies have shown” that heat pumps are more efficient and effective than even high-efficiency conventional A/C units.

I was thinking that I’d have to also remove the water heater, which blocks the entrance to where the oil tank is housed, under the stairs, but the oil tank guy called today and said “Give me some measurements and photos” and said that he thinks he can get it out without having remove the water heater, although I’m replacing it in tandem with removing the oil tank.

They do indeed know what they are doing.

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I’m working on switching over to a ductless multi-split system from an ancient gaspack in an even-more-ancient house. Our crawl space is stupid low and if we upgrade we’ll probably be on the hook for new ductwork and, consequently, on the hook for crawlspace excavation.

I got a quote for a Mitsubishi multi-split system and it was well over twice the price of a traditional unit (20-25k vs 10-12k), not taking into account any adjustments to ductwork for the latter. Which is weird, because I’ve priced out decent multi-split hardware (from one of the vendors that sells direct-to-consumer) and the whole kit would only cost $5000 or so. If I can find a reputable HVAC person to install it I might just buy the hardware myself and have them do the labor.

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