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Old 08-10-2012, 01:56 PM
 
654 posts, read 1,251,694 times
Reputation: 1039

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Hey everyone, as some of you know we have ferrets as pets.

They have their own room & we've augmented our house A/C with a window unit in their bedroom. They're extremely heat-sensitive (anything over 80 can be damaging to them) & obviously we don't want to pay to cool the entire downstairs unless necessary. Their room gets more sun exposure & gets hotter than others, so we have installed solar screens (which have helped).

Here's the problem: Their room was supposed to be wired on its own 20 amp circuit. Some other random stuff got mixed in by the builder, mostly in the room above it. At any rate, the window A/C keeps tripping the circuit breaker, usually during peak times (hot days). The first A/C we installed was oversized for the room, but the compressor was getting old & it started tripping the breaker so we swapped it for another window A/C (which is an older unit, just not as large). Even though we're careful not to run stuff in the other room on the same circuit, we're back to tripping the breaker. The problem is when it happens when neither of us is home - very dangerous for the ferrets (we've installed a sensor device that calls us when the temperature goes over a certain number to warn us). One of us has to make an emergency trip home while the room gets hotter for the ferrets.

As I see it, we could:
1) Try to troubleshoot & look into options to increase power availability.
2) Install a swamp cooler in their room
3) Buy & install a different window A/C (I'd probably wait 'til Home Depot/Lowe's discount them in fall.)
3) Just run the normal A/C cooler all the time downstairs (much more expensive)

Here's my question: If we get an electrician out here, are they likely to tell us anything except we need to re-run wiring & possibly install a bigger breaker? (I believe our house is 225 amp service overall & the electrical panel's full.) Even though this is load-related, is it possible the system's more sensitive during peak times? Any chance it's an NV Energy issue rather than our wiring and/or the A/C unit?

Any & all reasonable suggestions welcome. Getting rid of the ferrets does not qualify, as they are our kids & an integral part of our life.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Sunrise
10,865 posts, read 16,025,850 times
Reputation: 9061
Quote:
Originally Posted by delgadobb View Post
2) Install a swamp cooler in their room
I don't see how that is going to work. Blowing moist air into a room isn't going to do anything more than make it more humid. The moist air needs to contact dry air for the cooling to happen. You can't have the AC running in most of the house and the swamp cooler running and expect anything other than problems.

Now, if you're interested in installing a swamp cooling system to use instead of your AC, that could work. (That works fine for us on all but the most humid days in the summer). But it will have to be a well thought out system, otherwise you're not going to be able to keep it lower than 80f. We're usually around 82 on swamp cooler days.

Costco sells a nice room air conditioner where only the exhaust goes out the window -- the unit itself sits near the window. They're supposedly very efficient.
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Vegas, baby, Vegas!
3,977 posts, read 7,244,536 times
Reputation: 3728
The chances are good, the electrician can just pull a higher AMP circuit using the old romex wire
(What I had done when I added a hot tub / spa / jacuzzi to the outside of my house)

You may be better off with a floor standing A/C Unit, that just vents out a small opening in the window
There more forgiving on Electrical systems

I would DEFINITELY install a temp sensor, that calls your phone when the temp is over 'x'

Smarthome.com sells em.

Jonathan
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:47 PM
 
12,973 posts, read 14,779,153 times
Reputation: 5466
First off you should have someone check why you are tripping the breaker. A normal room sized AC should not do that...You might want to put an amp meter on that breaker and see what draw you get with an without the unit. A quick fix that often works wonders is just to swap out the breaker. Some are fussy - others not.

If you want to secure the place against most all odds add a second circuit and a second AC unit. Can even be smaller than the first. Just set it a couple of degrees higher than the first and it should never turn on. A good electrician can find you some existing circuit to parasite off of...I can't imagine you would need to actually run a new one.

I would still have the phone detector. You are fond of those little rascals and you could lose the whole house or neighborhood.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR / Las Vegas, NV
1,818 posts, read 3,651,503 times
Reputation: 984
Do not add a larger breaker. The breaker is there to protect the wiring. It is sized for the size of the wire. You don't want a fire. As LVOC said, it could be a bad breaker. You could also run an appropriately sized extension cord to the unit from another room until you figure it out.

A new A/C unit may also solve your problems.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
3,683 posts, read 9,370,675 times
Reputation: 3003
Quote:
Originally Posted by macgeek View Post
The chances are good, the electrician can just pull a higher AMP circuit using the old romex wire
(What I had done when I added a hot tub / spa / jacuzzi to the outside of my house)
I hope by "pull" you mean physically pull new larger gauge wire using the old wire, and not simply install a larger breaker. You'd be opening yourself up to all kinds of problems with the latter, up to and including risk of fire and denied insurance claims.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
12,686 posts, read 34,651,037 times
Reputation: 5497
I could be something as simple as some wiring someplace is getting some moisture and kicking the breaker.
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