What to do with a portable air conditioner that does not cool!
June 14, 2008 11:47 AM   Subscribe

What to do with a portable air conditioner that does not cool!

OK, I bought this portable air conditioner about 3.5 years ago, and it has worked perfectly until last night, I woke up cold, I turn it off, today I wanted to turn it on again and the "cool" option won't kick on! The fan works fine, everything lights up fine, just when the compressor wants to kick in, it makes a clicking sound and I can see the light dim in the room, wants to start, does that for maybe a second or 2 and then goes back to just the fan mode.
I opened it up, cleaned it with a vacuum, the circuit board in it does not smell, all the wiring look fine, at this point I have no idea what to do!

Are there people out there than can fix these things without ending up paying the price of a new one?
Can I sell it? Would someone be interested in it in this condition? Maybe it is an easy fix, I don't know, and it is filled with copper piping and aluminum fins, those must be worth something!

Any suggestions? I am in Mountain View, CA FYI.
posted by convex to Technology (5 answers total)
Sounds like a short circuit over the compressor. This means that the unit should be fixable if the compressor can be replaced; I don't know whether or not this can be done more cheaply than just buying a new unit.

(Above comment by Lebannen's boyfriend).
posted by Lebannen at 12:27 PM on June 14, 2008

If you decide not to get it fixed, there are salvage places that buy used air conditioners (and yes, as you mentioned in your question, the inner workings are worth money).
posted by amyms at 1:00 PM on June 14, 2008

is it possible that the dehumidifier water storage is full, and needs to be drained?
posted by paradroid at 10:22 PM on June 14, 2008

Best answer: Commercial Refrigeration Mechanic checking in - going by your description:

The clicking is the relay for the compressor pulling in, normally you can't hear it because the motor starting is loud enough to cover the sound. The lights are dimming because the compressor is siezed and pulling locked rotor amperage until it trips on the internal overload. The fix for this is new compressor, installed probably 2/3 the cost of a new unit.

Basic portable AC's and windowshakers are not worth fixing unless it's something cheap like a fan blade. Best to buy a new one and have the warranty rather than spending 2/3 the price of a new one on a compressor and labour.

Most certainly no one will give you any money for it. There is only a couple pounds of copper and aluminum in one of those little units - mixed at that, and retail prices in my area are about $2.30/pound for clean sorted scrap. Someone has to reclaim the freon from it before it can be scrapped, so it might even cost you money to get a scapper to take it. Labour to reclaim is a wash for the value of the metals.

My advice, if you can't find a scrapper to take it for free, throw it in someone else's dumpter somewhere and forget about it.
posted by vonliebig at 10:28 PM on June 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, I think I will take vonliebig's advice and just forget about it.
posted by convex at 1:26 AM on June 15, 2008

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