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liebs

Window AC unit help..

Question

liebs

I have a small window AC unit in a bedroom at the cabin that stopped working. It's only about 3 years old. I can get it turned on but the breaker in the plug keeps tripping. If I reset it, it will run for a minute or 2 and then trip again. This unit worked great that past 2 years. I've cleaned the filter and coils. Earlier this spring, we had a breaker in the breaker panel go bad. I'm pretty sure that the AC was plugged into that circuit. Not sure if that has anything to do with the AC not working but I don't believe we used that AC since the breaker went bad until a few weeks ago when it stopped working.

Any ideas on what is tripping this? I only paid $100 for this so probably not worth taking in to get repaired.

Don

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JeremyCampbell

Try plugging it in a different outlet or different circuit.That would be the first thing to try

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liebs

I've already tried that. Brought it home where it is in about a dozen pieces on my workbench. 20 amp circuit. When it was plugged in at the cabin, it was the only thing affected. Other lights worked plugged into that circuit.

Thanks for the suggestion though..

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jentz

It may have a siezed up compressor.OOPs re read It starts then pops the breaker? Maybe I could yet be right??It demands the cooling phase to start kicks in then the compressure pops the circut cause its the problem.How do you store it?In a window over winter? That will cut thier life 10 fold.

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liebs

I take it out of the window each fall and store it in an unheated cabin over the winter.

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Eric Wettschreck

When it first starts it's just the compressor running. If the breaker doesn't pop right away I'll assume the compressor is fine. After running for a bit is when the condenser fan kicks in. If this is when the breaker trips I'd be looking at the wiring to the fan, or the fan motor itself.

There still may be a problem with the compressor. Tough to tell without actually looking at this thing. Turn it on and watch it. If the breaker trips as soon as the fan kicks in you know it's in the fan.

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liebs

Thanks Eric. I'll check that out today.

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delcecchi

Are there two fans in a window unit? You mention condenser fan, but there is the fan that blows the cool air into the room through the evaporator coils. Is it all one fan, or two fans? Been quite a while since I had one apart.

Seems to me that the fan that blew air into the room came on right away as I recall.

I thought of one more thing, if you have the cover off can you spin the fan/motor by hand, or is it hard/impossible to spin manually?

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JeremyCampbell

Are there two fans in a window unit? You mention condenser fan, but there is the fan that blows the cool air into the room through the evaporator coils. Is it all one fan, or two fans? Been quite a while since I had one apart.

Seems to me that the fan that blew air into the room came on right away as I recall.

I thought of one more thing, if you have the cover off can you spin the fan/motor by hand, or is it hard/impossible to spin manually?

I have to free spin mine once a yr to get it going after winter.I use a chop stick and stick it in the grooves with the cover on and play with the blade a little it usually fires right up after a few turns.

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Whoaru99

Sounds like all that may be tripping is the GFI in the plug (common on newer window units), not a breaker per se, if other things plugged into the same circuit still work, as it sounds in an earlier post.

Assuming it's the GFI plug that's tripping, there is some sort of internal current leakage in the unit or maybe the GFI plug has gone bad (or maybe the power outlet is wired wrong....remotely possible).

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low277

+1 on what Whoaru99 said. It sounds as though there is a GFCI in the cord cap. Has the unit been exposed to any rain lately? These GFCI are very sensitive and it may be possible that some moisture has gotten somewhere that it should not be? Maybe if it sits in a nice dry area for a awhile?

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liebs

I finally got out to look at it again today.

Yes, I can spin the fan easily by hand.

Yes, there is a circuit breaker of some sort in the plug.

No, it hadn't rained for a week before I turned it on and this problem happen the first time.

I don't believe that it has anything to do with the house wiring as it was at the cabin and the same thing happens when plugged into my garage at home.

Tonight, I turned it on to full cool air. It ran fine for 25 minutes. I shut it off for about an hour. Came back and turned it on again but the breaker had tripped somehow. I watched it shut down and didn't notice the breaker tripping at that point. Hit the reset and it ran for another 5 minutes until I shut it down again. Turned it on and off a couple of times after that and didn't have a problem.

I really have no idea what is wrong with this. My uneducated guess would be that something is wrong with the breaker in the plug.

I'm not convinced that I can bring it back to the cabin this weekend and rely on it working. I may just buy another one as a backup and try the old one first....unless someone else has an idea what is wrong.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to help me troubleshoot this!

Don

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delcecchi

Replace plug or cord?

I don't get point of breaker or GFI in plug. Is this some new requirement? Or the result of Lawyers run amok, like unusable gas cans?

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liebs

I don't get it either Del, but it's pretty irritating. I did find this on the GE site, but not much else yet.

"Newer air conditioner power cords may include a current interrupter device, which has a Test and Reset button on the plug case."

Would it be ok to replace the cord with one that doesn't have the "current interrupter device"?

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Whoaru99

Replace plug or cord?

I don't get point of breaker or GFI in plug. Is this some new requirement? Or the result of Lawyers run amok, like unusable gas cans?

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Whoaru99

Would it be ok to replace the cord with one that doesn't have the "current interrupter device"?

That's iffy, since it appears to be a UL listing requirement. UL listing in and of itself is voluntary for manufacturers, but other codes and regulations may require UL listed devices or use of LCDI/AFCI so it could be sort of a Catch-22.

Based on the brief overview of what it may be and how it is intended to work, I'd check the power cord from the plug all the way as far as you can get to see if there is any sign of damage.

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liebs

The cord itself looks fine. I can't open the LCDI/plug because 2 of the 4 screws are deformed and recessed enough that I can't grip them with anything. GE online only lists a replacement filter and knob on their website. I'll try to call them during business hours.

Thanks again for all the advice and info!

Don

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delcecchi

If it was my AC I would at least try a new cord without the interrupter to see if that was the problem. If it was the problem, then I would consider whether a replacement cord (if available) was worth the expense. You could replace the cord with an expensive service part only to find that wasn't the problem.

But that is just me.

I googled and saw that cords with the thing in them were anywhere between 40 and 70 bucks. BTW, a web site for AC parts from GE is

https://www.geapplianceparts.com/GEApplianceParts/air-conditioners

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Whoaru99

OTOH, for $99 one can cut their losses and just get a small, new AC (price depending on size...small being relative). Granted, given the conditions recently, there may not be many on the shelves at present.

I usually like to tinker as much as the next person, but there comes a point. wink

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low277

It does sound as though the LCDI/AFCI is tripping. If there is a actual problem in the cord or the ac unit itself then this is a good thing.

There is a good chance that it would work if the LCDI/AFCI cord end is changed, but it may be unsafe and would certainly violate some codes and listings.

I have seen replacement GFCI cord ends i do not know if LCDI/AFCI ends are available.

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low277

I just saw some 5000 btu window units at *mart for 99 dollars on Sunday.

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liebs

GE does not sell a replacement cord for this model (AET05LPW1). They suggest going to an appliance store. As mentioned, I'm not even sure if that is the issue. Mine is hard wired into the AC whereas the ones Del pointed to all plugged into the AC. I suppose I could always cut the plug off and hardwire it in.

My solution: I bought an identical unit and will bring both of them to the cabin this weekend. If I can, I will swap out the cords and see if that is the issue. If it is, I can then purchase one from an appliance center and return the other unit. I'd have a hard time returning the new unit with a bad cord. Guess I'm just too honest.

I do plan on only plugging the AC in when used just in case it had something to do with the main breaker going out earlier this spring.

Thanks again for all the assistance.

Don

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delcecchi

When the breaker went out, it is possible that somehow that fried the plug thing.

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liebs

That's what I'm thinking Del. I didn't use the AC for about a month after I noticed and fixed the breaker issue.

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delcecchi

It sounds like the purpose of the dohickey in the plug is to protect GE from getting sued by someone letting the cord get worn and cracked and getting a shock. Or maybe it is the government protecting them.

Personally I would just put a regular plug on and if I was worried about shock use a GFI breaker or outlet.

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Whoaru99

Its a different point than gfci.

The article excerpt earlier says that window ac units cause lots of fires so the lcdis were added to reduce the risk of fire. Not unlike current Code requirements for afci.

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