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ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
kudos:2
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1 edit

Mice in air conditioning condenser

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What do you do to keep mice from infesting your A/C condenser?

I usually open up the condenser and clean out nests every spring. This is the first time I've opened it up in the fall.

Well, after reading that other thread today about putting a temp sensor in the condenser, I went out and opened it up, and as I loosened and pulled up the compressor insulation blanket, four mice ran out. Another vacated when I stuck the shop vac hose in there. They have multiple holes in the blanket (first photo), and judging by the droppings seem to be living in it. The second photo is a close-up of the underside of the compressor.

Looking online, I see these suggestions:
1. Somebody is selling a product called Rataway for $25 a bottle. Anybody using this?
2. Fine mesh ... not too practical
3. Remove the insulation blanket and throw it out. But, I think this blanket provides quite a bit of sound insulation, and noise level is a concern.

I already turn off the compressor sump heater early in November and I leave it off until April.
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Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
Why would you put a blanket over your condenser? Also what is a sump heater?


ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
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said by Ken:

Why would you put a blanket over your condenser? Also what is a sump heater?

The blanket is on the compressor. It's the orange thing in the first photo. It came from the factory with the unit. Doing a little more research, they seem to refer to it as an attenuator, which makes sense.

The sump heater is a refrigerant heater. I think the manual says to leave it on all year, but the startup docs just say to make sure the unit is powered for one hour per pound (or ounce or whatever), of refrigerant before operating the compressor. So, I just turn the breaker off for the winter and turn it back on in the spring at least a day before I think I'll need A/C. Trane Part# HTR1298.
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jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3
reply to ArgMeMatey
Do you run the unit with the cover on?


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to Ken
said by Ken:

Also what is a sump heater?

Crankcase heater


dosdoxies
Premium
join:2004-12-15
Wallingford, PA
reply to ArgMeMatey
I have a friend who has been in the HVAC industry for over 40 years and he told me not to cover the whole condensor unit, just the top. Covering the whole unit never let the dampness in the unit to dry out and also make a cozy place for varmints to live. I just put a round trash can lid on top of my unit with a brick to weigh it down.


Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
reply to cdru
Interesting. I'm a bit familiar with HVAC and have never heard of that before. I still don't understand why you would need an insulated cover.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
said by Ken:

I still don't understand why you would need an insulated cover.

It's not there for it's thermal insulation capacity, it's there for it's sound insulating capacity. It makes a noisy compressor quieter. As long as the compressor is properly serviced and in good working order, the retention of the heat by the insulation should not impact the compressor's operation.

I'd clean out the condenser cabinet, then seal up any openings that are not screened over that would allow mice to enter. They are entering the cabinet because it's warmer and/or more protected from the elements then alternatives.

The other option is to put a cat in there. Depending on the frequency of the mice visiting, the cat may or may not make it very long so you might be trading one problem for another.


ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
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reply to jjoshua
said by jjoshua:

Do you run the unit with the cover on?

Not sure what you mean by cover, but ...

1. The attenuator has stayed on the compressor year-round.
2. I do not cover the condenser with anything at any time. It's got louvered sides and a solid top. It is strictly factory design. I have added nothing whatsoever.

The attenuator is supposed to reduce the noise coming off the compressor. I recall a few years ago during this routine starting the compressor with the attenuator removed, and it did make quite a difference.

I am washing out the unit and, for the off-season, will leave the attenuator removed. I can't think of anything else easy to do. Traps would be too hard to check and I don't want to use poison outside.
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nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
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1 recommendation

reply to ArgMeMatey
I am very confused.


Ken
Premium,MVM
join:2003-06-16
Markle, IN
reply to ArgMeMatey
I've installed 2 or 3 systems and I have never even heard of a compressor with any kind of cover over it. Every condenser I've ever seen you can look in and see the compressor in the open. How much noise does the compressor even make, It seems like all the noise is from the fan spinning.


ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
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reply to cdru
said by cdru:

I'd clean out the condenser cabinet, then seal up any openings that are not screened over that would allow mice to enter.

I clean it every year, pretty thoroughly with shop vac, then water and then soap, scrub and rinse.

Sealing up openings is a problem since there are louvers all the way around. I can assure you that four of the mice exited through the louvers, which are about 2-1/2" x 3/8" each, and there are hundreds if not thousands of them on the unit. They barely slowed down.
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robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to Ken
One of my AC units (a Lennox I believe) has a cover on the compressor. The reason this is confusing is from the first pic it looks like the entire unit is covered. That pic is of the cover which has been removed from the compressor and is just sitting on the ground. An yes, the compressor makes most of the noise of many AC units. Sorry, but I don't have any good advise regarding the mice problem.


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to ArgMeMatey


Get rid of the blanket. You are providing shelter and nesting materials for them.

8744675

join:2000-10-10
Decatur, GA
reply to ArgMeMatey
So how does air circulate when the compressor is on, if the vents are blocked by the cover? I would think it would reduce your cooling ability and overwork the condenser unit when it's running. You need a good free flow of air to remove heat from the freon running through the condenser.


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to ArgMeMatey
I think he meant that he is covering the compressor, not the entire condenser unit. My compressor is covered from the factory.


pitroad01

join:2006-07-10
Raleigh, NC
reply to ArgMeMatey
well how about a mouse trap ?


iknow

@optonline.net
reply to ArgMeMatey
mothballs are the answer. if the mice remove them, then put them in a wire cage, and wire it in place, so they can't remove them.


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to ArgMeMatey
the mice probably like the nice warm blanket you provide them.


ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
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reply to robbin
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said by robbin:

The reason this is confusing is from the first pic it looks like the entire unit is covered. That pic is of the cover which has been removed from the compressor and is just sitting on the ground.

Thanks; I didn't realize that might look like it covered the entire condenser.

The compressor is the thing inside the condenser.


ArgMeMatey

join:2001-08-09
Milwaukee, WI
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reply to iknow
said by iknow :

mothballs are the answer. if the mice remove them, then put them in a wire cage, and wire it in place, so they can't remove them.

That sounds good but this is sitting right next to the deck. Blowing mothball-air there is not going to raise the WAF.


jjoshua
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Scotch Plains, NJ
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reply to ArgMeMatey
said by ArgMeMatey:

Thanks; I didn't realize that might look like it covered the entire condenser.

The compressor is the thing inside the condenser.

Makes much more sense now.

Put some mouse poison in there and come back in a few days.


bow wow

@comcast.net
reply to ArgMeMatey


How about a guard dog?
Since it gets cold in Milwaukee you might want to get your guard dog a sweater.

Available at Amazon.com


Warzau
Premium
join:2000-10-26
Naperville, IL
kudos:1
reply to ArgMeMatey
LOL next time put a ruler next to it.


aannoonn

@optonline.net
reply to Ken
said by Ken:

How much noise does the compressor even make,

A lot! I can hear mine all the way down the block.

Regarding mice, I've had two get chopped up by the fan. I suspect they were there for the water near the bottom of the unit. Never saw any nesting activity; it's too loud for even mice to live there!


SparkChaser
Premium
join:2000-06-06
Downingtown, PA
kudos:3
reply to ArgMeMatey
I'm still confused. (I know, nothing new) Why do I need an overcoat for my compressor and should I be getting one?

Robbin, Sandshark????????????

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
I don't think it is something like an insulating jacket for your water heater which you add. If your unit came with one, why would you take it off and throw it away? If your unit didn't come with one I wouldn't try to find something to add.


OZZY7
Born Again Atheist
Premium
join:2011-06-11

1 edit
reply to ArgMeMatey
If you insist on leaving the "attenuator" [A.K.A Mouse Incubator] in place then you need to seal every possible opening, where they may be getting in, with some wire mesh. »www.drillspot.com/raw-materials/···e-cloth/


SandShark
Long may you run
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-23
Santa Fe, TX
kudos:3
reply to SparkChaser
Most manufacturers call them sound blankets for the obvious reason they dampen sound. They are an added accessory. If your compressor is noisy and the noise is a nuisance, you can certainly add one to your unit.

Mr Matt

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Eustis, FL
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reply to ArgMeMatey
ArgMeMatey: Is your AC a heat pump. I have the same type of cover on each compressor in each condenser unit. Both units are Heat Pumps. I believe that the cover is to allow the compressor to retain the heat from the crankcase heater when in the heating mode and improve efficiency. The primary reason for heating the compressor crankcase in a heat pump is to prevent slugging when in the heating mode. Slugging is when liquid refrigerant enters the compressor through the suction line and destroys it. Remember a liquid cannot be compressed. The heat from the motor in the compressor is dissipated through the condenser coils while in the cooling mode and through the air handler coil when in the heating mode, increasing the heat to the house. The insulating cover improves the efficiency of a heat pump by retaining heat to be sent to the air handler. I would not remove the insulating cover from the compressor except to clean the compressor of mouse droppings and urine. If the cover is in bad shape I would replace it. The crankcase heater is thermostatically controlled so I do not see any benefit turning off the circuit breaker to the condenser.