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I do hope your AC gets up and running soon! 😀

Sadly, that is not to be the case.   The air conditioner has died , with the R-22 refrigerant having escaped sometime over the winter.   However, as I previously mentioned, it is a 20-year old system, so I knew that the news might be what it is.  I will be having a new furnace and air conditioner installed, along with a better filter to keep the dust from being too bad in the house.


I have slept in the train room a couple of times, when really hot, but luckily have not had to sleep there too many times.  I have found that my 4-year old labrador does not care to sleep in the basement.  He gets restless after an hour and sleeps much better upstairs. 

Luckily the HVAC people should be out this week to install a new furnace and ac.  I am also having them add 2 supply ducts and 1 return duct to the train room, as currently there is little heat in the basement in the winter. 

In order for their work, I needed to get access to my circuit breaker box, which is behind the train layout.  In the past, I have always climbed on the layout to access the box, but this is less than ideal.  Earlier this year, while visiting Menards, I noted some 3-wheeled furniture movers, which I had been thinking of ordering for a while.  Since they were in-stock, I went home and counted the number of legs on the layout and bought enough for the layout.  So, all I have done so far is to put the dollies under the legs, clean underneath the layout, and then gently roll the layout away from the wall.  It moved quite easily.

Prior to moving it back, I am going to install some bracing, as I don't want the legs to break due to being pushed/moved.

As for keeping the house relatively cool, without the ac, I have been opening the windows in the early morning and later in the evening.  This morning it was 57 F outside, so I opened up the windows and managed to get the house to 70 F, before closing the house up.  In to the low 80s today and the house has only gotten to 77 F.

Hoping the HVAC guys will be here in the middle of the week to put the new system in.


along with a better filter to keep the dust from being too bad in the house.

Do a bit research before you get too carried away with the super duper filters.  I just had a new furnace/AC installed last fall and the guys explained to me the filter shenanigans currently going on in the market.  Basically companies keep making more expensive denser filters with all sorts of claims about dust, allergies, covid particles, etc.  The reality is that most of what they are doing is restricting airflow to the blower motors and prematurely wearing them out by causing them to have to work harder to move the air.

Filters are designed to protect your system from large particles, just like the engine air filter on your vehicle.  A 4-5in. thick (have the HVAC guys install a thicker filter box during install), coupled with a lower MERV rating (less than 10) offers a very high level of protection, filtering, and airflow.  Typically filters for "air quality" if installed would want to be put on the individual vents/registers in the room you're trying to improve.  This would still allow airflow into the space, but the excess force would be directed out of other open vents in other rooms, rather than causing resistance on the blower motor.

The thicker filters aren't available at your local drug store, but they can be easily ordered online.  I usually order 2 at a time when they are on sale.  They also last longer (4-6 months depending on use) than a month like a regular 1 inch thick filter.

Just some food for thought while you're making changes.  Nice solution to moving the layout around.

Last edited by Ives1122

Ives1122 - The HVAC guys were very honest about the filter system and I am getting a 4-5 inch filter system, which they recommended.

JHZ563 - The guys I am using run a small local shop and have been quite busy servicing others in the hot weather around here.  After the initial service call, the guy indicated that he would come out about a week later with the others in the shop and do an estimate.  They came Tuesday the 5th, gave me a fair estimate and I put half down so they could order the equipment.  They expected the new units to be in late last week and indicated they would install sometime this week.  I am satisfied with their services so far and cannot complain about it taking time, as I understand that they have clients who are ahead of me and there was a 3-day holiday weekend. 

As for doing the full system, the current system is 20 years old and took a direct hit by lightning 18 years ago.  Lightning struck the chimney cap, went down to the furnace, burned out a circuit board on the furnace, burned out a relay on the ac compressor, and did a bunch of damage to other low voltage items throughout the house.  The HVAC system got fixed and has worked fine for the past 18 years, but one has to wonder if there was any long-term damage to the furnace that could show up, if I only replaced the ac.  I also work in commercial real estate and know that the life expectancy of equipment is generally 20 years at best, so I figure that replacing it all will save me money in the long-run.


The installation process disrupted the train room slightly.  Prior to the new HVAC system, there were only 2 supply vents into the basement and they were not optimally located.  I was not so concerned about cooling in the basement, as it seems to be a static 70-72 F down there during the summer, but in the wintertime it can be a bit chilly in the basement, as the temp typically drops into the upper 50s to low 60s.  I had the HVAC guys add 2 new supply ducts to the train room and 1 new return duct.  It was relatively easy for them to do this, as the walls surrounding the furnace are the backside of the train room. 

However, in order for them to do the install, they advised me to remove the trains on one wall.  Luckily it was the shortest run of shelving in the whole room, but it still took 3 big boxes for all of these small trains.

Here is the adjoining wall with the new ducts, two supply ducts at the top and 1 return at the bottom

So last night, it was like Christmas, as I unpacked all of the trains and put them back on the shelves.  It was good, as it allowed me to arrange the trains slightly better.

Ruby, my 11-month old Labrador, has discovered the benefit of air-conditioning, in that she can lay on top of the vent and let the cool air flow.


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