Thread Number: 91275  /  Tag: Air Conditioners
Chinese TCL window AC RANT
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Post# 1157897   8/26/2022 at 02:25 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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Last Summer I had to replace my faithful old Goldstar window unit 5k after 20 years (I was able to bring it back to life later and gave it to my dad for his shop).  I got a TCL model from Walmart.  It worked great.  Earlier this summer it was working fine.  Then one day it woke me up making a popping sound when the compressor was kicking off.  I recognize that sound when an AC freezes up.  When I was off work I looked at it more closely.  It wasn't freezing up completely, just a little frost on the bottom of the coil.  I know low gas can cause freeze up.  Now a couple of months later, it still comes on and the compressor kicks on like it's supposed to but it isn't blowing cold air.  It won't kick off but it's not making the popping noises anymore either.  I know it has a leak in it somewhere.  It's only ONE YEAR OLD!  But it's out of warranty so what do I do besides replace it again?  I'm actually trying to adjust to not having a window AC running while I sleep in the daytime.  If I succeed I will just remove it when I replace the old wooden window with new efficient window and let the central AC keep me cool enough.  I thought about adding a duct booster.  I have noticed that Walmart no longer carries the TCL AC units.  The Midea ones have good ratings.  If I do get another one I'll get one of the black ones because they don't let light come through.

Post# 1157909 , Reply# 1   8/26/2022 at 08:50 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

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just saw on another site that Target may be blowing out 5k air conditioners for under 100 dollars...check online for availability.

Post# 1157910 , Reply# 2   8/26/2022 at 09:11 by kenwashesmonday (Carlstadt, NJ)        

I wouldn't blame the Chinese, I bought a 5000 BTU Haier 20 years ago and it works like new.


Many appliances and electonics sold at Walmart are 'special' Walmart versions.  I buy my appliances at an appliance store.

Post# 1157911 , Reply# 3   8/26/2022 at 09:30 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
If It Is Only 1 Year Old

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Take it back and insist on a free replacement, if you bought it with a credit card it might have an extra year of warranty, also if WM refuses help do a charge back with your card.


I would never but anything like this from WM, in fact I try to never set foot in a WM.


John L.

Post# 1157917 , Reply# 4   8/26/2022 at 10:58 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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Bought a TCL from Rose's in VA in Fall 2020 for $113. It's still working. It's not quite as quiet as my 15 y.o. Gold Star that I bought used in 2017 for $35.

It's like, at these prices, if they only lasted a year would that be so bad. It wouldn't be so great for the environment having all these ACs around, but...

Post# 1157919 , Reply# 5   8/26/2022 at 11:26 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

Years ago, I spent almost $500 each for two American Made Friedrich 8K BTU units. They did not last more than a few years and the aluminum fins on the coils were just eaten away. When I went to buy new, the same size Friedrichs were all made in China as are all the smaller window units so I just bought what Costco was selling. Just like the Friedrichs, the water passages from the evaporator out to the condenser are so small as to require the use of pan tabs to prevent fungal and algal growth that blocks them and causes leaking.

Post# 1157923 , Reply# 6   8/26/2022 at 11:35 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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Yes, I've taken apart and modified these small AC units.  They tend to use styrofoam to encase the coils while also providing a form of insulation, enclosure, and no doubt vibration control.  

The problem is water works it's way into the foam and grows mold, then that contaminates the air when the AC is running.  That isn't good.


I wish they'd at least have a plastic pan and allow one to draw off that water instead of slinging it at the exterior fan.  It just makes such a mess that way. 


Central AC units certainly don't do that.

Post# 1157925 , Reply# 7   8/26/2022 at 12:09 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        
My modified TCL

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I wanted to try an experiment to quiet my window ac and make it more efficient.


I modified my window AC unit to make it a mini packaged air unit.


1. By setting the ac unit on the ground the vibration stays off the house.

2. by connecting the act with a couple of 10' insulated 6" ducts once again you have the insulation to absorb sound.

3. by having the unit about 5' away from the building, any heat it creates stays outside.


I used rigid foam board and spray foam to create a custom case.  drilled a hole in the bottom so the water would drain off directly and avoid the fan.  Then created a sheet metal enclosure to protect it from the weather.  Moved the control panel and plug in the house to control it.


It is so so nice.  I can talk on the phone while the AC is running and even stand right next to the duct with minimal sound inside.

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Post# 1157941 , Reply# 8   8/26/2022 at 17:13 by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
Just got one at Target

Target had a 5k Haier unit for $72. $100 off. Online price so I ordered it for pick up in 2 hours.

Post# 1157945 , Reply# 9   8/26/2022 at 17:56 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Reply #7

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Wow, I am sure it is quieter but it has to be at least 25-30% less efficient at cooling a room, the condensate water being sprayed on the condenser improves efficiency by 8-12% alone and all that leaking uninsulated duct work will cost you as well.


I would give it an A for effort, but a D- for effectiveness.


John L.

Post# 1157958 , Reply# 10   8/26/2022 at 21:38 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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Wow! Excellent job Martin. That's a great deal.

Post# 1157961 , Reply# 11   8/26/2022 at 22:07 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        
My fancy-schmancy electronic control panel

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I got the electronic control panel and remote off of a 6000 btu Zenith branded ac that had a freon leak in 2014 .
I've had the control part all this time and it still works great.

Now I use it instead of the analog control that originally came with the cheap AC unit.

I like the gradual ramp up of the fan motor instead of the INSTANT on.
Also the energy saver feature shuts the fan off when the temp is reached.
It even occasionally recirculates the air for a few seconds to make sure the temp stays even in the room.
Plus it has remote control.

I needed a cheap, plastic enclosure so I used one of two storage containers I got at Dollartree. I thought I'd have to screw the cover on but it stays on just fine. Put the thermostat temperature sensor through the side and the power and control wires out the bottom with a standard romex compression connector.

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This post was last edited 08/26/2022 at 22:48
Post# 1158041 , Reply# 12   8/28/2022 at 03:48 by askolover (South of Nash Vegas, TN)        

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I have a Haier AC in the other bedroom that's at least 10 years old and it is ice cold immediately upon startup.  I don't know what's up with this TCL. 

When I looked online at Target for my location, there were no 5k units listed.

Post# 1158099 , Reply# 13   8/28/2022 at 14:58 by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
Down to $54

In my area 95821 Haier unit is down to $54. I guess I ordered too soon.

Post# 1158101 , Reply# 14   8/28/2022 at 15:15 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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It doesn't matter to me what name they slap on it.

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Post# 1158102 , Reply# 15   8/28/2022 at 15:25 by 48bencix (Sacramento CA)        
I called them

I tried on line but was unsuccessful. I called them and they refunded $18. I am having fun just playing with the unit. I used it in my house yesterday until 2:00 pm and it cooled the whole house. 1800 sq. ft. With a fan going to circulate. Now it is in my outbuilding 240 sq. ft. Just to see how it cools that little building.

Post# 1158108 , Reply# 16   8/28/2022 at 15:39 by bradfordwhite (West Coast, U.S.)        

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If you have good insulation, and you block the sun in the southern windows, and avoid heat producing appliances inside, a unit like this WILL make a difference.

It's only 500 watts. One can easily run that off a few solar panels and an inverter.

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