2 Air Handlers, No Condenser

Today’s 1969 townhouse had an air handler in the crawlspace and one in the attic. Refrigerant lines ran between the 2, with an air dryer in between. There was no condensing unit at the exterior. Can anyone help me understand what’s going on here?

On the roof?

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No sir. There was a disconnect installed at the rear exterior. The refrigerant lines went right past. I’m wondering if there was a condenser in the past to accommodate AC that has since been removed? Maybe it was a zoned system? Seems odd for a 1969, 1400 sf townhome. But it’s the only answer I can think of.

Got any pics?

Did you test the systems? That would have answered your question.

I did. The lower half of the house was serviced by the heat strips in the crawlspace air handler. The bedrooms upstairs had baseboard heaters (and abandoned forced air registers in the ceiling). Does this explain why there are 2 air handlers with refrigerant lines between and no condenser? I’m not getting it…

Testing the heat systems has nothing to do with determining the functionality of the A/C system(s) but in this case you should have been able to determine whether the A/C system(s) were functional by your visual inspection.

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What are you showing in photo 3? Looks like a compressor.

Hydronic AHU. Seen them several times in apartment style condominiums.

After googling the model number, it seems it’s a Carrier refrigerated air dryer.

How can there be an AC system with no condenser? What functionality is there to investigate? If I’m missing something please point it out. HVAC is not my strongest area. But the question remains: why would refrigerant lines run between 2 air handlers?

Rheem 80K (23.4 kW) Hydronic Air Handler. Water coil.

Sorry, I thought you were responding to Dominic.

The Payne PF1MNA018 in the crawlspace appears to be a standard electric air handler.

Wouldn’t a hydronic air handler be connected to the water heater?

As to your question: Depends how the HVAC system is arranged. Cooling requires water or refrigerant. Heating requires heat stips or coils.

I tried to make out the components in your images to no avail.
Try your best to get manufacturing labels. Personally, I will spend extra time, 5 minutes or more, to insure I have the model and serial numbers.

I take photos of the manufacturer’s label on every appliance for every inspection, when possible.

Charley. Can you go into your images and extract Model and Serial Numbers? Take your time.

You can alway turn to limitations and ask the homeowner in your report to 'elaborate on the HVAC equipment. " Don’t feel ashamed. I do at times. It’s called transparency buddy. As well as for any servicing documentation or equipment documentation they have. Many sellers have information for equipment or appliances when I ask at the inspection. Don’t be shy to ask.
Looks like old equipment to me.

I’m not ashamed to admit when I’ve reached the limits of my knowledge. I’m certainly no expert. I likely will recommend they ask the seller for info and I will recommend an HVAC contractor service the equipment. But that won’t educate me in any way. I spend hours on reports, often, when I run into things like this. I do a lot of research. I know many guys are happy to stay within the lines and never go beyond what is required, but it’s not me. I prefer to find answers whenever possible to increase my knowledge base. That’s the reason for my post. Just trying to understand.


Building Intelligence Center. Stype #4. Carrier 40GC001100. 1979.
Might be obsolete and left in the attic.

Cooking at the moment. be back.

Robert, buddy, I’ve already found the ages of the equipment and searched for the installation manuals. I appreciate the effort though.