Monday, May 11, 2015

First world problems

Good Monday to all.  I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend.

I did, but with a couple of caveats.  We've had a pretty lengthy stretch of really warm weather here in central Kentucky for about two weeks, perhaps a little longer.  That's welcome, after a cold winter and a wet and mostly cool spring.

What's not welcome is when that increase in temperature forces your home climate system to work harder and to ultimately fail.  That's what happened at our house, anyway.  Friday afternoon, I returned home from a meeting and commented to my wife that the house seemed a little warm.  Did a little checking, and the thermostat confirmed that it was warmer than it should be in the house.

I went to the circuit breaker box to ensure that nothing there had tripped, and found it had not.  Then I went to our outside air conditioning unit (in addition to the other unit that is locate in our attic space). Nothing.  Not moving at all.

I remembered a year or so ago encountering the same thing, and the fix then was to spray out that exterior unit with water, to allow it to take in more air.  I did so again, and, still, nothing.  By this time it was around 4:30 Friday afternoon.

So I told my wife we'd leave it alone for the time being, and went off to my grandson's baseball game.  Tried it again when we returned later, still nothing.  So our strategy became "let's call some places in the morning and set up an appointment."  We turned on the ceiling fans on our main level and moved a floor fan into our bedroom for the night, which was a little uncomfortable but tolerable.

Saturday morning I began calling AC servicers, and the first several I called, all of whom indicate 24/7 service, could not get to us until Monday or Tuesday.  All use an answering service, despite their commercial claims to the contrary.  I finally found one that was highly rated online that said they could handle our service call but that it would be Sunday.  OK, fine.  So we waited and waited and waited.  Hotter still in the house and a restless night Saturday night.  My wife and I went out with our son and his family for dinner Saturday night and they wanted to take us to breakfast yesterday, but I stayed behind so as not to miss the AC repair company's call.  No call came, and finally at 3:00 PM I called back.

The answering service indicated that they had no record of my call, and relayed my message to the on-call techician.  He, also, noted that he did not know of our service request, but would do his best to take care of us.  He allowed that he had another call that should be a quick one, then an appointment with a current customer in the early evening, and that he should be able to work us in between those.  He was right, arrived around 5:45 yesterday afternoon.  We had blown fuses, a capacitor that needed replacing, and several wires that had vibrated loose from their connections and touched, which caused them to arc and catch fire.  The unit was also low on coolant.  He was able to take care of everything in about forty minutes, and we paid him for the service.

One interesting aspect of this is that apparently, just recently, in our home area all of the heating and AC companies have moved to a "club" concept, where one pays an annual fee for membership, then gets two maintenance checks per year (which I feel certain don't amount to much), a percentage off parts and service, and "guaranteed" service within 24 hours of a request.  We did not opt to do this, but we also know that with our current AC system being about 15 years old, we're going to have a larger decision to make within the next year or two.  Yesterday's repair bought us some time, we hope.

I must confess that we had a good weekend otherwise, despite the house being less than comfortable. I played golf with some friends (two of whom will accompany me on a golf trip later in the week) and played the best I have in some time.  Had a couple of good meals out.  Spent some time with our son and his wife and two of our grandchildren.  So that was all good.

But I am so grateful to have the house cool again.  Got a really good night's sleep last night, too.

Have a good and comfortable Monday and a good week.

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