My shit Monday actually started on Sunday when we realized that our A/C unit, which was basically turning on for the first time this season, wasn’t blowing cold air. By mid afternoon it was 83 degrees inside the house, while outside, thanks to a nice breeze, it felt much cooler.
The unit itself was running fine. No weird noises. The compressor sounded good. The air handler upstairs sounded good. I figured it must be a Freon leak somewhere and the unit was just low on coolant. No big deal, right? I’ll just open up the windows, let the house cool down, and get a repair guy out the next morning to fill the thing up and fix the leak.
Once the sun went down, and night began to creep over the suburbs, things cooled down and I managed to get the house down to a much more pleasant 78 degrees by around 8:00. Things were looking up…
Or so I thought…
The Gods had decided I must be punished, for what, I don’t know, but around 9:00 the ceiling fan in our Master bedroom ate it. I have no idea what happened, but the fucker just wouldn’t stay on. I turned to the internet, checking for people with similar issues, but never found a solid solution to my problem.
So, yeah, no fan…
Still, first world problems, right? I mean, no huge deal, I’ll just buy a new fan tomorrow and install it after the repair guy leaves. Yeah, that’s the plan, everything will still be just fine.
I booted up my work laptop around 11 or so, e-mailed my project team and my boss to let them know that since I had an A/C guy coming I’d be working from home on Monday. Lucky me, I’m in IT, so I get to do that. No need to waste vacation time. And hell, I can get more done at home sometimes than when I’m in the office.
I had a gin and tonic and was in bed by about midnight ready to take on —
Monday opened with a bang. First thing, I called an A/C tech we’d used in the past and they said they could be out to my house by 11. Excellent, base hit. Second, I checked my work e-mail while I was sipping on some coffee and fuck me, one of the people on my project team couldn’t sleep, so they were up looking through some code and figured out a problem we’d been investigating for weeks. Bang, double. A little bit later I got a call from the A/C guy that he was ahead of schedule and would it be okay if he came by around 10:00 instead. WHAMMO! TRIPLE!
Everything was coming up Milhouse! Whatever was going to be next, was sure to be my home run. I couldn’t wait!
The A/C guy shows up… takes a gander at my equipment and —
I wasn’t low on coolant. Thank God! I didn’t have any. At all. None. Period. What the hell! I asked how much it was going to be to fill up the system —
Evidently, there’s some shit going on with Freon. I guess we’ve moved on to some new coolant that’s cheaper and less harmful on the environment. The transition started about 7 years ago, which just so happens to be when we built our house. At the time, Freon units were cheaper than the units that used the new coolant, and just like everything else about my house, cheaper won with our builder and that’s the type of unit they put in.
The repair tech priced out what it would cost to fill up our system. I about shit my pants when he gave me the number. He told me to feel free to check around and see if I could get it cheaper, he was just telling me the rates that they charged. In the meantime, he said filling the system up was moot, because unless we found where the leak was it’d all just drain out again.
Leak hunting he went… all the while giving me a pretty decent education on how my system worked. We checked the coils on the air handler and found a small leak. Too small for that to he the only problem. Outside to the compressor we went, and it was there we found the big daddy. Several bad leaks which were the result of shoddy installation. I was lucky this stuff didn’t go sooner.
When we were all done the guy gave me my options–
Option 1: Pay a bunch of money for new Freon, and then even more to refill it after it leaks out again.
Option 2: Replace the compressor outside, fix the small leak in the air handler, and pay a bunch of money for new Freon.
Option 3: Whole new unit, compressor and air handler, with the new coolant, that runs more efficient and isn’t a piece of junk.
The guy took the time to price stuff out so I’d have more than enough information to compare with other companies. When everything was said and done, I was left with expensive, more expensive, and so expensive I might have to cancel my anniversary cruise.
I gave the wife the bad news over e-mail (since she’s a teacher and can’t take a call during the school day). We checked the pricing with a few friends of ours who are contractors, or otherwise involved in construction, and they all said the company we had come out was top notch, and the price was very reasonable.
Since we’re likely going to be stuck with this house for a while, and may end up renting it, we made the call to just get the whole new unit. This way, we won’t have to worry about a patch work solution, and have a system that will run better and cost us less in power.
We’re not sure if we’re going to cancel the cruise or not. It’s our five year anniversary. Not a huge milestone. But a milestone nonetheless. Fortunately, we make good money, and can afford to pay cash for all of this, but it still stings to see it on the ledger.
Anyway… the day wasn’t done yet. The wife gets home and we decide to go buy a new fan. We find one we like, come home, and I start to install it. Turns out, we bought one that can’t be installed on angled ceilings like what we have in our bedroom. DAMN IT! So, I run up to the store and buy another one.
I get home and go back to work. This one uses some weird ass mounting system that was a COMPLETE PAIN IN THE ASS to put in. Why they couldn’t just use a regular cathedral mount is beyond me.
With the A/C now working, and the hot air pooling up around where I’m putting in the fan, I’m sweating my ass off. I stink. I’m grimy. I’ve lost all the sunlight and have to run a lamp, which is just making things hotter. FINALLY, around 10:00 I get the shit running and my wife can go to bed.
Me? No way can I calm down. I took a shower. Fixed a gin and tonic. And wrote this post.
Again, I know these are all first world problems. There are people who can’t eat, and I’m bitching about air conditioning and ceiling fans, and doing it on a computer no less.
Still doesn’t mean I can’t be pissed about it.