And then the AC failed ...

Posted 11/12/17

When the weather turned off chilly the week before last, Jilda was giddy. She stripped the cotton sheets from our bed and put on flannel sheets. Those sheets feel like the red and green shirt I wore …

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And then the AC failed ...

Posted

When the weather turned off chilly the week before last, Jilda was giddy. She stripped the cotton sheets from our bed and put on flannel sheets. Those sheets feel like the red and green shirt I wore when I was a kid. We put out the fall decorations. With steaming mugs of hot cocoa and blazing-blue hickory logs snapping in the fire pit, we were ready for cooler weather. But then last week, it got hot again, and that’s when the “real fun” began.

On Thursday night, as we got ready to hit the sack, I checked the thermostat. The digital reading said 76 degrees. Flipping the unit from heat to cool, I dropped the setting to a comfortable sleeping temp. A click coming from the outside unit was a sound I’d never heard before. Hmmmm — that didn’t sound right, I thought.

We went to bed, and just before midnight, I woke up. My pillow was as damp as a dishrag. I’d been sweating. Stepping into the hall, I flipped on the light. The fan was still blowing, but the temp showed 75 degrees. Not good. I went through the process of resetting the unit but no biscuits, and no cold air, either.

The next day I called Glenn Sargent with Sargent Heating and Cooling. He’s helped us out in the past when ants ate our outside unit. He knows I’m pretty handy at fixing stuff, so he gave me a few things to try. None of them fixed the problem. He told me he’d run by and have a look. The old unit had been in place since Clinton was in the White House, so I wasn’t encouraged that a simple solution was in the cards. It wasn’t.

After some tests and a lot of head scratching, Glenn said, “We’re going to have to replace this unit.” Apparently, the old AC used a type of coolant that the government outlawed just after the dinosaurs left the planet.

He checked his sources and quoted me a price. He said he could get started as soon as I moved the water heater. WHAT?????

The old unit has co-existed with the water heater since we built the house in 1983. But the new inside part of the unit would need the space where the water heater was sitting. He said something about air flow and bla, bla, bla. I didn’t hear much after the water heater bombshell.

I whipped out my phone and called my nephew Haven, who is a plumber. “I have some bad news for you buddy,” I told him. “You have to move my water heater.” I think that is the point where he dropped his cell, or maybe he hung up on me. But he called back later.

This past Sunday, he and his dad showed up with pipes, tools, and new-fangled fittings and moved the tank. The job was a beast, but he didn’t whine. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I was kind to that kid.

Well, kind might be a stretch, but I treated him right most of the time, and he’s always been there for me.

Glenn juggled his schedule and showed up a day before he said he’d do the work. When he handed me the bill, it was a little less than his estimate. I admire people who “under promise and over deliver.” And I love the fact that our air conditioner is now blowing cool air through the vents. Did I mention that the temps dropped like a stone the day after we replaced the unit?

Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book, “Life Goes On,” is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at rick@rickwatson-writer.com.