HVAC Condenser: Failed vehicle A/C (expired warranty)

 

  • Cast: Wife + husband + kids
  • Plot/Narrative: Family goes on vacay by car, and OTW bk condenser coil then fan(s)–order/specs unbeknownst to them ATT–go out (halfway during RTB).
  • Repair/Service: Call insurance to confirm repairs covered (not)…stop at local car shop for diag (coil, fans) + repair in a couple hours time.

My husband, kids, and I all had been looking forward to our highly anticipated family vacation for some time. As a matter of fact, when the moment finally came, we packed our bags, loaded up the family van, and hit the road, jack! We were so stoked about the adventures that lay ahead of us that we actually failed to do all of our usual car inspection checks prior to our drive there or even prior to the return trip back. On the way back–approximately halfway through our drive, the van’s A/C started sputtering before it eventually fizzled out. Upset, we exited the expressway immediately, pulled over, and called our insurance company to confirm whether we were covered for any A/C repairs we knew we’d need. Unfortunately, it turned out that we weren’t, but we still wanted and, given our young kids, arguably needed to have our A/C serviced ASAP since we had hours of driving ahead of us. Once my wife and I looked up the closest car shop on our GPS, we pulled in and spoke with the service department team. Compassionate about our unlucky lot, they worked with us in order to get back on the road in no time. After a “lickedy split quick” diagnosis, our service technician returned with the news that our vehicle’s condenser coil and its corresponding fan had both gone bad. Thankfully, though, they had all the parts needed on hand. That being the case, the team was able to get the job done in essentially no time, especially compared to the amount of road time that awaited us once we returned to the road. Grateful for the silver lining in the midst of our storm, we were pleased with such outstanding service with a smile!

HVAC business

Deciding to buy a wood stove to replace my old fireplace

I recently moved into an old farmhouse in the northern part of the country where it regularly drops below zero in the middle of the winter.  Unfortunately, the only heating method available in the house is an old poorly maintained fireplace and chimney, there is no furnace of any kind and only a window air conditioner for cooling.  I had been in a situation before where I had to survive through the winter by chopping wood, and with the plentiful dead trees on the property, I wasn’t worried about finding my source, nor was I concerned about the work involved.  But it became clear to me within a few weeks of use that the current fireplace wasn’t going to cut it. It felt nice and toasty in my living room within five to six feet of the mantle, but once you got further or went as far as the hallway into my bedroom, it felt stone cold with no warmth whatsoever.  I considered buying a plugin radiant heater for my bedroom but I wanted to invest in a solution that worked for the rest of the house, not just my bedroom while I’m sleeping at night. I considered repairs or modifications to the fireplace, but that can be extensive and costly, not to mention time consuming and not something you can easily find labor for in the 30 degree weather.  That’s when I found the wood stove; it dates back to the 1500s and is an incredibly efficient little invention. The basic concept is an enclosure of some kind, usually stone or metal, that conceals a fire and then funnels the smoke out a ventilation pipe to a chimney. But since there is sometimes up to five feet between the base of the wood stove and where your fireplace would be traditionally, it allows more of the heat to radiate out the sides of the woodstove and directly into your house, minimizing energy loss in the smoke exhaust.  It has taken a bit to get used to chopping wood daily again, but it pays off when I know I’ll be getting every last bit of heat energy that I can out of each piece I cut.

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Getting free HVAC work out of neighbor who is a HVAC tech

I live in a fairly small apartment complex where everyone knows each other and we all act like a large family.  Many of us have different trades and skills and regularly trade work with each other when necessary. I usually do the cooking and barbecuing whereas my buddy next door is a HVAC tech and our friend overhead on the floor above is an electrician.  It’s an old building and the electricity in our units tends to be finicky so the neighbor above is called on a lot more than my services as a chef are requested. But recently, I noticed my air conditioner just wasn’t cooling my place as efficiently as it usually does so I gave my buddy next door a call.  He swung by the next day after I offered to cook him some tasty burgers in return–to which he agreed without hesitation–and he quickly took the panel off my air handler and got to work. First off, he noticed that there was a considerable amount of dust buildup inside the air handler and we both decided to clean that out before he went any further.  At that point, he then determined that the system was low on freon, and thankfully he had some in his truck. Once that was refilled, the system was working much better now, but he kept looking through the whole thing to make sure he didn’t miss anything. Finally, he noticed that the drip line that deposits the water buildup inside the machine was starting to clog so we got a hose to blow that clean.  Now everything seems to be back to full working order. I saved myself several hundred dollars just by cooking my neighbor a plate of burgers.

air conditioner unit

HVAC techs

When it came to film theory, Dave across the street from me, is a master. Dave teaches film theory at the local community college. He knows about every movie ever made. I have enjoyable conversations with him about popular movies and what they symbolically mean. However, when it comes to physical labor and doing things around the house that require tactile performance, Dave would rather simply hire someone to come and do it. His house is rather new and doesn’t require any specific maintenance. When he came home from work the other day, he noticed that his gas heater didn’t turn on like he expected. He called me over and we examined what was wrong. I am not a handyman myself, so I suggested he call the HVAC techs. He agreed and I left. A day later, I saw the HVAC van parked in Dave’s driveway. Two men brought in their tools and other materials. The were there for a total of two days. Rather than call him to ask what was the progress, I let him be and decided to call him next week. That Friday I saw him dragging his old gas heater on his lawn for the garbage men the next day. I asked him what the final prognosis was and he said the burner on the old heater was broken and couldn’t be fixed. He brought me inside to look at the new one. The new heater was shiny and brand new. The pipes were new and the nozzles were gleaming black. I congratulated him and asked him how much he paid. Dave told me in the thousands! I didn’t judge him, but if the only problem was the burner, he should have just gotten that fixed for cheaper.

a/c worker

HVAC guy

My boyfriend and I were dating for 6 months, before he met my mom. I didn’t want to introduce him to my parents, until I knew things were serious. I was married once before, and things didn’t work out very well. My parents loved him to death. They took it very hard, when we filed for divorce. My new boyfriend Mark is a sweet guy. He is smart, sensitive, and very handsome. He has a great job with an HVAC company. A few weeks ago, my mom called to say hello. She seemed frazzled and frustrated on the phone. She said the air conditioner wasn’t working very well, but she didn’t want to contact the HVAC company. It was close to the end of summer, and she didn’t want to spend money on the air conditioner. I thought this was the perfect time for my mom to meet Mark. I called Mark at work and asked if he had some time to meet my mom and look at her air conditioner. He was happy to help and offered to pick me up and take both of us to my mom’s house. I called my mom and told her I was coming over to help with the air conditioner. She didn’t know what I could do to help, but she was happy to see me for a few hours. When Mark and I arrived in his HVAC company work truck, my mom was really surprised. When I introduced Mark as my boyfriend, she was even more surprised. Mark found the drain line to be clogged, which was causing the problems with the air conditioner. He had everything fixed in under an hour. I think it was a great first impression.

heating

Finishing old job

A couple of days previously, my HVAC company received a frantic call from one of our customers. It was Ms. Owens from across town, and she was having trouble with the air conditioner. Ms. Owens is one of our regular customers, and she has been using our HVAC company for 10 years. We recently installed a brand new air conditioner for Miss Owens, and I was surprised to hear from her so quickly. I asked Miss Owens to describe the air conditioner problems, but she could only describe a noise. I sent a technician over to the house, so we could troubleshoot the problems. When the technician looked over the air conditioner, he quickly noticed the issue. The HVAC installation crew left a loose screw inside of the machine. Every time the air conditioner came on, Miss Owens could hear the sound of the screw wiggling around in the machine. The faint tapping noise was indistinct, but easy to locate. It only took a few moments to tighten the screw and get rid of the noise. Since the HVAC system is still under warranty, Miss Owens didn’t receive a bill for this service. I’m happy we could fix the problem quickly, and even happier that the HVAC installation crew didn’t forget anything else. The HVAC installation team completes about five or seven installations weekly. A loose screw is an easy fix, but other problems can be expensive. Last year, one of the new HVAC technicians forgot to connect the drain line. We had to cover a whole garage full of flooded items, and we lost a customer in the process.

climate control

Waiting on heating system tech

One of my biggest pet peeves is for someone to waste my time. I hate when people are late, because it shows a complete lack of respect for my time. I am never late, because I value everyone’s time. I think that is a tragedy of today, because everyone accepts people’s laissez-faire attitude. Yesterday, I was scheduled for a routine service for the heating system. My heating system provider said the appointment time would occur between 8 and 10 a.m. When it was almost 10, I was already feeling aggravated that I waited for a long period of time. When it was 10 minutes past the hour, I contacted the heating system provider and asked about the technicians location. My appointment had mysteriously been erased from the books, even though I confirmed with the receptionist on the previous day. I was fuming mad and very abrupt with the heating technician receptionist. She apologized over and over again, and told me that the owner of the heating company would contact me right away. Several minutes after I hung up with the receptionist, the owner of the heating company called. I was very surprised and even shocked. He apologized for the mix-up, and offered to perform the heating service himself. He also told me the service would be of no cost. He apologized again, and offered to do anything it would take to make the situation right. I rescheduled for today, and the owner of the heating company just left the house. He stuck by his word, and he was here at the precise time.

heating tune up

I could not fix the furnace by myself

When my job promoted me, I accepted the position without question. Now, living in Alaska, where the temperatures hardly ever get warm, I ponder my naivety. For the first few months, I enjoyed the decent temps of the summer. However, once September arrived, the onslaught of cold came with it and forced me to keep my furnace going, even when I was at work. I never had a problem with keeping the heat up when I wasn’t at home because the rates were low and affordable. That was until my furnace broke and forced me to take refuge at a coworkers house for the next several days. Each day, after our jobs ended, we would travel back to my home and fidget with the furnace ourselves. I would hold the flashlight as my friend took apart the innards of the nozzles and gauges. I thought he knew what he was doing, as his profession called for this type of work. My friend actually fixed it and I moved back in to my home. I awoke that night freezing, realizing that the furnace broke again. I tried to fix it myself by doing the same routines that my friend did, but nothing happened. I took the next day off from my job and waited for the HVAC tech to come. When he did arrive, I stood by and took detailed notes of how repaired it. Since then, I have not had any issues my with furnace. The HVAC technician replaced the entire gauge and even repaired the thermometer on my wall to ensure that nothing like that ever happened again.

learning starts here

Trying to prove we are handy enough to do the HVAC repair

When it came to fixing things around the house, my brother and my father were the ones who always took charge and proudly repaired issues with appliances. If a toaster needed attention, my brother was right there to take it apart, clean it, and replace whatever needed fixing. Whenever a problem with the lawnmower engine needed repairing, my father set time aside from his busy schedule to examine each facet of that mower until he knew what was wrong. He was adamant that everything in our household was as new as possible for the very reason fixing things took time. That was why when he and my mother bought this new house, he insisted on purchasing a new HVAC unit. The HVAC technicians installed it on the first day and it worked perfectly. However, when that tropical storm decimated the coast last week, it destroyed much of the east side of our home, including nearly all of the new HVAC system. After my dad and my brother spent hours outside attempting to repair the unit, they both returned inside complaining that no one could fix it and that the situation was hopeless. That was until myself and my mother snuck out of the side door with my father’s tool kit and flashlight. We did what we could and fixed it right there. The cold A/C began flowing again. And when the HVAC repairman came the next day to double check what we had done, he smiled and congratulated my dad on having people in the house who know how to fix things like air conditioner units because they are usually the most difficult. .

HVAC repair

The airport blues

I am not a big fan flying. Never have been, never will be I’m still not really sure what it is that I don’t like about it, I am starting to think that it is a wide variety of things. This past week when I went to the airport, it was a disaster! In my past trips to the airport, it is super warm inside. So warm in fact that I would often end up sweating through my shirt and being super self conscious on the plane ride to wherever I was heading. I decided to wear a light tee and some khaki shorts so I wasn’t sweating the whole time I was there. When I walked into the airport however, it felt as if I was up in the rocky mountains it was so chilly! They must have had a recent renovation, because there was an industrial sized air cooling unit on every side of each terminal. I had never really seen anything like it. It kind of looked as if they were decorating the airport with air conditioners. I was so cold, that I bought a cheap sweatshirt inside the airport. When I got onto the plane however, it was even colder than it was in the airport! The thin and cheap sweatshirt that I bought was doing nothing to keep me warm whatsoever. I think that I am just not made to come to airports. Nothing ever goes my way! I think that I need to start driving to my destinations rather than going to the dreaded airport.

air cooling