Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cool It: The Saga of our Air Conditioning

Disclaimer: This started out as a quick blog post about a blip in our mundane lives over the weekend.  It has turned into a saga, and all is documented below for our entertainment in the future.   But it is not entertaining right now.

Friday evening 

11:30 pm
Just about to fall asleep, Michael comments that it feels warm in our room.   I dismiss the comment, and fall asleep.  


8:00 am
Michael can say "I told you so" but we are too warm to argue.   Upstairs temperature check: 81 degrees.  It is August in Florida, y'all.   Daytime highs are usually about 90 degrees.   Without a heat index.    So we keep all the blackout curtains closed and turn the 3 bedroom ceiling fans on high.   It is all we can do, because it will keep getting hotter.   Contemplate going to Costco to buy wine and food for dinner later.

Later that morning
Call our trusty a/c folks and they can send out a technician to look at our upstairs a/c unit today.  Costco run is put on hold.  (Our house has 2 thermostats and 2 a/c units.   This can be helpful if one of them stops working; at least half the house is livable.)

2:30 pm
Carlos arrives and lets us know that our fan motor is broken, but it is an easy fix.  Excellent.  The thing is, Carlos has installed the last of the fan motors in his truck at his previous house.   Boo.    So he charges us for the service call and will be back later in the week to install the damn motor.   The curtains are still drawn, and the fans are still whirring.

3:40 pm
It starts to feel warm downstairs.   The thermostat reads 80 degrees.  Carlos has been gone less than an hour.  What the heck.   Our upstairs is still hot, and now the downstairs is about to match.    Michael checks the breakers.   All is well on that front.

Once again, he calls our trusty a/c folks to report an issue with the downstairs unit.  The rep on the phone has him check the breaker (done!) and then check the float switch.   Turns out there is water in the pipe which triggers the unit to shut off.  As per the phone assistant, water can be drained from the pipe so the switch is back on track.  Michael gets the turkey baster [which has been used one time for turkeys and now one time for a/c repair] and gets some water out.   Checks the wall unit.  The a/c kicks back on and we are set.   The unit needs maintenance, but at least we have a stop gap.  Walk out the door for Costco before 4 pm

6:00 pm
Home from Costco.   Thermostat reads 80 degrees again.   Michael gets the turkey baster again so he can remove excess water.   Evidently the first round was [very] temporary.   For those keeping track baster count = turkey: 1 a/c fixes: 2.  It works again so we seem to be set.

Settle in to the beautifully air conditioned downstairs.   Watch some Olympics and Alien, recorded off HBO.   Can't believe we haven't seen this movie!

11:15 pm
Go upstairs for bed.   Upstairs Temperature Check: 85 degrees.   We kick off all covers and lay on top of the fitted sheet.  We are sweating without moving a muscle.  We try to think of cold things like penguins and ice cream and snow storms.   That must not be an effective way of cooling down; we are still sweating.

It is too sticky to sleep, so we get the air mattress and extra sheets and head downstairs.   We inflate the air mattress in the middle of the living room, where it is - thankfully- still cool.


8:00 am
We wake up downstairs on the air mattress, which is still fully inflated!  Small victory there.   The temperature is still comfortable downstairs, despite Michael not fiddling around with the float switch overnight.  Upstairs temperature check: 86 degrees

Needless to say, we stay downstairs the entire morning and early afternoon, except to shower.   And even then the water stays on cold.   Do I have to tell you it does not feel the least bit cold?

2:15 pm
Torrential downpour outside.   This is good news!   Rain = clouds.   Clouds = NO SUN BEATING ON THE HOUSE.    Hallelujah.   Torrential downpours also come with a breeze.
Upstairs temperature check: 88 degrees (EIGHTY-EIGHT?!)

2:30 pm
We decide that breeze outside and no sun is a good time to open the windows.   Moving the air around will help, and the outside temperature is less than 88.  The breeze feels a-ma-zing.  We set towels on the window sills just in case the water comes in a little bit.

3:10 pm
The wind has shifted.   We run upstairs and close the eastern-facing windows to a crack so the carpets don't get soaked.
Upstairs check: 87 degrees

4:00 pm
Michael decides to check things out.  The eastern-facing bedrooms are coolish and the rain and breeze has died down.  So Michael decides to open the windows back up and have those fans blowing air down so 'cool' air gets to the hallway and hopefully down to our bedroom.
Upstairs temperature: 86 degrees

It is still roasting hot upstairs and looking like it won't get much better.  At this rate, I cannot work upstairs Monday morning.   Michael and I haul my computer and phone down to the dining room so I can work in a climate controlled area until the a/c guy comes Monday- hopefully in the earlier portion of the morning.
Upstairs temperature: 85 degrees

10:30 pm
Go to bed in the living room on the air mattress.  Again.  Luckily the float switch remains happy, so the downstairs is comfortable.   As comfortable as it can get, sleeping on a bouncy air mattress next to the couch and TV.


6:00 am
Wake up to go running.   Decide that running 4.5 miles is much more comfortable than one more second on the airbed.  Have I discovered a new trick for always wanting to jump out of bed and workout first thing?!

7:00 am
Back from running, head upstairs.
Upstairs temperature: 81 degrees
Shout downstairs to Michael "It's 81!  It is down to 81!"

7:30 am
Begin working in my dining room office

9:00 am
Michael calls the a/c folks to check on the status of our situation.   Turns out not only was Carlos out of fans in his truck, the company is out of stock too!   They are 'working with their vendor' to determine when they can obtain more.  They will call us back
Upstairs temperature: 84 degrees

Late that morning:
Float switch trips off again.   Michael drains the pipe with the trusty turkey baster.  Back on track.

11:00 am
Michael calls the a/c folks to check on the status of our situation- again.   Nothing new to report.  They will be in touch
Upstairs temperature: 85 degrees

12:50 pm
Michael calls again and uses the phrase "That is not helpful to me" on the phone.   It has been established that we can now order our part and they will "see" when a technician can come install it.

Approximately every 45 minutes during the afternoon
Downstairs a/c shuts off due to extra water in the pipe affecting the float switch.  You'll recall this started happening on Saturday.   It is getting more and more frequent.  Sigh.

5:00 pm
Michael calls the a/c folks once more to confirm that a tech will not be on the way today.  He asks for a time frame and is told they 'hope' the part arrives Tuesday.  Depending on the time it arrives, a tech can install it Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday.
Upstairs temperature: 88 degrees

5:01 pm
Michael decides to go to Target to buy fans.  His theory being he can push cool air from downstairs up into the stairwell and then out into our bedroom.  Had we known the saga would continue this long, we obviously would have bought fans much sooner.   Now we know, and having fans in Florida just seems smart.

6:00 pm
Downpour of rain.  Clouds and breeze = no sun beating on the house.   YES!   Michael gets home and sets up fans.   I remind myself not to trip over any cords in the dining room or up the stairs.
Upstairs temperature: 87 degrees


7:00 pm
Michael goes up to check on the fan project
Upstairs temperature: 86 degrees

8:00 pm
Michael goes up to check on the fan project
Upstairs temperature: 85 degrees

8:30 pm
Downstairs float switch trips off again.  Michael is done with turkey baster.  Gets shop vac.  Decibel level in the house reaches that of a runway, what with the shop vac and the 2 fans blowing at high speed.   I continue to be a teensy bit warm.

9:00 pm
Michael goes up to check on the fan project. 
Upstairs temperature: 84 degrees

9:30 pm
Downstairs float switch trips off again.  Cue shop vac.

10:00 pm
I am tired and want to go to bed.   It's cool enough to try the real bed and not the air mattress.   I fall asleep in less than 5 minutes.
Upstairs temperature: 83 degrees


6:00 am
Wake up to go running.   Remind myself to be careful on the stairs because there are cords and fans blowing, etc.  Do not check thermostat

7:00 am
Get back.  Michael reports that the a/c downstairs shut off overnight (it was 79)  and he has used the shop vac on the pipe.  Downstairs still feels warm.  Upstairs temperature: 82 degrees

7:30 am
Time to start work.   I wear a bathing suit top while working in my makeshift dining room office.  Michael suggests that, based on my sartorial choices, I resemble someone living in a double wide trailer.   I shoot him a dirty look.

10:30 am
Put on a tank top- I have a video conference call with colleagues and do not think they want to see me in a bikini top.

Michael calls the a/c folks to check on our progress.   The part has been ordered and is scheduled to arrive 'either tonight or tomorow morning' and they will call us when the part comes in so it can be installed.


6:00 am
Wake up to go running.   Remind myself to be careful on the stairs because there are cords and fans blowing, etc.  Do not check thermostat upstairs but realize downstairs is still cool.  YES!  Made it through the night.

7:30 am
Time to start work.   With the downstairs a/c in full operation mode, I wear normal clothes again.

9:30 am
Still no word from a/c so Michael calls them.   A lovely representative informs us that yes the part has arrived and will be installed the next day.   Company policy is that parts are installed the day after they arrive.   Then, the rep notices that we have been out for quite some time.  Her next words are music to our ears: "I am going to send a runner out with your part so he can meet up with a technician in the field.   Then the technician will be out today.   It might be after 5, but he will be there"
Did you hear the Hallelujah Chorus?  Because I did.

12:20 pm
Michael receives a call from the a/c office letting us know a tech will be out between 12:30 and 1:00 pm.  I do a happy dance in the dining room.   I am still working downstairs, after all.

12:40 pm
Doorbell rings.  It is Carlos again!   YAY!  Carlos installs our new part for the upstairs a/c and performs maintenance on the pesky float switch downstairs.

1:45 pm
Through some kind of magical Carlos math, he charges us less for both jobs that we were quoted to buy the original part and install it.   Not questioning it.   The a/c is working both upstairs and downstairs.   Hallelujah, indeed.

2:00 pm
Michael removes the fans from the stairwell and hallway

5:31 pm
I move my office from the dining room back upstairs where it belongs.

1 comment:

Zulema Sennett said...

Whew! All of that trouble and inconvenience caused by a faulty part in your upper AC. It's a good thing you've got two of them installed, even if halfway through the saga, your downstairs AC nearly had major problems as well. The things we normally take for granted such as normally functioning AC become a blessing when something like this happens.

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