Adventures in air conditioning…

This is a cautionary tale, so be advised there will be a moral and stuff.

The Setup:

A few nights ago (Monday to be precise), about 8:30 PM, as I walked through the hall in our house, I thought, “Geez! It’s warm in here.” Checking the Nest thermostat, it read 83 degrees, which is warmer than even the old farts that live here (that would be myself and my brother Ron) prefer. With my sense of impending doom on high alert, I checked the big fan thingy outside — AKA the condenser unit — and heard it going buzz click buzz click, etc., which, even in my non-professional viewpoint, was not okay. This late in the evening, the temperature outside was in the high 90s and the next day was supposed to get to 106 or so. It was a long night. Neither one of us slept well.

The Call For Help:

The next morning (Tuesday, just to catch you up), starting at around 7:30 AM, I starting making the calls. It took me four calls to get someone to come out this month, and the earliest they could do would be Thursday morning. That meant two more days and nights of debilitating heat and there just aren’t enough fans in the world. I told them to go ahead.

Trying an alternative solution:

I decided to go out and look for a window unit or two, just to get us through this, especially since Ron works from home. I first tried Walmart, but they didn’t have anything that would fit; our bedroom windows slide to the side to open. Since there is a Home Depot close by, I headed over there. On the way in, I asked for directions to the A/C unit and the guy I chanced upon — in a totally different department — was an A/C expert, so he walked me over there to help me with options. And this is when karma decided to play nice.

The pieces fall into place:

While I was considering my options, the store manager came over with the Official Store A/C Personage, who informed me they could get someone out there TODAY. I said, “Hell yeah, set that shit up!” (Or words to that effect.) They said around 3:00, I said, “Fuckin A!” (Or words to that effect) and I trundled myself back to the house. With ice water, an overworked ceiling fan and a fully-charged phone, I waited for their guy/gal to show up. He called at about 1:30 and said he was about 30 minutes away. I got texts confirming all this and was looking forward to living the cool life once again.

But the plot thickens

The Guy shows up in a ‘Vette. Not a repair van. He is very nice and very smooth. He looks at my system both outside and in and declares that my best option is to have the whole system replaced. “Don’t keep investing money in this outdated system,” he tells me. “It’s just going to keep giving you trouble.” (It is seven years old.) He explains that the refrigerant is no longer in wide use and costs $1500.00 a pound. (This was a lie.) The cost? $11,000.00

He calls his buddy at Home Depot who also tries to convince me to do the upgrade. I finally had to tell him, “Buddy, that ain’t gonna happen.” I was ready to just go buy a couple of window units and use them going forth; Ron and I spend most of our time in our bedrooms anyway; we have TVs and computers in both. When I told them someone else was going to come out Thursday to look at it, they said they could send someone out to repair it in a couple of hours. By now, I’m at the upper frequency of skepticism, but I told them OK.

And finally:

At around 6:00, an actual repairman shows up. I gave him the symptoms and it takes him maybe five minutes to diagnose the issue and maybe five more to fix it (burnt out capacitor). Total cost to repair: $365.00. I thanked him, gave him the best review on the survey they sent and all is wonderful and cool now.

I told you there would be a moral:

Had Home Depot just sent out a repairman from the get-go, a lot of time would have been saved. Instead, they saw an old coot (me) who they thought could be convinced to spend a crap-load of cash on something unnecessary. Luckily, I knew better. If my truck has a flat tire, I’m not buying a new truck. Yeah, it’s twelve years old, but it’s still going strong.

There are people who are more interested in making money than they are in actually helping you. Don’t let them get away with it.