Thursday, August 13, 2009

inside the inferno

Now that August has arrived boasting multiple days of 90+ degree temperatures, our air conditioner (AC) has decided to take a vacation. Congress IS on recess, after all. Most DC residents have vacated the city. Why should our AC be left behind?

The blaze began on the first of August. I arrived home from book club, instantly greeted by my frustrated husband who bemoaned the warm stuffiness in the house. Apparently, the AC made its escape when Brad went into the backyard to cut the grass. Because it was a Saturday, the technician couldn't make a service call until Monday. Brad and I survived the heat through the weekend and were surprised on Monday when the technician claimed that there was nothing wrong and just recommended a different type of filter, which we promptly changed.

We enjoyed cool air until very late Thursday night/early Friday morning, when I awoke because Brad bolted straight up in bed. Because this type of violent reaction, when it occurs at 2 a.m., is normally followed by frequent and intense vomiting, I gave Brad some space. But I quickly learned that he wasn't suffering from a stomach virus; he was burning up because, you guessed it, the AC went out again.

Brad spent all day on Friday going back and forth with our home warranty company and the technician, trying to convince everyone involved that we shouldn't have to pay another deductible because the problem obviously wasn't fixed the first time. We didn't care that our claim had already been closed. Finally, the home warranty company agreed to reopen our claim and send out another technician, but since the weekend was upon us again, it wouldn't happen until Monday because they refused to pay the weekend/emergency rates.

It was a long, hot weekend.

On Monday, the technician replaced a valve, but the system was broken again when I arrived home from work. Because the home warranty company insists that the technician try every possible solution before replacing the whole unit, we are now waiting for a new motor to arrive, which will hopefully be installed by Friday. The technician isn't 100% certain that a new motor will fix the problem, but the home warranty folks won't budge. They won't replace the whole unit if they can get away with a cheaper solution. After all, none of them are going home at night to try to sleep in the middle of an inferno. Why should they care how long this takes?

This home warranty business is both a blessing and a burden. We may end up with a new or at least improved AC unit by only paying our $100 deductible. But I can't assign a monetary value to what this little blip has cost us in terms of time and comfort. At least we've gotten some use out of our new sleeper sofa in the living room (it's cooler on the first floor at night, although that isn't saying much).

I didn't grow up in a cool house in the summer. My frugal parents have one window unit to cool a huge farmhouse. During my childhood, they only turned it on during the hottest days (100+ degrees) of the summer. I remember plenty of years when the unit went unused. Now, my parents only use it for company. Unfortunately for us, my parents do not consider their offspring to be company.

How and when did I grow so dependent on air conditioning?

Hopefully we will not spend a third weekend in a row without cool air. Dear AC, come back now, please. Your vacation is over!


Organized Living by Amy said...

Ahh the home warranty. We went through the same thing last summer. Ultimately the home warranty was definitely worth it because we ended up getting a new unit for only $900. We still have 1 A/C unit and 2 furnaces that are from the 80s. So I'm keeping the home warranty until they all are replaced.

Smiling Mama said...

I feel your pain! We went through this a few years ago, too. The home warranty company wouldn't replace our unit and we ended up doing it ourselves after many weekends and weeks without working AC. But, earlier this year we got info about being part of a class action suit because of behavior like that so we're hopeful that we may get some $$ back. We'll see....

Smiling Mama said...

P.S. We did end up buying a window unit for our bedroom for about $100which was SO worth it on the hottest days (especially with an infant at the time). I bet if you buy one you could resell it on craig's list and recoup much of the cost later.

SD Dad said...

While your melting in the heat, those of us here in the wild west have been using the gas fireplace for two days in a row. Sunday's high was in the