Air-Conditioning Unit From Hell

Once upon a time, my husband and I bought a new house. Not just new-to-us, but brand new, as in we were the first people to live in the sucker since it was built. We weren’t in it seven months, and on Christmas Eve, the heat went out.

This was 2004.

The next year, same holiday. The heat went out again. Same unit, of course, but different problem.

And it so it continued. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had problems out of the heating and air unit, only to say that when the heat went out, it was always on the holiday or a weekend. It didn’t go out every year, and last year, we thought we got lucky, because we had no heating problems.

Instead, a new problem arose: the air-conditioning went out in August.

The problem, we soon learned, was that coolant was leaking. The repairman was able to refill it, but this spring would be the test: if we turned on the air-conditioning and got cold air, then we’d be okay: it was a slow leak. If we didn’t get cold air, we’re looking at replacing something. Be it coils or compressor or a whole new unit. Something will need to be replaced.

Well, yesterday, it was a bit muggy out, so when I got home, I turned on the air. Not for the first time this spring, but it was the first time that I noticed the thermostat going UP after I told it to go DOWN.

So yeah, fast leak. We have an appointment on Tuesday for the repairman to come out, take a look, give us options and quotes galore. It’s not going to be a cheap fix, I’m afraid, and it’s frustrating, because in hindsight, it’s easy to say we should’ve replaced this lemon of a machine from the start. But going into it, how were we to know our unit was such a piece of crap? That it’d cause us trouble, and cost us money every year?

Alas. It’s the joys of home-ownership. Every year, it seems like we have more and more expenses piling up: this year, we’ve already replaced our fridge. We’re still looking at the possibility of having to pay for the damage our neighbor’s trampoline did to the house (but hopefully, he’ll be cool and pay for it), and now this. Surprisingly, I’ve discovered that I just can’t get furious over this stuff. It happens. It sucks, but it happens. We’ll deal.

My husband, on the other hand, gets furious. It’s almost like the world, or at least the things in the house, have a personal vendetta against him…. but make no mistake, whatever happens with the air-conditioning unit, it’s going to be one of the more expensive fixes.

Except of the roof. Replacing the roof was damned expensive, but at least insurance covered that. πŸ™‚

The good news: it is not August. It’s still, mostly, spring, and after tomorrow, the weather’s going to cool down some. We have fans, and we have air filters. We’ll be all right.

15 thoughts on “Air-Conditioning Unit From Hell

    1. It’s rather easy to take in stride before the reality of the bill itself sets in. πŸ™‚ We’ll see. We’ll know more on Tuesday! πŸ™‚


  1. I totally feel your pain! Our air conditioner likes to give out in August, when it is 90 and humid and I cannot exist without it. And when the service guys come over, it occasionally starts working like it hasn’t totally failed to start 5 minutes before they arrived. At this point, I am convinced we have an evil air conditioner unit that wants me to suffer…. One of these days it will break down completely, and hopefully the repair guys will be amenable to barter πŸ˜›

    Home ownership, dubious joys off 😦 Hang in there!


    1. Yeah, August here is pretty miserable between the heat and humidity too. When the air went out last year, it was August. At least right now, it’s no where near that bad…


  2. Not that this helps you in the slightest, but this is one of the reasons I’d never consider a building built after the Great War. (I live in Boston, where the *new* construction is Edwardian.) All the crappy construction has had a century to fall down.

    That being said, three curses on whoever built your place. If the furnace failed in less than a year and your roof failed in less than ten, I suspect you’ve had plenty of other sad discoveries as well.



    1. The roof was due to hail, and that definitely wasn’t the fault of the builder. We had some bad hail a few years ago, and between that and the wind, well…

      But regarding the HVAC units, contractors building spec houses are allowed to get the cheapest pieces of crap on the market, just so they can say HVAC is installed on the house they’re trying to sell. Unfortunate, and our brand is commonly used by contractors for just this purpose. From what I’m learning, if you have the same brand we do and you have no problems? You’re the exception, not the rule. πŸ™‚


          1. (channeling my inner weasel contractor company):

            Well, it is, you know, installed. The dictionary does not say “installed” means “working like it supposed to”, now does it? πŸ™‚


  3. We were also the first to move into our house. It was built in 1999, we moved in circa 2001, and we have had problems galore ever since. We suspect the builders cut a lot of corners when they were building the thing–if it’s not the basement leaking, the sump pump isn’t working right, if it isn’t the sump pump, it’s the water heater, and so on. Our back deck is now falling apart, and we’ve only recently fixed the heretofor unfinished basement shower–which for some reason they made out of DRYWALL–by turning it into a closet.

    Clearly, they just don’t build them like they used to.


    1. Our back deck is also on the list of things to fix. It gets full sun every day, so there’s that consideration, but the builder just used cheap wood.

      During the housing boom, people were building houses like gangbusters, but because there wasn’t a buyer for said houses straight up, it made it easier to cut corners. Shame on them, but that’s the way it’s become for spec houses, sadly….


      1. I think if my mom had her way, we’d just demolish the back deck and put in a sunroom instead–we’d probably get more use out of it.

        Unfortunately, we don’t have the money to do that right now.


        1. I think both have their place. Ideally, when the hubby and I go house-hunting in a few years, I’d like to find a place with both a sun room and a nice back deck. That’s not asking for too much, is it?


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