Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's Bloody Hot in Here

A typical home air conditioning unit.Image via WikipediaIt has been fairly miserable here in our home the last few days.  We have been without air conditioning since Wednesday morning.  If you have ever been in the DC area in August, you would understand why Congress goes on recess for the entire month of August.  The heat and humidity here can be unbearable in August.

The genesis of our air conditioning issues actually goes back a little more than a week ago.  I got home from work on Thursday night and noticed the temperature of the house as I walked in the door was a little warmer than usual.  I put my hand against the air vent and did not feel any cold air coming out.  I went down to the basement  and found that one of the coolant lines that connects to the inside unit was icing up.  Thankfully, that night it was fairly mild with low humidity so we were not uncomfortable.

Fortunately, we have BGE Home's Smart Service Contract which gives us priority for scheduling and covers a lot of labor and some parts.  They were able to get a technician to come out the next day.  He said our unit was low on refrigerant and added it to the outside unit.  He did not check to see if we had any leaks in the system.  I guess this is routine when the system is a little more than eight years old like our is.

After the technician left, everything seemed to be working fine.  That is, until Wednesday morning.  As I was in the laundry room getting clothes for the day, I heard the inside unit running, but it didn't sound right.  Sure enough, I looked down and noticed ice on both of the coolant lines.  Another call to BGE Home.  They sent a technician out the same day.  This one checked for leaks and the diagnosis is that we needed a new coil for the system; nearly $800.

We were told that they would have to order the part.  Unlike our first day without air conditioning, the past few days have been particularly hot and muggy.  We have had window fans in all of the windows to try to create a breeze and keep the temps reasonable, but couple the heat with the constant threat of thunderstorms each day has required us to occasionally close the windows to keep the rain out.  There have been a couple days where the temps have risen above 80 degrees in the house.

The lack of air conditioning has been particularly hard on the wife since she does not work and is home all day.  She has said that I have been lucky because I have not had to deal with the problem in the same way that she has.  I certainly understand her frustration, and I would be miserable as well if I had been home during the hottest parts of the day.  However, I am not quite sure that I fully agree with her assessment that I have been "lucky."

The first night that we were without air conditioning was Wednesday night.  It was pretty uncomfortable when I got home from work.  That night was the night I had my second sleep study, so while my wife and son were home with no air conditioning, I was in a hospital bed.  Granted I had a cool room, but not exactly what I call "lucky." 

Her other argument that I was "lucky" is that I got to go to work in an air conditioned office.  Then last night, I had to go to my part time pizza delivery job.  By the time I got home, after a couple of waves of thunderstorms rolled through, the outside temperature had dropped to around 65 degrees.  It was cooler outside than inside the house, but part of the problem was exacerbated by my wife using the oven.  Still, I did miss the worst of the heat within the house.

The technician was supposed to come out with the new coil today to repair the unit.  I got a call from him this morning informing me that they had sent him the wrong coil, so it could not be fixed this today.  He is going to come out later to add refrigerant so we can have air conditioning while we wait for them to get the correct part.  We are going to try for a Monday morning repair if they can get here fairly early before we head to the beach.  Otherwise we may have to wait until we get back later in the week.
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  1. I can understand how you must feel without the AC during the hot and humid month..Over here in the middle east we experience the harsh climatic condition every summer ( for almost 3 months).Even the water that comes out of the tap is boiling..

  2. it is probably pretty bad here for about two months but we do get an occasional relief for a few days. I can't imagine living with it constantly. of course when it gets to be bone chilling cold in December, I will be complaining about it :)



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