Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Adventures in Air Conditioning...

Friday was a very eventful day in our household, some good, some not so good, and some downright alarming!

I'll start off with the good. We got our central air/central heating unit replaced, and it only took one day, and while it came with its own horrors, it was a definite Good Thing.

The horrors?

Well, first off, when they pulled out the coil? Okay, one thing you should know about an air conditioning system is the coil should be kept clean. It should be flushed out and cleaned twice a year at the very least, monthly if you want to be particular. I knew this. When we had window units, this was something we did regularly because it kept them running efficiently.

With the central whole house unit, though, that's a bit trickier, and with the unit we had, it was pretty much impossible.

And it wouldn't have mattered, because apparently no one ever cleaned the damned thing! There was an inch and a half mat of... hair. And dust. And dirt. And other things it doesn't bear thinking about. The A/C guys figure that thing hasn't been cleaned since 2003, the last time it was fully serviced. We couldn't have cleaned it anyway, because it was inaccessible. What really chaps my hide? When the fan motor burned out in 2010, and the capacitor burned out last summer, one of the first things they should have done was check the coil and clean it. Because... a dirty coil will freeze over and cause the fan to work harder and eventually burn the motor out, or burn the capacitor out.

They never looked at the coil. Just asked us if we used filters regularly, and when we said yes, said, "Okay, you're good." And that was that.


Okay... so, the next thing? When they opened the intake register? There was carpet on the floor inside the intake chamber. And... it was full of dirt and MOLDY. They rolled it into a plastic bag and carried it quickly out of the house and disposed of it, then cleaned the chamber out thoroughly, even asking if I had bleach, because they hadn't expected to have to swab the chamber out. And then spent time drying it thoroughly.

No wonder I kept getting pneumonia!! No wonder the kids kept getting upper respiratory infections. No wonder the Husbandly One kept getting sinus infections!! No wonder the Impossible Son was almost constantly congested!! It makes me want to bang my head into a wall!!

Okay, so they cleaned everything, replaced it all, sealed it all, and put a ceiling in the closet where the unit is housed... no, there was no ceiling in the closet. It was open to the attic and that was a problem, too! Anyhow, there's new ductwork up there, everything's been taped and sealed, and then they turned the A/C on (because it was a warm day and the house was stuffy).

Normally, it takes about half an hour to cool the house off after turning the A/C on.

In ten minutes, I was shivering!!

I was sitting at the kitchen table, defragging the laptop and doing other maintenance on it, and nearly jumped when papers on the table started... fluttering. And I blinked when I realized I could feel air moving against my face. Mr. A/C Guy comes in and says, "How's that?"

I said, "What's that breeze? Do you still have the front door open?"

He grinned at me. "Nope. That's coming from the overhead vent."

Y'all... we've never been able to feel the air coming from the vents. Well, not from a distance. We'd have to hold our hands up to the vents to tell it was working.

Right about that moment, the wind chime I have hanging from the kitchen vent started softly chiming. It's never done that before!!

Totally AWESOME!!

And when they got the heat set up? WONDERFUL!! It's a sealed system, so no more checking obsessively to make sure the pilot light is still lit, and worrying that it's gone out every time the wind starts blowing outside. SO AWESOME!!

And the house is actually warm!! I no longer go around bundled up in the house like a little Eskimo, as THO puts it.

Totally full of WIN!!

Yes, those idiots at Mr. Blow Hard's company really screwed us. Oh, yeah, when they replaced the fan motor? They put in a super-charged fan motor, so it would work with the crappy, dirty coil and not burn out. Not only that, but they replaced the 30 amp circuit with a 40 amp without telling us so the fan would work and not overload the circuit.

Yeah, that has to be replaced. Yay.

*grumble grumble grumble*

Put all of that together and it explains why our power bills were so damn high!


The Impertinent One had a game Friday night, and right about the time that Mr. A/C Guy was putting the finishing touches on our system, I got a text from her. Their game, which had been scheduled for 6 pm, had been moved to 5 pm. Which meant scrambling to get food into them before game time.

Except they didn't. They pretty much had them practicing until fifteen minutes before the game, and then they had to change out and set up, and nowhere in there was there time for the junior varsity team to eat, or even text their folks to ask for so much as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So basically, they hadn't eaten since lunch.

Oh, and did I mention it was cold and rainy by that point?

Not that cold and rainy is a problem, but on an empty stomach, it is.

To say that they didn't play well would be a major understatement. We had a lot of injuries in that game, including the Impertinent Daughter.


I was answering a parent's questions, trying to keep an eye on the Impossible Son (who was living up to his name, believe me), and on the field, but I missed Miss Impertinent taking a ball to the face straight off her opponent's knee. By the time I was focused on the field again, she was on the bench. And she stayed on the bench through the rest of the first half, and part of the second half until one of the coaches noticed her face was swelling, so they sent her to the trainer, who slapped ice on it.

Her eye was swollen shut, apparently.

The Tall Blonde noticed that the Impertinent One was sitting on the trainer's cart, and after looking through the zoom lens of her camera, determined she had an ice bag held to her face. Then we heard that she had a headache, and that was all I knew until the end of the game when I was finally able to make my way to the team's bench, just in time to hear the trainer assessing her for a concussion.


So... I got her home, did my own assessment, and decided to keep her home and resting until Monday, when I could get her in to see the family doctor. She had a headache, but it wasn't severe. Her face was swollen where she'd been hit by the ball, but had improved by the time we got home, and she was fairly steady on her feet. By Sunday, though, she couldn't walk a straight line if her life depended on it. And she was sleepy. We kept an eye on her, and I got her in to see the doctor first thing on Monday.

The physician's assistant did her assessment and said, "CT scan time!" The verdict? A mild concussion, so she's benched by the doctor until the 10th, and benched by the district's concussion protocol until the 17th, provided she passes the trainer's assessment.

I'm glad of this, because when I was in high school sports, their concussion protocol consisted of, "Can you still see? Can you still stand up? Okay, rub some dirt on it and GET BACK IN THE GAME!!"

In other words, unless you were bleeding out your eyeballs and nose, you were fine to play, especially if you were one of the better players.

I'm glad this is no longer true!

Still, the coach looked like she was sucking on a lemon someone had found in the garbage when we let her know. Oh, well, my priority is my kid, not the coach's happiness.

So, new CA/CH unit - YAY!!

Mild concussion - BOO!!

And there you go!

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