Monday, August 4, 2008

Texas Heat

OK, most of you won't care about this - but you might get a chuckle or two. At any rate, it will make you appreciate what you have. And it has absolutely NOTHING to do with rulebased systems; just Texas and heat!

Recap Part 1: [Don't bother reading if you already know about it] At about 1:30 a.m. last Friday morning we had a lightening storm (some rain) move through the DFW area, mostly in the Fort Worth area. Lightening hit a transformer, took it out as well as our 33-year-old air conditioner. The blower motor burned and took out the control circuitry with it. I called the Home Warranty service at 6:00 a.m. to be first on the list. The repairman (all air conditioner contractors are working from sun up to sun down these days) arrived at 6:00 p.m. because he had been handling all of the left overs from the past few days. On Saturday morning he tried to find parts but, since it was an old Square-D unit that went out of business years and years ago, no luck. So, with the temperature at 107F/41C for Saturday and Sunday (only 106F/40C today) we hunkered down to "sweat it out." Jimmy (our son) was fortunate enough to have friend who would let him crash on his couch during the night.

Recap Part 2: On Sunday afternoon, my next door neighbor (Jim Welch) was kind enough to find a friend who loaned us his 5K-BTU (small) window A/C unit that we put in the only west-facing window in the house, the one in the master bedroom. This cooled that room down but it's only big enough for one room - maybe two small rooms. But, it really was a blessing. On Sunday night we opened the door to the hall from the MBR (shut all of the other doors) and and put a fan on the floor blowing "some" cool air into Jimmy's BR where I slept last night. Not really as cold as I like it but it was bearable. Today we shut that bedroom door and I'm blowing the air into the office so that it's in the high 70's and low 80's in here now. The rest of the house is not cooled yet but the temperature outside was only 77F/25C so we opened up some windows to cool down the rest of the house until about 9:00 when the temperature had gotten up to 97F/36C so we're now in official shutdown.

Update Part 1: Why not buy another room air conditioner???? Went out Sunday to find one. Conn's had one but no warranty from the store. It had to be returned to the store (in original packing and condition) for store credit or another unit within 24 hours. After that, you're hosed. Went to four other places but all of them were sold out of the 8K and 10K BTU units that we needed except for one store, Target. (Never would have guessed that one, would you?) Bought that puppy and brought it home. Have not installed it yet since we're waiting to see if the central unit can be fixed on Monday.

Update Part 2: This morning (Monday) the Home Warranty people called at 8:00 a.m. and said that after talking with the technician at TKO (the contractor) and because of the catastrophic nature of the damage and the age of the equipment, that the policy covered a 16 SEER rating replacement but we would have to pay the $275 to cart everything off the premises. They said to call the contractor (who didn't know what was happening) and let them know that we had talked with the Home Warranty people. Called TKO and they didn't know anything. Called the technician himself and he said that he was authorized to replace the inside unit only and that they were authorized to put a "hard start" on the outdoor unit (which they said wouldn't last long) and replace only the inside unit. (Sounds fishy, huh?)

Update Part 3: So, until this afternoon, we're still waiting on the 2nd call from the Home warranty people to confirm that it includes the outdoor unit as well. Truly, that would be a blessing from The Almighty since our outdoor unit is probably an 8 or 9 SEER.

How did we live when we were growing up in this area without an air conditioner? Simple, we had 12' ceilings, huge windows, big front porch, steep roof lines and attic fans. From 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. we did very little except fan ourselves and drink really sweet ice tea. AND, we didn't know any better. Remember, you never wanted a color TV until you saw the one that your neighbor had. Like the depression, everyone was miserable so that was our lot in life and we lived with it. Soldiers in Nam lived in 110F/43C heat with 100% humidity and went on patrols with 80 pounds of field gear. In Iraq and Afghanistan the troops go on patrol in 120F/49C heat (no humidity though) heat and they have full field packs, steel helmet and body armor. And they bear it because everyone else has to bear it.

Anyway, that's the news from North Texas (which is about 10 degrees hotter than South Texas) where the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are all above average - just like in Lake Woebegone.


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