Heat…

Worked a late night last night…but I don’t have to work Sunday and have nothing critical planned.

Wow! I could sleep in today. Maybe I could make up for some of last week.

Unfortunately I woke up around 11:00am. The house was a bit warm…and worse…just WHAT was that sound?

The sound…was silence…as in, the air conditioner wasn’t running. It’s 11:00am on a Texas summer day. And the air’s not running.

That’s a bad sign.

Bleary-eyed, I stumble for the kitchen. Nobody’s dying (yet) so whatever’s going on will just have to wait till I get my glass of iced-tea.

Shortly I blink a few times whilst trying to focus on the thermostat. Sure enough, it’s already 88 degrees in the house. The thing is set to “cool” and on…so much for it being something simple.

I turn it off…and hear a subtle change in background noise that tells me the outside compressor unit WAS running. Cool (well, not really) but that one test narrows the problem to the inside unit.

I commence to pulling covers and access hatches off the inside unit. Crud. The fan motor’s shot. I can tell this because it’s hot enough to burn. That’s actually a help, as it was melting the iceburg that had siezed up the evaporator since there was no blower running even though the outside unit was.

Yeah. I’ll be able to get a motor on Sunday. Heh. Suuurrreee.

And now it’s 90 in the house.

A few twists on the squirrel cage and I guess that the motor has a bad bearing…but may actually run if it gets started.

I let it cool, lubed up the bearings (won’t hold, they’re sealed…it’s just plain shot), and got it started. This involved sticking my fingers in a delightfully efficient finger-removing tool and push starting it, but I’ve done this sort of thing before. A quick count…fingers/toes/such…yep. I can still count to 21. Success!

I’ll leave it in the “on” position for the fan…it’s the re-starting that is the most strain on motors. The compressor part will still cycle with the temp demands…though there’s no chance at all it will shut off today anyway. In hot zones, the air conditioners are sized to just barely handle the load…that saves energy, and makes the home more comfortable as it keeps the humidity down better. If you cool it off too fast, you don’t get the time to pull the water out of the air and it feels clammy.

The problem is if you start with a hot building…you can’t catch up.

The new, most efficient units are two-speed…they can ramp up to cool off a hot house, then throttle back for the last couple degrees and spend time pulling the humidity down.

Can’t afford a new unit right now…it’ll cost in excess of $7000 for a high-efficiency one, properly installed. We’ve been putting it off. Gad.

I can replace the fan motor…probably for about $75…but can’t get one on Sunday.

I was hoping that with any luck it’ll run through the night.

Yeah right.

A few minutes ago, it died. Rather spectacularly…with huge electrical “Zort” noises and large blue flames, the motor completely melted down.

Drats. Gonna be a long night.

Think I’ll head out to the HomeOwner Hell and pick up a window unit.

[later]

Put a window unit in the bedroom. It’s keeping that room and the living room habitable. 10,000 btu’s…about 1/3 of what the whole house needs, but for a couple days it’ll be fine.

$250 or so. Blah.

Pulled the main unit down…took a while, but I got to the offending fan motor and have it out. Can’t get one today, hopefully I’ll find one tomorrow. In the mean time, cleaned out the condenser and other passages. Really need a new unit, but this one’ll have to finish out the season. It’s a major investment…and this was a cruddy one to begin with (came with the house…)

CUAgain,
Daniel Meyer

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