Friday, September 06, 2019

First, the good news

I haven't been posting much lately because I've been overwhelmed by events, which I will try to get down here today. But, because I love the joke about the kid who finds a pile of manure and begins happily digging because, "there must be a pony in here somewhere," I will lead with the pony.

My air conditioner doesn't need to be replaced! At least not now. About a month ago, the big, through-the-wall unit in the living room started rebelling. It cools fine, but when I shut it off, it kept running. The fan just kept murmuring. I had to unplug the unit.

Yesterday, the HVAC guy came by to look at it. Of course, it worked like a charm when he was here! But after poking around in there, he discovered that the digital thermostat was stuck. He jiggled something and talked to a parts distributor on the phone and then explained it all to me. I almost understood it. Here goes:

Moisture can cause mess with the control board and cause the thermostat to stick. What he did yesterday may have fixed it. It may not have fixed it. Usually he guarantees his work, but he didn't yesterday because he can't be sure without removing the "main board." And you should only remove the "main board" when you replace it.

But here's the thing. Even if the thermostat sticks again, and the fan continues to run after I shut it off ... so what? Obviously it's indicative that something is wrong with the "main board," but it could still operate that way, effectively if not efficiently, for months.

And if I decide to replace the "main board" -- which he kinda sorta recommends but not enthusiastically -- it will only $225 to order and install. A new unit would cost about $700. HVAC guy isn't sure it's worth $225 to get another summer out of it, and then have to buy another one in 2021 anyway.

So the final takeaway is that I don't have to do anything right now, and when it comes to doing nothing, I'm your girl! Plus I only had to spend $68 to get to where I am. I consider that a win.


  1. How old is this air conditioner? How many BTUs?

    Wasn't the immediate problem noisy operation? How does a printed circuit board or digital thermostat make noise?

    I was betting compressor to win with squirrel cage (fan blades) to place and squirrel cage motor to show. Mechanical parts.

    So. A sleeve unit A/C. First consideration is size. Seven hundred bucks is in the ballpark. Plus installation.

    The curious thing is that he mentioned moisture. Uh huh. That is why sleeve and window air conditioners must have a very slight angle. So the condensation can drip to the ground outside. It is a wet environment in there!

    Let's say the air conditioner is doing its job of air conditioning and suddenly the squirrel cage decides to stay running. Can you unplug the air conditioner?

    And I am not certain but does the squirrel cage continue to run for a bit after the thermostat cuts off the condenser to prevent icing up? Try to determine a pattern to the operation.

    I spoke with the electrician today. I get the impression he believes electricity is magic and very dangerous. If it wasn't illegal I would dig my own hole and bring the new underground wires into my basement myself.

    Got my fingers crossed for you!

    1. The problem is, I *had been* unable to turn it off. (It was working fine when the repair guy was here.) I would hit "off," the cooling mechanism would turn off, all the lights would go off, and the fan would continue to whir. So I would have to unplug the unit to get it off. Obviously, something was wrong: the thermostat being stuck and not speaking clearly to the fan.

      Though the HVAC guy doesn't think it's THAT big a problem. If it starts happening again, I can just wait until the room is cool enough and unplug it. He does admit, though, that the circuitry is going a little hinky.

      The moisture issue is not only the angle of the sleeve, but a problem with tuckpointing in the area between the sleeve and the window. I don't own the building, so there's only so much I can about that.

      The unit is six years old. It should live to be 10. He thinks that getting one of those new boards will extend its life, but he can't be sure.

      Next spring, these units will be on sale again. So right now I'm doing nothing. We should only have a couple more really hot days in 2019, and then in spring, we'll see how the old girl is operating.

      But thanks for your interest. It's nice to have someone in my corner!

  2. Wow! I can appreciate this! Congrats!