Thursday, May 20, 2010
Fear, Frustration, and a Need for Cold Air
The weather's been heating up around here, but we never turn on the air conditioner without having it checked first. Several years ago I was horribly sick with chronic hives, swollen joints, disfigured face, constant upper respiratory infections. I had days I couldn't walk, other days I couldn't grip anything. Four specialists, multiple prescriptions, allergy testing, ER visits, having to carry an Epi-pen, wiped out savings from all the medical bills... and no one could figure out what was wrong.
And then we had a seasonal check-up of our air conditioner.
We'd never done it before, and it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Turned out to be the best decision. We had a freon leak. A massive one. (We got a second opinion, which confirmed it.) We put in a new system, and my symptoms started to dissipate shortly after.
Last week during our annual AC check-up, another leak was discovered. Fear gripped me, and I almost started crying right there in front of the AC guy. I immediately called Steven at work and freaked out on him. The thought of being so sick again had me panicked, and my husband promised me that he wouldn't let it happen again.
Things got complicated. R-22 is being phased out due to global warming, so new systems no longer use it. Our AC guy was telling us that we'd have to replace the entire system, not just the air handler where the leak was located. Things went downhill from there because part of his whole-system hard sell was to tell us what garbage our old system is. Repeatedly.
We looked for a new company.
We started calling around for estimates and ran into some issues with companies not calling back. Meanwhile, the house was getting hotter and hotter, and poor Steven was coming home to a cranky, lethargic wife every night. So many days of that was becoming unbearable, especially as I was stuck at home waiting for promised phone calls that never came.
We came to an agreement with a company who said they could put in a new air handler with a universal coil, which means it can support R-22 and the newer R-410. This means we can wait to replace our outdoor unit, which saves us money. Air conditioners are expensive, after all.
I waited all afternoon for them. They called to say they were running late. They called again to say they were running even later. They finally showed up around 8pm. And were missing a part. My sweet husband, who saw that I was at my breaking point, told them he expected to see them first thing in the morning.
They did show up first thing--we were still in bed. Steven threw on clothes to answer the door. Doogie was throwing up in the entryway just as Steven was opening the door. That distracted Steven enough for Calvin to sneak past him and escape to the great outdoors. Doogie ran and hid under the couch because strangers are scary, and Steven had to fish Calvin out of the bushes in the back yard. Calvin had feathers stuck to his paw, and I'm desperately hoping he just found feathers on the ground and didn't attack a bird. Not a good start to the day.
But by noon, we had cold air again. And no freon leaking into the house. Totally worth the hassle. But I fear May 2010 is rivaling May 2009.