Monday, August 6, 2012

...and then the AC went out....


Welcome to Dallas, TX.  Gorgeous weather 9 months out of the year, and high range convection oven for 10-12 weeks.

Livable? SURE! Thanks to a BRILLIANT invention by Willis Carrier (oddly enough, from Buffalo, NY... Im really glad he could cool off in the 71-degree heat... ... ...)

But with all that being said, the word "livable" in Dallas, TX completely relies to one staying in AC for as long as physically possible... Running from a cooled house to a car (blasting the AC), running into a store pumping fresh/free AC, hiding in a movie theatre under the cool, dark cape of frozen air, etc.

So you guess how scary it was when a couple days ago, our home AC unit started making a clicking sound (like a stick was in it).  Chris went to check it out as a manly-man does, thought it was something to do with the "belt", and called the next morning to have the AC guys come check it out even though it was still blowing cold.  "Better safe than sorry right?"... yes.

About an hour before they show up, it starts getting a bit warm in my office.  Like warm-warm.  I mentally start to panic but started to feel a little better when the crew finally showed up and Chris escorted them to the back yard AC unit.

Surely he will remove whatever "stick" was in the AC unit or just replace a belt... whats the most it can cost? $250-$300 on the high-end? I mean seriously, they were just out here to give it a tune up.

When Chris came back in wearing the biggest frownie face I have ever seen him show, curse words instantly started flowing through my head.

"It needs to be replaced.  The whole thing"


We then sat down with the head AC guy who walked us through our options:
1. Replace the outside unit (no getting around it unless we want to die a slow miserable death in the Texas heat)... Cost $3,400... ... ... as in dollars....
2. Replace the outside unit AND the old inside unit (which pumps air throughout our house)... its also 13 years old (usually is supposed to last 8-10yrs)... Price tag together - $6,700
3. Just replace the outside unit and keep the inside unit... but once the inside unit goes, its going to be $6,500 to have them come out again and start a new job.... which with the $3,400 we are going to have to spend right now on JUST the outside unit, would total $9,900 after all is said and done... as in almost TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS

... I seriously contemplated the logistics moving the bedroom into the kitchen and living with the freezer door open... how much longer can 100-degree days last?... ... ... oh another 9 weeks? yea, never mind...

We decided to go with option 2 and were able to get 24 months interest free financing, but still... knowing we are on the hook for $7,400 (oh yes, thats WITH taxes and fees) it really put a damper on our kitchen plans that we were going to "hopefully" start on this winter.

So instead of a new kitchen, we have this:
I know its not much, but please "ohh" and "ahh" over it...

 Oh, and this....
Chris is giving a thumbs up because after 1.5 days with no AC, you get delirious and don't care HOW much something costs... you just want cold air...

Sadly, its just one of those things you have to deal with as a home owner... no real getting around it.  On a positive note (yes, there is one) having a brand new AC system will look pretty good to potential buyers when we decide to sell... ... ... New Roof - 2011... New AC w/10 year transferable warranty - 2012... (we also hope to add New Kitchen (2013), remodeled baths (2013) and new hardwood floors throughout (2014?)... oh fingers crossed)

So to all family, friends, random people who come over, PLEASE comment on how much you love our cold air... something like "Wow, this feels like $10,000 air! Wait, you only paid $7,400??? AMAZING! Steal of a lifetime!"... ... ... Chris and I really appreciate your lies, seriously.  Thank you.

So until the AC unit is paid off, kitchen is on the back burner for now (Chris and I have a strict "we-dont-start-a-project-until-we-can-100%-pay-for-it" policy).  I was raised on the idea that you live within your means and only buy something when you have saved up and can pay for it outright.  I know hard work and saving will be tough, but being debt-free in the long run is worth it. If you really want something, work hard to get it. (Thanks mom!)

Any body else had unforeseen little glitches interrupt their makeover plans? I would LOVE to hear your stories... It would really make Chris and I feel better knowing we arent alone...



  1. I'm SOOO sorry this happened! My dad is working in Dallas for now and said it has been in the 100s. So glad you got it fixed!

  2. That sucks hun but in these 100+ days AC is a MUST. The AC here went out and the compressor had to be replaced, luckly it hadn't gotten very hot yet. We rent because we are military so I kind of felt bad for our landlord. His whole unit will need replacing soon too, hopefully not while we are here though.


  3. I feel you!! I'm in Houston and our upstairs a/c went out a couple of weeks ago. Luckily it was something small, but we went through the costs of replacing (yikes), and we will probably be doing that in the next year. I think both are 11 years old.

  4. I live in NW Fort Worth so I feel your pain. Luckily, we are still renting so I can just call Century 21 and have them fix it! Last summer we went 2 days without air and everyone in my house was delirious and that includes 2 humans and 2 dogs. YAY FOR COLD AIR!

  5. Well hey, the bright side of it is that maybe the same thing that happened to me will happen to you guys! Our dishwasher had some kind of leak that wasn't visible...water was underneath the cabinets and floor and we had drywall damage. Insurance covered the majority of the full kitchen remodel. For a brand new kitchen we were only out of pocket about $1,000!

    1. WOW!!! Thats amazing! I dont think we will get THAT lucky but thats still an awesome story!!! Maybe Chris and I will have drywall damage someday... sigh... someday...

  6. Samm - I so agree. Thank you to the inventor of the air conditioner, because otherwise we couldn't live in this great state. I live in Denton County and in Dallas County before that. Must have air. Now you have longer to dream and plan your kitchen. My mom used to say "life happens when you are making other plans". This saying is often our motto when things break. Glad you are looking on the bright side. Stay cool.

  7. Check your home owners insurance to see if it covers your AC.

    Mike B.

  8. We had to do the same thing a few years ago. I had a newborn baby, just months old, and we were living with window units borrowed from my aunt until we could get the money. Luckily it came through and we replaced both inside and out. Ours was so old the old guy at the HVAC company didn't recognize the name. Yeah. Old! We added new vents to our upstairs (formally just an attic we remodeled into a room), so now we can breathe at night and sleep too! Enjoy the new AC.

  9. Oh my goodness - I feel your pain! You made the best choice. These high temps in Texas are nothing to play with. I live in Dallas near downtown. When the power winked out about a week ago I burst into tears. Thankfully the power cycled back up in about five minutes but I was close to hysterical for a minute there. In those few minutes I would have given my first born son for a blast of cold air. :) It's brutal.

  10. Samm - I live in Houston and after my story I hope you'll give your new AC (and your checkbook) a big fat kiss... About three years ago we needed our foundation fixed. The guys came out, tore up our yard, tunneled under our house, and started placing piers. Then they realized that guess what? All the super old iron pipe under our house was totally rusted through - so we had to have a plumber come and replace ALL of the plumbing under our house. A couple of weeks later, the AC crapped out and we had to get a new one inside and out. A couple of weeks later? One of our garage doors literally rotted and fell off and the opener (on the other door naturally) completely broke - so we replaced all of the doors and their openers. Lastly? Our fence fell over. As in literally. The posts had rotted. So we replaced our entire fence (and we live on a huge corner lot). Total cost? $87,000 that we had to add to our nearly paid-off mortgage. No joke. This year we've replaced the washer, dryer, dishwasher, and water heater. Craziness! I'll never buy another pre-lived-in house again!

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