The Week the A/C Died

I had one unbreakable condition for moving to Boise. One. We had to live in a house with air conditioning. It wasn’t even a hard requirement to meet because most of the homes here have it. Pregnant or not, there was no way this girl – born and raised in the rain and coolness of Western Washington all her life – was going to spend even a single day of an Idaho summer without A/C. So we bought a house that had it.

Until it died.

The first time it died was in July, coincidentally the first day that it hit 100 degrees. Our real estate agent had given us one year with a home warranty company when we bought the house, and we still had a week or so left with them. So I called them up, paid my sixty bucks and we had a workman out two days later. In the meantime, we opened all the windows at night and bought big box fans to put in them.

The worker found that our A/C unit was out of freon (Zach informs me that it is not, in fact, freon, but rather some other refrigerant and using “freon” is equivalent to using “Kleenex” to refer to all tissues. Don’t care. Freon is easier to type so that’s what I’m going with) so we spent an additional $120 to refill one pound of freon. He also shot some silicone in the condenser thingy-mabob to attempt to fix the leak. Like fixing a bike tire, he said.

That “fix” lasted about two weeks.

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Playing at the pool, trying to keep cool

A little over a week ago, on a Saturday afternoon, I noticed the house didn’t seem to be as cool as it should be. Sure enough, the air coming from the vents was “room temperature” at best. As the day got hotter, the air blowing in got warmer as well. We shut off the A/C and Sunday morning I called our home warranty people again. Technically, our coverage with them had expired, but since the original claim with the A/C had started during our year-long contract, we were still covered.

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Dinah and I hanging out poolside

The earliest we were able to get a contractor out to look at the A/C unit was Tuesday. Every day that week was forecast as being 100 degrees. We slept with all our windows open and the fans running, but we were still lucky to get it down to 75 degrees in the house at night. Meanwhile, I was faced with the Dinah Conundrum. If I swaddled her, she was too hot and I worried about her overheating. If I didn’t swaddle her, she would wake very frequently, sometimes unable to stay asleep at all. I could keep her asleep unswaddled if I coslept with her right next to me, meaning I (already hot) was sleeping with a ten pound bundle of heat in my arms all night. Needless to say, not much sleep was getting had and I was hot and cranky.

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These zipper swaddles were a life-saver, because they are thin and lightweight, and allow me to let her legs hang out to keep cooler while still having her arms swaddled. This particular one has air vents on the chest as well. 

When the repair guy came out on Tuesday he tried a few things and then declared that our A/C condenser unit was completely dead. On top of that, it was an old R22 model that had all been phased out and replaced with 410A models. Which meant that when they replaced the unit – which our home warranty would cover – they would also have to replace the evap coil in the house in order to be compatible with the new unit – which the warranty would NOT cover. The warranty would also only cover the labor for one worker, and replacing the evap coil would apparently be a two-man job. After telling us all this, he rubbed salt in my wounds by informing me it would most likely be at least a week, maybe up to two weeks, before they could get all the parts and get someone out to install it all.

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Blurry photo because the swing is rocking her to sleep in front of a fan. 

I must have had some really good karma stored up, because (after several cranky phone calls with our warranty company), the A/C contractor called me to tell me they had the needed parts and could make it out on Friday. Of that same week. We spent Wednesday night and all day Thursday at a relative’s house to stay cool, then an overheated night at home Thursday so we could be there when the workers arrived at 8am on Friday.

It reached 110 degrees on Friday. For reference: the all-time record for hottest day in Boise ever is 111 degrees. They had our new unit up and running by lunchtime and, while it was playing catch up and fighting against the hottest possible day, it kept our house a good 20 degrees cooler than it otherwise would have been. We’ve had blessedly cool nights of sleep ever since and the contractor informed us this unit comes with a ten year warranty and hopefully should last us a good twenty years. Here’s hoping!

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A much happier, well-rested baby.

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