The Day the Air Conditioner Died
|The Day the Air Conditioner Died|
Editorial Note: I took a few weeks off to enjoy the last stages of summer, as well as summer vacation. Labor Day is around the corner, and it's time for everyone to get off of their summer schedules and get ready to go back to school. So, I did it. It's my fault. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few ... or the one."- Spock, Star Trek II, Wrath of Kahn. (Not to be confused with "Doctor Detroit II: The Wrath of Mom"). In this case, I am the one ... my family is the many ... and I had to think of their needs of getting out of town (and having fun) instead of my need of working on this blog. Let's face it! The blog is a year old now, and I have a certain amount of world-wide regulars who read it. But, now that the vacation is over and it's time to get back to work putting a few of these blog entries together.
"It was one of those nights when you turn out the lights, and everything comes into view." -- Bon Scott, AC/DC
I am sitting in my favorite armchair, in the basement, with a pair of headphones plugged into my stereo, which looked like they belonged in the 1970's. They were the kind of headphones which actually cover your ears. This is unlike the earbuds that my kids wear today, which I am sure are making them go deaf faster than wearing old-school headphones like mine. Well, that argument is for another day, let's go on with the story.
The band I am listening to is AC/DC. One of those old-school heavy metal bands with a grinding rhythm, excessive lead guitar, and piercing vocals which can spread through steel and scare any parent in ten seconds or less.
As I am listening to the music echoing the digital ones and zeros from the CD player (for those of you who missed the nineties, a CD, or compact disc, was the preferred way of playing music before people re-discovered records) my Wife walks into my field of vision ... and she is not happy.
For those of you who are married, also for those of you who are not, the old adage goes, "Happy Wife, Happy Life." So, when your spouse looks at you like she wants to strangle you, the best thing to do is to put the CD player on pause, take off the headphones and ask the question, "Yes dear?"
She asks the question, "Did you notice something strange going on in the house?"
The first thoughts that go through my mind are,"Oh s&*t! It's a trap!". Anytime someone starts with an open-ended question, especially one that starts with "Did you notice ..." only means that you did NOT notice it and you're about to get hooked into something!
I make the next move, which is to act stupid.
I Reply, "No dear. I haven't really noticed anything. What's going on?"
The ball is back in her court. Maybe I can get some additional details on what I was supposed to notice, but didn't, as I have been sitting in my armchair listening to music.
She shoots back, "Didn't you notice the temperature is getting hotter in here?"
I reply, "No. We're in the basement. This is the coolest room in the house. So, if the room is getting ..."
She cuts me off and replies, "Listen to what I am telling you! While you are down here listening to AC/DC on the CD ... there is actually something going on with the AC."
Now, There are two very different replies that I could provide. One was to be a smart-ass and give a response reminiscent of Al Bundy from the old television show, "Married with Children." Or the other reply, which is the one that I gave, which was, "Hmmm. That's interesting. I'll take a look into it."
The wife smiles and leaves the room. I put the headphones on top of the CD player, turn off the CD player, and head to the middle level. In most townhomes, the middle level is where the thermostat is located. The thermostat is good for two things: 1) telling you the current temperature of the house, and 2) telling you the temperature your Air Conditioner is set at. Current house temperature is at eighty-five degrees. Temperature the air conditioner is set at fifty! It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the unit is broke! I yelled for the kids and the wife to join me in the middle level so we can talk about these findings.
My wife says, "What's the status?"
I reply, "It's broke."
"The air conditioner."
"Which part is broke: the temperature gauge or the AC unit?"
"I am going fo the AC unit out back."
"You don't know?"
"I'm pretty sure that the AC is broke?"
I point to the thermostat and show the differences in temperatures.
My wife smiles, but I notice a subtle undertone of, "So you think I am a dumbass" as she says the next couple of words, "Is it that the air conditioner isn't pushing out as much cold air as it has been or is it completely broke?"
"Does it matter? "
She sees a step ladder in the kitchen, which is about four feet away from the thermostat. On her way to the ladder, she opens the "junk drawer," which does not contain junk, but a bunch of stuff that doesn't make sense to put anywhere else. She opens the drawer and pulls out some tape and a ribbion. She gets the ladder from the kitchen, then sets it up under one of the vents in th celing. She tapes the ribbion on the vent, then returns the ladder to the kitchen. As the AC unit turns on, the ribbion starts to move from the air pushed through the vent.
She looks at me and says, "So, let's be clear. It is not that the unit is broken, but it can no longer push through enough cold air throughout the house to keep us comfortable."
I reply, "It's an old unit. It can't keep up with the 24/7 demand that we're putting on it."
My wife shakes her head.
I reply, "Am I wrong?
My wife says, "Let's go down to the basement. You kids come down as well as you might learn something."
All of us go down to the basement and open two slatted doors, showing the air conditioner.
She points to one of the pipes leaving the air conditioner.
She asks, "What's this?"
I reply, "The air conditioner."
The kids laugh. My wife stares at them the same way she stared at me a few minutes earlier. They stop laughing.
My wife shakes her head and says, "Just touch the pipe."
I touch the pipe, and it is freezing cold.
She heads to the tool chest, takes out a Phillips screwdriver, releases a couple of screws, and a steel cover hits the floor.
Inside of the exposed panel was the problem with the air conditioner: the cooling coil is frozen solid.
I say, "Damn. You're like a regular Sherlock Holmes with the air conditioner."
She was not impressed.
Pointing to the air conditioner, she says, "Ok. what are you going to do about it?"
I reply, "Call the AC repair person and understand why this is frozen."
"Yes. Where will we be?"
"At your Mother's until this is done."
My wife looks at me and replies, "Are you sure that you don't want to stay here? Afterall, the basement is the coldest room in the house.
I reply, "Heck with that! It won't be cold for long if there is no AC!"
Stay tuned for the next blog entry to continue the story ...
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Until next time ...