Friday, July 16, 2010

Murphy's Law

........If I'm not mistaken, that would be Sod's Law, to my friends in the UK.

Of course it had to happen today! On a day when the temperature soared to within tenths of a degree of 100° F, and with the heat index exceeding 104° F, my largest window A/C unit decided like Old Lodge Skins in the movie, Little Big Man, that today is a good day to die. I have two window A/C units. Well, three actually, but the 8,000 BTU unit in my computer room hasn't worked for years. I never bothered to replace it, because it really wasn't needed. The room is very small, and there was nowhere I could sit, without it blowing freezing cold air directly on me. Besides, the 12,000 BTU unit in the great room, and the other 8,000 BTU unit in my bedroom did a proper job of keeping the entire house cool and dehumidified. A simple oscillating fan for ventilation, was all the computer room needed.

As I've been saying for some time now, and I don't blame you if you're getting tired of hearing it, this has been a very hot summer, with temperatures in the 90's most days since the beginning of June, so I've had the window units running wide open. When I got up this morning the house was a little too cool, so I turned the thermostat back on the 12,000 BTU unit. Big mistake!

Since I have it set on the energy saving mode, than meant that the fan shut off along with the compressor. An hour or two later as the sun rose higher in the sky, and the temperature began to rise, I turned the thermostat back up, and the fan and compressor cut on, but the unit began to emit strange intermittent noises.

Industrial electrical work was what I made my living at before I retired, so I knew instantly that the noises I was hearing meant that either the fan motor, or the compressor bearings were failing. Sure enough, about an hour later the fan motor locked up, and even though the compressor was still running, there was no air being drawn through the cooling coils, and blown back out into the room. It saddens me that this unit went bad. It was a Gibson, and one of the very last really good ones made. I was lucky to get it when I did, because it was the last one in the only appliance store in Richmond that sold them. Gibson window air conditioners used to have a great reputation. They were possibly the best window A/C units ever made in America. They were heavy duty, and dependably reliable. Dependably reliable.............that sounds a bit redundant, doesn't it? Oh well, suffice to say that Gibsons used to be excellent air conditioners. This one ran faithfully for more than ten years, and I had another that ran trouble free for over ten years as well. I gave that one away to a young couple that lived in the apartment below me, when I moved to my house out in the country. Compare that to some Whirlpool and Frigidaire units I've had since, that lasted no more than two or three years, and soon found a final resting place in the county dump.

When I realized that the big unit bit the dust, I began to panic. How was I ever going to survive, with just one 8,000 BTU unit in this horrid desert heat?.........Picture Melissa barefoot, dressed in the shortest of shorts, the skimpiest tank top, with hair pulled back, and sitting directly in front of a block of ice, with an oscillating fan blowing over it, while sipping on iced drinks, and wiping away the rivers of sweat dripping from her brow! How did Scarlett O'Hara ever stand those stifling Atlanta summers in her corset, bloomers, and long antebellum dresses?

I prepared for the worst. Although not totally necessary, because of the shade provided by my trees, the blinds were closed, and the few fans I have, were strategically placed to move cool air from the bedroom at the opposite end of the house, to the computer room where I like to hang out.

It actually hasn't been that bad. The high temperature in the house got up to 82° F late this afternoon, and currently it's 78° F, but with all the windows shut, the lone 8,000 BTU window unit in my bedroom, is keeping that room and my master bath nice and cool, and dehumidifying the entire house, so as long as I stay half naked, I'm pretty comfortable.

I went on line today looking for a replacement for the Gibson. So far all I have been able to find locally in an equivalent BTU rating, is another Frigidaire, but in spite of the glorious reviews I saw, I'm reluctant to try a Frigidaire ever again, because the last one I had lasted only two or three years. I have a Samsung unit still in the box, that I bought several years ago. It's very similar to the excellent Samsung model in my bedroom, except it's only 5,000 BTUs, and it doesn't have a remote control. I originally bought it for the computer room when the Whirlpool went for a shit, but when the other two units kept the house fairly cool, I decided to leave it in the box, thinking that I would either use it in an emergency like now, or just donate it to charity. So right now I am torn. Do I drive into town, and spend several hundred dollars on a new 12,000BTU unit for the great room, or do I say screw it, and just install the 5,000 BTU Samsung in the computer room, even though I know it will blow cold air on me, and I might end up having to wear a shrug, while posting my boring drivel to all of my sweet readers?

I've been listening to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Live in New York City tonight, and it's really a great CD. I have the DVD too, and both were recorded for HBO, back in 2001. Bruce is great to listen to, when your spirits need lifting. Check out this wonderful rendition of Tenth Avenue Freeze-out, followed by this moving version of Youngstown (No secret where my political feelings lie!).

Melissa XX (Hoping you are having an enjoyable warm, albeit comfortable summer!)


Jenny said...

If it's just the fan motor is there no way you can find another motor?

Caroline said...

We have been using the central heating!

Much better today but watch some British open golf to see what I have to put up with, yesterday it was so bad play was suspended!

No spare parts?

Half naked?

Caroline xxxx

Rachel said...

I'll come and be your punkawallah :-)

Rachel X

Rachel said...

... oh ... and we love "The Boss" here. Youngstown is particularly poignant. Our town mothballed its last steel plant in the last few months ...

... ending over 150 years of continuous production from a town that was built on the industry.

Rachel XX

Melissa said...

@ Rachel

You are a girl after my own heart! My grandfather was a Pennsylvania coal miner, who died in a mine cave in, to supply the steel mills in Ohio, with coal for their furnaces. I'm so sorry that both of those Youtube videos were cut short! I didn't expect that when I posted them. If you can secure yourself a copy of the DVD, you will get the whole package, and I guarantee you it will be worth the purchase price. It was one of the best Springsteen concerts ever!

Melissa XX

Anonymous said...

The Boss was always Number 1 here when I was growing up. He was as popular here - if not more - than he was on the Jersey shore.

A concert he played in a little club here called The Agora, which was broadcast live over 100.7 WMMS back in the late 70's, is still one of the most desirable bootleg Springsteen tapes out there.

The first rock concert I ever saw in my life was Springsteen, on "The River" tour. He played for 3 hours! It blew my mind.

I had tickets for The Who, but they had cancelled the show because of the infamous stampede in Cincinatti, and I exchanged them for Springsteen tickets.

Best decision I ever made in my life!


Lucy said...

I thought Gibson made only electric guitars. Well I never.

And yes, it's 'Sod's Law' in the UK!


Anonymous said...

If the fan motor has frozen up, there is a decent chance you can un-freeze it. I've done it before. Pull the guts of the unit out through the front or rear of the window box. Sometimes there is a small spring loaded cap that can be raised for more bearing oil to be dropped in. If there is no oil chute, try spraying penetrating oil, like maybe WD-40, on the ends of the bearing while manually turning the motor's shaft. However, that's the only thing you are allowed to do with that shaft young lady.

About 5 or 6 years ago I bought a Sharp 7,500BTU window unit. It has been extremely efficient and reliable so far. I have a 10,000BTU unit in the living room but I don't really care for it that much. It was cheap though...less than $200 at Sam's Club. I agree with your assessment of Frigidaire...they just don't cut it anymore.

It was a balmy 103 in Tyler today as I did my Suzi thing there. Stay cool girl...try what that dog did in the picture on my :)Suzi

Stace said...

The airco in our car decided that now, in the summer would be a good time to die... Right at the start of our vacation. Thankfully in Scotland it wasn't too bad, but in Leicester where it was hotter it was a nightmare (how did I cope as a teenager with an aging Fiesta with no creature comforts as my first car?), and through Belgium on the way home it was even worse - 30+ degrees, major humidity and no air. Ug.

Hope you get something sorted soon, when you are used to the cool, dry air it's just no fun when you get hit with a wall of heat and humidity :(