What a crazy, chaotic, mess of a weekend. I am glad it is over, but it seems it was just the beginning of more home improvements and repairs. All unplanned, unwanted and kind of stunning.
The family was out with Hubby’s side of the family on Saturday to celebrate Hubby’s birthday. We are only gone for a few hours because we had a couple of errands we needed to run in the afternoon. We made a quick stop at the house to drop some things off and then head back out. I noticed when we walked in that it smelled a bit musty, but didn’t think a thing about it really.
We go, get our running done and come back home so Hubby can mow. I’m puttering around when I notice the thermostat is showing the temp in the house being warmer that what it was set at, not something that ever happens. Only time I’d ever seen that was when we had the windows replace and our AC struggled to get us back to temperature when they finally got the house sealed up.
Long story short, the AC isn’t cooling. By now it is after 8pm. We have a maintenance contract for service on our system and had JUST had the summer service done less than a month prior and supposedly everything checked out. I don’t think a thing about calling the company as they really promote the fact that they have 24/7 emergency service. Considering we are facing an excessive heat warning for the following day and I need to be cooking all day for Hubby’s birthday, I called, fully expecting someone to get to us right away (or at least within 12 hours or so).
Sorry, they tell me, we don’t have regular service on Sunday. We can get out there on Monday, but I can’t give you a time. Seriously? How does “24/7 emergency service” turn into, “We don’t have service on Sunday?” We are preferred members because of that service plan we pay out the nose for and you can’t get out here until MONDAY? I am utterly floored and just set it up and get off the phone. Hubby is getting really frustrated, especially after digging more and seeing the company has listed on the website Saturday and Sunday hours, so he calls back. He gets their after hours answering service and they don’t know squat about the service program and can only take a number for them to pass the message to the company to call the following day after 9am. I call another company that lists 24 hour emergency service and get pretty much the same thing. Can’t get out until Monday.
We are all already miserable and dripping and we were on the cooler end of the day. The following day’s forecast was going to be ugly hot and humid. I will be forever grateful for my foresight in having an attic fan installed when we built and for the fact that we now have the windows we do because it was a frickin’ sauna in my house. And even though we sometimes think they are a bit crazy, I’m eternally grateful for my neighbors for lending us some additional fans.
I finally find another company that has me a bit concerned because they have only been in business for a year, but they had a lot of really solid, impressive reviews, so I took a chance. So, so, SO glad I did. The guy answers the phone himself, not some service, at 10:30 at night and sets us up for the next day. He shows up, checks everything out and finds out that our coolant levels are down. Not just down, but nearly gone. He backs that up by showing us the readings both before and after to see for ourselves that he isn’t just making it up to gouge us, not something our previous company ever showed us.
Now, there is something seriously wrong with that fact. We were JUST serviced less than a month ago and were told that everything was fine, including that coolant. New guy cannot find any obvious leaks in anything that he can get to. We do have a portion of the system that he can’t access to check without cutting into duct work, so the leak could be there, but even if it is, there isn’t a fix for it. There is just no logical explanation as to how we lost 7lbs of coolant in such a short amount of time. Unless the previous tech didn’t actually check those levels, which means they didn’t do their job. There is the option of sabotage, but I just can’t believe that even though Hubby personally knows someone who had a service tech do that exact thing to them trying to get them to buy a new unit.
Oh, and the warranty on our 5 year old AC expired the month prior. You know. Just AFTER the tech was out, so if he had caught the issue at that time, we most likely would have been covered for at least the parts to fix the problem if not the entire unit. We also discovered while trying to find the warranty info that one of the major parts of our unit was subject to a class action lawsuit because of problems, but again and of course, we are out of the time frame to be able to benefit from it in any way.
The biggest issue with what was found? That 5 year old AC needs to be replaced because there IS a leak somewhere, and not where he could find it. If it is in the inside portion, the amount of work just to access it would be costly and not even a guarantee that what he finds, if anything, could be fixed. AND our 14 year old furnace needs to be updated to get the kind of AC unit we want since the systems work in tandem. We knew we were getting to the last legs of the furnace, so that isn’t really news. It was probably going to be on our fix list in the next year or so, but not THIS year because this year’s project was the windows.
New guy got us all charged up and cooling again, because he is awesome beyond belief. Gave us a huge discount just because it was Hubby’s birthday. Gave us another discount for service contract customers, even though we aren’t yet AND deferred the payment for what he did that day on the CHANCE we get the new system to apply it to (which we are absolutely going to be using him to install). Gotta say, with how much coolant he used, the after normal hours service fee and the amount of time he spent here, that was not a piddly amount of money to risk.
Here’s the deal. The company we had been using just flat out failed in every single aspect and their service was shit. We FINALLY got a call from them late afternoon Sunday telling us they actually did have spots open, but by that point, we were already fixed. We had been with them for a couple of years and had several issues with them and this was the last straw. If you cannot back up what you say you do with solid actions, then you make yourself untrustworthy and unreliable.
Then comes in this young guy, maybe mid-twenties (damn near looked like a baby to this old crow, so who knows), who is bending over backwards to establish a solid reputation in the business and because of his age and the age of his company, so many people will go with the bigger, more recognizable name because that feels safer and end up getting just as screwed over as we did. Good quality and good customer service will always impress me and make me a damn loyal customer. It pisses me off that so many companies and people just don’t give a crap about that anymore, that all they care about is making a buck.
I’m pissed that we have yet another stupidly expensive maintenance/repair project we have to do this year. We really shouldn’t have to, not with the AC being so new and knowing that the problem should have been caught in time for our warranty to help out but wasn’t because someone half-assed or failed their job. Hubby and I spent a lot of time talking about it and debating our options, which are painfully few, and just decided to get it done. Neither one of us wants the potential problems with the AC or the age of the furnace hanging over our heads until we are forced do something later on down the line when something finally goes out entirely, especially because that later could be next week or next year.
It all sucked, but has worked out in the end. New guy got us cool in time for me to cook Hubby his birthday dinner. We found a new company to service our furnace and AC, one that we know we can trust to do a really good job. And, we get a new system that will, hopefully, finally, balance out the mess that was the heating and AC in this house from day 1. Even now after the simple fix of adding the coolant to our system, the house feels better than it has all summer, which tells me that whatever was wrong has been wrong for a really long time.
Apparently, it is my year for projects and crazy. I’m really ready for some calm.