It's been sweltering here the past few days, and our aging air conditioner hasn't kept up...just like it hasn't the past two summers. Just like clockwork the last two years, on the hottest Sunday or in the middle of the night, the A/C goes out when there is nothing one can do about it except wait for the next day. We have replaced the fan motor each summer, and this summer, had planned to replace the entire unit...just as soon as I got my next paycheck for my summer teaching.
I awoke yesterday morning to the sound of air brakes just outside my window--or at least, I hoped that was what it was. Could I be so fortunate as to have a truck down on the highway that was emitting that loud and freaky sound? It almost sounded like a pipeline leaking great bursts of air. Libby was out in her kennel raising Cain.
It was our beloved fan on the A/C for the third summer in a row. Somehow, it was vibrating and the fan was hitting against something. Rando and J went out to determine if they could address the problem, given that it was not only Sunday, but a holiday weekend Sunday and we figured an A/C repairman would be hard to come by, or very expensive.
After a brief investigation, Rand went to Home Depot and purchased two window units and a tube of JB Weld--which has to cure at least 4 hours. J went to work on the fan whilst Rand began the window installation. My job? I drew the straw for "least mechanical skill required" and got to cut down the tree outside my bedroom window, in order to be able to place a window unit in said window.
Now cutting down a tree is hard work any time of the year, and frankly, in 90+ temps in Mississippi, it took me a while. I had to take frequent breaks to go drink water, cool off, and wipe the sweat out of my eyes, since the headband I was wearing only halted what was running down my head into the band, and had no effect on the sweat pouring into my eyes from below the band. I had to use the loppers to cut off all the smaller branches to even be able to access the trunk of the tree. What person plants a tree right next to your house and a window anyway?
I might add that this is the same tree from which J and I lopped branches and cut off limbs earlier in the year, to get them away from the windows and the vent into the attic and off of the eaves of the house. Did I mention that it is a fast growing tree? Everything we had previously lopped and sawed had already re-grown.
The next step--and the temperature had only increased by then--was to remove the storm windows and clean windows inside and out, and then replace the storm windows. I thought seriously of turning the hose on myself several times. For those of you who enjoy washing your own windows, I will make a plug for the Windex window washing tool. I had bought it some time ago, planning to clean all the storm windows, and just never gotten around to it. It has a pad that is water activated, and after rinsing, dries streak-free without having to wipe the glass. I doubted if it would really be streak-free, but I can attest that the "sheeting action" worked as advertised, which is something of a surprise in itself these days.
By the time I finished that, two things had occurred. It was now hotter inside the house than outside, and J had finished the repair of the fan, replaced it, and had the A/C working again. As we proceeded to install the second window unit, he asked why, since he was the hero and had solved the problem. Rand replied, "Backup plan for next time." Instead, we closed off the vents into the bedrooms and left the window units running, with the hope that the A/C might be able to keep the living room and kitchen sufficiently cool with less area to cover. So far, that seems to be the case. The plan is still for new air conditioning system after the paycheck...unless it takes all of it for the electric bill.