Second Opinions

by Steve on May 2, 2007

I’ve decided there are at least two situations that dictate a second professional be called in to evaluate the given problem: surgery and HVAC problems. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if the devil himself isn’t walking about with his name above his shirt pocket.

We have a service contract on our heating and cooling system in hopes of keeping the beast happy and purring along for as long as she’ll pump the desired result. Last year one one of the semi-annual visits was called in early on account of she flat quit working. She was still breathing but the circulation was of rather ambient temperature and down south that doesn’t cut it in August (or even May for that matter). A circuit board fried.

HIM: “You know that unit’s about 9 years old, only a 10 SEER rating… might be time… we’ve got a special deal…”

The look in my eye stopped him but only for a minute. He regrouped and made another run at it.

HIM: “Ruud quit making that unit a while back…”

ME: “Rheem bought Ruud, or the other way around, and they’re all made by Trane or somebody else. Somebody has that board. Find the part and patch ‘er up.”

HIM: “Just hate to see you throwing good money after bad. It might quit again next month.”

ME: “Get that part before my wife melts!”

Fast forward six months to the winter check up and all is well. Still ticking.

Now we reach the spring check up and all that’s missing is the girl in high heels walking around the ring holding up the big card with “Round 2” on it.

HIM: (different HIM this time) “Both coils, air handler and outside unit, were filthy. (Clean ’em, that’s why you’re here.) Caused a high pressure condition that probably resulted in your freon leak. (Damn…$$$$) Should be at about 70psi and you’re down to 35psi… surprised it hasn’t frozen up on you. (Good thing you’re here.) We could replace the coil if we can find one… no 10 SEER stuff available anymore so we’d have to adapt a 13 SEER coil which would require a high start [thingy] out on the compressor. Or… (wait for it, you know it’s coming) we could look at replacing the whole system but (there’s more?) that 3 ton system is really not large enough for the square footage you have. And your duct work might not be large enough to handle a higher capacity system…

ME: “Whoa there big guy. You’re talking about ripping out sheet rock to get to duct work!?!”

HIM: “I’m sure you want it done right.”

ME: “Where’s the builder that threw this shack up? Where’s that county building inspector that passed a 3 ton system for servicing 2400 square feet?… You know this means I’ll be calling your competition for a second opinion?”

HIM: “Yessir…”

ME: “Call me with a price when you find a coil.”

Evil I tell you, evil. All for a little leaking joint where a copper tube meets another copper tube. Somebody with HVAC knowledge tell me why we can’t evacuate the remaining freon, braze the joint, and fill ‘er back up? That little ol’ 3 ton 10 SEER unit will flat freeze us out of here when she’s feeling right. Now I know that a higher SEER rating will save me some green on the old power bill but I’m not real hot (yet) on spending several couple thousand now to recover it at a rate of $50 per month. Not until the old girl is truly terminal.


Deborah Aylward May 2, 2007 at 22:23

You do know that unless you have whatever skills these chaps posess that you’ll give in, right? We’re all at their mercy. If all we good guys cared about was money, we would have gone into this line of work.

Steve May 3, 2007 at 22:02

Can’t live without ’em. What to do??

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