Today’s Home Improvements at the Scalzi Compound
Posted on September 29, 2014 Posted by John Scalzi 25 Comments
While I was on book tour the fan in the air conditioner unit here at the Scalzi Compound snapped and tore up the inside of the unit, pretty much as shrapnel will do, and so it became time to replace the unit with something less fragment-prone. While we were at it, we decided to replace the furnace unit as well, because it like the air conditioner was nearly 20 years old, and it already failed on us once (several years ago, on one of the coldest nights of the year), so why wait for the next invitable failure, likely to come at a time of year where our house would turn into a literal icebox.
So: Here’s the air conditioner unit, soon to be installed. At the moment the AC dudes are down in the basement dealing with the furnace; there’s the occasionally wrenchy noise, followed by the occasional hammering noise, with the occasional “it sounds like a Terminator going after Sarah Connor in my basement but is probably just the furnace being dragged across concrete” noise, just for fun. This all will be a two day operation. Fortunately, it’ll be a lovely couple of days, with no need for either AC or heating. In other words, perfect days to live au naturel. Not so great for, say, the sort of mental concentration one needs for novels in progress, but, eh. It’s only a couple of days.
Furnace Men love Au Natural customers.
I’m afraid we might be due for a new furnace within the next few years.
On the topic of trying to work in a noisy environment, I had a week-long online class last week. To avoid distraction, when we in the IT department take such classes, we usually do so at the computer in our wiring/storage room in the building next door. This usually works great, but our Section 8 department recently moved their letter-folding machine into the adjacent file room. They do a lot of mailing at the end of the week, so the folding machine goes into use: “ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK ka-CHUNK,” which makes it harder to focus on a boring Network+ lecture.
Just think of the energy efficiency in your future!
Ugh. Been there. Of course our AC failed us in mid July when the days are a not very pleasant 125 and the nights a cool 115. Needless to say, we spent a few days camping out in a hotel until it could be replaced.
We had A/C with an outdoor unit in the house I grew up in. My elders were really unimpressed with my hobby of jamming little tree branches through the grille to watch them getting dismembered by the fan.
Au natural en effet. En plein air! … mais avec le mot. Bonne journée!
You’re smart to get them both done at once (not that you need me telling you that, of course). Many years ago, we learned the hard way that New AC + Old Furnace = Both Break Down Simultaneously.
I hope the distraction factor begins to dwindle soon. I also hope you got a really good price from your contractor, because AC and furnace together is a spendy endeavor.
One of the really beneficial side effects of my wife’s line of work (she’s an insurance claims adjuster) is that she knows how much all of this stuff costs and what a good contract labor rate is in the area. She also knows all the contractors in the area and who does good work and/or is ethical. As a result we’re very hard to rip off.
Oh, very nice indeed! I did not realize that Krissy worked in that field – that’s even better than having a family member who works for a contractor or for a big-ticket retailer. I’ll bet she’s a mighty tough negotiator as well. You are in excellent hands, as you are of course well aware.
Try not to scare the workers as you go au naturel around the house. Might want to put on a robe or something.
You know, the more I read about your everyday life, the more charmed it appears to be. Your gorgeous, intelligent wife works as an insurance claims adjuster, knows A/C-Furnace contractors who are good/ethical and charge a reasonable rate.
Seriously, John for most people replacing an A/C and furnace simultaneously would be a nightmare but for your fairy dust sprinkled life it’s just another walk in the park.
I salute you, Sir for your excellent choice in a lifetime mate and the fact that you recognize what a fairy tale like charm she brings to your life on a consistent basis. Not to mention the beauty which your daughter so obviously inherited from her. :)
I can tell you to the day when the air conditioner at the first house I owned (I’m now on the third – and in the second metro area). Alas, this isn’t because of anything about the AC installation (or the new windows installed the same day).
I suspect that anyone who had work done on their home on September 11, 2001 would tell you the same thing.
Distracting? Sure. But you will be so glad you did this now.
Did you consider a geothermal HVAC unit at all? They’re spendy to install, but very cost-effective to run.
We have no furnace (Floridians have no furnace. Floridians need no furnace.) but when our A/C decided to turn up its toes for good, it was in July heat, and we had a miserable week before it could be replaced. I felt awful for the AC guys, who had to tag team in the attic getting the old air handler out.
Oddly enough, our AC went on the fritz last night (I suspect because we had three fast power outages in a row…) and the repair folks have just pulled up — hopefully, this fix is small. ::sigh::
New A/C? COOL!
PS Sorry, the Devil made me type it.
PPS Dave Branson. There are machines for folding letters!?
@johntshea There are machines that fold sheets of paper, yes. If you do an 8×11 sheet, folded into thirds, you then get your electric stapler and seal it up. Then it’s time to slap address-label stickers onto the front, hopefully not have to put on stamps, then bundle according to zipcode, city, or state (putting on the correct sticker for each, making sure there are at least 10 in each rubber-banded bundle), and haul to the rear of the post office.
Or that’s how you do a mass mailing from home 25 years ago or thereabouts.
We’re having our house painted (outside) but it means having Bill the Cat shooed from room to room, depending on which windows and doors are currently open for painting. He’s an inside cat (this is DC and we live on a busy street) and he hates being confined to just one room.
As Deor says, “þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg!”
John, some advise for you, ask them to check the “static air pressure” this is a reading obtained by measuring the air pressure inside the duct work before the filter and on the supply plenum. it is measured in “inches of water column”, typically around .5 iwc when the fan is in operation and everything is working properly. this measurement is an indication of the health of the duct work system. if no one in the company knows what this is, do not use them ever again. this measurement has a fantastic ability to properly predict whether or not you will be happy with the system.
sorry, I’m an hva/cr tech and a fan. i don’t want you to get snookered.
I see you have a Proper House!
We were just recently bemoaning the Sydney trend of building houses Florida-style (i.e. with no thought to heating), despite the fact that we do technically have four seasons and it does get into single figures (C) overnight for a few months.
@ aztraph – “I’m an hva/cr tech and a fan”
You’re a fan? Hope you too don’t snap and turn to shrapnel etc, ho ho.
“Shrapnel” is one of those odd words that sounds as though it emerged naturally to fit what it describes – jagged pieces of sharp hot destructive metal from an explosion – but turns out, I was surprised when I first found out, to be like lynch and boycott in that it was named after people; in this case Major-General Henry Shrapnel, who deliberately invented the Shrapnel shell.
Our heat went out during the coldest part of last winter – took us two days to get it replaced! :(
Smart. When our furnace died it was in late November and I was suffering from a terrible flu. Spent most of the day in bed while the temp slowly went down. The techs didn’t finish until after 9 pm, at that point the temp was 55 degrees in the bedroom.
no seriously, I understand, but am trying to hold back the PTSD of actually being around a fan when it goes plooey. (not the organic kind, the mechanical kind, ew)
I should have just said I’m a fan of his work, his view on family, how he treats the women he is fortunate to have in his life, how he treats people in general, except when they are being shitcanoes. (Hey! everyone, Add that to your auto correct dictionary).
Fortunately, it’ll be a lovely couple of days, with no need for either AC or heating. In other words, perfect days to live au naturel.
Mental. Image! Cannot. Claw. At. Brain. HARD ENOUGH!!!