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No A/C Diary: Day 8

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We’re now starting Day #8 of having no A/C.

This is in Tucson. Our temperatures the past couple days have been in the one-hundred-teens. It was literally over 100 degrees even at 10:00pm last night. It’s been in the 120’s in our upstairs. To say “hot” is the understatement of the century.

Back Story

Let’s back up a bit. Our A/C went out last Wednesday night/Thursday morning. We’ve had 3 separate repair companies out to inspect it. We initially considered filing a home-owner’s insurance claim to help repair our A/C when we thought the damage was due to a lightening strike (which is covered under home owner’s insurance). But after 2 more companies came out to inspect, both thought the damage was more likely due to flood-related issues. Flood-related damage is not covered by our home-owner’s insurance. We do not have a home warranty. We’re on our own to pay for the issue.

Warranty

The good news is we’ll be receiving close to $4,000 in parts for free since they’re covered under warranty (the unit is only 3 years old!). The not-so-great news is we have to wait for the parts to come direct from the manufacturer and we were told it was a 2-week wait. We paid $150 to rush order the parts so they would be here in 5 business days. That would have put the parts here yesterday, folks.

Day 8 and still no A/C…

The company we ended up going with was recommended by a friend. They have good reviews online. They’re a family-owned small business (love supporting small business!) All seemed good at first. But I started getting nervous early this week. Hubs called for a status update on Monday, left a message, and received no return call. He called again Tuesday, left another message, and received no return call. By Wednesday I’m freaking out. The parts were supposed to arrive Wednesday. They’re supposed to be installed today. We’re supposed to have working A/C again tonight!!! Hubs called 3 times yesterday. No pick-up, no return call. Finally about 4:45pm I decided to take matters into my own hands. I called from work (a different phone number), and lo and behold – they answer.

What followed next was an INCREDIBLY frustrating conversation that left me literally shaking I was so angry. Long story short, it became blatantly clear we were receiving the run-around. There were several inconsistencies, misrepresentations, and just plain contradictions in story between what we were told last Thursday/Friday and yesterday when the part was supposed to arrive. Getting off the phone, I was told by the owner, “I’ll let you know in the morning if the part has even been shipped yet.”

….

IF THE PART HAS EVEN BEEN SHIPPED YET???

It could be another 5-7 days. Another WEEK with no A/C.

Surviving the Heat

We did a staycation for 2 days at a local hotel over the weekend. It was a welcome (albeit temporary) relief from the heat. When we came back, we went and bought two window A/C units (thanks to recommendations from readers – thank you!). We have one in our downstairs living room. We hung sheets to enclose the square footage and make it a smaller place. The other is in the master bedroom upstairs. We keep all the doors closed. The window units have made the place survivable, but it’s far from ideal. I’ve broken out in an itchy heat rash all over my legs. Even with the units running constantly, the best they can do is cooling the enclosed areas to 84 degrees. Still pretty toasty (During summer I keep the thermostat at 78, for comparison).

The second you have to leave the cooled area (going to the bathroom, kitchen, dining room, etc.) it’s literally in the 120’s. Going into the bathroom it feels like walking into a dry sauna. The floor feels heated. I’m sweating constantly. It almost makes your chest feel heavy, like you’re being suffocated. It’s just miserable. To those who recommended buying “standing fan”??? I appreciate the comment, but it’s just so clear you’ve never experienced heat like this before. We do have a couple fans to help in addition to the window units. But I just can’t even convey through a computer screen the level of heat we’re dealing with here. It’s awful.

Starting Over

I don’t want to throw this local business under the bus, but I am BEYOND DISAPPOINTED in our interaction with the A/C repair company we chose. The plan for today is to call every single repair place listed on the A/C manufacturer’s website until we find someone who can do it sooner than we’ve been told by the current company. Luckily, we haven’t signed any contracts and we didn’t pay any money up front so we aren’t obligated to stay with them. I just can’t even believe that we’re at this point. A full WEEK without A/C and no closer to getting it fixed today than we were an entire week ago. In fact, we’re starting all over from scratch. Calling all the places, gathering all the info, etc. Meanwhile, work is piling up (this has taken a lot of time, obviously). The bathrooms are becoming disgusting messes (try cleaning a 120 degree bathroom. Kudos if you can get it done, but I just cannot). Doing laundry feels like entering the 8th circle of Hell from Dante’s Inferno. It’s hard to do ANYTHING when you’re just dripping sweat, itching your heat rash, and trying not to die of heat stroke. Dramatic much? Yes. But is it my real, true feelings? Also yes. It’s horrible.

Healthy Coping

I went to Happy Hour with a friend last night. I enjoyed a giant $6 margarita and some much needed friend-therapy. I have a lunch-hour yoga planned for today on campus (a free event). I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best and praying we can get this thing fixed SOONER than another week.


25 Comments

  • Reply Cad |

    You should throw the business under a bus! This is unacceptable behavior and it should serve as a warning for others. There are consequences for shady behavior

    • Reply Ashley |

      Oh I want to, believe me! I just don’t love the idea of trashing a small family-run business on such a public platform. I’d definitely tell my friends, but the blog is kind of a different beast since its a much larger platform.

      • Reply Cad |

        I mean on Yelp or some other business related reviewing, not on this website

  • Reply Angela L. |

    Have you considered doing your laundry at a laundromat? They’re usually air-conditioned so it would be a bit of a respite for you. Plus, by not using your washer/dryer at home you wouldn’t be adding more heat from running appliances to your already overheated home. And, your girls seem to be at an age where they might think it was fun. I remember a period of time when our washer/dryer broke when I was young and my mom took me and my sister with her to the laundromat and we thought it was a fun adventure. Good luck and hope it’s resolved soon!

    • Reply Ashley |

      This isn’t a bad idea. I’m not particularly fond of having to sit and be tied to a washing machine/dryer for 90 minutes, but you’re right that the A/C would feel nice and it might be a fun adventure for the kids – especially if we brought coloring books, crayons, etc. Maybe we’ll do that this weekend.

    • Reply Jenna |

      the best part about a laundromat is that you can run all your loads at the same time – so what might have been three or four loads back to back at home. suddenly can all be done at once!

  • Reply margann34 |

    Wow. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must be. I start feeling too hot at 78 degrees! Does it help to open all the Windows overnight to let get the air moving? It might even help to leave them open during the day at least upstairs. I would definitely check with other companies to see if it can get fixed quicker. I would also be spending my time anywhere but home for most of the day. Go hang out at your office, the gym, the library. Anywhere that you can! I might even consider another night in a hotel just for respite! Hope you get things fixed soon!

    • Reply Ashley |

      Thanks! We do open our windows/doors/etc anytime the outside temperature is cooler than the inside temperature. We’ve also been trying to stay out of the house as much as possible. Cooking has been a challenge. I’ve been relying on a mix of crock-pot meals and cooking things first thing in the morning when it’s still (relatively) cool, then just heating up in a microwave when it gets to be meal-time. It’d a little odd, but really helps with the heat.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    As a fellow resident of AZ my heart breaks for you, you’re basically living in an oven! I live in new construction and have had AC people out 3 times in the past 2 months. I think air conditioners just can’t handle this heat! It sounds like you’re handling the situation really well hough. Good luck!

  • Reply AS |

    Sorry to hear about the continued issues.

    Tactically, if you have a 2nd window in either of the rooms – or room on the side of the unit for the air hoses – consider adding another floor standing AC unit. Yes it’s more unwanted expense but it might make things more bearable by bringing your rooms down another 10 degrees.

    The reason I suggest floor standing unit vs window unit is you could then move it upstairs at bedtime and back down in the day. They’re not light but you would only do it once a day.

    • Reply Ashley |

      It’s looking right now like we’ll be going with another company and not have to pay any rush charges. We didn’t actually pay the $150 yet. We’d verbally agreed to it, but come to find out the part hasn’t even been shipped yet so the company hasn’t incurred the cost and we just cancelled everything, not wanting to do business with them any longer.

  • Reply Shanna |

    Ack, I meant buy a floor standing AC unit, not a window unit in my earlier comments. The floor free standing models create far more cold air than a small window unit. It sounds absolutely horrendous. I am so sorry. I would go buy a floor unit or two.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Respectfully, I disagree. We actually borrowed a portable (floor standing) AC unit from the repair business we’d been planning to use (they lend it free for customers). It was noticeably LESS efficient than the window units. We only had it for 3 nights so it’s gone now, but it really didn’t work very well. Even in the smallest room (we put it in the girls’ bedroom), the lowest the air temperature got was to 90 degrees. That was overnight. During the day it never dropped below 100 degrees. Maybe it was just a crappy unit? But the BTU on the portable (floor standing) was 10,000 and the window units are only 5,000, yet the window units DESTROYED the portable in terms of cooling ability.

  • Reply jp |

    It really makes you wonder how people lived (survived?) in those areas before electricity! Wowzers!

    • Reply Ashley |

      I always joke that the first settlers of this regions must have stopped in winter. It’s GORGEOUS here in winter. No way they arrived in summer and just decided to stay in the land of death-heat. lol.
      Really, though, I’ve read a bit about the history of Tucson and I believe at the time of the first (modern) settlers, there was a lot of water in the area. The water is all gone now for the most part, but we have lots of dried up river beds where you can see there used to be rivers of mountain run-off, etc.

    • Reply Andrea |

      Evaporative cooling! They hung wet sheets over doors and windows, any breeze coming through them gets cooled down. You can do the same thing by hanging a wet towel over your fans, or putting a bowl of ice in front of the fan. Works especially well in dry places.

      • Reply Kerry |

        Also, let the girls run around in underpants and a wet tshirt. I will wet my nightgown and sleep in that. There’s also frozen water bottles wrapped in dishcloths to put in the bed like a reverse hot waterbottle. Even just taking a one minute to rinse off in the shower helps.

  • Reply SHanna |

    yikes, they gave you a crappy unit for sure. Granted we aren’t in Tucson level heat. But with over 100 degree days it got our 500 square foot pool house really chilly (to the point it had to be turned off it was too cold!) when our guests used it in there. Maybe you have someone who would loan you a good one to try out. I can’t imagine how miserable it must be right now, I am so sorry.

  • Reply Katie |

    If they can’t get you in, try Airbnb. It would be cheaper than a hotel with things like a full kitchen and laundry. It gives you the option of contacting the owner and you could negotiate a pretty good rate.

      • Reply Ashley |

        There’s definitely the perks of kitchen & laundry but, in general, the AirBnB rates I’ve looked at are HIGHER than that of local resorts. Our resorts really have rock-bottom rates right now since no one vacations here this time of year.

  • Reply Sue |

    You are a MUCH stronger woman than I am……the heat makes me so sick I think I would live in the car with the a/c running or sleep in the pool 🙂 We were 107 today and it is HORRIBLE and I can’t even imagine not having the a/c (which has been running non-stop for 3 days pretty much) – I keep it at 79….

    Seems like you are doing everything you can to stay cool – lots of popsicles and keep wet washcloths in the freezer to put on the back of your necks when it gets REALLY overwhelming!!! I would spend a LOT of time at our local air-conditioned library!!!!

  • Reply Kate |

    I am so sorry (and not the person who suggested the fan!). I don’t know what your office space is like, but can you go there with the girls during the day? Even if they are just reading or watching movies or whatever.

    When this is over and you are in a better mental space, hold on to this memory as motivation to create a better EF and get your debt payed down. Things come up all the time with a house. (The equivalent for us in MA was that a faucet in our barn froze open during the arctic blast last year, and we had water shooting out full blast in -5 weather creating a skating rink in our horses’ stalls, at which time we realized there was no shutoff valve to the barn and had to turn off the well pump to the whole house until a plumber could come out… but I digress) We joke “It’ll be a thousand dollars” because it seems like EVERYTHING is $1000. Having at least a few thousand dollars in the bank will help you to weather the next storm more comfortably.

  • Reply Marlene |

    You are lucky that no one in your family has health issues. I know I would be unable to tolerate the heat. I feel for your family.

So, what do you think ?