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Crappy A/C Situation

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After taking the day off work and dealing with sweltering heat (inside our home was 90 degrees), I was able to have two different A/C companies come out to look at the damaged A/C unit and give me their opinions. Folks, the news was not good.

Our brand new unit, not even two years old (put in as part of negotiations when we bought our house) is totally shot. Done-zo. The first repair guy thought the unit may have been struck by lightening. The second repair guy thought it was blown due to a power surge. We had some flooding with a recent monsoon that would’ve partially submerged the unit and the guy think it caused a power surge that blew the whole unit. Both companies agreed we would need to replace:

  • compressor & compressor plug (which was blown right off the compressor)
  • condenser coil

In addition to these, we’d have to fill the Freon, use an acid neutralizer, and I don’t know….give our first born child??? Ugh, typing it here it doesn’t seem like a long list but one repairman referred to the compressor and condenser as the “heart and brain” of the A/C. Both said it’d be better just to replace the unit all together. But we just can’t afford that. So we’ll repair it instead.

We thought about trying to file a home-owner’s insurance claim. We do not have a home warranty, but lightening is covered through home-owner’s insurance. Flooding, however, is not. It was a separate policy that we declined.

Since the unit is still super new, the main parts are covered (which, I was told, run about $2,000/each, so we really luck out there!). But for the items not covered by warranty (like freon, acid neutralizer, etc.) and the labor to do all the work, we’re looking at about $1100. Oh yeah…..and the condenser coil has to be ordered direct from the manufacturer. It takes TWO WEEKS to arrive. We agreed to pay a $150 rush charge, which will put it here in 5 days. But that’s still FIVE DAYS with no working A/C in the middle of a Tucson summer where temperatures are predicted to be up to 111 degrees!!!!

Not okay, folks.

We started to initiate a home-owner’s insurance claim (when we thought the damage was due to lightening), but I think we’re going to just close it out and pay ourselves. If the total ends up being about $1200-1300ish (that’s the estimate + rush charge to get the part here faster), it doesn’t really make sense to file a claim. Our deductible is $1,000 and I don’t think having the extra $200-300 “benefit” would outweigh the cons of having our insurance go through the roof and having a claim on our record. Is that what you guys would think? I’m open to suggestion here, head still a bit reeling from taking in the news that our brand new A/C unit is totally shot.

We still have the issue of being displaced for the next 5-6 days, too, though. We stayed in the house last night and it was one of the worst nights’ sleep of my life (taking me straight back to the day of having twin infants type of no-sleep). It was 88 degrees for most of the night, but it’s hot stale air. It felt suffocating. We all slept downstairs (the bedrooms are upstairs, but the upstairs was at least 5 degrees hotter than downstairs), and we all tossed and turned and sweated our butts off. It seriously felt unsafe and I’m not going to do it again.

I already booked a hotel to get us through the weekend (Fri & Sat nights). That’s another $100/night. This is serendipitous timing, but one of my old friends from grad school is moving back to Tucson on SATURDAY. He bought a 3 bedroom home but is a single guy so he has tons of space and not a lot of possessions to fill it. I already reached out, “I know it’s stressful timing since you’re going to be in the middle of a move…..but could we bring over some air mattresses and crash for a few days if needed????? Oh, and welcome back!!!! 🙂 ”

He agreed and said he’d be happy for us to stay. I hate to put a friend out like that, especially in the midst of their cross-country move. But he’s literally the only person I know in town who even has the space to house a family of 4. I’ve had a couple friends say they’d take the girls, but at this point (they’re 6), they still haven’t even had a slumber party and I’m kind of scared of/opposed to the idea. This is a bit different since it’s a safety related thing. Oh friends…I think you can see I’m kind of all over the place here, grasping at straws and trying for any reasonable band-aid of a solution to get us through the next week until our A/C is in working order again.

So that’s the update. Right about $1300 out of pocket (could be much worse, but the main A/C components are all warrantied). Even so…we literally don’t have an extra $1300 sitting around. Our “EF” right now is like $500. So this is a huge hit. I’m going to have to figure out something to move money around. It’s really bringing to light our dire financial situation. Obviously that will be the point of future blog posts but for now I’m trying to figure out the immediate crisis at hand. Our broken A/C.

Any thoughts or suggestions in terms of whether to try to file a home-owner’s insurance claim (again, we’re leaning against it….not sure it’d even be covered, but I’d like your thoughts) AND what to do in the meantime while we wait for the unit to be fixed? We’ve also thought of renting a portable unit – it wouldn’t help the whole house but might allow us to “camp” in the living room and sleep comfortably there? Thoughts? Ideas?


Week 2 Spending Report

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Week 2 is in the books! It felt a bit tougher than Week 1, but I just completed our Dream Dinners session on Friday so our freezer is jam-packed with foods that should successfully take us through our planned No Spend Week this week. Actually – I’m going to try to make the no spend “week” more of a week-and-a-half-ish. We should have plenty and just be able to supplement with fresh fruits, veggies, and dairy (milk/eggs). We’ll need to do that if we want to stay within budget for the month!

The reason our eating out budget was super high was because we had family traveling through the area so we had one dinner out with the whole family that came out to $100! It definitely put a dent in our restaurant budget! I’m using Every Dollar to track expenses and put our planned restaurant spending at $200 for the month. At the half-way point in the month, we only have $22 remaining. It won’t be easy, but with some planning and advance prep, we can make it work.

I set our Grocery budget at $350, of which we have $108 remaining. I already stocked up on some fresh produce for this week so we’ll try to get through the entire week without any grocery shopping (or just supplementing with fresh produce and dairy – no more than $10-15)!  That leaves us about $100 for the last week of the month. It definitely helps to have a freezer full of Dream Dinners (and other frozen stuff like veggies, meats, etc.) Again, it’ll be tight but we should be able to make it through the end of the month.

Getting Creative With Meals

I’m already starting the process of “shopping my pantry” and planning meals out of the foods we have on-hand. I wanted to show one little trick I used last week to make a meal work.

I was planning to do chicken tacos with Mexican rice and refried beans. When I was half-way through making the meal and looking through my pantry for Mexican rice, I realized I was all out. I did, however, have this Chicken Flavored Rice & Sauce. Not what I’d been going for, but I figured it would do the trick. I made the package of rice and added some taco seasoning (I have a giant thing of taco seasoning from Costco).

Towel was a gift my sister made for me. 🙂

Look, I ain’t gonna lie. Wasn’t the best “Mexican Rice” I’ve ever had. But it did the trick, the kids ate it up, and it served as a nice accompaniment with our meal for the night. I’ve since bought a big box of white Minute Rice so we’ve got plenty of rice on-hand for the rest of the month (and beyond – the big boxes tend to last us several months).

What’s an example of a “creative meal” you came up with from foods you already had on-hand?


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