Tag Archives: hvac

Doldrums

I turned 26 on Monday in what has to be the largest heap of a self-pitying funk ever heaped by a human being. I spent the day frantically coding a backend for the ever-worthy project [Blogathon 2005](http://www.blogathon.org/) and reading Harry Potter spoilers on [Wikipedia](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) because UPS saw fit to reschedule my book delivery for the 19th, which as far as I was concerned was about 3 days too late.

So, things. Things are decent. I was ganking some of my old pagination code from [Globe of Blogs](http://www.globeofblogs.com/) and noticed that when I coded it, I’d apparently never heard of LEFT JOIN and other useful things like um, running a SELECT on more than one table. I think it is more a failure on my part to grok the sorts of queries that make multiple SELECT statements obsolete. That might explain some of its issues, which really means that I need to review the codebase and otherwise fix it. Go, me!

I still need to order the kids’ curricula for the next year of homeschooling, which is annoying (I hate talking on the phone, period), but well worth the effort.

The air conditioner motor finally bit the dust–closer inspection reveals that it is probably the second motor for the unit, and replacing it isn’t that difficult. The oil reservoir sponge was completely broken down. Cost of a new blower motor? $74.04. Spending three days in July waiting for it to arrive? Fracking annoying.

Really, the unit is _not_ in bad shape. We disassembled the blower and Matthew went in and cleaned the cooling fins and you know what? It worked. It did not cost $2200 to fix. It cost a bit of sweat equity and some skinned knuckles (mostly Matthew’s), but really, the whole culture of “it’s old and looks kinda dingy, let’s throw it out and get a brand new one” is wearing on me.

(And just now, I checked the estimate and the line item for “blower motor and capacitor” says $584. What the frack. Even with installation and labor, what the frack.)

How we fixed our Carrier air conditioner

Our Carrier air conditioner is fifteen years old. Last summer, it kind of died in late August. Since the weather was fairly mild, we managed by opening up the windows and using fans. However, when July weather hit in early June, it was pretty clear that we’d need to fix it or replace it for the summer. Being ever so handy with tools, Matthew went out to look in the access panel and found more carbon than he should have. Apparently, the ceramic capacitor had released its magic smoke, which did a great deal to explain why the fan blades had stopped turning–there was nothing to impel them to start rotating.

So, a blown capacitor. It should have been an easy fix, right? Call around to HVAC shops, find one with the part in stock, that sort of thing. Oh, but no.

I started by calling Yorkshire Plumbing Supply in Manassas. Unfortunately, they didn’t carry much in the way of HVAC equipment, but they kindly referred me to Lyon, Conklin & Co. in Chantilly. Unfortunately for me, Lyon, Conklin is in the business of parts wholesale, not retail. Okay, I could handle that. I wasn’t in the market for a gross of capacitors.

Next, I had a bit of an idea and called Sears Parts & Repairs. They would love to have sold me a replacement part but unfortunately, they didn’t carry parts for Carriers. Again, reasonable. The service representative did give me the phone number of Carrier.

Carrier was kind enough to give me the name of their dealership in my area, and I promptly called ARS Service Express of Manassas. This phone call, however, did not go as swimmingly as I might have hoped. The only way they would sell me a part for my air conditioner was if they made a service call. Because clearly, I’m an idiot who can’t spot a blown capacitor.

Right. Not happening.

Matthew did a good deal of googling and came up with a page on the Arnold’s Service Company web site. It had a picture of what appeared to be exactly our capacitor (minus the scorch marks) as part of a Bryant/Carrier Thermal Start Kit. We took a chance and ordered it, as it was still cheaper than getting a repairman out to replace the part and bill us for labor.

It arrived today, along with some other goodies. A comparison of the numbers is as follows:

  • The old one: CERA-MITE CM CEROC(r) 305CIS HC95XX005 8823
  • The new one: CERA-MITE CMF CEROC(r) 305CIS HC95XX011 0318

I am a totally happy and satisfied customer of Arnold’s Service Company, which is a do-it-yourself-er’s dream.

The not-so-good news is that the AC unit needs a freon charge (which is typical), so we still don’t have AC. However, we’re one step closer to, oh, being able to get through the day without a mid-afternoon meltdown. (However, it does work and cycle on; the low freon charge is just preventing it from being able to produce enough cold air to make a difference.) Guess I’ll be calling Sears again tomorrow.