Buying a New Air Conditioner, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

I usually spend so much time snarled in the details of decision-making that it takes months to decide on a major purchase, but this time I had to be quick. On July 4 weekend, one of the hottest of the summer, my upstairs air conditioner uttered a mighty “thunk” and died.

Death was not entirely unexpected (but timing could definitely have been better). The old furnace and a/c were original to the house, which made them 37 years old. I’m surprised they made it this long, but a good maintenance plan helped.

Old AC-Furnace unit lurks in the attic

Here’s part of the old unit, lurking in the attic, disconnected and ready to leave.

I’d been hoping they’d last until I’m ready to move out. They were so large that I couldn’t imagine how they’d get them out of the attic, but as Sam would say, “these guys are trained professionals.” It all came down in pieces.

Furnace and A/C pieces are down

Old Furnace and AC unit come down the attic stair

Later I saw this part out in the driveway – I think it looks like a robot heart. See the aorta? But then, I’ve been watching The Iron Giant and Big Hero Six, so everything looks like a giant-robot-part to me.

Ductwork looks like a Robot Heart

I’m lucky the house has zoned systems, so the unit downstairs still worked. I moved downstairs and slept on the couch for two weeks until the new one was installed.

The old upstairs unit was noisy and friendly. I would hear it think about coming on, clink and groan a little, then run through it’s cycle. The new one is distant and serene, whisper quiet, and a little like the ambient hum of the Starship Enterprise. On the bright side, I no longer need to get a Star Trek White Noise Sleep Machine (“Effective as a Vulcan nerve pinch”).

New attic furnace and air conditioner 'system'

Here it sits, crouching in the attic amid that muscular and shiny ductwork. Now I get to feel virtuous about its energy-efficiency.

 At least when it comes time to sell the house, it’ll be a desirable detail on the list of upgrades. Meanwhile, I can move back upstairs and sleep in a bed, lulled to sleep by the ambient hum of… oh dear, could there be a warp engine in my attic?

Oh yes, and the new system is smart. It emails me acknowledgement when I change the settings on the thermostat. It wants to talk to my phone, but I haven’t let the phone know that yet.

What does your A/C sound like? And, do you let it talk to your phone?


More on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

And, after some investigation on Youtube (where you can download hours of the sound) here’s the Enterprise…


Battlestar Galactica’s Cylon Base Stars are noisier, but you can get that sound too.



21 thoughts on “Buying a New Air Conditioner, and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

  1. You always amuse me! My A/C unit is nested in a similar place in my house – hope it decides to stay humming up there until I move so I don’t have to see its “body parts” hauled out into the driveway!

  2. Our AC died the year we moved in, and has had to be replaced since then. Aw. Poor baby. It want’s to make friends with your phone and you won’t introduce the? (Can’t say that I blame you! They could conspire against their human.)

  3. Out with the old, in with the new. 37 years is a long time for that air-con system to be up and running. I’m guessing it may have seen quite a few repairs along the way. I currently don’t have air-con in my apartment, and I’m not one to feel hot in the summer. There are days when the temperatures get up to 40’C in Melbourne but I just sit in front of the fan. When I used to lived in Singapore, I stayed in apartment that had air-con – and once every few months they would leak and drop water down on to the floor.

    • You are amazing to not need it with heat like 40C (is that over 100F?). I didn’t grow up with air conditioning, so I remember life without it. We got hot, but we got acclimated (pretty much, anyway). But now that it’s everywhere, it’s hard to get acclimated. Still, while my upstairs one was out of order, over time I got more comfortable with it. One great benefit of the a/c (for me) is help with allergies. It makes a world of difference there.

      • I am every bit the summer girl. Yup, 40’C is roughly 100’F. I love heat and thrive on it. I’m the opposite of you. Air-con tends to block up and stuff up my nose and sinueses, and if I am in an air-con room long enough, I can be sniffing for a while to come.

      • So interesting – I didn’t know a/c could cause problems, just always was thankful it got invented, as it has helped mine a lot. It can be overdone though. Here, the businesses are so air-conditioned that sometimes I have to take a sweater along. We are on the downhill slope toward autumn, so you must be happy to be anticipating spring — all the best, Sandy

      • I don’t know about air-con in the states, but in Asia air-con servicing is quite a booming industry. Sometimes it was even hard to get a hold of our serviceman when there were problems with the unit in my room.

        We are still in the throes of winter. Hopefully spring shows up soon 🙂

      • Oh yes, it’s high-season now for them, doing repairs and replacements, since the units that have been thinking about failing go for it when most overworked. I had a 2-week wait, one for the consultation, and another to get the install.
        Anticipation of spring is always a wonderful thing. After the extra heat here, I’m thinking that anticipation of autumn will be happening this year.

    • They will talk about me behind my back, won’t they. Still, I can see that it might be helpful to know if there’s a problem when I’m away from home. A few years ago I came home from vacation to a hot-hot house when the downstairs unit had a problem.(poor houseplants were suffering) I can see that it’s a slippery slope to a ‘smart house’.

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