The Nudge of Necessity

August 1, 2008 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

Earlier this summer, I signed on for Crunchy Chicken’s Keep yer Cool challenge. I publicly vowed to keep the a/c off until the temps in my house reached 85°F. Umm. I backslid. For a few days I worked on figuring out strategies for keeping the house cooler. But when the temps rose into the high 90s around here, I admit that I forgot my obligation to my mythical future grandchildren and cranked up the a/c. Over time, my commitment to this particular challenge fell off the steep incline of my to-do list and I forgot about it.

The Piedmont house has the advantage of having two complete and self-contained heating systems. A heat pump (heater and a/c) servicing the original ranch-style portion of the house and a second heat pump dedicated solely to the add-on 600 sq. ft. great room. The last time the heat pump on the great room side failed, we were told that it would have to be replaced. Not having anything put aside for this project we practically begged the service people for another solution. They scratched their heads, dug around in the truck, and came up with a jerry-rigged solution that got the fan turning again. They made no warrant on the repair. It might give us another few weeks, they reckoned, or go out the next day. They told us that the repair would occasionally trip the breaker and showed us where it was and how to re-set it if that happened. That was 1997.

Over the years when I would crawl under the house two or three times a summer to flip the breaker, I would silently thank those repairmen and feel explicitly grateful for the extra time they had added on to the life of that heat pump. We ended up getting 11 years out of that little bit of wire and ingenuity. But yesterday, the sands of time ran out. I flipped the breaker and the fan unit hummed but the blades of the fan did not turn. I went under the house to try the time honored turn-it-off-and-back-on technique. That time, the motor didn’t even hum. Ah well.

We have about six weeks of seriously hot weather left here in the Piedmont and I will be gone for half of that time. So, I’m going to try to wing it with open windows at night and the remaining heat pump. In the meantime, I have the opportunity to research energy saving models and tax rebates….and to get a bit more serious about the Keep Yer Cool Challenge.

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Entry filed under: Piedmont.

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