It's a four day weekend. (At least for those of us in the DC area - Tuesday is a holiday due to Inauguration and the traffic jams to come.)
You know what this means, don't you?
Why, yes, you're absolutely correct! That means it's time for another household casualty! DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Bob, tell the folks in the audience what they've won...
So last night and today it was Arctic polar bear BUTT cold in the DC area. When I left for work at 6 a.m., it was 10 degrees, and -3 degrees with the wind chill. Expecting it to be cold, I wasn't all that surprised when my alarm went off and I didn't want to get out of bed because it was too cold out. It was too early in the morning and I hadn't had any caffeine yet, so it didn't occur to me that it was odd for it to be so cold INSIDE the house.
Later, my wife pointed out to me that the heater was not cutting the mustard. It was set for 67 in the house, but it wasn't even up to like 62. The heater kept starting, running for a few minutes, then shutting down again.
So my wife called for our heating & air conditioning company to come take a look at it. They said they'd be at our house at 1 p.m... not so much. The dude finally got here somewhere in the 4 o'clock hour, and was still here when I got home around 5:15.
Yep, I made it home JUST in time to hear the GREAT news from the heating company guy. His assessment was:
1) The filter was clogged. Now, we just moved in 3 months ago and I changed the filter just after we moved in, so it's not like I'm totally out of periodicity on that MRC. (Sorry, Maintenance Requirement Card for those non-Navy types. In the Navy we have daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annual, and annual preventative maintenance we have to do that are documented on MRCs). Still, he said after he took the filter out, it started right up and kept running for a good 20 minutes afterward and was still running when I got home.
2) The bearings are going bad on the blower motor. He said because of this, the blower motor might be overheating and that might be what's causing the system to shut down every couple of minutes. New blower motor? $500. Cha-ching!
3) Our system is overall a piece of junk that is about to catastrophically fail and cause mayhem in our household any moment. The heat exchangers and piping are corroded. Who knows how soon it'll fail and dump freon into our house. He recommended not "wasting" the money on a new blower motor and just buying a whole new HVAC system for $9,800. Cha-ching! Cha-ching! Cha-ching!
Um... have you seen the DOW lately?
I mean, I just got a statement on my IRA for 2008, and it said my net return for the year was - (that's NEGATIVE) 33%!!! Not to mention we just became new home owners and sank all our non-retirement fund money into the down payment on the house. I just don't have $10k laying around to buy a new heating system right now.
As with the previous water heater dilemma, there's the question about the useless home warranty. Should we WAIT for it to FAIL and then ask the useless home warranty company, "Oh please oh please oh pretty puh-leeeeeeeeeeeease won't you replace our heating system?" I predict they'll give us the standard blah blah blah due to paragraph x on page y, this repair is not covered for reason z.
My wife called the useless home warranty company tonight to ask them what they would cover. They said only if there was a MECHANICAL FAILURE due to normal wear and tear would they pay to have it fixed. Plus, we can't just have it fixed and then send them the bill. We would have to:
a. WAIT for the system to fail
b. Put on several layers of clothing, mittens, hats, and wool socks
c. CALL the useless home warranty company
d. WAIT for the useless home warranty company to send one of THEIR representatives to come inspect the failure, see the busted pipe and the water damage and deem, "yes, it is not working" (because our assessment and our HVAC company's assessment aren't good enough). Then he'll say, "Oh, but we don't cover the water damage, only the new equipment." Riiiiight.
e. Huddle together as a family and all sleep in the same bed to share body heat while we wait
f. WAIT for the useless home warranty company to send someone (the lowest bidder with the cheapest parts available) to repair it
g. Go to Home Depot and buy some space heaters while we wait
... and so on and so forth...
Ahhh, the joys of home ownership.
So what do you think? Preempt the failure and rack up the credit card bill? Let it ride and see how long the current system lasts before it dies, and then take a stab at getting the useless home warranty to cover it?
I hope you all have a splendid 3 or 4 day weekend depending on your location. (Or 2 day weekend if you're not even in CONUS - Sorry, John!)