The house my brother and I grew up in was a big brick kind of rambling, drafty old house in central North Carolina. Back then we had cast iron radiators for winter and an attic fan for summer. It never seemed to get hot enough to need that fan often. We kept all our windows open, up and downstairs, and when my father turned the fan on it clicked several times before revving itself up to begin drawing in the cooler outside night air.
Central heat and air is a godsend when it works. Not long ago I came home from a morning volunteering at a local public garden with other avid gardeners, some master, some amateur, all compatible and happy. In our element. Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu greeted me with robust enthusiasm and joy and after a shower we settled in to a quiet afternoon.
Noticing I had become restless, Lily was incessantly panting, I realized it was quite warm, so wandered over to the hall thermostat.
Blank. Just lines on the screen. No numbers. I randomly pushed some buttons. Nothing.
I have lived here for two years. The central air unit was a year old when I moved here so I pretty much figured it had not died. That first summer I was still unpacking and storing things in the very small attic floor space when I noticed water in the pan under the unit. I retrieved my little carpet cleaner vacuum and suctioned it out. Probably between 2-3 gallons of water. Then I called the air conditioning repair people. They came and suctioned out more water, flushed the system for clogs. This happened two more times that summer.
Last summer nothing happened. Refreshing cool air, ran fine all summer long. No trouble at all. So after the storm the service person came out in the fall to inspect and service the system. All clear, all systems go.
But the blank screen again this summer. After the service call visit where they checked the system, cleaned out the pan of water, cleared the lines, flushed for clogs I climbed those rickety steps and poked my head into the stifling hot attic to check that pan every couple of days. Dry as dust.
So though I’d love to blame things on anything else I will never really know. I do not know anything about air conditioning units. I understand something about condensation but nothing much about why a system develops a clog. My dogs are long-haired but they would never go up those rickety pull-down attic stairs. I am told we have here on the coast a chlorine-resistant algae that is fond of growing in air conditioning units. I regularly change the filters in the ceiling. That is all I know to do. So when something goes wrong I do what I can but it is only alleviating the symptom. I need the root cause eradicated.
Maybe I could start a new career….
And so for now I am heading back up into the suffocating attic to suction out that pan. But I have a repair call in for this week.