Wednesday, June 12, 2019

My Through the wall air conditioner problem

One of the warts of our house is that it does not have central air conditioning.  I've looked into installing some form of cooling system but it has always been cost prohibitive.

In the Master Bedroom of our 106-year-old house, we have what is known as a Through-the-Wall air conditioner.  What some crazy or visionary previous owner did was take a window and seal it off to hold this unit. It is a very old, Sears Coldspot.  How old?  When you google the model number you get refrigerators because Sears stopped making these around the time Nixon resigned.

 While it still works in the "it turns on" sense, it doesn't produce cold enough air if the temperature reaches a certain point.  That point being the temperature one would turn an AC unit on.

It's hard to find anyone who works on these units these days because most homes have central air or at least SpacePak.  Or if it doesn't, people are buying cheaper window units.  But lo and behold, I found a recommendation on my local Facebook neighborhood group for a place that does this type of service.

I called Bob and from our initial phone call, I had a gut feeling I would not be happy.  I'm willing to adhere to the "respect your elders" up to a point.   I don't believe this Missionaria Protectiva gives someone a free pass to be abusive, or even just a plain old dick.

Bob cut me off while we were talking.  I was trying to ascertain whether it was worth his time to look at my ancient AC unit.  He said that he can usually do something to get these older units going and I believed him.  What I should have done, and he confirmed onsight, is send him a picture of the air conditioner.  I mean I did tell him it was a SEARS Coldspot and anyone in the business should have bee able to say "hey they haven't made those in at least 20 years!"

True to his word, he called me the morning of and said he was 45 minutes away.  About the time I was expecting him, I looked outside and saw a service vehicle driving so slowly down the block, obviously looking for my address.  He actually called me and I said "I see you, park in my driveway".  Older than the proverbial Methuselah this is a guy who probably shouldn't be driving at all, let alone a service vehicle.

I'm not making fun of him for his age.  I'm making fun of the fact that he obviously doesn't like doing what he is doing these days.  It would be one thing if he loved his job and didn't want to retire.  But it is clear that he is only doing this because he either made some bad life choices or experienced a series of unfortunate events.

He did not want to answer my questions.  To be clear, I didn't ask about his grandma's favorite sex position.  I asked about the AC unit.  He cut me off.

At first, it seemed my only options were to replace the unit which will run just short of $1000.  Or I can try to convert the opening back to a window, which will probably cost nearly as much.   I'm inclined to replace the AC so that we get some relief this summer before we put the house on the market.  NG feels that a window looks better.  The problem is, it isn't possible to put a double-pane window that will open enough for a window AC unit, which is why someone used this solution in the first place.

So after feeling sorry for myself and my $109, I did some research.  After watching a dozen Youtube videos, along with the one thing that Bob showed me -- how to remove the existing unit -- I feel confident that I can buy another Through-the-Wall and install it myself.

Edit from the future:  With a little helpful advice/research from Gary Lucido, we were able to find a unit that fit and I installed it myself for under $500.

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