Apr. 2nd, 2012

cifarelli: (Ember)
The aftermath of yesterday's crappy day was expensive.

$725 for 4 new tires on my car.  I still had the factory-original new-car tires, which are generally only good for about 30k miles or so.  I was at just shy of 29,500, and I noticed on the flat tire that Andrew took off that the tread was almost gone.  I hadn't looked at the other tires closely, but did catch myself wondering if the tread was gone because it was flat and I'd been driving on it for a bit, or if all the tires were in that same shape.  Turns out they were all in that same shape, and I needed 4 new ones.  On the positive side, the boys were well-behaved while we waited, and our wait only ended up being about 45 minutes.  Much better than I had been dreading.

Air Conditioning
We had an AC tech out this afternoon, and it turns out that we're low on freon and the evaporator coils need to be replaced. Again.  May 2010 we had this exact same problem, but it was completely covered by the warranty then.  And this time I noticed and called it in before the thing froze up and caused water damage.  Since we're past our 2-year warranty now, I called out the AC company we used at our old house that I had been happy with rather than the company we used last time (that provided the builder's warranty).  Turns out we're still covered by the manufacturer's warranty (for 5 years, so through 2014), so we are only having to pay for the labor and incidentals, but that's still going to run us $810, to be paid tomorrow. 

I asked a bunch of questions about why the evaporator coils are going bad so often.  The tech who was here said that the particular brand of coils we have, which are the only ones Lennox authorizes for use with their blowers, are not ones that he has a high opinion of.  If we were to switch to a better evaporator coil, we'd (a) have to pay for it to the tune of a couple thousand dollars and (b) they'd no longer be able to determine the energy efficiency (SEER rating) of the system because the new one wouldn't be authorized by Lennox and may change the efficiency.  So we'd really need to change out the blower (outside unit...I may be getting my terminology wrong here) as well, which would up our costs to $5k-$6k.  Additionally, he said that there has been research done showing that new houses are hard on evaporator coils...apparently some of the chemicals released by the new materials just eat up the evaporator coils.  I'd be curious to see a citation for that, though -- guess I could do some research next weekend when I'm at work and see what I can turn up.

Anyway, it makes the most monetary sense to just replace the evaporator coils at this time with the ones that are still covered by the manufacturer's warranty.  Once the warranty runs out, if they need replacing again when we'd need to pay the full $2500+ for them, then we need to look at just spending the money to upgrade/replace the whole system.  I can only hope our house has stopped being "new" enough for this new set (being installed tomorrow) to last more than 2 years.  In the meantime, we're not running AC tonight so as not to damage any other of the components, or develop a frozen AC overnight.  Fortunately, it's cool outside so staying in the high 70s here in the house.  Not ideal for sleeping, but not terrible.  I've actually been reasonably comfortable today, except for the brief period after my hot shower and washing dishes in hot dish water. 

While the AC tech was here, I carried Ian outside with me for 5 minutes so he could see what the tech was doing.  Dumb move.  I hadn't put bug spray on him, and a mosquito found him.  I saw it land on his leg, swatted it away, and immediately took him back in the house.  Well, it got a bite in, because a few minutes later there was an obvious welt appearing. I dosed him with Benadryl right then, and gave him another dose before bed.  As of bedtime his leg (this new bite was about an inch or so away from the one that has just healed) was swollen a little bit right around the bite, but nothing egregious-looking.  We'll see what it's like in the morning -- dunno how much the immediate dosing with Benadryl might have helped in keeping the swelling down.  Organic (or at least "natural") bugspray is on my grocery list for tomorrow.


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