Monday, July 31, 2017

Word to the wise:

If you own your home, and are thus liable for paying for repairs yourself, and have central heat/air, double-check where the condensator for your AC drains.  And where your blower motor is.  And if the two are too close together, think about paying an HVAC expert to change where the condensator puts the water.

Yes, we learned this the hard way. 

Last week, very early on Tuesday morning, we had an...issue.  The blower stopped.  Completely and entirely.  The compressor still kicked on, but the house had no AC for all intents and purposes.  We tried turning the system off, then back on.  We tried flipping the breaker for it.  No dice.  Called the company that had put the system in, and they said they likely wouldn't be able to get to us for a couple days, but might have been able to slot us in that day. 

The high was projected to be triple-digit, with higher heat index (thanks, Missouri humidity).  For the rest of the week. 

We called someone else.  They made it at five pm that day.  Crawled under the house where the blower unit was, and found that the motor was burned out.  Completely.  Dead, with no chance of resurrection. 

The heat pump is only 5 yrs old.  It shouldn't have died, were it properly installed...which it wasn't.  Turns out, the condensator drained onto the ground under the house...under the blower motor.  Which raised the humidity under the house significantly.  And wound up killing the motor. 

It was, thank God, still under warranty.  For 30 more days.  And the place that installed the heat pump had one in stock.  The guy that we had out who found the problem picked it up Wednesday morning as soon as they opened, got over here and installed it, and put in a drainage system and pump to put the water from the condensator out from under the house. 

Overall, we were out a bit north of $350.  It could have been far, far worse, if this had happened a month--or year--later. 

Check your HVAC units.  Make sure proper function isn't going to cause a catastrophic mal- or nonfunction.  Spending a little now will head off spending a lot later.


  1. Here in Houston most ACs are mounted in the attic. There's a condensate pan and a drain line, with another condensate pan and drain to deal with the condensation from the primary condensate pan. Some are equipped with float switches that cut off power to the AC if the water level in the condensate pan rises too high. It's a popular cause of service calls, and an easy fix (Blow algae and crap out of drain line)and easy to avoid (put a toilet puck on a bottle cap in the pan). Also a good source of employment for drywall repair guys!

    1. If it's such a common problem, why don't more people check it frequently, and prevent it from *happening* in the first place? *I'd* have been checking if I knew it was an issue that could cause the blower to burn out.

      He said he put in a pump, then tapped the pump into one of the drain lines going from one of the sinks into the septic tank. It shouldn't be a problem anymore.

  2. Recommendation- Get an HVAC 'maintenance contract'. They cost around $200 a year, but they get you two free checks a year, and priority service and discounts on service calls. Also, if you have pets, change the filter MONTHLY!

    1. I change them as often as I remember because my other half and the imp both have allergies.