Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Bliss and HVAC Woes

So who got up at 4 am to watch the Royal Wedding today? I wasn’t quite that ambitious but I did get up at 6 am just in time to see Kate (or Katherine now I suppose) get out of the car and make her way down that 300 foot aisle at Westminster Abbey to meet her Prince Charming. I thought she looked fantastic and I absolutely LOVED her dress. It was very elegant and stylish--not too frilly or poufy. I was able to watch until the coverage ended at 10 am because I had (conveniently) scheduled for the air conditioning man to come and pay the HVAC a little visit. Nothing like a Royal Wedding and a bill for air conditioning repairs to start the weekend off right.

So I wanted to have the A/C checked for multiple reasons, the main reason being that it just hasn’t felt cool in my house even though the thermostat has been at 76 degrees for the last couple weeks. I was putting off having it checked because I was fearing the worst but when the Starburst Jelly Beans I bought for Easter were melting together in my candy dish I knew something had to be done (if you have ever eaten a Starburst Jelly Bean you will understand the urgency).

My A/C man arrived right on schedule around 8 am this morning and didn’t leave until 11. He checked my furnace and changed the filter as well as looked at the ducts and of course the A/C unit itself. He informed me that I needed to have my ducts cleaned and that I should consider replacing the duct return system. He also told me my system wasn’t in the “best shape” but that he added some Freon and changed the filter so hopefully that would keep things cool for a while. $169 later he got in his truck and I left for work feeling a bit overwhelmed (a common feeling for me these past few weeks). It’s not like he informed me of anything I didn’t already know—the home inspector and various contractors have all made similar comments to me about the duct work and the HVAC system—it’s just that I am realizing I have no idea when these things will get fixed. If I had the money I would do it now but I don’t and that’s difficult for me. My house is like my child right now and I want it to run happily and efficiently but I’m beginning to think there is something to that saying “If ain’t broke don’t fix it.” I am realizing more and more that I’m just going to have to let some things go until they are really beyond repair and in the meantime just try and extend their lifetimes as long as possible with routine maintenance.  

But since this is hard for me to do I am already thinking of ways that I can make improvements while spending as little money as possible. For example, I am looking into having an energy audit performed on the house. These audits can sometimes be a bit pricey but thanks to the fact that my company is trying to help its employees stay green I am able to get a whole house audit done for $49 (Georgia Power, my electric provider, also offers a similar audit for free I think but the one I will be paying for is a little more comprehensive). During this audit my entire HVAC system will be checked, the insulation situation will be evaluated, and the company will calculate how efficiently my house is breathing (how much fresh air going in and out). The benefit of having this audit completed is that it will allow me to qualify for rebate programs offered by Georgia Power and the City of Atlanta’s Shine Program, and the company performing the audit will complete all the work I choose to have done and do all the paperwork for the rebates (up to about $3500 when you combine Shine and GA Power). Sounds pretty good right? My company is also offering a loan program where you can get a 0% interest loan of up to $5,500 if you are making repairs to increase the energy efficiency of your home. That interest rate stays at 0% for the life of the loan and the re-payment amount is just deducted from each pay check. Simple, easy, and tempting.

We’ll see though. I know I am definitely going to have the energy audit done so that I can understand the house a bit more even if I decide not to make any repairs at the moment. I’d rather be in the know this summer rather than being completely shocked and surprised when I open those $200 electric bills and am wondering what the hell happened when I’ve been keeping the thermostat at 80.

1 comment:

  1. How's your HVAC unit so far, Ashley? Well, I do get why you went for an energy audit instead of repairing your system because of the cost. So for now, it is important that you clean the ducts and the other parts of your unit to improve the airflow. When you do save enough money for repairs, I would advise you to go for them right away to avoid long-term damages.

    Alyssa Flynn