Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alright, what else?

We were playing outside. Frisbee and hula hoops. We were having a lot of fun.

Hubby noticed that the fan on the A/C was spinning more slowly than usual and it started to make an odd noise.

A little later we went back outside to check on it. It made a terrible sounding noise (we both stepped back from the unit) and the fan slowed to a halt.

I was due to be somewhere, so I left him instructions of who to call and what to do. I took my leave and throughout the evening found out:

- Companies can come out immediately, day or night, as advertised, but the service charge is VERY inflated for them to do so.
- It was very likely the capacitor.

The next morning we awaited a call from the company whose number was on our unit. Turns out they did not contact us "first thing the morning" and hubby called them to find out what was going on. Apparently this was not the company that serviced us after we purchased the house; they had the old owner's name in the system. They'd be out "sometime in the afternoon".

We found our company's number. They had a tech there within a few hours. Turns out the compressor shorted out and took the capacitor with it. We'd known that if this happened we'd be SOL. The unit is 10 years old, a 10 SEER system, not supported anymore, and very hard to find parts for. We'd learned this from our home inspector as well as the A/C checkup/maintainer guys last summer.

We had figured we had a few years. The unit was doing okay, though the air handler inside was clogged with mold and dust and rust (which hubby cleaned up as best he could, not having the $800 to pay for them to do it). It ran. It cooled. Our average electric bill was about $160.00. One of the goals we had after filing was to save up money towards the A/C.

Nope. Caput. Done. He showed hubby a few things that made sense to him as far as it being truly broken and not just a sales technique. A new part, should they even be able to find it, would cost about $2000. It made sense to get a new system.

And, best party, they could install a new one that afternoon.

We called the office manager who checked with their financing company. Hubby was turned down. (I, of course, could not apply.) I was shocked. He has really good credit, even great. It was good enough to get a good rate on the house, we've made every payment, he has no other debt except for student loans. They couldn't tell us why. She offered to try their secondary company, and I agreed.

I also ran upstairs to log into his BOA account (with his permission). He has a credit card that we don't use. In fact, when he got the new card in the mail after the old one expired, we snipped it right up. No more CCs for us, no siree. Well, we might need it, and I had no idea even what kind of credit limit he has.

$5500 at 16.9%

For those who haven't bought a new A/C lately, they are rated by SEER. Higher SEER levels indicate higher efficiency, and there are tax credits from FPL as well as the government. 13 SEER is the least expensive unit and the least efficient currently available. (This is all based on very limited research and may not be entirely accurate.)

A 13 SEER system (a huge improvement over our old system) for our house was $3918.00. That includes installation, removal of the old system, a 10 year warranty, and one year of service.

We could have gotten a larger system; we certainly have enough room on the BOA card to do so. However, we decided to get the most basic system.

Was that a mistake? Ask me in a few years. We only knew that we have a senior citizen with a bad heart living downstairs and a 2 year old living upstairs. For us we could do a few days without A/C to price shop. For the other family members, there's no way. We got what we could "afford".

Yeah, yeah, we don't have income right now, so we can't "afford". I should say, instead, that it was the most affordable option.

I called the office manager back after getting the card number off the statement (hubby called and begged for the expiration date). Turns out we qualified for the financing.

At 5 years the payments were just over $100/month at 17.9% financing. This was a percent over the credit card, so we didn't go with that.

4 years had an APR at 14.9%.

3 years had an APR at 13.9%.

If hubby gets a source of income, we can swing the $133.00/month payments over the next three years. It's not an ideal solution, but it works.

If he does not get a job, it's still covered, though it gives us less for food.

By 4:45 we had a brand new A/C system and $4000.00 more in debt.

I have a Feeling that something's going to happen to/break down in the older car in the next few weeks. You know how "when it rains, it pours"? Yeah. I have a Feeling.

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