Sunday, August 7, 2016

Dryer? Or Hotter?

So, about two months ago, we had a crazy storm here in Central FL, and it blew a huge tree limb down out of a large oak tree in our yard - it came down like a rocket. landing point-side down (rather than longways) on our roof, ripping open a cantaloupe-sized hole in our two-year old roof.  As you can imagine, I was pissed as hell.  And because it was weather-related, the roof warranty didn't cover it.

The cost to repair it was $450, but I was able to sell some of my Disney volunteer tickets to a coworker of mine, so there was no out-of-pocket cost to us (no, I didn't go through my homeowner's insurance; the deductible is $1000).

Anyway, I'd forgotten about that issue.

I came home from work today and hubby mentioned to me that the dryer wasn't working.  It wouldn't turn on no matter what you did.  I wasn't surprised; it was 16 years old (we've had it since our first Grown Up Married Family apartment way back in 2000).  So, he and I hopped in the car and went to my favoritest place in the world - Home Depot!

We looked at all the different models and we knew that we wanted a step up from what we had now, but nothing so fancy as the dryers that match HE washers, or something that has a lot of bells and whistles to break (no steaming, nothing like that). We vacillated between a GE and a Samsung. Both were within $5 of each other, both had the same features, give or take. We ended up with the GE, which cost about $550 after you throw in the YOU MUST BUY IT dryer cord and delivery.

Feeling like grown-ups (yeah, we're in our 30s and 40s, that doesn't make us grown ups!), we grabbed dinner from Subway then headed home.

As I walked into the house, I noticed that it was a bit warm.  (It is August...)  I stood in front of the dining room AC vent (which is the easiest to feel) and, yeah, the AC was blowing warm air.  Okay, we've had issues like this before. Maybe the lines outside have frozen?  Nope. Maybe we need to reset the circuit breaker? Nope. Maybe there's a clog in the drain line? Nope (though that wouldn't affect the temperature...)  I was out of ideas. We opened the windows and left the AC on as "fan" all night because otherwise it would be 90ยบ in there at midnight, but since we have a window unit in our room (old house, bad duct work), we told the kiddo that she was more than welcome to bunk down on the floor if it got to hot in her room.

On Friday, while I was at work, hubby called a few HVAC guys to come out and check on our problem.  AirDucks Heating and Air took one look at our external system and said that we might as well just replace our whole system.  Whatever brand our system is - they don't even MAKE it anymore, so parts would be impossible to find. Both the compressor and the capacitor were shot.  And while it would only cost about $1000 to fix both (gah, only???), there was no guarantee that it would keep the unit running for any length of time.

After the left, hubby called me to relay the news. I was pissed and stressed, as you could imagine.  I asked him to call Bertie Heating & Air to have them check it out too.

Bertie checked it and we got basically the same answer. So, it looks like we're gonna have to drop some cash on a new HVAC system.  Okay.  Deep breath.

When I got home, Bertie was still there and he was able to give me estimates.  A 15Seer was $4000. A 16Seer with Variable Speed was $5000 and a 18Seer was $6500. We decided to go with the 16Seer because it would bring value to the house when we were ready to sell it.  There were other costs associated, of course, and we were looking at about $6000 to replace the HVAC.

Okay, so where's the money gonna come from?  Bertie doesn't self-finance, but they partner with two different local credit unions (one of which I'm a member of).  My credit, however, is horrendous.  Their preferred lender was the other credit union, so I tried them first (the flyer I was given said something like 2.9% interest personal loan!).  Well, I didn't qualify for that, nor any type of unsecured personal loan, but they could give me an 8.9% 5-year loan if I put up my paid-off car as collateral!!! Yeah, no thank you.

Could I get a loan from my retirement account? Nope, Florida Retirement Systems doesn't do loans.  Okay.  That secured loan is looking to be my only option...

But wait!  What about hubby's retirement account? I'd hate to cash it out (we had to do that for the roof, and the tax bite was terrible), but we can't live in Florida with no AC.  We got so lucky - his retirement account allows for loans!  We won't have to cash out the whole account, which means there won't be a tax hit from that, and since we'll have to pay it back, we won't get dinged at tax time, either, because it's not seen as income!  And on top of that, the interest rate is only 4%! And, even better, the loan repayment can come right out of his paycheck, so it's like I'm not even going to feel it! Oh, hallelujah, I'm gonna get a new AC!

But wait... it gets better!  Later that day, Bertie guy came to the house again to take some measurements and he saw what our ducts looked like.  Y'all, I can't even... we need all new ducts too.  Our house is 60 years old. I don't know how old the ducts are, but I'm guessing they aren't new-fangled and energy-efficient.  New ducts will add (drumroll please) $3500 to the cost of our fix.  We are now up to just about TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS...   (to put that in perspective, the first year hubby and I were married, we reported SEVEN thousand dollars - net - on our tax return).  Luckily, Mr. Bertie, the owner, was willing to finance (with some interest) the ducts over two years, as long as we paid in full for the AC.  I was okay with that, and so we will pay $175 for the next 24 months.  (I had the smarty-brains to put it on a credit card that gives cash rewards; I pay the card, the card pays Bertie, I get cash back... I guess it's the best of a shitty situation). 

So, the Bertie guy was able to come to my office on Friday, where I signed the paperwork to get this whole thing started, and he said that he'd bring by a portable AC (one of those rolling ones with the vent that sticks out of the window) to the house by the end of the day so we don't fry!  This is awesome!

Now, to survive the weekend... The Weather Channel says it's ONLY supposed to go up to the low 80s on Saturday and Sunday (though it's hot as hell right now...)  I thank God for small favors!

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