Oh, the irony. In my last post I wrote about getting what you need, not what you want. Well, I’m writing this, sitting in my basement in a balmy 84 degrees while the HVAC guys are installing a new condenser and coils. Did I want a new Airco Unit? No. Do I need a new Airco unit? Yes, it is hot (and it will get even hotter next week). Am I tempting the powers that be, or did I prepare for all the right reasons?
I’m fairly technical so of course I tried to fix things myself. Me and my multi-meter soon figured out the breaker had kicked (took some effort finding the right breaker). Resetting the breaker didn’t do the trick. On to YouTube, to learn what it could be. Chances are it’s either the capacitor or the compressor. Capacitor would be good news, as it can easily be replaced. Compressor, bad, you’re screwed and need a new unit. Crash course on how to measure capacity (complimented of YouTube again) and verification the capacitor is okay. Crap, it’s probably the compressor.
So this is where my DIY stops and I call the expert. Yup, compressor is dead. Btw, my fault for not keeping the condenser unit clean. Of course my unit is old and the refrigerant it uses (r22) is being phased out so, unless I can find a supplier of an old r22 unit, I’m forced to have an entire new install, using the new R410 refrigerant. After two days of unbearable heat (or humidity I should say) we want it fixed. How much and more importantly when? Well somewhere around $3,100 and probably around next week Wednesday, but no guarantees on that date. What!!!!????
Every month I see the $3.75 charge to Angie’s list and every month I bite my lip thinking I’m wasting $45 a year. Not yesterday. I can’t guarantee service but the reviews do give me piece of mind. I call the first service provider with tons of A+ reviews. “Sorry but we can’t help you until next week Tuesday”. This is where I get worried, will this last for over a week? Second company I call better news, they have someone in the neighborhood that come and give an estimate right away. Their initial meeting lives up to their A status. Let’s hope their installation is as good.
If you are looking for any service, Angie’s list is a good place to look (I am NOT an affiliate). They cost $3.75 a month and if need you can cancel at any time (You’ll have to actually call them to do so).
Oh and many providers have coupons. In the case of the provider currently working on we settled on a price ($3,500) after which I mentioned angie’s list and the coupon. I like to think I save myself $100 dollars there. The brand of airco they are installing rates higher on consumer reports then the initial estimate so I justify the extra $300.
Enter the emergency fund. When it rains they poor they say and boy, are they right. Having almost drowned in unexpected medical expenses earlier this year, now it’s the house’s turn to break down us. Luckily we’re prepared for this. I write extensively about how we manage our emergency fund. It’s invested and my make my point on why in Investing your emergency fund. How can you you invest you’re emergency fund? It should be fluid (whatever that means). Well, yesterday I sold enough shares to cover for the new airco, today I’ll pay the service provider by credit card and when my investment money clears in two days I will pay my credit card company.
To emphasize once more why I invest my emergency, here is some interesting math. I had to sell 17 share of SPY at $208. Those shares (first in/first out) where bought for $114. So the $1,938 (17×114) I invested back in 2010 is now paying for our $3,400 new Airco. You’ll find some more of this math when applied to last years medical expenses.
Lessons of today
It seems that if you prepare for disastrous medical bills you’ll be faced with them, but that could just be my superstition. Prepare for the worst and the worst will come, right?
If you can fix it yourself try to do so. I find that everything you ever need to know can be found on YouTube. Keep it safe though. Trained technicians can probably do it better but more importantly they know where the dangers lie. YouTube videos don’t always tell you about those.
Angie’s list for is is a life saver for us. I wouldn’t have known were else to start looking for a new AC. The cost of Angie’s list is $3.75 per month but you can sign up and cancel at any time. Do us all a favor and do leave a review of the services you’ve received.
Keep an emergency fund. You do now want to get stuck not being able to pay (or pay exorbitant amounts of interest) when something goes awry. You may not be as comfortable as i investing your fund but at least have one.
Good luck reaching your financial goals