Not cool.

The furnace and air conditioner in our house are now twenty years old. This is equivalent to ninety-seven in human years. They’re old and—like many a ninety-seven–year old—some of the internal plumbing doesn’t work right anymore. When the heat turned hot last week, we quickly discovered that the air conditioner simply wasn’t working. Laura called “the guy” who has done some work on our furnace and he made an appointment for Friday.

Unfortunately, the Friday appointment was canceled due to thunderstorms, so “the guy” came by Monday afternoon. When I got home from work, the front door was closed. A good sign.

Sure enough, I was met with a wave of cool, refreshing air when I walked into the house. Excellent. “The guy” had refilled the coolant, but he advised Laura that the compressor wasn’t going to be able to cope with 90-degree days. Additionally, he said, the filters we use are too thick and don’t allow the fan to effectively move the cool (or hot, I suppose) air. We should use cheaper filters. Cost to fix the A/C on Monday: about $120.

Not bad.

“The guy” also suggested that the entire heating and cooling system be replaced (which we expected he would) and provided a rough estimate of the cost of doing so. I was expecting the number of zeroes on the end, but the non-zero number at the beginning was a bit higher than I anticipated.

Time to rob a liquor store.

Yesterday, Laura noticed that the A/C was leaking water (at least, we hope it was water) all over the floor in the laundry room. ((Edit: I’m told that the coolant is most likely gaseous and the A/C probably doesn’t use water in the system. It’s probably just condensation. If it is condensation (and I certainly wouldn’t discount that possibility), there’s an awful lot of it and it’s dripping from above the furnace, which doesn’t seem like it’d be a good thing.

More Edit: I’ve been schooled on the manner in which air conditioning works. The compressor outside compresses air and pumps it inside through a small pipe. Inside, the air is expanded in a coil, causing the cooling effect. Warm, moist air is passed over the coil and condensation forms on the metal. This moisture drips into a collection pan of some sort and drains through a pipe. The current theory is that the drain pipe is clogged, causing the drain pan to overflow. This may actually be something I can fix myself, and now I want to go home and do so.)) This seemed awfully familiar, because … hey, wasn’t that the reason we stopped using the A/C last summer? Yeah, it was. The source of the leak, which is right above the furnace, doesn’t looks like it’s going to be particularly easy to get at. In fact, it looks like it’s going to be kind of expensive to get at.

I’ll get the ski mask and the shotgun.

For the time being, the A/C is off. I can’t fault “the guy” for the leak. How was he to know? He fixed what appeared to be the immediate problem, which is exactly what we asked him to do. Whether we have “the guy” back in to fix the leak or suffer through the heat until we can pony up the dough to replace the whole kit and kaboodle is going to depend on just how uncomfortable we get, I would imagine.

Might as well grab a bottle of Jim Beam while I’m there.