Better late than never? Well, not in every case. But, give me credit for making an effort. Or, don’t. If you type a bunch of words but don’t really say anything, does that qualify as an effort? Whoa, deep thought for a Tuesday. Hey, it’s not my fault I’ve been shut in the house for two weeks with no exciting tales to regale my two readers with. Or, maybe it is my fault, but let’s not nitpick. About all I have to go with is the story of the Great A/C Outage of ’21, so go with it I shall. This unfortunate saga began last Wednesday. I joined The Guys for dinner at a nearby place (Solid Ground, as it happens,) and then afterwards they came over to the house to play some pool. We came in the house through the garage into the basement, which stays relatively cool all summer. So, we played some pool, then they took off back down the hill to their civilized worlds. Meanwhile, I’d gone up the stairs to get ready for bed, and immediate noticed something was horribly wrong. Yep, a quick check of the thermostat showed the a/c running but it was 80+ degrees. I stepped out back to check the a/c, and sure enough it was making a loud humming noise but nothing was happening. It was dark, and late, so I just shut it off, cranked on the attic fan, and went to bed. (We just had the attic fan installed a few weeks ago, dodged a bullet there!) Thursday I got up and made some calls, and the best I could do for an hvac visit was Wednesday of this week! Uh oh, we got a situation. Not too bad though, because the weather was “tolerable.” I toughed it out until evening, then the attic fan cooled things down quickly again. The real trouble started on Friday. By 10:30 in the morning the temp had gone up to 86 in the house. By noon it was even hotter, and the outdoor thermometer showed 110. I don’t know if that is completely accurate, but I don’t doubt that it was close, it was a record day. So, I turned to the google for some DIY help. What do you know, I found that the likely culprit was a capacitor, and this could be worked around by giving the compressor fan a spin to help it get started. Interesting side note, despite my doctorate degree in electronics from CMSU, I really wasn’t too clear what a “capacitor” was, nor was I inclined to figure it out. I did, however, know what a fan was. Despite some skepticism, (seriously, what are the odds of that working?) I found a stick of suitable size and gave the fan a whirl. Hey, success! Add HVAC guy to my resume! I immediate went inside, sat under a vent, and reveled in my success. Yeah, this was a short term fix, but one I could manage until Wednesday for my service call. A few blissful hours later, I thought, “Huh, seems to be getting a lil’ warm in here.” Yep, it was back up in the 80’s. I went out back and the fan had stopped again, but this time with no hum or anything. Uh oh. Back to the google. Well no matter how many links I followed, everything led to the mysterious “capacitor.” (Option 2 being the compressor had completely burned up, which certainly was in the realm of possibility considering the age of this thing.) I started making calls, beginning with my trusty local hardware store. Alas, nobody carries capacitors. They did, however, all point me to the same place down In Town, Fergusons. Hey, I’m game, I gave them a ring. Well, this call went about as I should have expected. The guy on the other end, who to his credit did seem very eager to help, started peppering me with questions that no mortal would possibly know the answers to. “What is the microfarad rating of your current one? Is it a start or run capacitor? One or two of them?” Geez dude. Uhhhhh, “it’s ball bearing?” Realizing the conversation was degrading quickly, he finally said, “Can you just bring in the old one?” After a brief, uncomfortable silence, I bluffed “Yeah sure, I’ll do that.” Back to the google. Well, I couldn’t find a really clear solution for this one. I can’t even find out the brand of my compressor, it’s just “old.” So, I started taking screws off. I pretty quickly came across a part that I decided, with some confidence, was a “capacitor.” I based this deduction on the facts that it was one of the very few parts I would call “removable,” and it also appeared to be in even worse shape than everything else inside. It came off pretty easily, and I went on my field trip To Town. Upon arrival at Fergusons, my confidence was greatly boosted when he confirmed that yes, that was indeed a capacitor, and it had most definitely failed in a spectacular manner. Whaddya know! I got home, put it back in (luckily I took some pictures so I knew what wire went where,) and fired it up. Boom, air conditioning! Grand total, $21 for the part and a buck in gas! Considering the service call alone was $100, I was just pleased as could be. Actually the fact is, I simply wasn’t going to survive until Wednesday without A/C, I guess I’ve gone soft. The money saving was certainly a nice bonus though!