One of the warts of our 106-year-old house is that it does not have central air conditioning. Over the years I have explored installing some type of cooling system but it has always been cost-prohibitive. In the Master Bedroom, we have what is known as a Through-the-Wall air conditioner. What some crazy or visionary previous owner did was take a small window and sealed it off to hold this unit. It is a very old, SEARS Coldspot. How old? When you google the model number you get Maytag refrigerators because Sears stopped making these around the time Nixon resigned.
While it still works in the "it turns on" sense, it doesn't produce cold enough air if the temperature reaches a certain point. That point being the temperature one would turn an AC unit on.
It's hard to find anyone who works on these units these days because most homes have central air or at least SpacePak. But lo and behold, I found a recommendation on my local Facebook neighborhood group for a place that does this type of service.
I called Bob and from our initial phone call, I had a gut feeling I would not be happy. Bob kept cut me off while we were talking. I'm willing to adhere to the "respect your elders" mantra up to a point. I don't believe this Missionaria Protectiva gives someone a free pass to be abusive, or even just a plain old dick.
I was trying to ascertain whether it was worth his time to look at my ancient AC unit. He said that he can usually do something to get these older units going and I wishfully believed him. What I should have done, and he confirmed onsight, was send him a picture of the air conditioner. I mean I did tell him it was a SEARS Coldspot and anyone in the business should have been able to say "hey they haven't made those in at least 20 years!"
Bob came over, looked at the unit, pulled it partially out of the sleeve and took some measurements. He said that he could try to powerwash the coils for $500 but couldn't guarantee that would help. He recommended a new unit and could do the job for $940. He'd also give me $20 off as credit to the $109 service charge for that day's visit. Whoopie. He apparently didn't hear my question about how much was labor and how much was the unit.
So after feeling sorry for myself and my $109, I did some research. After watching a dozen Youtube videos, along with the one thing that Bob showed me -- how to remove the existing unit -- I felt confident that I could buy another Through-the-Wall and install it myself.
We found a unit on Amazon for $375. I was hesitant to order something instead of buying something at a nearby Big Box Store in case the sizing didn't fit but we opted to go for as inexpensive as possible because everything we save on one home repair, we get to spend...on another home repair.
Update: We also qualified for a ComEd Energy Saving rebate so knock another $25 off the total cost!
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Filed under: Weekend DIY