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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I was talking to a coworker the other day about the hidden maintenance costs of owning a house, and how that has to be amortized into the monthly payments before you ever kid yourself into thinking ownership might be a “good deal.”

Recently, our heat pump has started doing funny things. The system will be set to have the heat pump deactivated, and will not be providing trigger voltage to the pump, but the pump will still be circulating coolant and actively cooling it. This is not part of the pump’s self-thaw/maintenance cycle post system shutdown either, as it stays in this state until I throw the 40-amp breaker to shut it off. Also, because none of the freezing cold refrigerant is actually being used for heat exchange, it causes an inch of frost to form around the coolant line inside the house, which while entertaining, doesn’t strike me as a good sign (or a particularly good thing).

Other times, the system will be providing trigger voltage, and the heat pump will just sit there idle. This seems only to happen when the house is exceedingly warm, of course.

So, maybe they can fix the thing. But it’s 20 years old, so I fear that we might just need a new one, which is sort of terrifying, since a 2-ton unit apparently costs something on the order of $5-10k.

And, of course, this ignores the fact that we’re on an R-22 unit, with R-22 lines (they’re too thin for the new refrigerants), and this means running new lines, as well as replacing the air handler, and all that sort of fun stuff.

So, hopefully it’s just a failing valve or something, and there’s an easy fix. Because otherwise, this is going to suck.

But, and here’s the great thing, the soonest I can get somebody out to even look at the unit is a month away. I hope it’s cold for a while. At least our energy costs will stay down…