So That’s Why …

I have a thirty-something year old house.  It has thirty-something year old house problems.  One of those problems is the fact that it still has its original HVAC units.

Now, the average American would go through life with $4.13 in the bank account and no margin for life to happen.  "Life Happens" events like the HVAC unit going out.  Luckily, Jenn and I stopped living with blinders on and have saved for such events.

So here is the story.

In February, I received a MONSTER electric bill.  My reaction was like, "OH MY GOODNESS!  I could color in a ton of squares on the Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular if I did not have this huge electric bill."  So I did what anyone would do, I lowered the temperature of the thermostat and said to myself that we would just be a little chilly.  Well, we FROZE for the month of March and received another MONSTER electric bill.

I said to myself, "This sucks.  I am FREEZING and paying a ton of money on this stupid electric bill."

Luckily in April it warmed up nicely here in SC, and I was able to turn off the HVAC units.  I have been able to leave them off until this week.  On Monday night, it was over eighty degrees in the house and humid.  So I cranked on the AC and went to sleep.  When I woke up in the morning, it was still smoking hot.

Uh oh.

I called my father-in-law who does HVAC for a living, but he lives far away.  He told me to do some stuff, but all of it would involve me electrocuting myself so I decided to call my local friendly repairman (who also happens to be in my home group).

A short survey of the situation revealed that the condenser fan was not spinning.  Thus the large electrical buzzing sound that has been coming out of the unit since FEBRUARY.  Did I mention that it was buzzing since FEBRUARY?  Oh, I guess that sound was important to note.

Turns out that I heated my house with the emergency strip heating for two straight months instead of the heat pump.  Turns out that consumes enormous amounts of electricity.  Turns out it consumed a lot of my budget for two months.

A few hundred dollars later, we are nice and cool again.  With thirty-something-year-old units.  It might help to know that I have money saved up to replace these units when they totally fail on me. 

Do you have margin in your life to absorb "Life Happens" events?

Read recent posts 

You can read about how Jenn and I stopped being broke and won with our money in my new book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.  It is available via PAYPAL, AMAZON.COM, or BORDERS.COM.


  1. Saving Freak on May 30, 2008 at 4:14 am

    Same situation different house. I will be making the HVAC call today for my upstairs air conditioner. Both my units are also original to the house. We had been waiting for our stimulus check to finish off our savings just in case the unit needed to be replaced.

    Surviving with window units upstairs has not been fun (although surprisingly economical), but it beats getting debt just so my life is a little more convenient.

  2. HS@ourdebtblog on June 3, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    And you’re rushing to pay this off….

Leave a Comment