[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 16 March 2005]
At the tail-end of last year’s Festival of Pain (a.k.a. summer) we noticed that water was dripping from ceiling. Not a good thing. Air conditioning company was called and determined that both the pan and the coil had rusted through and were leaking.
For those blessed with ignorance of the world of air conditioners, the coil is the piece that sits in the ceiling and cools the air through magic and freon. Essentially a refrigerator. This generates quite a bit of condensation, which is drained off. The pan sits underneath the coil and catches any overflow drainage. Except in our case, for some reason, both of these had rusted through. Which, in a nine-year-old house, should not, repeat not be happening.
The leakage wasn’t bad enough to cause any damage to the drywall, but left alone it would get there. This being late summer, the air conditioning company suggested waiting for things to cool off before performing the repair. So they patched the pan and coil as a stop-gap, which took care of the immediate symptom, but would of course not last.
Time marched on and it was time to bite bullet and get this taken care of. So today two merry men came by to replace the pan and the coil, so that it would be taken care of before we have to start running the air conditioner non-stop again.
Huge and expensive operation. Total cost: $991. Yes, American dollars. Took them four and a half hours. The coil alone cost $750, and is a beast of a thing.
So why, pray tell, had the coil and pan rusted out? Because of the criminal incompetence of the home builder, that’s why. The coil has to be installed at a slight angle so that condensation will run off through the designated drain hole. This had not been done, so the coil literally had standing water inside it and was rusted out like a beached Soviet submarine. Nice.
But there is good news. Apparently, the science of air conditioning has progressed over the last nine years, and the new pan and coil have plastic bottoms instead of rust-prone steel. What a concept, eh?