June 23, 2010

Surprise, New Homeowner! Your AC Is Broken!

Posted in musings tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:23 am by silversprung

Ah. It’s a monumental week for silversprung. Our first major unexpected home repair.

I’m sure all you longtime homeowners remember the first time your basement flooded, or when the pipes burst, the ceiling caved in, or the fridge stopped working. And I’m sure you fondly remember those unexpected major expenses.

Well, ours started with some condensation. Little drops lined the pipes leading to and from the indoor portion of our central air unit. The problem persisted, so I searched the Internet for an A/C company with good reviews and made an appointment.The repairman showed up and took a look around. He peeled back the black insulation material around the pipes and his eyes widened. “Ice!” he said and tsked tsked. “This isn’t good.” (By the way, repairmen, doctors, etc, when you say “this isn’t good,” it doesn’t soften the blow.) He opened up the indoor unit and gave an “uh oh.” He showed me the damage. It looked like a snowcone machine in there. The unit was completely filled with ice.

The ice was hidden from view, located behind a panel that could only be opened by unscrewing the unit. Because we didn’t know this was going on, we had been running the air conditioner, but it turns out that by using the A/C in this condition, we were potentially creating further damage. Turns out, we should have had the unit inspected by an HVAC person (not just the home inspector) before using it.

After a bunch of visits and tests, etc. the repairman located the leak from which the freon was escaping and he replaced the coil.

In addition to the bill for the labor, parts, etc, we signed up to get on a repair plan. This covers routine maintenance and helps defray some repair costs.

So the lesson learned here is that all new homeowners should find a heating/cooling company when you move in and get yourself on a regular maintenance plan. That way you can get your system inspected, updated, and cleaned once before summer and once before winter to potentially save yourself additional headaches.

Here are a few companies that service the Silver Spring area:

CroppMetcalfe: http://www.croppmetcalfe.com/

Thomas E. Clark: http://www.thomaseclark.com/

Cool Breeze: http://www.servicemagic.com/rated.CoolBreezeHeatingAndAir.16109547.html

Silver Spring Heating & AC: http://silverspringhvac.com/

If readers have experience with these companies or others in the area, share your reviews in the comment section below.



  1. Bill said,

    We’ve been under contract with B&B (http://www.bbairconditioning.com/) for a few years and are very happy with them. Our HVAC is 22 years old and they have managed to keep it running. The discounts have saved us a pile, and we get priority for repairs (our AC stopped working the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. We called at 9 PM and by 11 we had AC again).

  2. Casey Anderson said,

    F.S. Campbell — honest, reliable, reasonably priced

  3. GingerR said,

    We use Sickler Service.

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