So, my AC stopped working last night. I live in Central Florida, and it’s August, which means I was in hell. Melissa and I tried to fix the issue, but eventually accepted that we needed a professional to repair the system. A mechanical engineering friend of mine recommended Gembecki Mechanical, so I gave them a call. I was quite pleased.
Melissa had called me yesterday morning to let me know something was up with the AC system. I was really busy at work, and hoped she was just crazy. I forgot about the problem, went to the CoLab Orlando open house and came home. When I got home, I learned quite quickly, that Melissa was not crazy at all.
I opened up the air handler, and found the coil encased in a large block of ice. Quite naturally, I figured that the refrigerant was low, and I might have to go to Home Depot to get some more (apparently not, since HVAC refrigerant isn’t sold without a license). In the interim, I thought it best to try to melt the block of ice obstructing airflow to the cooling fins of the handler.
Melissa and I stood there for about an hour, with hair driers and screw drivers trying to melt / chisel away the ice that had built up on the coil. After we decided that we had sufficiently melted all of the ice away from the coil, we put the AC back on, albeit at a much higher temperature ( 80 degress :/).
Well apparently it was still too much for the unit to handle, and it quickly refroze. I slept on the tile floor for the night and called my buddy (the mechanical engineer) immediately the next morning. He quickly listed a possibility of options (including letting me know I wasn’t going to pick up freon at Home Depot). After knocking down the possible DIY solutions, he mentioned that the refrigerant might need to be charged, and I would have to call a company to do that. He quickly recommended Gembecki, based on previous experience (personal and professional).
So, I called Gembecki Mechanical to put in a service request. Within an hour I had talked to a few people, who were all very professional, and very upfront about what to expect (service time ETA, pricing, etc …). Around 11:30am, I got a call from someone at their office that Tony was going to be at my house within a half hour.
About 30 minute later, Tony showed up. I followed him around a lot (I have an insatiable curiosity about things) to see what was wrong, and how to fix it. After a bit of basic investigation, Tony was able to confirm that the refrigerant was low.
Usually, when refrigerant is low, it’s because there’s a leak. My case is no different. I undoubtedly have a leak in the line between my air compressor (the big fan outside) and the air handler (the noisy thing inside). Rather than jump the gun on leak detection and repair, Tony asked me what I was comfortable with right now.
My options were: pay now to try to fix the refrigerant line, that had a leak small enough to only become obvious after 2 years of use, or wait a little while longer to see if the refill holds for a while. Gembecki has a 30 day warranty on that sort of work, so if the leak becomes a problem quickly, they can send someone back out within a month for no charge.
What’s more, the repair to the line (provided it’s not in a terribly obscure location) is relatively cheap. Given that Melissa is going out of town this weekend, and she’s been looking forward to her fun time; I elected with the more irresponsible option. I’m gonna wait it out. Money is still a little tight right now, and I don’t want Melissa to miss her chance to have a lot of fun with her friends this weekend over this.
Tony’s clear layout of my options were great. He was done within an hour and the house is cooling of quite nicely now. My total cost was $150, which considering everything they did for me, I couldn’t be happier about. I cant thank him and Gembecki Mechanical for everything they’ve done for me!!!