I planned to write about our broken-down old heat pump this week.

And I guess in one sense, I did. But I really wanted to regale you with an amusing tale of how we persevered through the coldest temperatures of the season so far and emerged warmer than ever.

Of how my heat pump beat back space and time to triumph over the ravages of old age.

Of how my trusty fixit guy brought it back to life after its near death experience and made it better than it was before.




Almost as if it were the Six Million Dollar Heat Pump, but on the budget of a public radio journalist whose wallet is stretched thin by one kid in college and another preparing to go.

Most of all, I wanted to be able to say that my luck held after my car gave me a scare at the end of 2018, only to magically work through its issues by itself in 2019.

It would have been a heroic story. And it would have restored your faith in the new year and in the country, not to mention HVAC systems.

There's just one problem. Our heat pump remains one step away from being hauled out to the junk yard, unceremoniously dumped there and left for dead.

You can catch up on the saga here. But the short version is simple - our heat pump is decrepit. If I were a guessing man, I'd say it's about as antiquated as a rotary telephone. And that means parts for the doddering old fool are hard to come by.

When our fixit guy was here last week, he was able to replace the motor that spins the fan, the equivalent of giving it a hip replacement, I guess. In any case, it no longer struggles to get up to speed when it first kicks on.

While replacing the motor was a comparative snap, our heat pump still does not want to cycle through its routine properly. That's where a new pacemaker circuit board comes in. It apparently crapped out when the motor did.

Our repairman planned to replace it with a more modern board, but it might as well be alien technology.

And that is where we are now.

I'm waiting to see if our fixit guy can pull off a miracle. The last I heard from him he said he would try to find a board that he could make work.

I'd call him to see how that's working out, but I don't want to hear bad news.

And in case your concerned, I trust that our fixit guy is doing all he can. We've developed a relationship over the years. You could even say we've bonded over that rickety, old heat pump. He's worked on it enough, anyway.

In the meantime, our house remains on emergency heat as the life of our heat pump hangs in the balance.

That's expensive enough as it is, so keep your fingers crossed.


  1. A heat pump is great because you can use it year-round. Sure, a heat pump is a little more expensive than your average air conditioner or heater, but it's worth it because you get everything you need out of one system. Cost Effective: Heat Pumps are a super cost-effective way to heat or cool your home. A good heat pump will last for many years. After installing one, you won’t need to think about replacing or upgrading it for a very long time to come. If, however, you have a heat pump that is several years old and is starting to show signs of slowing down, it might be time to consider an upgrade. RJ Heating and Air Conditioning is a long-running, family-owned business in Milwaukee, WI. If you are considering upgrading your heat pump, one of their certified technicians will be glad to give you a free estimate. Contact them now for more information.


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