If It's Not One Thing, It's Another

Remember when I said my luck appeared to change when 2019 arrived? That I caught a break in the new year after fearing my car was doomed as the old year was coming to a close?

I may have spoken too soon.

Yes, I avoided a huge car repair bill (at least, for now). But as my neighbor across the street likes to tell me from to time to time, "If it's not one thing, it's another."

We both have teenage daughters. And while kids are expensive, their ability to drain a bank account is not relevant here. I'm actually talking about our rickety old heat pump. It has replaced my car (and my daughter) as the object of much hand-wringing.

I don't usually ask for thoughts and prayers. That phrase has become trite - the "go to" expression of condolence after mass shootings and natural disasters. But some good vibes thrown my old heat pump's way couldn't hurt.

Our heat pump has gone about its business just outside our back door for all of the 15 years we've lived here in our corner of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. It has kept us cozy in the face of winter's freezing temperatures and made our house a cool oasis in the middle of a humid summer. For years, I've listened to it kick on and cycle through its routine over and over and over again from the comfort of my favorite chair. It's part of the rhythm of our lives.

But it's getting old.

How old?

I have no idea.

When I asked our fixit guy about its age, he gave it a good long look, shrugged and would only say, "it's old."

Our heat pump has had problems in the past. But despite its age, we've always managed to coax it back to life. This time, however, seems somehow different.

The latest trouble appears to stem from an ice storm that moved through our neighborhood back in November. In fact, I had to head outside several times in the middle of the storm to chip ice just to keep the fan from freezing in place.

I noticed a change in our heat pump after that. It was still working. It just didn't sound right. So, to protect it from winter's ice and snow, I built a makeshift roof for it. It looked like a chicken coop, but it was probably the most manly thing I've done in a long time.

But I fear it was too little, too late. A couple of weeks ago, I knew it was time to call the fixit guy when I noticed the fan wasn't kicking on.

As it turns out, our heat pump needed a new motor to spin the fan. Our fixit guy stopped back by this week and replaced it.

But there's another problem that could spell doom. Our heat pump also has a bad circuit board. The new board my repair man brought with him when he replaced the motor didn't work because ... my heat pump is showing its age. The new board simply would not play well with a heat pump as old as ours.

All hope is not yet lost. Our fixit guy said he'd be on the lookout for a board he could make work and get back to me as soon as he could.

In the meantime, we're running the emergency heat as another storm prepares to bear down on my neighborhood.

That's expensive enough as it is, so keep your fingers crossed that my luck holds in these opening weeks of 2019.

I would hate to escape what one reader termed a "Carpocalypse," only to find that my heat pump has given up for good.


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