Earlier this summer we had a stretch of several days of hot, humid weather laced with heat indexes of more than 100 degrees.
The builders of our home installed two separate air conditioning (AC) condenser units in our home – one in the basement for our first floor comfort and the other in our attic for our bedrooms.
During the peak of the hot spell, the unit upstairs stopped working.
We have a programmable thermostat for each AC system [see photo insert]; however, the previous owners of the home never left us the instructions.
So I automatically assumed it was something wrong with the thermostat. For two sweltering days I monkeyed around with the various setting combinations, searched for instructions to our specific thermostat models online and made several calls to the support desk for the thermostat manufacturer.
Even though the family and our newborn camped out in the cooler first floor – their lack of patience began to further heat things up.
After two days, I called a heating and cooling specialist. They came out and went straight to the condenser unit in the basement – which was fine – and then checked the one in the attic.
That’s where the problem was.
Just like water condensates on the outside of an icy drink in hot weather, water condensates on the cooling coils of an AC unit and must be caught and drained outside of the house to avoid water damage to the interior wood and drywall.
The subcontractors who had installed the original units had set up a catch basin trigger for the water produced by the condenser. So if the draining tube got clogged and the water started to fill up the catch basin, the AC unit would shut down and stop producing cold air and the cold water runoff.
Turns out that’s exactly what happened in our case. The drain line was plugged and the trigger did what it was supposed to do. We avoided thousands of dollars of water damage that we might not of noticed for several days had the AC unit continued to run during our temporary hot hell spell.
The point of this post was that I was completely focused on the wrong thing – the thermostat – when the problem was actually something completely different – the condenser unit.
When I thought about this, I found the obvious implications for other areas of my life as well. When I run into a metaphorical brick wall in any issue going forward, rather than giving up, I’ll seek the help of a specialist who knows more than I do.
This echoes a lesson I learned long ago in business school, but had forgotten:
“Teams make better decisions than individuals.”
I need more teamwork in my life and less “me work.”
Question: Is there a problem in your life that doesn’t seem to be fixed because you might be focused on the wrong area of the problem?