Yesterday it was warm enough for us to turn on the downstairs AC unit so I flipped it on before heading into the garage to finish up a piece. I was in there maybe ten minutes, and when I came back into the house the unit had shut off and the downstairs thermostat was flashing an -AC error.

I informed the Brit who immediately did some research and found out that -AC meant the power had been shut off at the control panel up in the attic, most likely because the float valve (which senses the amount of water in the drip pan under the condenser) had triggered, or a fuse had blown. He went up there today and lo, the drip pan was completely full of water. Since we don’t have the equipment to blow out the drainage system he tried scooping it all out and we let the pan dry out, at which point the thermostat started working again. So we switched the A/C back on. Three minutes later it cut out again with the -AC code.

On one hand, this means we have to call our HVAC company out on Monday to come blow out the drainage system and get it working again, and we really, really didn’t need a major repair bill right now. On the other hand, at least we know what’s wrong and the outside unit is still functional, which is a relief because we were told we’d need to replace it sometime this year. Hopefully the drainage thing won’t be too terribly expensive.

In the meantime we’re letting the cool air drift down from upstairs to cool off the downstairs. It’s a bit stuffy down here, but the weather’s only in the mid-80’s at the moment so it’s liveable. I grew up in Chicago during summers like this with only a window AC unit in the living room—if I could deal with it then, I can deal with it now.