I never thought peanut butter would become a solution to a home repair, but it certainly helped! Let me explain…
Last December, approximately a year after I moved into my tiny house I started having problems with my Air Conditioner (yes, I was using my AC in Dec in GA). My compressor would turn on and the unit seemed to be working, but cold air was certainly not part of the equation.
For those of you who have been following my tiny house journey for a while, you probably know that fixing an AC is not a skill I currently possess. So when I started having problems, I called a local repair company that I found online.
This company came out, informed me there was a apparently a leak somewhere in the system and preceded to “recharge” the unit. Now, at the time I asked the repair man to look for a leak. He checked the outside unit, tightened everything up and then came inside to look at the inside unit..what happened next is mildly amusing, and if it hadn’t cost me nearly $900, it might have been really amusing.
This gentleman came inside and took one look at my wall unit (after a careful inspection of my home, which I could tell he thought was absolutely too small!) and said, “well Miss Lora, that’s gonna be a buggerboo to get down. (For those of you you who have never lived in the south the rough translation of buggerboo is “pain in the a**” ) Why don’t we just see what happens and if you have more problems you can call me back out?”
Now normally this wouldn’t have been an acceptable answer from a maintenance person, but at this point I was not convinced that he knew more than me about my AC unit. First bill, $230.
You can guess what happened…the leak wasn’t actually fixed and three months later I had to call another repair person out to fix my AC. Fortunately this repairman had been recommended by a friend and he was polite, professional and extremely knowledgeable. He was also not frightened by buggerboos, which turned out to be incurably important!
After some struggling with the inside unit (which was in fact a buggerboo to get off the wall), my new maintenance guy determined that I had a cracked coil. It took a third repair visit and some careful support from the critical peanut butter jar, but eventually the AC was back in good working order. Total cost nearly $900.
This story brings me to three pieces of advice:
- Expect Repairs – Just because you live in a tiny house, it doesn’t mean things won’t break. On the surface this seems pretty obvious, but I will tell you that I hadn’t really factored in repairs in my tiny house dream. It’s not that I thought everything would work forever, it just wasn’t really in my planning process. This AC repair was an important that reminder that a tiny house is going to have periodic maintenance.
- Plan Ahead and Save – Once you recognize and accept that there will still be repair bills associated with your tiny house, it’s wise to set up a savings account for unexpected bills. Fortunately, I had some money in an emergency fund, so while certainly not fun, the $900 didn’t wreck my budget. Make sure you are saving at least a little each month for those unexpected expenses and be prepared for the buggerboos lurking in your home.
- Know Who to Call – Finally, it’s always a good idea to know a few reliable and reputable repair people who can help, particularly if like me, you aren’t as handy as you’d like. As I found out, you don’t want to be looking for great service providers when you need something fixed, particularly in a timely manner (lofts get hot fast without AC in the south). Consider making a list of one or two people you can call in the event of an unexpected repair to your house, or at least take the time to get recommendations from friends and family on who they have used for repairs in the past before you hire a repair person. If I had done this, I could have saved myself time and money.
Learn from my mistakes and plan ahead. And remember, peanut butter can help you solve all types of problems in a tiny house!