This past Sunday, an engineer at our church who helps us work on equipment, etc told me he thought the capacitor went out on one of the fan motors on our big sanctuary air conditioner. We've got another guy at church who is a handy man at an apartment complex who has volunteered his services whenever we need AC work done. So I talked to the handy man Sunday and told him what we thought was going on. He said "no problem" and we arranged for him to come out Monday to put in a new capacitor. Well, Monday night did not work out for either of us, so we tried for Tuesday. Tuesday night he put the new capacitor on and nothing happened...still dead. He tested this and that and came to the conclusion that the motor was dead. He said we could order the motor ourselves and he could put it on saving us hundreds of dollars.
So on Wednesday, we called around and found a motor the same RPM and same horsepower. The guy took the motor out for me (complete with 26 inch fan) and I hauled all of that to the motor place he had called. Now keep in mind I am a "motor idiot"...I know nothing except "this is a motor, it is broken, I need a new one just like it". Short version of the story is, this place had a motor with similar specs except for the housing which was important since it had to go back into a very specific spot!
So Wednesday afternoon I called Lennox (since that is who made the AC unit, I thought that was a pretty good idea). They did have a motor, but it had to be ordered and picked up by an authorized Lennox dealer (which I am not at this current time). The handy man said call Grainger's (a super-cool monster part warehouse by the way) and see if they can get the motor. I called, gave them the model number and specs of my motor. They said they had one, so I drove the 30 minute drive to pick it up. Again, short version...right specs except for the size of the housing. Another major problem.
Well, I don't want to give the version that is so short that we miss all the "fun" stuff. First of all, remember I drove 30 minutes to get to this place. Then I bought the motor which came in a sealed box. I paid for it, loaded it into my car and started to leave. Then I remembered the other motor, you know, the other one that had similar specs but didn't fit. So I parked the car in a different parking spot and opened the box. Lo and behold, the motor had the wrong size housing again. So I got to stand in line for another 15 minutes to return the motor I just bought. And a short 30 minutes later, I was back at church.
On the way back to church, I called our AC guy...the one the church PAYS to come work on our stuff. He came out, took the old motor with him, got a new one, took the old fan blade off and put it on the new motor since NOBODY makes those fan blades anymore, and installed the motor. When he was done, I asked if I needed to sign anything or if he would just mail me the bad news. He said he'd mail it and then told me "You're not gonna like what they charged you for that motor". I told him the one I looked at from Grainger was $125. He looked at me like "We're not even talking in the same ballpark here." Oh boy, that will be fun when the bill comes in.
So, I called our handy man and told him what I had to do. I greatly appreciate the handy man's help (and he did do a lot of prevenative maintenance on our residential size air conditioners at church), but I've had a crazy two days learning about AC motors, where to go to have motors repaired and visiting the coolest industrial supply place around.