Interesting weekend . . .


Well, first off, we had a bitterly cold Canadian air mass move through the area starting Friday afternoon, which dropped the local temperatures to sub-freezing. Naturally, the extra strain caused the central heating unit to finally quit – completely.

We’re fine, though. The fireplace insert we put in last fall took over with no trouble, aside from a bit of extra bundling up to keep the setting lower.

Anyway, Sunday afternoon proved to be quite the adventure. It started just after lunch, when my wife took a bag of trash out to our dumpster. As she opened the lid, she discovered about a dozen (used? not sure) syringes in the bottom of the bin. She came running back in and told me – I went out and confirmed it, and then called the local police. They were amazed that someone would go to the trouble to put them in OUR dumpster – there are several houses around where they’d have been less likely to be seen. See, our dumpster sits direcly under that brand-new super-bright LED security light we just had installed about a week ago, making it a very visible location even in the middle of the night. Anyhow, they cheerfully removed the syringes, and said they would do some extra patrols through the neighborhood to see if they can find who put them there.

As soon as the officer left, I went to the kitchen and put a cup of coffee in the microwave to warm up. I’d just sat down at my computer to read the news when *BANG* – I heard something loud right out front that sounded sort of like a head-on collision. That turned out to be pretty close to describing what did happen. Somone’s vehicle jumped the curb just north of our driveway, and destroyed a traffic sign (on a metal pole!) which landed in the street. By the time I got out there, and I tried to respond pretty quickly, the vehicle that hit the sign was gone, but a pickup had stopped in traffic and was keeping other vehicles from hitting the sign. I had my phone in hand, and called the police again. There wasn’t much they could do about it, aside from filling out an accident report. None of the potential wittnesses waited around for the police, and all I could tell them was that I heard it happen and called right away.

More House Maintenance…

Well, we knew it was coming.

Nearly 7 years ago when we bought this house, we were told that the HVAC and water heater were both old. An average water heater has a life-span of 10 years, and the one in the house was already 18. I’m not sure what a normal life-span for an HVAC system is, but I’m pretty sure 45 is pushing it. This one was installed in 1973.

Anyhow, in the last 18 months we’ve had 4 service calls on the heater, so we knew it was about to go. Day before yesterday, we had to have another visit, and after spending 2 hours cleaning burners and electronic ignition switches, he stated that he’d done all he could and it was still uncertain. So, I asked him to have someone from his company come by to give us an estimate on a complete system. That night, the heat failed to light yet again.

The fellow who came to do the estimate was quite impressed that this old thing lasted so long, and said we’d definitely see some energy savings from getting the units replaced before summer arrived. As an added bonus, there will be an actual place to put the filters, so they won’t rub up against the blower motor anymore. It will be easily changed, too. After measuring this, that, and a few other things, he tallied the bill to – – – – $4600, installed.

So, my wife and I spent some time last night looking at how to juggle some plans and savings arrangements, and figured that it is doable. Certainly not the way we wanted to do it, but we can do it. Oh, and we got the bill in the mail for the water heater installation, too. It was just under $700.

So, a quick recap of the last 6 months of home maintenance:
$3500 Fireplace insert
700 Water Heater
150 Security light
4600 HVAC system

I certainly hope that’s enough for a while.

A very busy day . . .

Yesterday was a busy day.

First, the city arrived and put in our 2 new trees (both elms, which will eventually provide afternoon shade for the new sidewalk).  They are in the ground and happy (I think?).  Late last night, Gaia even took care of watering them.

Then I had to call my wife to let her know I was calling an HVAC repairman – at 0900 it was 5F degrees hotter inside the house than it was outside the house, with the A/C turned on.  They arrived at around 1400 (2pm).

Shortly after noon, our mowers arrived – one of them, anyhow.  He told me that his son and daughter-in-law (the other 2) both fell off of a ladder 2 days before while working on some guttering (they also have a guttering and downspout business).  She was about 10 feet off the ground, and landed on the concrete driveway.  He was higher up, but a garden table partially broke his fall.  Both were rendered unconscious by the impacts, but they are doing alright now.

Then the HVAC repairman told me that the problem was 2 parts of our system quit working.  Both could be replaced, but he didn’t have either part on his truck.  One was a capacitor, the other was a circuit breaker.  He has capacitors on his truck – but not for 27 year-old systems.  So, he had to drive out to a supply store to get the parts.  It was all working again before my wife got home from work.

Oh, and though it’s a minor detail in such a busy day – I got an email from the eBay seller we bought a covered litter box from – you really DON’T want to know why we needed that – with a tracking number.  Testing the tracking number at 1430 told me that the package had already reached Lenexa, KS at noon.  While it MIGHT have been able to get here by the end of the day, I was already expecting it to arrive today.  Yep, I was right on it not arriving yesterday, at least.

Oh, and somehow during all of that I still managed to fit in a workout on our new weight bench (despite the severe temp and humidity – there was a storm system wrapping itself around our area all day).

Heater update . . .

Well, the good news is that we don’t need to replace the whole, nearly 40 year old, heater.  Not yet, at any rate.

The service technician said he believed that the moisture came from a rusted-out metal drip pan for the A/C unit (which we had on yesterday, so it had water in it).  This is apparently fairly common on older units, and ours is by far the oldest he’s ever seen.  In fact, he’s never seen one like it before.

Since there isn’t anything keeping the heater from working at this moment, he suggested we leave it at that and have someone come back to dig into what can be done about it tomorrow – at normal service call rates.

There goes one window . . .

We’ve had our heater turned off for a few days, due to nice weather.  This morning it got down to 36F degrees outside, and it started to feel chilly inside, so I turned the heater back on.

After about 15 minutes, I heard a really loud bang, and then a weird noise that sort of sounded like the cats trying to get through the barrier to the laundry room door.  Except the cats were both upstairs.  So I turned on the light and looked, and saw water (or something) running all over around the heater.  That was when I turned the whole system off, and after talking it over with my wife, we called an HVAC service company.  It took 3 different calls, but someone called me back and said he could take a look – and their company rates are $98/hr. for after-hours service calls.

Sure we can afford it, by taking money away from replacing a window.  I just wish that I hadn’t turned it on – because the afternoon high today is supposed to reach 73F degrees.