Showing posts with label duct. Show all posts
Showing posts with label duct. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mysteries in the laundry room

When I moved into the house I needed a lot of electrical work.  This is what my electrical panel looked like.  Wires sticking out, no cover . . . just a tiny bit hazardous.

Luckily I have a friend who is an electrician and would work for a reasonable rate (and access to the food in the kitchen cabinets).  He did a couple of really awesome things without my asking, like putting a motion sensor on the light in the laundry room.  So if I'm carrying a basket of laundry there's no fumbling with a chain in the dark--the light just comes on.  After five minutes without motion it turns the light off.  It's awesome. 

Fast forward to now.  A few weeks back I started noticing that the light would be on when no one had been down there.  I noticed that the dryer hose had popped off the window vent and figured that must have triggered the light to go off.  Some contractor had told me that, in the hierarchy of venting, rigid metal ducts are best.  They accumulate the least dust and lint resulting in a lower fire risk.  The only problem is that I couldn't get the stupid hose to stay connected to the window outlet. I kept finding it like this:

I kept applying more foam tape and the stupid thing kept popping off.  I finally decided to screw the pieces together.

Bingo!  Why didn't I think of that before?  The only problem?  The light was still going off.


My roommate and I had a very serious conversation about the light (we had both noticed it and gotten freaked out); my roommate solemnly informed me that it could be a ghost.  I was worried it was a mouse or some other critter.  I hunted around for signs of critters: droppings, nests, chewed stuff . . . but found nothing. 

So my latest theory concerns the old stove downdraft.  My house didn't have a stove hood so the previous owners appeared to have one of those stoves with a downdraft that vented through the kitchen floor.  There was a hole in the kitchen floor with a duct attached.


That hole was covered by the underlayment for the Marmoleum and I repurposed that duct into a vent for my portable AC unit in my bedroom.  But in the winter the duct was just hanging out doing this:

My theory is that it gets windy outside and air comes shooting into that duct and into the basement, causing the duct to swing.  I should have remedied this long ago.  I'm letting cold air into the house and basically left a fun slide for critters wanting to get into the house.  Like SPIDERS, OH MY GOD, SPIDERS.  Or mice.  Or whatever. 

So I took the cover off the exterior of the house . . .

. . . cut some of this stuff I found in the basement to fit . . .

. . . screwed it in and replaced the cover.

I'll keep you posted about the light.  I really hope this stops the light triggering because I don't want to consider the alternatives.  Like ghost-rats.

Edited to add: I did finally get a cover for my electrical panel.  It feels slightly less dangerous doing laundry beneath it now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The new furnace

I don't know why, but hiring professionals to do things makes me nervous.  The crew at Jacobs did a fantastic job on my furnace, but having to be present in the house while they installed got me all amped up.  What was that noise?  Does the fact that he asked X question mean that he doesn't know what he's doing? 

I would hate to work for me.  I'm particular, I ask too many questions, and I get my panties in a bunch at the drop of a hat.  The young man they sent over asked a lot of questions about where ducts should go, where venting should come out of the side of my house . . . things I felt he should know.  It turned out this is normal for them, that they like to arrange these things with the customer.  But at the time it seemed odd, and I came down after the first day to see the furnace looking like this:

With the white PVC ducting crossing in front of the furnace it looked . . . homemade. Like something I would build.  It really bothered me.  I suspected it would bother me for the next 25 years.  I started to worry that they had sent me an installer who didn't know what he was doing.  I called the company that morning and voiced my concerns.  They sent out a manager the next morning to smooth things over.

The installer agreed to redo the PVC exhaust so it would run behind the unit.  The manager was really nice, he assured me that everything was going well.  I was feeling better.  Then he told me, "Relax."

Have you ever had a contractor or repairman tell you to relax?  It makes me do the opposite.  It makes me angry; it's so dismissive.  Should a contractor ever stumble across this blog, DO NOT TELL WOMEN TO RELAX.

 In the end they redid the ducting and I'm very happy with everything.  The new furnace is so quiet you can barely hear it running.  I would use them again in a heartbeat, even if my blood still boils a little when I think about that stupid five letter word: relax.  Grrr.