A cram course in home maintenance

This tiny device mounted near the bottom of our hot water tank took a whiff of floor finish and threw cold water on our holiday weekend.
This tiny device mounted near the bottom of our hot water tank took a whiff of floor finish and threw cold water on our holiday weekend.

And thus it was written.

If the temperature of thy home should rise or the temperature of the water flowing from thy hot water faucet should fall…it will be Friday evening.

Thy HVAC service company will be closed.

As we head into the sixth week of our kitchen overhaul, I’m reflecting on some of the unexpected glitches along the way.

The air conditioning went on the blink twice. At least we thought it did.

On two separate Mondays, a nice HVAC repairman came to our stuffy house. Both times the system came on promptly at his touch. “I can’t fix something that isn’t broken,” he said as he handed us the bill for showing up.

Another Monday was the Fourth of July, a holiday and our third day with no hot water. This time, with the help of friends and family, we diagnosed the problem — and there was a problem this time. We actually managed to fix it ourselves.

That brings me to an unexpected benefit of ripping into your house: There’s a lot to be learned about what makes it tick.

Your hot water tank, too, may have a “flammable vapor sensor.” It lives up to its name. When strong-smelling finishes were applied to the hardwood flooring in our kitchen and dining room, it did its thing.

At this point, the AC was working fine and keeping all that fragrant air inside. The fumes wafted toward the hot water tank, and the sensor shut it down. It neglected to tell us.

Actually, it did. Once we realized there was no hot water, our son took a look at the tank and spotted a tiny light blinking in a pattern. Seven blinks, count ’em, indicate a flammable vapor problem.

So we turned off the AC (praying we’d be able to restart it eventually). We opened windows and doors. After a thorough airing, we managed to get the hot water tank going again.

When we started this project in early June, I was proud of my makeshift kitchen and confident in my coping skills. A cousin warned me the novelty would wear off.

Tomorrow brings Monday number six of indoor camping. The makeshift kitchen in our living room looks grimy and cluttered, not novel.

I remind myself that many West Virginians are living in far worse conditions as they deal with flooding. So I clamp my mouth on complaints.

Still, I’m glad to report that this Monday will yield another novelty. Our new kitchen cabinets are due to arrive.



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