Tag Archives: Homeownership

Furnace Woes

Saturday 6:30 AM. Lauren walks into the bedroom, turns on the light, and actually quite calmly tells me there is water dripping from the living room ceiling. Sure enough, a stretch of 8 feet of ceiling drywall is dripping wet and the bowl light fixture in the center of the room is filled up like a fishbowl. I grab an empty drink pitcher from the kitchen and put it under the light fixture, which is dripping pretty good by now. Lauren wads up some paper towels into it so the dripping noise doesn’t drive us crazy. I head upstairs into our unfinished attic storage and find that the drip tray under the furnace, which as a rule is supposed to be dry, is full to the brim and overflowing with water. I grab a mop bucket, a red solo cup, and manually scoop out about 10 gallons of water, 5 ounces at a time, out of the drip tray.

Saturday 8:00 AM. I call TA Kaiser and get directed to a messaging service. The heat is technically still running, so my request is triaged to the bottom of the list. I don’t get a call back until 4pm, when I’m not at home. I call our home builder to put in a service request and get directed to a voicemail box. While walking the dogs, I check the condensate line on the side of the house and it is, predictably, frozen like a popsicle.

Saturday 9:00 PM. I remove another 5 gallons of water from the furnace drip tray.

Sunday 8:00 AM. I remove another 3 gallons of water from the furnace drip tray. This time there is a nice layer of ice on top.

Monday 2:00 PM. TA Kaiser HVAC repair tech James shows up and within 2 minutes recognizes the problem. The furnace trap in the collector box has broken off it’s mount, which means the furnace isn’t draining. It’s having to use the drip tray and use the auxiliary drain in the tray. He patches up the collector box, but it will need to be replaced. He replaces the water sensor kill switch, which appears broken, as evidenced by the fact that water ran into the living room ceiling. He shopvacs out about 4 gallons of water from the drip tray using the absolute coolest shopvac I’ve ever seen and I make a note to add it to my Amazon Wish List. He even replaces the spout on the condensate line outside with a “Tee” so it will still drain when frozen up. When he leaves, the heat is running and the furnace should be draining.

Tuesday 8:00 AM. The furnace is not draining. The water sensor kill switch has shut off the furnace. The drip tray is frozen solid. I throw some table salt on the ice and run out and buy that shopvac at Lowes and remove about 5 gallons of icy water.

Tuesday 5:00 PM. James, the TA Kaiser HVAC repair tech, who I find out is actually a Field Supervisor who is working calls because of the extreme weather, has walked me through over the phone getting the furnace to turn back on.

Tuesday 10:00 PM. Lauren and I get back home from the Predators game, which we won, to find the temp in the house is 59 degrees. The furnace is running, but it’s blowing cold air. We pack a bag and stay at her parent’s house for the night. Before we leave I throw a second blanket in the kennel for the dogs.

Wednesday 8:30 AM. Air temp in the house is 49 degrees. TA Kaiser meets me at the house to replace the broken collector box and troubleshoot the furnace. The drain has frozen solid and found its way up to freeze up the furnace trap, which has thrown off the pressure valves, and killed the flame in the furnace and the thermostat ran the fan all night. I boil a pot of salt water on the stove and James, the awesome HVAC tech, defrosts the furnace trap in it, then pours the boiling hot water down the drain the melt the ice in it. Within an hour, the air temp in the house is up to 55 degrees. By noon it’s back to 70 degrees. I think it’s really fixed for real this time.

New House

This Spring, Lauren and I put down good faith money to start construction on our new home. The builder broke ground in May 7th, finished construction in a little less than 90 days, and we closed in the first week of August. And we totally live there now.

We closed on the new house on a Monday and set moving day for Friday. I took the week off work. Lauren and her parents showed up every night after work and we painted. Trusty Tan in the master bedroom, Nuthatch in the master bath, Nomadic Desert everywhere else, with Loch Blue and Parakeet accents in the living room and morning room. During the day I would paint the bedroom and bathroom listening to the Star Wars Radio Dramas and in the evening, when the paint party would get started, we would crank the “Classic Rock’s Greatest Hits” or “Feelin’ Good in the 90’s” playlists on Songza.

When we listed our condo for sale back in the Spring, we filled a PODS storage unit with boxes of “non-essential” stuff like books, bedspreads, winter clothes, and some furniture. The week before closing, we packed up everything else we could and Two Men And A Truck showed up on moving day to move those boxes and the remaining furniture to the new house. They did in 5 hours what would have taken me a day and a half. And we still ended up making several trips back to the condo to get items from our closets, bathrooms, fridge, and freezer. We dusted, vacuumed, set the thermostat to 78 degrees and OFF, turned off the lights, locked up, and picked as many jalapenos as we could and brought them to the new house. Now, we just need it to sell.

We made several good decisions along the way, some of them were learning experiences, so I thought I’d share:

  • Frogtape. Instead of just buying the regular blue masking tape for edging we bought the extra special painting tape. With mixed results. In several spots it still bled through, so either there was dust on the molding we didn’t catch or it’s just not that great. Thankfully we didn’t spend a lot on it. I think I’d rather just use 2″ blue masking tape, which should protect better against drops and splatters.
  • Sherwin Williams. I’ve been previously disappointed with Lowes and Home Depot paint, so we didn’t mess around. We bought the Duration Latex Matte and it was worth the higher price. The paint was so thick (like the consistency of chocolate pudding) it would sit on top of the brush and go on thick with a roller. We hardly had any spills and it looked great even with a first coat.
  • PODS. It’s just a little pricier month to month than a self storage unit, but it has advantages if you dislike loading and unloading moving trucks. I could see getting a self-storage unit for a longer term solution, especially if we wanted convenient access to our stuff, but for a 4 month engagement it worked out great.
  • Food Processor. We also over packed the PODS unit. We packed both our food processor and our blender so my over-acheiving basil plant has yielded no pesto. I am ashamed.
  • Movers. We will definitely hire movers again. Next time, I’m hiring them for a two day gig so they will come and pack the boxes for us. Worth every penny.
  • Food. I gained 5 pounds in the two weeks surrounding moving day. I made myself so busy and packed up our lives so much, I didn’t have a good plan for not breaking down and eating burgers, fries, pizza, and chicken tenders every meal. Again, I am ashamed.

We still have many, many walls that still need paint. We have boxes of stuff in our living room that we don’t know where it will go. My suitcase is currently in the hallway closet. Pretty much all of our framed art is stacked against the wall in the dining room. And I want to cram way too much into our office than can reasonably fit.

I still hesitate to call it a Dream House, because what’s a Dream House anyway, but every morning for the past week I’ve woken up giddy over the massive shower, killer deck, and ridiculous kitchen I get to use everyday. And we are only about 7 minutes away from the best frozen yogurt in Nashville. So there’s that.

Closing Day

About 5 weeks ago I made an offer on a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2 story condo. It’s not a townhouse, but actually a condominium, so while I get the benefit of not having to maintaining the roof or pay the water bill, I had some condominium specific hurdles to deal with in the loan application process. All of those hurdles are clear.

Today is closing day. I signed the papers around 2:30pm. I get the keys tomorrow.