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I need a new house - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
I need a new house
My house is broken; I need a new one.

A few weeks ago, my air conditioning stopped working. The unit still ran, but it stopped making the house cooler. Upon closer inspection, I found that the outdoor unit was covered with ice. So it was selfishly keeping all of its cold to itself, instead of spreading it around the house like it's supposed to.

I turned off the AC and ignored it, figuring that I'd get it fixed during the fall when fewer people are trying to get their air conditioning fixed.

Yesterday afternoon, I went upstairs and flipped on the light-switch. There was a loud shrieking beeping sound which frightened me so much that I immediately turned the switch back off. The noise vanished as quickly as it came, and I glanced about in shock. What the hell was that? I looked at the smoke alarm, the most obvious culprit, but it looked fine. There was no smoke.

Cautiously, I turned the light switch back on. No more scary noises. But no light either. I flipped switches a few more times, then looked around upstairs. The clock was off. The carbon monoxide detector, plugged into the wall, was also off. Gradually I realized that the loud squeal must have been my carbon monoxide detector's dying scream when the power had gone out.

I went back to the main floor, and I verified that there was still power there. This was annoying, but I knew what to do. I traipsed down to the basement, expecting to find the upstairs' circuit-breaker tripped.

Much to my surprise, it wasn't tripped. Neither were any other circuits. I looked at the thing for quite awhile, wiggling the switches, wondering why none of them were tripped. I found the one for the upstairs and flipped it back and forth a few times. Still no power upstairs. Nor the garage, I found later, when I remembered that it was on that same circuit.

So that's weird. I worried for awhile that perhaps the electricity was leaking into the house somewhere, since it was obviously coming out of the box but not arriving at its destination. I worriedly pictured a frayed wire somewhere, sparking away, just waiting for a chance to burn my house down.

I contemplated how much work it would be to try to rescue all of my cats. I wondered if I should move my latest backup CD's off-site.

I told my dad about the problem though, and he thought it seemed unlikely that the house would burn down. Instead he suggested that perhaps there is a GFCI near the beginning of that circuit that has been tripped. So I guess tonight I'll try to see if that is the case. Just last week I bought a big rechargeable flashlight, so I've set that to charging.

But also, I have some weird plumbing issues in the bathroom that I've been putting off looking into, because I don't really know what I want to do there yet. So basically at this point, I think it might be easier to just find a new house. One that works. 'cause this one seems to be falling apart!
read 23 comments | talk to me!
drteeth26 From: drteeth26 Date: September 20th, 2004 07:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Yikes! Sounds like you do need a new house! Just be careful, especially if the carbon monoxide detector is on the fritz. (see C's LJ article about "Weird Al" Yankovic's parents) Maybe you do need a new house...unless you're willing to shell out an exorbitant amount of cash to fix this one. Hopefully you know people who are well-versed in the art of home improvement so you can save a few bucks. :)
greyyguy From: greyyguy Date: September 20th, 2004 07:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Scary! Glad to hear you haven't burned down. Getting a new house would be handy, but anyone who buys this one will probably be a pain and want that stuff fixed anyways. Buyers are picky like that ;)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 20th, 2004 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't burned down...YET!!! (But hopefully I'll continue to not burn down.)
greyyguy From: greyyguy Date: September 20th, 2004 08:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Continuing to not burn down is a very good thing.
infernus1218 From: infernus1218 Date: September 20th, 2004 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)
It just sounds like your house is asking for regular maintence. Houses do need those...

Imagine who it would be if we were dating and when I found out that you needed surgery on your knee... that I just dumped you.

I still think that it would be cheaper for you to fix your existing problems rather than purchasing a new house... unless you were looking for signs to move into a new house.

Regardless, you would have these problems fixed before you can put your house on the market.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 20th, 2004 08:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I know I need to fix it not run away from it. I'm just grumpy because I'd rather not have to fuss with it! (:

But these are the joys of homeownership....
lahabiel From: lahabiel Date: September 20th, 2004 07:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, you should have told me about the A/C -- when it ices up like that, it often means you just need a new filter, or to give the old a really good cleaning.
From: davidp5382 Date: September 20th, 2004 09:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Are you talking about the furnace air filter? If not, where would another filter be located? If so, why would the air filter inside the house cause the condenser outside to ice up?
From: davidp5382 Date: September 20th, 2004 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Found out. Because the restricted airflow inside means the refrigerant doesn't get warmed inside the house and cold stuff is returning to the compressor, causing the ice. Thanks!
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: September 20th, 2004 08:36 am (UTC) (Link)
oy. i feel for ya. i went through something similar last winter, when i got home and it was COLD COLD COLD in my house. a late night service call isn't exactly cheap, but thankfully it was a simple repair. hopefully yours will turn out to be as easy. if you need a plumber, let me know. mine's awesome and will work with your work schedule and come later in the evening, etc.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 20th, 2004 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure, I'd definitely be interested in the name of a good plumber! Also, did you like that electrition you used awhile back?
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: September 20th, 2004 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
i have the plumber's info @home - i'll email it to you tonight.

as for the electrician, he was a putz. if/when i need more electrical work done, i'll call someone else. he was perpetually late, which was annoying because i had my dad over there to let him in, etc. the quality of the work is fine, but his personality was kinda annoying.
mrs_sweetpeach From: mrs_sweetpeach Date: September 20th, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
We recently had a professional come in and replumb our utility sink. No more leak, on/off valves that really work, and new cut-off valves added too. We asked around at the office for recommendations and were pointed to Murphy's Plumbing Service. They're at (248) 354-9964 if you're interested.

I wasn't home when the plumber did the work, but Gabe said he charged us for two hours (at $80/hour) even though he was working on it for much closer to three and a half. As you've undoubtedly deduced, they charge $80/hour plus a $25 service call plus whatever the parts actually cost.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 21st, 2004 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awesome, thanks muchly for the recommendation.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: September 20th, 2004 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)

I feel for you.

I have to get the furnace cleaned this fall and that might mean new furnace, since the old one is over 25 and I want to get central a/c at the same time so it will not be cheap.

Houses you have to put money into them from time to time.

Try moving the CO detector to a ground floor outloet to see if it still works.

Did you open the breakers to the part of the house with no power?
Just curious to know if that is what one has to do in this situation.
geekjul From: geekjul Date: September 20th, 2004 09:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I feel your pain. Since we moved in at the beginning of June, we've had the a/c service man out TWICE, we've had the plumbers out once, we've had to repair the dryer on our own, and most recently, my husband broke the dishwasher. No one told me homeownership was such a pain in the ass.
pi3832 From: pi3832 Date: September 20th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
How old is your house?

My house in Arizona was built in 1917. Doing repair work on it was more like an archeological research project. Mysterious wires strung about the crawl space, pipes that led to nothing, and what appeared to be asbestos-tile flooring. Oh, and the best bit--the sewer line constructed from old paint cans and concrete.

Ah yes, nothing better than busting up eight feet of concrete in the dark to get to the pipe-shaped root ball with a healthy amount of sewage trapped behind it. "Up from the ground come a bubblin' crude." Crude, indeed.

[Weird side story--me and Jim Bob are sledging away at the concrete when my neighbor wanders by. We talk for a bit, I explain what we're doing, and he asks if there's anything he can do to help. I say, jokingly, "Yeah, got any dynamite?" He pauses and says, "Yes, but you don't want to use that so close to your house." Kingman, AZ, is a whole different world.]
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 20th, 2004 12:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, quite the adventure! My house is 1958, so not quite as bad, but it still has a variety of incomplete and mysterious home projects to deal with. At least no dynamite was used....
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: September 20th, 2004 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Jack Hammer?

You should have asked him if he had a jack hammer.

My basement has a cat's cradle of coax cable, it was a rental unit and each new renter seemed to get new cable, including a hole drilled to the out side!

I got the Bell guy to use an old hole when he reinstalled my line.
_goodintentions From: _goodintentions Date: September 20th, 2004 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I was like 8 the wire thing happened in my house. It caught on fire, but there wasn't much damage.
nishar From: nishar Date: September 20th, 2004 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)


Wish you lived around here. My brother knows a lot of good people to do electricle and plumbing work.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 20th, 2004 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

Volts = Current * Resistance

A simple yet beautiful yet painful equation ;) Ironic that an electical engineer could zap himself so many times and still live to tell about it.

Anyway, don't you remember in your phonebook sized friends list that one of them studied all this stuff, rewired his own house, and built a workshop in the backyard complete with it's own power? -Even more nifty I did it to NEC code ;)

If you haven't already figured it out, you might be inspired to shoot me an email, call me at work, and if you still can't figure it out, I could be persuaded to bring my nifty electrical gadgets =)

I'd hedge my vegas betting bookie that you may have just an old breaker, those things do wear out after being tripped so many times.

polaron From: polaron Date: September 20th, 2004 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heck. Iff'n you think you'd fit in a one-bedroom apartment, I'll trade ya ;)
read 23 comments | talk to me!