What's in Your Wallet? Err, I Mean, Attic
December 20, 2010
Do you know what nasty stuff lurks in your attic or down
in that dungeon you call a basement? Of
course you do, you probably installed it, or at least neurotically check and
adjust some setting twice a day. Being
in the business, you’ve either scoured the earth for all of the best HVAC stuff
known to any planet within this galaxy, or…, you stole a little bit from each
job you did over the last five years, sort of like Johnny Cash working at the
auto factory in One Piece at a Time.
least, you know what you’ve got, and how to “fix” it. Not so for most of the rest of the
unsuspecting public. No, they trust you
to keep them warm, cool, and blissfully uninvolved. A trust, I fear, that is often greatly
misplaced and unwarranted. Allow me to
illustrate this week’s tale of ridiculousness, as we again uncover our clueless
week’s adventure begins with a call to an oil company from a new customer with
no heat. It’s a Friday afternoon, a few
weeks before Christmas, and everyone just wants the weekend to begin now. The tired service tech arrives at the home,
lugs his tools in after being greeted by the nice, oldish lady and heads for
the basement. “Oh, not down there” she
calls out, “it’s up in the attic. You’ll
need a ladder”.
the attic? Huh? Oh, no.” he shrieks. Yes, indeedy; this house has an oil furnace
in the attic. As our tech makes his way
up into the attic, I’ll remind you that there are way too many issues with
putting an oil anything in an attic to bother with, such as weight, clearances
to combustibles, chimneys problems, oil delivery (lift), CODE VIOLATIONS(!),
etc. It’s a nightmare, don’t do it.
what did our superhero find? Well, the
reason that the furnace wasn’t running is because the oil wasn’t making it up
to the furnace for some reason. The
customer informs you that she’s had this problem a few times since the other
contractor installed it three years ago, but they are out of business now. “No kidding; hmmmph, I never would have
guessed.” He continues “You have an
upright, oil furnace installed horizontally,
supported by two 2x4s, with zero clearance to combustibles, vented in single
wall smoke pipe; oh, and there is a 100Amp service cable draped across it,
wearing out from the vibration. This is
troops, the ball is in your court. What do you do? Yes, of course you would do the right thing
and shut that puppy down. But will the
rest of your colleagues choose as wisely?
What if the woman cries poverty, or says she has no place else to go?
“Just get it running tonight, and I’ll have it fixed first thing Monday” she’ll
plead. Be prepared, that call is coming.
(And yes, that was an actual call.)