Sunday, July 31, 2016

Don't Cap the Vent!

Similar to how our heat went out on the coldest night of the year in 2015 (the first winter we were in the house) our air conditioning went out on the hottest night of the year last weekend. I had heard it shut off at one point mid-evening and when I looked over at the thermostat it was completely blank. Based on what happened with the heat I knew immediately this meant that the moisture sensor in the back up drain pan underneath the HVAC unit in the attic had been tripped.

Sure enough once I climbed into the attic I discovered the pan to be full of water. I hauled my shop vacuum up there and once I had sucked up enough water to get it below the sensor the unit came on again. (We’ve had the thermostat set at 74 and thankfully it had only climbed to 76.) Between my vacuum not being very big and getting heavy with water it took me three trips up there to remove all of it.

So how did it happen? The day before this happened a local HVAC company had come out to check over the unit and make sure everything was working properly. I’m on a twice a year preventative maintenance agreement (which is cheap insurance against bigger problems) but I had been worried the last few days that something wasn’t right and with the temperature scheduled to nearly 100 degrees for several days with even higher heat indexes it was worth the $57 cost for a little extra peace of mind. (Everything ended up being fine.) When the technician came out I had asked him about how there was cold air blowing out of the condensation drip tube and if it should be capped. He agreed but said it should be left loose so it could vent and still allow the water to drain. But the cap ended up being on too tight and prevented the tube from venting. From there the water backed up to the secondary drain and out into the pan.

Arrow marking the vent where the cap was placed.

Back up drain pan underneath the HVAC unit.

So the lesson learned from this, while it might seem like it makes sense to cap the tube, don’t do it. On the flip side, I know for sure once again that the back up drain pan and moisture sensor work that keep water from overflowing and leaking through the ceiling.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hampton Bay is Junk

A few weeks ago a bad storm system moved through the central Virginia area bringing with it a lot of rain and very high winds. (It ended up being so bad that we actually woke our kids up and moved downstairs to take shelter following a tornado warning.) My brother lives on the opposite end of town from us that got hit first and was therefore able to give me enough advanced warning to get outside and either tie down or bring in things that might blow away or cause damage.

While much of the area suffered high damage, downed trees, and power outages (it also caused the cancelation of the last day of school, sure to be a once in a career event) we made it through unscathed. Until the next morning at least when I went to put everything back out. I stuck the umbrella through the hole in the glass top and then needed to shift the table slightly so it would go into the weighted base underneath. That slight amount of pressure of the umbrella leaning against the center hole was enough to cause the whole top to shatter into thousands of pieces on the deck.

Unfortunately there's no way to replace just the table. It's only available as part of a set with the four chairs. In the process of researching the replacement however we came across a several sites with numerous reviews that all said the same thing, that Hampton Bay's glass tops shatter way too easily. I wish we'd seen those reviews prior to buying the set.

On a side note, this made a tremendous mess and cleaning it up took forever. I went out several times to vacuum up all the glass with my shop vacuum because every time I thought I had all of it I found more. I also had to take a screwdriver and pry up smaller bits that had fallen between the deck boards followed by hosing the entire deck down. It's really not something I want to deal with again.