Monday, January 14, 2008

Make Me a Part

Another week in the House of 42 Doors...

Last week or so has been a busy week. So busy in fact, I'm splitting this over two days of posting. Sadly, the most interesting bits occurred later in the week. :)

We had a front door lock that needed repairing, a boiler go out, water in the basement, contractors out for bids and a trip to the sawmill. And I found a new form of exercise (other than shoveling).

Some time ago our front door deadbolt stopped working. We'd put the key in and it would spin and spin and spin, but no deadbolt would come out. So we called a locksmith and asked him to come out on Friday. After much hesitation, he agreed even though "Friday was his busiest day." So he came out and knocked on the door. No answer. He rang the door bell. No answer. And he left because of course "Friday was his busiest day."

Now there are several things wrong with this story. First of all there was a heating and cooling van parked in the driveway (did I mention the boiler went out?), so somebody was there. Second, the door was unlocked (remember, the lock was broken). He could have poked his head in and said hello. Third, while ringing the door bell was good, ironically, it didn't work because in the process of cleaning up the knob and tube wiring, the electrician cut the wires to the doorbell transformer. Fourth, Pumpkin was sitting in the living room watching TV, and therefore the TV was clearly visible as on. Fifth, I gave him our home number, but he claimed that he left his cell phone back at the office. [Note from MHH: Actually, I think what he told me was that he'd left our number behind, not his phone. Either way, he couldn't call from the driveway.]

So even though, Ms. Huis was home, he didn't fix our lock. We suspect he happened to be there in the five minutes that Ms. Huis was downstairs looking at the boiler with Ted (the heating guy). Even though it was against my judgment to ask him to come out again (as he exhibited a pretty poor level of assertiveness), we did anyway.

He came out Monday and we found out that the previous owner had put commercial grade deadbolts on the outside doors. And that the company who made them doesn't make them anymore. And that the bore on the front door is nonstandard because it's a non-standard door (too thick), so replacement with new could be tricky. So he took the lock out, found the broken tumbler/lever, brought it back to the lock shop, carefully manufactured a new one and replaced it in the lock. He was there for about three hours trying to fix it and only charged us $68. He wasn't happy with how it turned out, but as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly functional. I put in the key, turn it and the deadbolt comes out. And it unlocks too! The front door does still have the original mortise lock, and I think we have the key, so we could use that too.

On Friday the boiler stopped working. The temperature in the house wouldn't get above 62 Fahrenheit. We limped by over the weekend by short-circuiting the boiler and tricking it to run. This was accomplished by a bent key ring, provided by the heating professional. A little hokey, but it worked.

Fortunately the seller bought a one year home warranty for us when we bought the house and the boiler is covered. It's a $60 charge for the on-site visit and the rest is covered by American Home Shield. Currently the part to fix the boiler is still on order. The heating guys didn't have it on hand because the previous owner installed an unusual model of boiler. The manufacturer had to custom-make the part. Detecting a theme here?

The heating guys were able to clean the boiler sufficiently to keep us limping by for now. The part should be in this week.

I already wrote about the water in the basement. It turned out to be about 12 gallons, based on the number of shop vac containers we emptied (and by we, I mean Ms. Huis). We haven't had any more repeats of the problem. It wasn't surprising. An inch or two of rain on frozen ground can cause all kinds of problems.

And since I'm running short of time, I'll finish up posting tomorrow.


Mary Beth said...

You've got to love the "one of a kind" appliances! They never have parts readily available, but there are things that can be made - for a small fee of course!

Syl said...

Just wanted you to know I read regularly, I'm just usually speechless.

Mr. Kluges said...

Thankfully, we've been lucky with our extra parts fees - so far.