Random Rant Thread (no moto content)

EricV

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We woke up to a cold house this morning. Furnace didn't come on.

So fine, check the thermostat, it's fine, system on, set for correct temp, no hold or low batt, etc. Turned fan to on instead of auto, hear the click, no furnace fan coming on. Great, no power to the Furnace.

Out to the garage to check the breaker. Breaker is still set, no indication of being tripped. Flip the breaker off anyway, wait 10 seconds, flip back on. Feels normal. Grab the outlet tester and DMM and back into the house to the furnace.

This furnace has no on/off switch, just a cord plugged into a wall outlet. 2002 vintage 80% cheapie. Zero LEDs or indicator lights. Burners covered with a tin plate with an inspection window to see the flame. The wall outlet circuit is shared with the guest bath. (not my preference, but ok by code)

Pull the plug and test the outlet. It's hot & wired correctly. Plug the furnace back in, pull the lower panel and test continuity to the panel door switch. Tests good. Pull the 5 amp fuse and it's visually Ok, test it with the DMM to be sure, it's good. Pull a wire off the switch and test for 120V to the transformer. Have power there. Test for 24V on the other side of the transformer... Nada.

Le Sigh. Call the HVAC guy we use for twice a year PM. All of the above only took about 15 minutes. No big deal.

Fast forward to 2pm. HVAC guy comes, pokes, yep, it's the transformer. Installs one from his truck, furnace works again. He gives me a good natured hard time because he prefers to get his $75 service fee for a blown fuse. Mentions, "oh, I hooked up the common wire from the thermostat, at the furnace. It was never hooked up when it was installed. And you really need a ground prong on that power cord."

So $200 later the furnace works again and the wife is happy that the house is warming up. Here is where the 5 minute job comes in. I figure I will swap the two prong plug to a 3 prong plug once the house warms up. I'll feel better about that as the install was probably done by a friend of a friend instead of a HVAC professional.

I poke around my electrical stash and no male plug. Off to the Walmart since it's closest. No plug. Off to the local hardware store. No sweat, pick up a 15 amp plug of nice quality for a mere $3.49+tax. Drive back home. The furnace kicks off when the house warms up.

I unplug the furnace and remove the two prong plug...

Fu** me, it's a two wire cord. I can't believe some idiot actually wired a furnace to a two wire cord. Out to the garage to pull some nice heavy gauge 3 wire cord out and cut the length I need. Trim, snip, strip and wire it to the new plug and prep the other end for the furnace side.

Back inside, unscrew the metal box with the power connection inside. Normal stuff, common, hot and ground to chassis right there. Ground wire is virginal, never having been hooked up when the install was done. (face-palm) Unscrew the strain relief, remove the wire nuts and remove the old cord.

Feed the new cord in and wire nut the three wires from the new cord to the furnace side. Re-install the box to the sheet metal, re-secure the strain relief clamp, plug the furnace in, (after making sure the thermostat wasn't wanting to kick on immediately). Bump the thermostat a degree, furnace comes on nicely and life is good again. Re-set to program and return to PC to poke the web.

I can't believe this killed most of the day. When we bought the house and did some light remodel we discovered a bunch of half ass stuff and fixed it as we found it, but this wasn't something I expect to need to fix.

Sorry for the lack of moto content, but I just needed to rant a bit. I usually keep a female plug end on hand for repairing extension cords or making a new one from an old cord off something else. But I didn't have a male one. That by itself wasn't a big deal, but finding something as power intensive as a gas furnace wired w/o ground is just appalling.

Feel free to share your task or job that took longer than you expected. :)
 

Hipshot

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My furnace was kicking on and then kicking off. On and off. On and off. Finally shut it down and started the disassembly. Turns out a Starling had gone down the exhaust and jammed the exhaust fan. Man that bird was beat to hell. Furnace couldn't prove the fan so it shut itself off.
Now I have a grill on the exhaust outlet on the wall. In the summer I have to put a window screen on it to keep out the wasps and remember to take it off in the fall so it doesn't freeze and fill the house with the bad stuff.
 

EricV

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My furnace was kicking on and then kicking off. On and off. On and off. Finally shut it down and started the disassembly. Turns out a Starling had gone down the exhaust and jammed the exhaust fan. Man that bird was beat to hell. Furnace couldn't prove the fan so it shut itself off.
Now I have a grill on the exhaust outlet on the wall. In the summer I have to put a window screen on it to keep out the wasps and remember to take it off in the fall so it doesn't freeze and fill the house with the bad stuff.
One of the first things I did to the new to us house was to put better covers over the vents. And I did check both fans to make sure they turned freely!

@Fennellg _ Dude, I so feel your pain. Good suggestion. Done.
 

WJBertrand

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Kinda sounds like my story. Ever since we bought this house, turning the thermostat off and back on would blow the 24V transformer. I coped by just leaving it on and setting the temp too high or low for it to come on when not needed. Last year I decided to upgrade to a smart thermostat (Ecobee 4) and got my first look real at the thermostat wiring. What a mess, common wire not connected at all and the ground wire was connected to common post at the t-stat end! Surprised it worked at all. Nothing matched what the installation instructions showed, very confusing. Couple of emails back and forth with ecobee and I finally got it sorted, using all the wires correctly.


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ballisticexchris

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Man that sucks!! We replaced our furnace about a year ago. Almost 8,000 bucks!! The unit was over 12 years old and had a cracked heat exchanger. The new one is nice with the Nest and all. I had it installed. Just had a new contractor grade water heater installed and removed the 20 year old water softener. With all new sweat fittings and ball valves it was over 2,000 bucks. This came at a bad time as I'm unable to do the install myself.

Moral of the story is even though it took you all day, you know it was done right and you have heat for just a few hundred bucks. But I do understand your frustration with mickey mouse crap. Good job Eric doing it the right way!!
 

EricV

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Kinda sounds like my story. Ever since we bought this house, turning the thermostat off and back on would blow the 24V transformer. I coped by just leaving it on and setting the temp to high or low for it not to come on when not needed. Last year I decided to upgrade to a smart thermostat (Ecobee 4) and got my first look real at the thermostat wiring. What a mess, common wire not connected at all and the ground wire was connected to common post at the t-stat end! Surprised it worked at all. Nothing matched what the installation instructions showed, very confusing. Couple of emails back and forth with ecobee and I finally got it sorted, using all the wires correctly.
When you buy a house, you fall heir to the weirdness. We fixed so many gas leaks when we bought the house that I was amazed it had not blown up before then.

My first house had a electrical panel that was so out of code it wasn't funny. I had a guy come to quote a furnace replacement and he just laughed and said, fix the panel and call me, because I won't touch it until then. Turned out the service panel company had gone out of business due to the house fires since the breakers were slow to trip and the wiring would catch fire in the walls before the breaker tripped!
 

EricV

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Home inspections are a total crap shoot. My first house, the guy appeared to be thorough, and I went everywhere with him, but he missed all kinds of things and the bank bought off on one big issue w/o my input, making it nearly impossible for me to get the seller to repair them prior to the sale or drop the price because of it. The market was moving so fast in '02 that I didn't want to risk walking away and keep looking.

Furnace had no cold air return - Just open to the crawlspace (this was noted, but the bank bought off as is)
Service panel badly out of code & fire risk
Wire from panel to meter was aluminum and out of code
Carpenter ants in garage wall

Several windows had failed seals, which he caught and the seller reduced price for.

The current house had so many gas leaks it was really good we added a gas tankless hot water heater, gas stove, gas grill and gas fireplace. In running the new lines they did a pressure test. Gauge went to zero in about 5 minutes the first time. They found a few leaks and pressurized again, went to zero in about 30 minutes. They found a big leak at the furnace, fixed that, pressurized it again. Came back the next day, zero again. Then they went thru every line in the house, new and old and couldn't find anything. The contractor actually went and bought a sniffer and they went over the entire thing and couldn't find the leak. The guy with the sniffer goes out to tell the boss at the meter and the sniffer went ape shit! The main line off the meter had a huge leak. Once they fixed that the system was solid.

Most of the other stuff I've found when replacing light fixtures or switches has been minor stuff that someone that just didn't know what they were doing would do. And weird stuff like two 6' ground rods randomly driven in to the yard, with only 6" sticking out. Jacking them out with a high lift jack wasn't too bad. The wood fence is poorly built and full of odd errors, but hasn't fallen down, yet.

Chris - That sucks about the furnace. None of that is cheap. I know at some point we will have to replace ours. It's not seen hard use, but it is 18 years old and that's pushing it for most units. I got lucky in my first home as my brother and law gave me a furnace that was the right size and only a year old. Still, all the install work adds up.
 

2talltoo

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I also suffer the occasional PITA wast of a day home maintenance issue. This is a good place too vent. I mistakenly took a doo hoo poor me to my daughter. Don't do that....you will be quickly reminded you are retired and have the time....urrrr.
 

OldRider

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Between the house, garage and shop I have 4 heat pumps. I learned early on that most of the time when a heat pump won't come it is a bad capacitor. It took me paying $150 twice to the hvac guy before I went to the supply house and bought a couple of $18 capacitors to put on the shelf. Go buy a $20 24V rely and save some time and money next time.
 

WJBertrand

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Where I live we don't need air conditioning, but this time of year temps can get down into the high 30s F at night. I wouldn't probably use the heat much myself but my wife is ALWAYS cold.
 

VRODE

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Yes, it took some time, but it’s done right now.

And never forget Murphy’s law......the colder it is, the more likely to have furnace troubles.
(No furnace ever shits the bed on a 50-60 deg. day)
 

Sierra1

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….I learned early on that most of the time when a heat pump won't come it is a bad capacitor....
Mines just a regular A/C system, but I think the part is the same. It's on the side of the external unit, and makes the connection. Ants LOVE, this thing. It will invariably fail on Saturday night when it's 95*. I too bought the part, and kept it on hand. But, after I put Sevin dust in the compartment with the device....no more ants....no more problem.
 
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Checkswrecks

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We have a name for stuff which pops up and takes your attention, frequently for a LOT longer than we thought.
Those are a "baby in the room" because you can't ignore them.

We're past most of those house-wise, but for people having done things half-assed there's always what people do to boats!!!
 

Sierra1

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It was nice to see Kyle_E and Patrick speak positively about LE.

But, this is what I'm seeing more of, and this is MY rant.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s decision to withdraw criminal charges last week against a man who was shot by police after allegedly attacking officers with a bottle has inflamed a simmering conflict between the city’s new progressive prosecutor and the law enforcement groups that opposed his election.
The city’s police union accused Boudin — a former public defender — of giving a “green light” to criminals to attack police, and on Monday called on the federal government to prosecute Jamaica Hampton, the 24-year-old man accused in the Dec. 7 attack in the Mission District.
The case has quickly become the latest public struggle between San Francisco’s new district attorney, who was sworn in Jan. 8 after campaigning on a platform to be tougher on cops in cases of excessive force, and the Police Department’s rank-and-file. The police union opposed Boudin’s candidacy over fears he would not support law enforcement and be too lenient on criminals.
Tony Montoya, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, called Boudin’s decision “a morale buster” and said the new district attorney is “treating the police like criminals rather than the person who caused the shooting to happen.”
“Mr. Boudin has made it clear to criminals everywhere that you can violently attack a police officer and he’ll look the other way,” said Montoya.
During the foot chase, Hampton appeared to run toward Officer Sterling Hayes, while still carrying the bottle, moments before the officer opened fire. Hampton attempted to get up when Officer Christopher Flores fired one shot.
Police said Hampton matched the description of an intruder who had broken into a woman’s home that morning.
Flores’ attorney, Nicole Pifari, sent a sharply worded letter to Boudin on Monday urging him to reconsider. “Despite the vast spectrum of political beliefs represented in San Francisco, we should hopefully be able to agree that no one is safe in a city where uniformed police officers are attacked and beaten without consequence."

The scariest part of this story to ME, is that the D.A. was elected by the citizens. Which I interpret as anti-LE.
 

2talltoo

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We have a name for stuff which pops up and takes your attention, frequently for a LOT longer than we thought.
Those are a "baby in the room" because you can't ignore them.

We're past most of those house-wise, but for people having done things half-assed there's always what people do to boats!!!
CW: When it comes to boats: you don't own them .... they own you.
 

EricV

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What do you guys in southern California and Mississippi need furnaces for?
Well, it's Northern MS for me, and I have a Wife. That should tell you enough. :cool: It's been in the 20s fairly recently at night. Today was mild at 55F.
 
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