Thursday, April 1, 2010

In Which We Repair Ice Damage

I might have mentioned before that this year was a tough weather year. Not the toughest that we have had, that would have been 2004-2005 when we had, I think, around 130 inches of snowfall. Not that bad, but bad enough. And what was really bad was the ice build up. I have never seen icicles like that on the house. And when everything started to melt? I felt like I was living on Glacier Bay in Alaska.
We have all seen the video on National Geographic Channel of glaciers “calving”.
sound of ice sliding down roof
Deb wiping up puddle under her computer chair.
We were calving our own glaciers around here.
This went on for what seemed like weeks or months or years…OK not years but it went on for what seemed like forever. I expected that we would have gaping holes in our deck or gouges in the front walk. Craters in the flower beds. Something.
Well, there was some damage we noticed.
There was this……
IMG_5441A We had several bushes in the front that seem to have taken direct hits from slabs of ice. This didn’t show up until the actual mountains of snow finally melted. The ice gods were kind and took out bushes on both sides of the front door. So when I clean this out tomorrow it will look like we planned the gap. I like when things work out like that.
Then there is this….
IMG_5443The downspout can be pulled back into shape relatively easily. I will work on that tomorrow when it is 75F and sunny. And if not then I bet I can get something at Lowes that I can replace it with.
I figured that we actually got off relatively unscathed in the damage department.
I. Was. Wrong.
Oh, I was so wrong because you see. What we didn’t know was that there was something else that had taken a hit from the ice. Something that is bigger. And when things are bigger then repairs are more expensive. And more time consuming.
And a bigger pain in the bahookie.
HHBL and I were in the basement last week consulting on what furniture had to be moved and where. We have a finished portion of the basement with these lovely windows because I have a thing against walk out basements. I am getting help. Anyways, we are standing there talking and I happen to look out the window at the air conditioning units that sit on that side of the house….
“What is wrong with that air conditioning unit?” I suddenly said, scratching my head and looking closer.
“Huh?” said HHBL, who is usually articulate but I had caught him off guard and ping ponged from the train of the conversation. I do that occasionally.
This is what I saw…
IMG_5368 So we walked out to take a look and gazed upon this. And it was bad. What you can’t see is that not only is the top all bent to pieces and the vents on the side accordioned. The plastic cowling on the inside was smashed and sitting on the fan blades. This was not good. I could already here the cash register ringing madly.
The ice fell from here.
IMG_5461 The drop from here is about 30 feet give or take. It is a long way down and a big piece of ice traveling at…..
Did you really think I was actually going to do a math problem? How long have you been hanging around here?? I don’t do math. That is what I have HHBL for…..among other things.
Back to the story. So, I got on the phone right away to have our HVAC guys come out and take a look. Sean arrived the next day. Sean is a good guy and always helpful. He works with Lee, who might have done some work at our house previously. It is amazing that they even what to come here. Sean arrives. Sean looks. Sean consults.
I wait in painful silence, swaying back and forth and waiting for the pain that I know is coming.
Sean: “Oh sure, we can fix this. There are several things we can do. We can just take the housing off and beat it sort of back in place. But it will look like we did that and cost a bunch of man hours and then there might still be internal damage. Or we can replace it with a new unit. But if we do that we have to pull all the lines because the freon rules have changed. And that means that we have to pull all the lines through your finished ceilings in the basement. Or we can try to locate a unit that is about the same age. Those don’t come on the market all that often and they usually get grabbed up right away. I think the cost is going to be around $2200.”
Thanks Sean. Just shoot me now please.
Deb: “Um, well, Um, well, Um, I think we are going to need to talk to HHBL about this as he is the accounting department around here. I don’t take responsibility for things over $100. I know my limitations.”
Consultation with HHBL. Sean goes out and gets on the phone and finds a unit that will work. And then it is decision time because Air Conditioning Units wait for no man.
OK is given. Big freaking part is ordered. Plan was for installation to happen last week but then when the day came they had some issue with working…with electricity…in the pouring rain. What’s up with THAT! So we postponed until today when the ground wouldn’t be so soggy and they could haul the 3 TON unit through my back yard without gouging out a new Oregon Trail. Of course they had to play tip toe through the dog turds. But that wasn’t my problem. Just wipe your feet really well guys if you need to come in the house.
IMG_5440A IMG_5446A So Sean and Jay were here bright and early this morning. With bright and shining, if unshaved, faces. They got right to work. They hauled the unit into place. The old unit went bye bye to where ever old AC units go to die. We were all happy and chatty and exchanging recipes.
Well maybe not the recipes part.
And yes, it did cost $2100.
I think I will be having peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch for a long time.


  1. Yes, ouch! Our air conditioner is fine but my car is still sitting in the garage waiting for a new transmission. The price tag for that will be $1500 so I know well the pain when stuff happens. I'm driving the old pick-up for now.

  2. Ouch, indeed! We had tons of snow but fortunately no ice damage. We did, however, just install new energy efficient windows all way round. I haven't flinched at the price because even the work was finished this morning, the bill will arrive some time later in the mail. A few days of blissful enjoyment of our new windows and then $$$$$$$$$!

  3. You see, this is what I just can't understand. I mean, every year you could have major maintenance to do because of weather.

    Its a difference in the cost of living. Although, its probably still cheaper than So CA but it would drive me crazy!

  4. Come to think of it, Hubby covers our unit with piece of 7/8 inch plywood...but I don't think that would have protected it fully from the ice from your high roof!


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