Monday, October 23, 2006

Ag plé le Tradesmen

So the house got hit by lightning. Or something.

Anyway, the gas boiler (that is the furnace that heats the house) was working when we inspected the houseen and now isn't, and there's a delightful smell of burning electrics in the basement.

PSE&G, the local utility people, arrive. After some head-scratching, they leave. Apparently it's somebody else's problem.

The electrician arrives. After considerable moaning and groaning he tells us that the Load Center is obsolete and that the parts will have to be obtained second hand.

A Murray Load Center? Obsolete? Didn't I see one for sale at Home Depot yesterday?

We find another electrician. No, the parts are easily available. He replaces the fried 100 Amp circuit breaker and we have electricity again.

But still no heat. The transformer that powers the gas boiler was apparently another victim of the electrical holocaust. I buy a replacement and install it, only to see it smoke and pop. After some tears, I am at least confident that the fault lies in the furnace. I buy a circuit tester and indeed it is so.

So the gas burner is to blame.

Back to PSE&G. Their chosen incompetent arrives, is told not to wire up the transformer until he solves the problem with the gas boiler, does so anyway, and pops another transformer. Now he cannot test the boiler, so he leaves again, telling us that we need an electrician.

We call a heating engineer. He congratulates me on correctly detecting the short circuit, but apparently my acuity wins us no savings - he quotes us a whopping $750 to replace a low water cutoff (retail price: $105!). But I'm not going near that furnace. I've had enough.

We sign the cheque. Heat returns. Deo gratias.

Buying a House

Don't buy a house. That's my advice. Don't let the suburban drones tell you that you'll get "equity". All of your "equity" will be spent on gadiferous tradesmen and all your spare time will be spent raking leaves.