If I can only figure out how to clean the AC unit, I could ‌repair it.

My wife and her mother went into the city to see a Broadway show last weekend. When she kissed me goodbye, she whispered in my ear that she wanted me to behave. I knew what she meant by behaving. She didn’t want me to ‌repair or clean any appliance while she was away. She still remembers the time I cleaned the air conditioning unit. I thought that if I could only figure out how to clean the AC unit, I could also repair it if something went wrong. I hated paying for the repair cost whenever something happened with the AC unit. I had looked over the HVAC technician’s shoulder several times when he was working on the air conditioning unit. There didn’t seem to be that much inside that I could mess up. I knew I couldn’t bend the fan blades when it was being cleaned, because it would cause a rattle that could break the fan blade motor. I noted that, and I was very gentle with the fan blades. I honestly thought I did all the cleaning properly until I turned it back on. When I hit the button to turn the air conditioning unit back on, nothing happened. There were no AC sounds coming from the air conditioning unit, no fan blades moving, and no cooling air flowing into my house. I called the HVAC company and told them I tried to clean the AC unit, and now it didn’t work. A half-hour later, the HVAC technician was at the house, and my wife was coming in the door. I had forgotten to turn the power back on to the air conditioning unit, and he flipped the breaker switch. My wife continues to remind me about it every time she goes away.


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My sister is a better HVAC technician than I am.

I have five siblings, and every one of them are girls.

By the time I was 16, I was almost a foot taller than even my tallest sister, ‌5’ 5”.

When she graduated from high school, she went to school to become an HVAC technician. I had talked about becoming an HVAC technician from the time I was 10 years old and an HVAC technician had come to the house and allowed me to watch while he repaired the air conditioning unit. I knew he was taking pity on me being the only boy in a house full of girls, but it was fun to watch him working on the air conditioning system. The tallest of all my sisters was only 5 years older than I was, and before I graduated from high school, she was one of the top HVAC technicians in our local HVAC company. I swore that one day I was going to be a better HVAC technician than she was. I signed up for the HVAC courses right after graduation and worked hard to stay at the top of my class. I graduated number one in my HVAC classes, and I got the highest grade on my certification exam. I even secured a position in the same HVAC company my sister was working at. I was going to be placed with a mentor for the first six weeks. It devastated me when that mentor was my sister. I went to the HVAC company manager and asked if I could have another mentor other than her and he said no. I was afraid my sister is always going to be a better HVAC technician than I am if she is my mentor.

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My instructor was so condescending, I was ready to quit HVAC before I started.

He said it took more than classroom work to become an HVAC technician, and he looked directly at me again.

From the time I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was be an HVAC technician like my daddy. He would take me on some of his HVAC calls, and explain to me what he was doing and why. HVAC seems like one of the most fascinating things anyone could choose to do. My mother said I was just a starry-eyed little girl who wanted to be just like her daddy, but she was sure I would change my mind when I got older. Mom didn’t know me very well because instead of changing my mind when I got older, I just became more resolute about being an HVAC technician. After high school graduation, my dad helped me to secure a spot in the HVAC classes at the local college. When I walked into class, the instructor took one look at me and shook his head. His entire first day lecture was about how we should look around because not all of us were going to be there when it came time for graduation. Every time he made one of these comments, he would look directly at me. He said it took more than classroom work to become an HVAC technician, and he looked directly at me again. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to bully me into quitting HVAC classes, or if he was just condescending because I was a female. After class, I confronted the HVAC instructor about how I felt when he singled me out. When I told him who I was, he instantly knew who my father was. He said I could be a good HVAC technician, but I shouldn’t expect special treatment because I was a girl.
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I was black from head to toe.

Every spring, my wife and I go up and prepare our cabin to be used.

We spent most of our summer weekends and every day we had off work, in our cabin in the mountains.

My wife and I love to fish, and we passed our love of fishing and hiking down to her children. In the spring, we were up at the cabin and I wanted to clean the chimney. We had a fireplace in the cabin to help keep us warm on the cool nights in early spring and late summer. After seeing the signs of squirrels in the cabin, I knew the flue must have been open all winter long. I was ‌using the brush in the chimney when I realized it didn’t go ‌down to the hearth. I had to go inside the house and push the brush into the chimney from the inside of the cabin. I got down on the fireplace hearth and started pushing the wire brush up into the chimney. My wife had just gotten out that I needed to be careful because there could a lot of dirt up there when the soot came flying down at me. A fine layer of soot was all over the hearth and the floor. What didn’t make it onto the floor and hearth was in my hair on my skin and coated me from the head to toe. I swore this was going to be the last time I cleaned the fireplace chimney. The next time the fireplace chimney needed cleaned, I was going to call one of the local professionals.

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Repairing Your Plumbing After a Flood

It takes a long time to recover from a hurricane.

If your home has been flooded, you may not discover hidden plumbing damage until a licensed plumber conducts a thorough inspection.

When floodwater recedes, dirt and silt are left behind as a residue. Floodwater could clog any drains in your home. DIY tools such as a plunger or a plumbing snake can often clear these clogs. But if you’re worried about damage down the pipe and are planning on a professional plumbing inspection anyway, you may want to leave these drains as-is until your plumber gives you the all-clear. Floating or flying debris, structural failure, or wind damage will likely require the replacement of plumbing fixtures. But those that are undamaged will still need some TLC in the form of a thorough cleaning with diluted bleach. For faucets and shower heads, you may need to disassemble them and soak the parts in bleach to prevent mold growth. Your home’s pipes are at risk from flying debris from a hurricane as well as floating debris from a flood. Until floodwater recedes and is completely removed from a home, you may not even notice that a pipe is cracked or broken. While you wait for your plumbing inspection, shut off the water at the main valve if you notice new puddles after the floodwater has receded. All that standing water and the saturated soil beneath create a crushing weight. Unfortunately, buried water and waste lines may fail under this load. One or more of these lines may have collapsed under your lawn if sinkholes appear after the water recedes. A plumber may need to conduct a camera inspection to confirm. Shifting foundations can cause pipes to break. Floods can cause foundation damage if the saturated soil beneath the foundation moves. Plumbing pipes are just one type of building material that may be damaged as a result of this unsteady ground. Foundation repair must be completed before certain pipes can be replaced.



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