Monday, March 24, 2008

Home away from home

With our house going on the market this month, we had a pre-sale inspection to identify any potential concerns that may come up in a buyer's inspection. One thing that came I already knew about. There is a very small amount of water finding its way into our utility room via the back wall, coming from under the deck. I, however, was uncertain of the cause. The inspector said it must be the placement of the furnace exhaust vent.

You see, when initially built, the exhaust vent was placed correctly. However, when the previous owner built a deck himself, he built around the exhaust vent, so the termination of the exhaust came out level with the deck. In a city like Timmins, where the average snow accumulation level is 50-100cm, and the owner of the house is too lazy to keep the deck clear of snow, that snow builds up around the exhaust, melts, dribbles along the foundation, freezes at the ground, and then when the weather warms up, it melts slowly, leaking down along the foundation and eventually finding its way into the house.

The mission: fix the exhaust pipe. First step: use intuition. Result: BAD IDEA. After making about 10 round trips to Home Depot and spending upwards of $200, I came to my senses and realized that extending the exhaust pipe under the deck and out 12 feet was a bad idea, due to the fact that the exhaust would condense along its passage and then freeze, causing ice buildup in the exhaust vent and possibly blockage of the vent. Again, bad idea. So I returned all the materials except one piece for a net expenditure of $1.50.

Second step: read the manual. Ahh. Eureka! A very simple solution. Extend the pipe upwards by 12 inches and make sure to keep deck clear of snow in the future. In the meantime, I also discovered that the combustion air inlet pipe was installed incorrectly and was buried inside a five foot high snowbank. How my furnace was actually obtaining oxygen with which to do its job is beyond me. So I fixed that too. Done!

Now, in all of this, along with other little fixes I've done around the house to spice it up for potential buyers, Home Depot has become a home away from home. But apparently I am not the only man out there with questionable handyman skills. (Actually, they are beyond questionable, but let's not cloud the issue with facts.)

My wife's uncle is apparently similarly unhandy. One day he was doing a lot of work around the house and making multiple trips to Home Depot as well. He came home and was feeling a bit better about himself because when he was in the store, a bunch of people were coming up to him to ask him questions. He felt confident and intelligent. It all ended when his wife kindly informed him that it was likely due to his choice of outfit for doing handiwork: he was wearing a Home Depot apron.

1 comment:

Bananas said...

yes, I'm afraid it's true that intuition and home improvement are rarely a good combo!!