Seldom do we, think home is the problem. But the problems that show up there are worse than a splinter under a fingernail. Persistent, nagging, and _ just _ won’t _ go _ away.
One such problem nagged a client for seven years. Totally out of my job scope, but, being curious, I took the challenge. The complaint was due to a radon fan in the attic that vibrated enough to disturb the sleep patterns of those in the bedroom directly below. The client had been unsuccessful in getting the installer to return despite numerous calls after installation. When I visited and went to the attic, I was amused to find the piping to the fan, and the fan, buffered from the attic floor lumber with pillows! I decided to remove the fan and take it downstairs for examination. Under proper lighting, I found a mud nest for some bug(s) within the fan’s impeller. I removed same, and turned on the fan to find it amazingly quiet. I reinstalled the fan, removed the pillow, and found the rumble gone. The fan likely sat on a shelf before installation, and a bug made a home within it. The installers simply grabbed it off the shelf, and without testing / examination, installed it. Install fees bring a profit, whereas return / repair visits are usually pro-bono. I wonder how many customers this installer may have lost due to bad PR with this client. Probably much more than they would have lost by a courtesy visit.
Another cute problem had only happened for a short while, but had become expensive. The client had hired an indoor air quality firm to investigate a stink than came on only when the heat came on. They cleaned the air ducts, for a nice fee, but did not correct the problem. The client hired another firm, which cleaned the HVAC unit, but did not correct the problem. The client hired another firm, but they recused themselves, as they had no clue what might cause suck a stink. I was asked to visit, and knowing a little about how mice like to chew on newly installed wiring, and may die within said wiring, quickly identified the telltale aroma of a dead mouse. Next was to identify why, and how. The client had a crawlspace where some of the air ducts were located, and this crawlspace had a window open to outdoors. The heater portion of the HVAC was Open-combustion, and as such was sucking air from the indoors, and subsequently the crawlspace, where the dead mouse lay. The client had installed chemical mouse traps, which are not a good idea, because the mouse(mice) eat the poison and go die somewhere “inconvenient,” in this case tangible in the entire home. The mouse had eaten the poison and died in the crawlspace. My fee was a pittance, compared to the other “specialists,” but it got down to solving the problem.
Subscribe to Environmental Irregular, here.
Sal La Duca, ET