Before I get into my situation I just want to say my heart goes out to those in Japan dealing with the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant. Glad my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew are here in the states instead of over in Japan. Hope that any Japanese-American trying to contact friends or relatives in Japan get through to their loved ones.
Alright, now to my story, an in-the-house tsunami of sorts. Thursday night I come home from work same as any other night; I get home, let the dog out, go to the computer room, and start looking at all my glorious internet stuff. Check facebook, twitter, news, astronomy forums, and all the usual stuff. Talk about the work day with my girlfriend, and just enjoy that it's the beginning of my weekend. Three days off, I love it! Sounds lovely right? Well of course it does, the night is going smooth and relaxing and work is over; who wouldn't be happy about that?
All of a sudden after a few seconds of the heat kicking on the gf says "I think I hear water," so I shut off the music I was listening to so I can see if I can hear it. Yup there's the water noise. Wasn't thinking much of it since it was about 40°F outside and the 3+ feet of snow we have is melting at a speed incomprehensible by the human mind, figured it was just water dripping outside. Ok, it wasn't melting that fast, but still quite fast. So I looked in the register vent and there it was WATER, yes water, enough water to live off of for a year. So I go around the house checking every vent, I know they're all going to be just as full, but what kind of man would I be if I didn't check all of them? At this point I start to panick a little. I mean it's 40° but that's not exactly warm, and with all the water in the vents it's probably not the smartest idea to run the heater, even if it is a good idea it's not going to do a whole lot of good with warm air bubbling through extremely cold melt water. At this point the gf is on the phone with the landlords informing them on the situation at hand here. Within an hour the landlord is here with a helper to help clear snow off the roof and try to suck the water out of the vents with a shopvac. I had gone out to the garage before they got here to grab my tiny little 4.5gallon shopvac and as I step out I'm up to my shin in freezing cold water; I wasn't really expecting that since 3 hours beforehand when I came home from work it was snow on outside the door not a small pond. I think to myself "well this would explain why we have water in the vents."
Let me take you back to the past real quick to last year. We had water in the vents around the time we needed to start using the heat. The landlord had sent the same helper over to vacuum out the vents and spray a bit of bleach in there to prevent any mold buildup. Also had a guy patch a small crack near the chimney on the roof where there was a bit of water leaking in. The girlfriend had informed him that we didn't think that the water in the vents had anything to do with the crack near the chimney, and that we need this method to try and detour the water from the house. Of course my girlfriend being a girl, and the guy she's talking to is a guy and a professional at what he does he doesn't believe she knows what she's talking about. Which of course she completely knew what she was talking about. The water was entering the slab flooring underground through a crack and entering our vents. As you may have guessed nothing was really done about this situation because of the guys stupidity.
Now back to the present. Thursday night after shoveling off the roof and attempting to clear water from the vents for a few hours and making no progress, they called it a night. But they had given us a space heater to use for the night. I had brought up the previous information to the landlord for him to look into, although I don't know how possible that method is to do with 3 feet of snow and frozen ground. He had a couple ideas, that being one of them. Glad we were all finally on the same page. It was late so they told us they'd be back the next morning to continue the process and to get it all cleared out.
Friday morning about 9:30-ish the helper comes over again to try and vacuum the water out of the vents. This time he came with a little sump pup to pump water out of the vent in the bathroom and drain into the tub. Great idea! As that was set up and running he went outside and started clearing a path for the water to flow from the house, down the driveway, into the road, down the road, and into a water runoff drain. He spent quite a few hours out there doing that with nothing but a shovel and a hammer. We lack the proper tools to do anything useful and he didn't expect to be doing that so he didn't have the tools to do anything like that so it took him quite a while. When I say quite a while I'm talking he was out there from roughly 10:30-3:30/4 creating a nice path for the water to flow. Worked like a charm, the water had started draining out (and still is as I'm typing this now a day after making the path for the water). After he had completed that and we sat around bullshitting a little bit while the water drained he decided he was going to vacuum water out of the vent in the bathroom along with the sump pump running at the same time. Twice as much water being dumped means quicker relief of a flooded slab heating vent. We took a measurement in one vent with a ruler, the water was at about 7" high before the sump pump and before the vacuuming. He spent the remainder of the night in the bathroom vacuuming, dumping, and repeating from about 5-8:30/9 until he finally had enough and needed to call it quits. Well you know how I said we started at 7" of water? Well after all the pumping, detouring the water, and vacuuming we only got down to 3.5" in the vent. HOLY CRAP BATMAN! So we went another night without our main heat going. Had a space heater in the kids room to keep her nice and toasty, and we left the other heater in the living room and me the girlfriend and the dog closed ourselves in our bedroom hoping to keep our body heat in there and keep us warm. It worked decently but we would have loved to have had actual heater heat.
Saturday morning here we are, the landlord and his helper stop by to install Econo-Heat pads on the wall until the monitor heating system is installed. So we have these heat pads installed in our computer room and our bedroom, a space heater in the living room and a space heater in the kids room. The house isn't the warmest but it's still better than freezing. Around 2pm this afternoon I went outside to take a video of the flooded sidewalk outside of the house and the path it was taking off the property. I stepped out and it's actually dried up out there, but I took the video anyway. Imagine this dry sidewalk being above your ankles about a quarter of the way up your shin, that's where it was at but luckily it's finally drying up.
On top of all this issue we have our water heater leaking so much water in the course of a day that it's almost unbearable and it's such a pain to maintain. The landlord is having a newer bigger one installed going from 30 gallons to 50 gallons. Hoping the new one doesn't start leaking like the current one does, if so then it's the water pressure and will have to install a thermal expansion tank for the water heater. Hopefully replacing the water heater itself will be a good enough fix and the issue wont occur again, but at this point I'm not being too optimistic about it.
And on that note I leave this blog entry with a bit of happyness, while typing this out I saw a Blue Jay outside on the tree and happened to get a quick video of it.