May 22nd, 2010

olympicbear

The Annual Ritual

There's an annual ritual in the desert Southwest known as "getting the swamp cooler ready." Oh sure. You could be Mr Fancypants and have refrigerated air, but some of us like the old skool method of using the natural process of evaporation to cool our homes. The ritual starts with cleaning out 6-8 months worth of sand from inside the unit. Then you remove the old cooler pads which are usually caked in calcium. Then you install new pads. Then you hook up the water line which, if you're lucky, won't have any major leaks. Then you install the pump. There are the closing of dampers to the furnace and the opening of dampers to the unit. Finally you get the thing cranked up and, if the gods are smiling, water will begin to flow down over the pads and the fan will suck cool air into the house. The process usually takes 1-2 hours. I'm fortunate in that the unit is on the ground. Many homes have the unit on the roof. Who thought THAT was a good idea?!? The gods weren't quite smiling on me today. My old pump had burned out so it required a trip to Home Despot. I also had a little drama with a compression fitting, but all worked out in the end.

I had bigger drama with my sprinkler system AGAIN! The splitter valve that I had installed a few months earlier had developed a hairline fracture that was causing a leak. Had there been a freeze which caused the leak? Well, I got my answer when I installed a replacement. The valve is supposed to be cast brass. As soon as I pressurized the new valve I instantly saw a pinhole leak. WTF?!? This was a brand new valve! I noticed that the POS was made in China. Good lord! What kind of crap do they produce?!? This was the 3rd valve in a year which failed! I'm going to register a complaint with Home Despot tomorrow.