Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's hot in here...wait no

It is about time I write up about my adventures on the roof. Previously I wrote about the heat going out in my apartment. Granted it happened in October…the coldest October Chicago has seen in 80 years. Right now, in November, it is around 10 degrees warmer on average than the previous month. Strange. Anyway, my neighbor’s heating unit also broke at the same time. Well hers was on fire, so it wasn’t completely the same type of malfunction. We tapped a mechanical contractor that has replaced all of the other heating units at our condo complex. Fast forward a week. I was on the roof of my building on a cold, rainy Friday afternoon with five Eastern European men (two of which didn’t speak English…at all…unless you count “cigarette” meaning they were asking my permission to smoke on the roof). I watched them pry off my old unit and crane in the new one from the street park below. Thank God the leaves had already frozen off the trees because the crane leveled dozens of branches. I asked the men how they all came to work with this contractor. Turns out they are all related to the Contractor. One was the brother-in-law, two were cousins, one was the father-in-law, and one was brother to the brother-in-law. Does that make them qualified to install mechanical units, possibly. Actually only two did the work while the other three stood around and held tools and chain smoked. While they were making the connections, I squeezed in to inspect the unit. While I was reading the specifications (yes, I am THAT dorky) I realized the contractor had pulled a bait and switch. Yeah, he sold me on unit A and was installing a much inferior unit B. The thing had two giant holes in the side because it was actually a side throw unit instead of a downward throw. Basically the holes needed to be in the bottom and not the side. I watched them realize their mistake and rectify it by sawing holes in the bottom of the unit. The best was when the contractor found out the side hole covers had to be purchased separately, so he took some thin sheet metal and just duct taped it over the openings. I stood aghast for a moment before unleashing my furry on him. About half way through the argument (where he tried to convince me it was the same unit) I started to name off all the deviations and mistakes. That made him blink and ask “wait, are you in this industry”? Yep, HVAC is my job, check mate buddy. My neighbor is a theater major and he assumed that I was an idiot to.
Realizing he screwed up, the Contractor ran off claiming he had another appointment (it was 5pm on a Friday) leaving his band of relatives to wrap things up. I found out they were all from Bosnia and I almost name dropped my good friend who is Serbian (who would ethnic cleanse their asses off). It all leads up to the big moment, turning on the unit, and surprise, NO HEAT! After further investigation, they didn’t cover a bare wire and ended up shorting the unit. No problem, just replace the internal fuse…too bad they needed to get it from the distributer’s shop which would be closed till Monday morning. Long story short, I put the hurt on the contractor and eventually got heat after being without it for four weeks and three additional days.


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