February 12, 2011

House Fart

Oh, what a week. It was dominated by the fact that we had a gas leak. Twice. Seriously.

It started when we came home on Monday. As soon as I opened the door, the house wreaked of gas. I had the hubby call Enbridge. They told us to open windows and not run any electrical appliances. It was dinnertime and I needed to feed PK. What was she going to eat? We needed to microwave her food. So we opened up a can of chicken noodle soup, which she happily gobbled up. By the time we were ready for her shower, we got word that a major leak had been detected and that our gas had been shut. No more hot water, no more heat. It turns out that the guy who shut off our gas was not the same guy who would fix our gas leak. Enbridge sends guys to shot off your gas. DirectEnergy sends guys to fix your gas line. Stupid system.

Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that it was the start of a particularly cold week (-20C-ish at night) and that we have a 2.5 year-old, it wasn't enough to get a technician to our place that night. The technician would come by sometime between 8am and noon the next day.

It was not a pleasant night. We had gathered up tons of blankets to keep us warm, and had our one and only space heater running in PK's room. We worried the entire night about whether PK was too hot (from running the space heater too long) or too cold (from shutting off the space heater).

Unfortunately, that's PK's day at home with my mom, and there was no way that I would have my mom come down to care for PK in a frigid house. And daycare couldn't take her that day, since there were no spots available. I was hoping that the problem would get fixed in the morning, and I could at least keep PK at home for the day. We all huddled in the basement that morning. The basement is normally the coldest room in the house, but it has an electric fireplace, so it ended up being the warmest room in the house. Even still, it was pretty cold and I stayed close to the fireplace. The rest of the house was averaging about 8 or 9C. We waited for a technician to arrive. A technician did show up at 10:30am on Tuesday, but it was a guy to fix the hot water heater, rather than someone to fix the gas line.

When it became apparent that the problem would not be resolved anytime soon, I decided to take PK up to my parents' place for the day. She had a blast with my mom while I squeezed in 4 hours of work from my parents' place. The right technician did show up at 3:30pm. He found a cracked valve, which he promptly replaced.

PK and I got back home from my mom and dad's very relieved that we finally had heat back on. I took an extra-hot shower. The next day, we left our windows open to air out the house in case of gas buildup from the repairs. The hubby came home before me and closed the windows. I got home 10 minutes later, only to be greeted by a strong gas smell. So we called Enbridge again, who sent someone to our place within an hour.

The inspector (same guy from Monday) detected a leak and promptly shut off our gas. Fortunately, we were able to have hot showers because the hot water heater had been going all day, but we only had one space heater. DirectEnergy wasn't able to send a technician that evening in spite of our pleas. Apparently having a 2-year-old and being without heat for 2 days in -20C weather don't sway people. They did, however, provide us with space heaters. Bonus. At least our rooms were pretty warm this time around. Much better than the first night.

On Thursday morning, the DirectEnergy technician showed up - same guy from Tuesday. Do you see a pattern here? He brought two other guys along with him. They combed our place (including the garage, where the gas line originates) for leaks and eventually found out that our hot water tank was leaking gas, which was the origin of the smell on Monday and Wednesday. The cracked valve fixed on Tuesday was just yet another problem which had manifested itself by total fluke at the same time.

We had to spend Thursday night without the hot water tank working, but fortunately, we were able to run the fireplace, and we still had our space heaters. In addition, since the hot water heater had been running that day while the DirectEnergy technicians tried to find our problem, we had enough hot water for our showers that evening, so we survived yet another night sans heater.

The good news is that our hot water heater was replaced today, after about 4 or 5 hours of labor and 5 holes in our basement ceiling (the old heater was not up to code and they needed to put in some new PVC piping - fun). I'm just glad that this ordeal is over. On the bright side, PK didn't seem to mind any of this. That and we didn't blow up. Time to buy a lottery ticket.

1 comment:

Fawn said...

Whew, scary! Definitely very glad that you didn't blow up!