On Constant Disappointments, aka Follow Up's.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Sometimes, ya know, stars just do not align.

Sometimes, Murphy's Law is your unofficial middle name.

Sometimes your life constantly feels like this.  You cautiously open a baggie of lil' bitty screws, they launch themselves everywhere.
But try as one might, and oh I do, sometimes you will be constantly disappointed.  Or, maybe what I mean is that after a series of disappointing events, it feels like the world is heavy on my DIY shoulders.  Sounds not real cheery; at times, yeah I'm grumpy as all get out, but in the grand scheme, it's not the end of the world.  (I suppose.  Right?)

Try again one must.  Keep moving forward.  Pull the feet out of the mire.

But.  This is a blog....I will prattle onwards, thank you.

Take for instance this whole humidifier* thing. (If you missed any of the story, part one is here, part two can then be found here, and the third part here.)

Slurppy slurppy...the weird appendage sucking the life out of our furnace.
After waiting two weeks for a Honeywell person to contact me, someone named Paul rings me up.  We had a half hour, I'd say "conversation" but it wasn't as he spoke for twenty seven minutes, me for three.  The ol' drown 'em in words theory.

First Paul tries to be all nice.  I was pleasant too.  Really, I was, I swear.

He didn't know why he was calling me or what the issues were, he had not been briefed.  He also thought I had a completely different model.

He leads off by saying the numeric quantity of space the humidifier is good for is cubic feet.  But Paul, the box says square feet.  Your website (heh, "Do-it-yourself install...") says square feet.  "No, it's cubic feet."  Mmmmmmk.  ??

Then he tells me I should have researched more.  I probably could have.  That certainly would have led me to not purchase this unit.  But, he's saying that I should know every.single.aspect of my house and then every aspect of this humidifier to make sure it was appropriate.  Uh, ok.  So it's my fault, huh?

Next he says this humidifier is meant to put out, "at best" 20-28% humidity.  35% in warmer weather.  Um, ok Paul, where would I have found that in all this research I should have done because that information is not provided anywhere.  You won't even list how much water this unit uses daily.

"Well we don't like to flood the customer with too much information otherwise they won't take the risk and purchase our products."

Oooh!  Oh.  Oooooh-k, I see.  I see exactly where this is all going.

"But you should have called the 800 number with questions before purchasing or asked a store associate.  They're supposed to know everything about these units."

"Your ceilings are too high, your foundation probably has air leaks as do your windows and doors so there are many many variables here.  Your furnace is probably incorrect."

My furnace is incorrect?  Your website says it works with any furnace.  But ya know, perfect excuse, Paul.  It's not your product, it's me, it's my house and my HVAC system that are the issues here.  Ok.

So if the humidistat is now set to max and I only got a four percent increase in humidity temporarily...."Well, hahahaha, that's not how a humidistat works," he chuckles.  Um, but it's supposed to, Paul.  If I set my oven to 350, I expect it to be at 350, but ok, you must be right.

"It's performing quite well if that's what your humidity level is."  Paul, that's what our humidity level is without a humidifier, that's my point.  There is no change.  Regardless, if I want 40% humidity, and that's what the humidistat is set at, I should be darn near close to 40%.

But still it's all my fault.  I was smart enough to buy the product but plainly too dumb, this whole project was "clearly over your head," I should have known the risks.  A product that is designed and promoted for the do-it-yourself'er.  That I installed without error.  This is all my fault.

The product is error-filled but whatever, who am I?

"Sounds like it functions so there's nothing I can do."  Uh, function and perform are two different things, Paul.  It functions now, only after a technician visit due to a faulty product, but it's not performing.

"Well if you want to return it, just put some sheet metal over the holes.  Why do you have so many holes for this anyway?"  Because that's what the directions say?  Have you read the directions, Paul?  And just toss on some sheet metal?  I want zero furnace questions from a future home inspection, Paul.

"You should have had an HVAC contractor install a humidifier if you wanted something more."  Why does your packaging and website and product description not reflect this revelatory information?

"Nothing works well when it's taxed.  If it's very cold out you won't get much humidity."  This does seem a backwards statement in a way, but maybe I'm not understanding physics or the furnace/water/heat thing.

If the furnace runs more often in colder weather, the humidifier therefore runs just as often; it seems there'd be more opportunity for water to get into the air.  Yes, cold air doesn't carry moisture nearly as well, sure, but gizmo on hot air supply side heating water, humidifier running more often, it should equate to more moisture, or keeping up.  No?

Please explain to me what I'm not getting here, folks.  Snark font is off on that statement.

"Paul, I read you have constant solenoid problems, which is what I had.  Twice.  And will continue to have in the future."  Crickets.  The one time the other end of the line got silent.  Not for long though, ha, as he was back to blaming me right quick and then it was time for him to go.

After we hung up, as there was ultimately no resolution nor did he offer any, I sat for a moment and reflected.

And in the end I said ya know what, screw this sh*t, a product that doesn't work, that is draining resources is not bestowed the honor of being in our home.  I am returning it.

Honeywell tweeter people?  Yeah, returning this useless pile o' crap, you will send Heatmasters out again to remove this leech and repair my ducts.  All panicky, they agreed.

Plus ya know, I see your BS, nobody treats me that way, Paul.

Appointment set for two days later.

Here's how that went:

This visit was by a nice guy named Justin.  I explained the humidifier situation as briefly as I could.  He gave it a glance over to make sure it was all correct and proper.  I mentioned how drastically the humidity dropped and he stated, "yeah, no, it's not working properly."

He did explain that a variable speed motor furnace is what we should have since we have such trouble heating and cooling the second floor.

And my goodness, it sounds fabulous.  It's 95-97% efficient and runs 24/7 though the annual cost to run is quite low.  What it does is constantly circulate the air throughout the entire house, evening out the temperature across all floors while monitoring its energy use, reducing and increasing fan speed as necessary.

I mentioned our ductwork sucks, showed him a few photos.  He said some weren't too bad, it could probably still help.

Although.  Although, after researching variable speed and two stage and ooglie googlie, it's hard to know if it would truly work or if it's an HVAC sales gimmick.  I'm reading both sides, very little on the latter out on the 'webs though.  Obviously.

If heated or cooled air barely trickles out of the vents upstairs, I'm curious how a variable speed could change that.  Well anyway....

And there it is.  Franken-furnace, all patched up with bits o' sheet metal.  I'm debating leaving the tape (which is UL marked, what Justin said is the only official silver foil tape* that will pass inspection) or caulking (which he also suggested).
As Justin was leaving, I made a note of the conditions -- outdoor temp was thirty nine, indoor humidity was 34%.  (I did ask Justin my water/heat/cold weather/run more often question but he kinda choked, didn't give me an answer.)

Forty eight hours after the humidifier was removed, the outdoor temp was forty degrees (tropical!), and the humidity level indoors exactly the same as it was, 34%.  Exactly. the. same.

Checking in on various days at various different outdoor temperatures and comparing since?  Turns out the indoor humidity level was exactly the same whether we had that humidifier or not.  So therefore, hence, forthwith, it did nothing.  Nothing at all.  All that.  For nothing.

Disappointing.

On the same day I got another lame response from Polaroid.  Their warranty stipulates you must have the original packaging or zzziitt, you get zero.  And all you would get are scary replacement bulbs.

After telling them several times their warranty is clearly anti-customer, they stopped responding so I reported the bulbs to Underwriter's Laboratory, Consumer Reports, OSHA (weird, right?), the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission, and one other, I forgot.  Anywhere I could, point being.

UL got in touch, so did OSHA.  I shipped a bulb to UL and after an investigation, all they could say was that it resulted in proprietary information being revealed, they couldn't tell me anything more.

Whatever.  Heh, hope dashers.

Disappointed again.

And then also too that very same day, no joke (what a day, right?!) I made that Chocolate Magic Cake recipe.  You know the one, all over the Pinterests.

It looks quite, well, quite chocolatey custardy yummy.  On the internet.  Three layers of goodness.  In actuality?  A top crunchy-ish cakey layer, an oddly textured firm gelatinous bottom layer and a horrifyingly unappetizing yellow tan colored weird custard-ish middle layer.

Photo editing slight of hand makes this look a lot less foul.  I didn't want to freak you out.
Oh my!  Wowie gross, Batman!  #pinterestfail.

It tasted good.  Not as great as I had hoped.  But that middle layer, oh my, it's appearance was uh, queasy-inducing.  Even Mike was creeped out.  Posthumously I read the comment section; a few others encountered the same delightful appearance while the vast majority must be lying.

So, Holy Trinity of Let Down Disappointments.  All in one day.  Defeating, right?  I suppose that's partly reason for feeling in a slump.

What irks me the most about these big companies is here they make these products, you buy them, they suck, and when you try to pursue it with them, you come up against The Great Wall of No-You-Shut-Up-Customer.  They don't give a rat's a** if you're dissatisfied.  They just don't.

Granted, a quick search and you can read all about the multitudes of unhappy Honeywell and Polaroid customers.  If they tried to appease them all, they'd suffer financially for sure.  But maybe, just maybe they shouldn't put out crap products to begin with and no one would be mad.

But who has time to thoroughly and utterly scour internet innards before they buy every single darn thing?  We'd never have time to DIY, sheesh.

It is intensely aggravating to feel powerless as a consumer, to be treated like you're a few minute nuisance to be forgotten in a flash.  Profit and shareholders are king.  You can squeak all you want but you'll be doing it in a vacuum.

Wouldn't it be massively refreshing if people took responsibility?  Or merely did the right thing?

In the end, the humidifier was returned, I got all my money back.  Menards also refunded me full price on the bulbs (yes, I still had the two year old receipt:  packrat gene).  So, ha, Polaroid doesn't have my money either.

Sigh.  I'll just go back to doin' my thing, hone the researching sharply, hope to avoid as many disappointments in the future as best I can.

Right, we shall see.

Did that snark font turn itself back on?  Aw jeez.  Darn keyboard....

So few photos.  Must share a Hailey.

Oh but before I go, holy cats and dogs people!  Flipping the Flip is nominated for a JDR Industry Blogger Award for remodeling!  I know, exciting, right?!  Wow!

Voting begins on March 6 so mark your calendar!  Thanks everybody!

My pea, eternal lover of sunroof.
*The Honeywell whole house humidifier and UL marked silver foil tape are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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