No More Mister Nice Guy, No More Mister Clean

I'm on a tear now. The swamp cooler lost power again and we still haven't gotten Roofing Guy to come out the install the vents on the roof or haul away the leftover construction materials. I'm reaching the end of my rope with half-done jobs.

I decided to jump on the roof and take a look at the wiring box for the swamp cooler to see what's up with it. I figured something must be loose given how it had been cutting in and out. I didn't figure out what was wrong, but I did make an interesting discovery: the ground wires hadn't been spliced together at all. Now I'm no electrician, but I do know that extra wires are not standard practice, especially when the wires are several inches from a big pan of water. This prompted me to do a bit of research.

I come to find that all outdoor electrical outlets (especially the kind in swamp coolers) are supposed to 1) be grounded, 2) be GFCI, and 3) be on an isolated circuit from indoor outlets. Given the condition of this house, I wasn't surprised to find out that every outdoor outlet fails two of these tests while the swamp cooler takes home the grand slam. The outlet in the garage is an indoor outlet for goodness sakes. I don't expect some guy replacing a length of wire to bring the whole thing up to code, but I do expect him to say "hey, this isn't up to code" and at least take the extra five minutes to wire the ground. It gives me very little confidence that the rest of the wiring is up to snuff.

What cheeses me off is that when I called about this last week, the dude kind of blew me off, telling me to test the wiring myself. Pardon my stupidity, but isn't that what I asked him to do? I was willing to give it a shot until having it work and then not work again. Now it's the big guns: fix it right or the next call he gets is from the Mastercard disputes department. I'm thinking I'm going to have to turn this one over to the home warranty company.

Then there's the "not quite finished" roofing job. Yes, we have new decking, shingles, flashing and all that jazz, but he neglected to put on the new cooling vents or pick up the leftover materials. The reason the decking was so bad to begin with was (dun, dun, dun) poor ventilation leading to dry rot. We called him on this last week, and he did send a guy out to take care of it on Friday. Tell me though: do you send a guy to a roofing job without a freakin' ladder? When I heard the message after I got home that day, I was stunned. What do you say to something like that? So we've had this pile of roofing vents sitting in the driveway for almost a week as we wait for him to mosey on out and finish what should have already been done (or, rather, send out his cheap foreign labor to finish the job for him).

Had we realized he hadn't really completed the job, I don't know that I would have rendered the other half of the payment. The contract we had clearly says to put on vents and get rid of their own trash. It's not a hard concept, now is it? Luckily, we have Visa on our side for the lion's share of the roofing expenses, so we still have some big guns if he won't get in gear.

We also have some other aces up our sleeves: The Better Business Bureau, state contractor's board, city and county licensing boards… someone who's mad and knows where to vent can get a lot accomplished, you know? For now, it'll be some phone calls tomorrow to see if these folks can get it together and do the job right. 

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3 Responses

  1. bestsariah says:

    I can’t say I really understand what you’re talking about with the roofing things and such, but I appreciate the Alice Cooper title.

    Sorry about the bad stuff. Home ownership is a terrifying thing.

  2. Jason says:

    One rule in the roofing world:

    Want it done right? Hire a midget.

  1. July 27, 2008

    […] first winter in the house. Not content to let that one slide, we got the roof replaced, albeit with more than a few headaches. Aside from having to coax the swamp cooler back into action every year, the roof has served its […]

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