Old Mack’s Tales

September 7, 2009

Slow Speed Fixit Man

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" @ 4:23 am

Fixing a Fan in Record Time


The cramped 800 square feet of living space within the plastered walls of our cinder block house has no central air conditioning system.  Today the indoor temperature would be 90 degrees, if I hadn’t taken a sledge hammer to the living room wall and made a hole in which to insert a cheap, motel-type air conditioner.  Alone, it can cool half of the living room and the kitchen.  But not enough cool air reaches the bedrooms—one of which is our office.


So, after ripping out the old oil-burning furnace from the space between the living room partition and the closet in the office/bedroom,  I found a 2 foot square space—the size of a linen closet—open to the attic with bare stud framing.  I installed sheet rock, but left a large round opening in the ceiling where I installed a large fan to suck the hot air out of the closet. I closed the front with an old closet door with a hole cut out of it the size of a $50 window-type air conditioner, and put a screened ventilation opening at floor level.  A braced shelf on the inside of the door, with a galvanized drip pan connected to the old oil line catches the condensate, drains it outdoors and supports the weight of the air conditioner.. That small cooler works fine, but it takes an 18 inch fan to blow its cooled air into the office and bedroom.


Our large fan has sucked up enough dog hair to fill a mattress cover over the years and it quit running.  So, yesterday, I was determined to take it apart and make it run again; not that I’m really a cheap skate, but I do love a challenging project of this sort.  There’s more to it than I expected due to the different types of screws holding the case together, the fan body to its stand, and the electronic circuit board controlling the fan speeds.  I have all the tools needed for such a job, but they are scattered about; some in my computer tool kit, some in my old Ford van, and several out in my work shop/storage shed.  It took almost an hour to assemble the tools needed.  That’s when Chris began noting the time.  She was anxious to go shopping and I was being a drag.


“We have to go to the market to get stuff for the party tomorrow.  Remember?”


“Publix will be open late; the retirees got their Social Security retirement checks on the 3rd.  The store will be packed at this time of day.  We’ll go as soon as I fix the fan.”


“This can’t be too tough, Chris.  It was, after all, assembled by Chinese farmers with no education or mechanical background to speak of—sure, their parents or grand parents may have made the iron and hammered out those burp guns used by the People’s Liberation Army in their backyard foundries.  I’m not saying they are not clever as hell.”  Chris doesn’t dig my xenophobic humor, or my left-handed compliments either.


After the whole thing was disassembled, I sucked ten pounds of dog hair out of the motor, lubricated the drive shaft and applied a bit of Liquid Wrench to it and turned it by hand until it was free.  I reinstalled the fan, plugged in the power cord and the fan almost became an air cushion vehicle.  I began to screw and bolt the damned thing together and had to crawl around on hands and knees to locate a few dropped washers and screws.  Reassembled it could drive an air boat. “That only took you three hours and ten minutes,” Chris said.  “That must be a record for slow..”


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