Sunday, February 06, 2011

What's that beep?

There's nothing quite like being woken up by an insistent beeping, realizing it's not your alarm clock and then figuring out it is some kind of alarm. My first thought was that it was the carbon monoxide detector. We've had that go off a couple of times in the past - although that was at the last house where we had a wood stove. One time I arrived home from work and could hear the alarm going off before I even got in the house. I called DH at work, who said it was probably a malfunction and I should ignore it. Instead, I called the fire department who arrived promptly and headed into the house wearing their full respirator gear. They didn't come out until they had opened every window in the house and the basement hatchway - in the middle of January, mind you - because the carbon monoxide levels in the house were lethal, even on the top floor of the house!!

So when I realized it wasn't the alarm I was hearing, my first thought was that it was the carbon monoxide detector. I sent DH off to investigate. He returned looking confused and said it was the house alarm. Something electrical had tripped and thus set off the alarm. (The house alarm has a battery backup - when the power to the alarm goes off the battery backup kicks in and the alarm beeps until you unplug it or the power comes back on. Very annoying when the power goes off in a thunderstorm, which it often does.) Anyway, DH unplugged a few things and then tried resetting the breaker, but nothing seemed to work - every time he plugged the alarm system back in, it eventually started beeping again.

We had a feeling it probably had something to do with the ice dams on the roof, especially when mid-morning we found water pouring down the front of the house from the porch roof - water was clearly coming through the roof.

It wasn't until this evening that we finally figured out what had actually tripped the breaker. I wanted to take a photo for this blog of our Christmas lights, which are still on the bushes outside the front door because with all the snow and ice we haven't been able to remove them yet. DH had finally unplugged them this morning. I plugged them back in, but no matter how I fiddled with the timer they would not switch on. We unplugged them from the timer and plugged them directly into the outlet. Still no lights.

We think the voles that killed one of our trees last year by chewing off the bark all the way around have chewed their way through one of the wires for the lights. It will be some time before we are able to remove the lights from the bushes though to find out.

At least now that the lights are unplugged DH has been able to reset the breaker and the alarm is plugged back in! And if we make it through this winter with nothing damaged other than one set of Christmas lights, we'll be doing better than our next door neighbor who has over $1,000 worth of damage to his garage walls because of the ice dams on his garage roof.

2 to 4 more inches of snow forecast for tomorrow night.


nappy valley girl said...

This weather, it's causing all kinds of freaky stuff to happen!
Our icicles finally melted. Haven't looked too closely yet at the gutters to inspect the damage....

Danielle (Brit Abroad) said...

We're having ice problems too. Bloody water came pouring in through my roof, through my new bay window trim and all over my new drywall!
I wanted to cry. Hubs has been on the roof with eating coils and a chisel.

Did you ever find what caused your carbon monoxide problem? Scary!!

Almost American said...

Oh Danielle - after all that work!! I would have wanted to cry too!

It was the shorted out Christmas lights that was triggering the house alarm - once they were unplugged the alarm system was fine again. It's good that the alarm let us know there was a problem!

Twisting the Spanner said...

Blimey, I had no idea voles could be so evil.

I'm glad the ice is starting to go over here--one of our neighbours had to use his ice pick so we could get out of our house! Winter is evil, just as evil as voles.

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