Expensive ultrasonic mistakes

Jarrod Schoenecker, editor@montgomerymnnews.com

In the history of a few dumb mistakes I have made over the years, these two are some of the more expensive ones

The $340.35 mistake I recently acquired an ultrasonic cleaner. Being a noob at this, I tried a couple of metal objects but couldn’t fully tell if it was working. I mean, they seemed clean but were tarnished and I didn’t have any solution for that.

I figured that I should throw my glasses in there and get all the nooks and crannies clean on them. In a matter of five minutes, it managed to take off about 50% of the coatings on my glasses.

When I told my brother-in-law about this, an eye surgeon who has his own optical shop, he said, “The tiny nooks and crannies took over your glasses.” He followed that with more humorous banter.

I could hear the dollar bills coming out of my wallet when I pulled it out of the machine.

In actuality, this mistake is costing me $185.96 after insurance and about a two to four week wait to get the lenses made and installed. Without insurance, it would have been $340.35 though.

The $400-plus mistake

One day I had noticed that the flames on the stove were burning yellow, as if the propane tank was getting low. We checked it and it was fine.

Then the furnace appeared to run way more than it normally would and not much air was coming out. I pulled the filter out to look at it and it looked fine but the motor sounded kind of funny.

Not knowing what the issue was, my father called an HVAC service to look at it and they came out on a Sunday. Figuring it was probably the blower motor after checking out other things, my father told the HVAC company to replace it.

At the time the technician had just finished installing the new blower motor, I was asked a question by my dad that was posed by the HVAC technician, “Did you start using a different humidifier recently?” What he didn’t know is that the answer to that was, “Yes.”

In the weeks prior, I had bought an ultrasonic humidifier. It essentially uses the ultrasonic waves to help the moisture vibrate into the air better. What I didn’t know is that it also will take the minerals in the water with it in the water vapor.

The HVAC technician pulled out the filter and looked closer at it and said, “That’s it. Look at it.” I looked at it but couldn’t see anything. The tech said to look closer, that it was clogged with white calcium deposits from the air.

Upon closer review, I could see that the filter was caked with a filter-colored white deposit over the entirety. It was almost unnoticeable. This also explained the flames on the stove burning yellow, as sodium burns yellow which would have come from the sodium chloride used in the water softener.

My dad, thinking of the age of the motor and that he’d still have to pay for the labor and likely a Sunday service call, decided to just leave the new motor in. The price of that motor was $400 and that was without any labor or additional parts or fees.



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