Saturday, February 14, 2015


It all started on a Tuesday afternoon.  I was set to be recognized at the Board of Education meeting and I invited my parents to attend if they wanted to.  Being the awesome parents that they are, they immediately rearranged other plans and put me on their calendar.  They arrived at my house while I was finishing up the work day and started to do a few projects- Dad was installing a pegboard over the workbench in the basement while Mom was shortening the mini-blinds to the correct length for each window.  When I got home, I noticed an unusual odor but I attributed it to the work Dad was doing in the basement.  I checked in with Dad downstairs and he was doing fine.

When I went upstairs to check on Mom, she was in the bathroom shortening the blind there.  She asked me, "Why is the toilet seat black?"  I had no good answer, but I knew that 1) I clean regularly and 2) I hadn't noticed anything odd that morning before work.  We investigated some more and realized that just about everything that was plastic was covered in a visible film of soot.  I called the HVAC specialist (and father of a co-worker, gotta love a small town) who attributed it to a backdraft in the chimney due to the recent gusty high winds.  I was OK with that explanation and just called my insurance agent to check in with what I would need to do if I needed to put in a claim for clean up.  At that point, it seemed unlikely that I would need any help since the HVAC specialist said it was probably a one-time occurrence, especially since he had just done a thorough cleaning of the system in November. If it got any worse or recurred, I was to call him again.

We went off to dinner out and to the board meeting so I could receive my certificate.  When we got home about 2.5 hours later, there was a visible haze in the house.  The basement was thick with soot.  I called and scheduled the HVAC specialist to come back the next day to look at it.  We spent the night at the local hotel. 

When the HVAC man came, the boiler was clogged with soot.  He vacuumed it all out and adjusted the air intake settings again.  The following day the chimney sweep came and cleaned the chimney.  That meant that everything that could have been the source of the soot was now clean.

The ServPro estimator came to look at the house on Monday afternoon and agreed to start on Wednesday.  He said it would take about 2.5 days to clean the house.  I never asked how many people were on the crew, but I figured that it would have to be several people in order for it to be done in just under 3 days.  The following day, the insurance adjuster came and spent an hour photographing the house.

ServePro worked Wednesday with 3 workers, Thursday with 6, and Friday with 9.  Mom was an excellent house-sitter for me so I could continue to go to work and she could answer questions that they had throughout the day.  The house is finally clean so now I can get to the work of finishing organizing and decorating before my housewarming party next month.