There was a mouse in the house last night. Ordinarily I’m not a violent person, but the news of this little fella’s demise made me happy. Why? Because this mouse met his end at the hands of the blower motor in our heat pump.
You would not believe the trouble one little mouse can cause. I was certainly surprised. At 2:30 this a.m., a clatter of sound echoed through the house that sounded for all the world like someone had parked a running Harley-Davidson motorcycle under our floor. We were sleeping fitfully anyhow, tossing and turning, so we didn’t lurch out of bed in a state of panic to wander through the house in search of the source of the noise. That was obvious as soon as we stepped into the dining room – at that point, the Harley merged with an out-of-control washing machine stuck in the spin cycle. The entire back quarter of the house was shaking.
Since the chances were excellent that there was no Harley or washing machine, we knew immediately what to blame if not why – the indoor HVAC unit. We turned it off at the thermostat, though it took a full minute or longer for the unit to actually go off. I was in the process of moving mops and brooms to get to the electrical panel to do a “nuclear option” when it shut off.
After the quiet descended, we looked at each other and kind of grimaced. When your air conditioner decides to cut loose like that, it’s never, ever good. And considering that the unit is a dual fuel system – meaning it’s both electric and gas – and that the gas line is active… well. An early (or late, depending on your perspective) call to the gas company is in order. As hard as that system was shaking, we knew there was a good chance the gas line could have been affected.
By four o’clock, the gas was shut off, the heat pump was completely shut down, and we were crawling back into bed. If you’ve been following the blog, you know we’ve not been sleeping well lately and the main reason why – Lady Pip the Kitten. So this interruption was one of those things that kind of leaves you shaking your head, too tired to do more than sigh and groan and pull the covers up over your head. I’m pleased to report that since we played with Pip quite vigorously while waiting for the gas man to come out, she was ready for a nap. At that point, so were we. I don’t think I moved for over three glorious hours.
At any rate, our awesome HVAC folks were out here around lunchtime. That’s when we received the diagnosis of mouse-tastrophe. While the system is on its last legs, last night fortunately was not it’s final battle. Mouse 0 – HVAC 1. But the system is on its last legs, and it does need to be replaced soon. It’s the best heat pump we’ve ever had, and we’ve had quite a few. This one is quiet, runs well, doesn’t run all the time, keeps the house cold in summer and toasty warm in winter. I hate the idea of replacing it not only for the cost (ouch!) but because I don’t know that we’ll be able to find one ever again that works as well as this one.
As for the mouse… well. I’m bloodthirsty, you see. If I had my druthers, we’d leave his little head on a pike next to the unit as a warning for his friends. But knowing mice, they’d probably be thinking “oh, pre-dinner snack, yay” instead of “death to all who enter.” We can’t seal up the crawlspace as it’s block and has too many nooks and crannies that are ideal for mouse infiltration. So we’ve put down some mouse repellant and we’ll hope that works, at least well enough that we can get through a couple of weeks until we can make arrangements for that new system to be installed. We’ll probably move the unit inside the house so that the mice don’t have that option anymore. Little buggers.