House Hacking Gone Awry 1
It can happen to anyone. You plot out an improvement, buy the required parts and tools, and get to work. Only to find later that your kit is missing something or not functioning properly. It happens very infrequently, but the effort to remedy the situation can become oppressive in some circumstances. How do you go about fixing “the fix?”
In one recent episode, we were upgrading a ceiling fan to a different style to more accurately match our decor. This was in November of 2008 (which is of significance…) Having been exposed to Casablanca Fans, it was a difficult move to try another brand. They are know to be one of, if not the premier manufacturer in the business. Their lifetime motor warranty and prices reflect that. We already owned two, and they have provided years of trouble free service. Change wasn’t easy, but the style we wanted wasn’t available at the time.
After some research, we fell in love with a style from Minka Fan, also a top notch company in the industry. Before purchasing we hit up Google searches to see reviews and any complaints about functionality. Primarily was the dual sets of lighting, to help in illuminate the master bedroom. A trip to our local Expo, the now defunct luxury arm of Home Depot, had the fan we wanted in stock. We took it home to install, which is a short project for an existing fan junction box.
Setup was easy! It takes longer to unbox and unwrap the parts than it does to assemble the blades and hang the fan. Powered on, worked like a charm. We moved the Casablanca fan to anther room that did not have a fan, but did have a fan ready j-box. Cleaned up the packing, put away the tools, and left the new fan on high to break-in.
Having experience installing many a fan before, it does pay to read the installation material. As found right in the Minka manual, as displayed above. “Allow a 24 hour ‘break-in'” is to help get the juices flowing, like letting the brushes in the fan motor burn off any burrs and set up to the commutator. A few of the fans we installed previously were exceptionally noisy in this period, but were silent after a break in.
A day, two, three, then a week go by. Fan is noisy. No problem, Expo had a best in class return policy. Packed up the fan, exchanged it for fan #2. Install, rinse and repeat. Another few days, then another trip to Expo. Fan #3 is purchased, at which time Expo told me that they were not going to honor any more returns on the item, and I would have to deal with the manufacturer directly. Which incidentally was the opposite policy that Minka held with their retailers. All we wanted was a fan that didn’t hum, and two other fans in the house proved it was indeed attainable.
After pinging the company via it’s contact form a few times, we were finally emailed directly by a customer service rep. Immediately the issues related could not possibly be three defective units in a row. Statistically nil. Must be the house, the wiring, the frequency/voltage from the power company… Not the house, not the wiring, and not a power issue. Luckily cell phone technology had been rapidly improving, and I was able to take a video (primarily for the audio) to email back.
I got a ladder, and help to cycle the fan on and off for the video. If you turn the volume up, you can hear the hum pretty well. Which is the opposite of what you want with a fan on overnight above your bed. The rep agreed that in no way was the noise normal. The only option? Return to place of purchase. They did not have a system at the time to receive the part directly for service, which is what we were pushing for to come to a resolution. So back to Expo!
By January of 2009, Expo announced the closing of the brand. They agreed to take the fan back, thank goodness! In the two month period, Casablanca released a new model. It was not exactly what we wanted, but similar. A compromise was made, and the special order was put in.
The Bel Air Halo finally made it, a week before Expo was to close. We had to purchase with Expo, due to the fact that they would not issue a cash refund on the prior fan due to closing, just store credit. Install, rinse and repeat. Again. While going through the break in period, this fan also hummed. “You have got to be kidding me!” Casablanca has an extensive repair network, and an authorized center was only 10 minutes away. Fan came down, and off to the service center.
Fan Diego happily warrantied the motor for us. The hum was gone!!! After four fans, two manufacturers and a fifth motor, we were finally done with this project. Nearly six years later, the current model is still performing flawlessly, just like the other three Casablanca fans in the home. Persistence pays off, especially when you are up against a statistical anomaly that looks like a one in a million chance.
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