Being a man is a lot of fun. We get to go through life doing everything the hard way. Why? Because we are men and we don’t need to ask for directions. We can fix things ourselves. And we are stubborn and hard headed. We are men and that is just the way it is. We don’t shave our legs or our armpits and I am eternally grateful that I will never experience childbirth or menstruation.
Our swamp cooler has been on the brink of dying for the last week. The capacitors in the motor have a safety switch that turn off the motor when it gets too hot. My Fiance said we should just call someone to come take a look at it. “Sure, sure,” I thought. I can fix this. How hard could it possibly be? I get online and read a few discussions on what could be causing this. That is the beauty of the internet. You can find an answer to anything, even though it may or may not be correct.
Oil. The lube of life. That is the first thing to try. Make sure that the bearings are well lubed. Well, I don’t have any motor oil. Off to Lowe’s I go. I love their cooling section. They have everything that I will need for my new project. I buy the bottle of $2 oil, climb back onto the roof and oil up the bearings. They spin better now. I climb back off the roof, fire up the swamp cooler and PRESTO, we are back in business. Feel that sweet cool air. Twenty minutes later the motor turns off again. Damn!
Belt. Motor, pulleys, bearings, pump, and fan are useless without the belt. So off I go to Lowe’s again to buy a $5 belt. Now you have to understand that this is not the same day. This all takes place over a weeks time. I have a few portrait sessions in the evenings, my new brakes arrive for my bike and I need to put them on (priorities), and other stuff comes up that keeps me from finishing the job. (It is really called procrastination.)
Back to the belt. So I buy the belt, climb back onto the roof and get it put on over the pulleys. Nice! It is smooth. The old belt has to be the root of the problem. Back off the roof I go and flip the switch. Oh ya! It is good to go now. Um…no. A short while later it shuts itself off again. Double damn.
Okay, I know what it has to be now. The bearings are old. They are probably taking too much effort to spin and overheating the motor. I don’t know what size the bearings are, so I climb back on the roof and start to remove them. Grease! I have grease everywhere. All over my hands, screwdriver, shorts, cooler panels, etc. I get the first one off and realize there is nothing wrong with them. The actual bearings are in great shape and spin nice and smooth. There is no metal rubbing against metal, so I put it back on.
Hmmmm? The pulleys? That doesn’t really make sense because all they do is hold the belt on. The fan? It spins and doesn’t grind. What else is there? Of course, it could be the motor itself.
“Maybe we should just call someone to come take a look at it,” she sweetly mentions again. “They could probably have it figured out and fixed in an hour.”
True. They probably could, but I have already invested so much time. That is guy speak for “I am too hard headed to allow defeat.” Plus, I have already diagnosed the whole machine.
So, the next day I climb back on the roof, remove the old motor and make my way back to Lowe’s. I already mentioned how much I think of them. I easily match up the motor and see the new fan dangled pulleys right above the motors.
“Why not?” I think to myself. I get back home, switch the power cord from the old motor and add the new pulley. “Wow, this looks nice.”
One more time, I scale the roof with a pocket full of tools and the new motor tucked under my arm. I easily get it installed, line up the pulleys, put the belt back on and tighten everything down. I crawl back off the roof and with fingers crossed and a prayer on my tongue, I flip the switch.
“Wow, oh wow!” It is running and oh so quiet. It sounds amazing. If I would have known how quiet a new motor is, I would have replaced the motor, just for the reduced noise alone.
I listen to it for a while to make sure it doesn’t blow up. It sounds good, it feels great and I couldn’t be happier. One last trip onto the roof to close all of the cooler panels. But it is okay. This is my victory lap. I am a proud papa of a running swamp cooler, that I fixed. I close all the panels and sit down on the peak of the roof with a cold celebratory beer I had brought with me this final time. So, there I was. Reveling in accomplishment, looking out over the valley as the sun moved closer to the horizon and I started to laugh.
“Men really are stupid creatures,” I laughed to myself. How many hours did I waste reading, trying and erring, driving back and forth, and just suffering through the evening heat? Yes, a professional could have fixed it in thirty minutes, but I am a man and I can fix things. Yep, being a man is cool. I can know I am being stupid, do it anyway, and then revel in my success. Men are awesome!