Home ownership has been a huge source of pride for my husband and me, but it has not been without some difficulties, major headaches, and some definite punches in the wallet.
The biggest-and the most costliest issue thus far-came about this week.
Let me explain. The home that we purchased set empty for a while. The home has a pool, which of course also set empty without being cleaned for many months. When we viewed the home, the pool was greener than the trees. A shoe floated on the top. We actually worried that when they cleaned the pool they’d find a body at the bottom that had been dragged in by some six foot long alligator that lives in the marsh!
The realtor hired a company to fix it up and get it back to normal condition, which they did. Before moving across the country we called that company and asked that they remain on even when the sale was complete.
When we moved into the home, we were pleased to find the water was the color that was originally intended.
Not so pleased, though, to discover, nearly a month later, that the pool pump had never shut down.
You see, we kept hearing the spa trickling over the pool. It didn’t seem to stop for the two weeks that we were in the house. I didn’t think much about it at first, because I didn’t realize that the spa water trickling meant the pump was on. I just thought it was set up to do that. Then I mentioned it to my husband one night after we’d been in the house for about ten days. He said he thought that might mean the pump was on, so we put on our shoes and headed down to check out the pool equipment.
When we opened the pool equipment box we saw that the timer clips that turn the pump on and off had been removed from the pool pump equipment and were on the bottom of the box.
We stopped the pool pump manually and the spa immediately drained.
We left the spa on for that day (it was Sunday) and called the company immediately yesterday morning. They showed up, replaced the broken equipment, said they didn’t know who took the timer clips off, and left.
I followed up with the manager of the company and he said he would figure out why the clips had been taken off and who had done it without letting us know. Because of course without the timer clips the pool runs constantly.
Yet the spa continued to trickle for a while after the spa guy left. So, out of curiousity I headed down to the equipment. I noticed that the clips had been passed by the timer-should have stopped it but they didn’t. Why? When I peered closer I saw that both clilps were ON clilps! So even if they were on the timer they would not have stopped the spa from running.
Of course you know our first thought and fear: How high will our electric bill be, with a pool pump that has been running constantly for at least one month?
Then our electric bill came and the question was answered: $522.
I think my husband fainted but I’m not sure because I came to on the floor.
Before the bill, I had called the pool company several times: as soon as we realized that the clips had been removed and then again when we saw that the clips were both ON clips.
The manager was quite upset about this and had already made an appointment to come out this morning at 8:30 and check everything out to see, as he says, “If there were any other mistakes made.”
Apparently a 24 hour running pool pump can cause damage to any number of things in the system.
We have not had a pool and have no clue what the equipment does, and since it is cold here and there is no swimming going on right now we haven’t spent the time getting to understand the equipment. Instead, we’ve been trying to unpack and get our home ready for the holidays. So we didn’t realize this was happening until we’d been in the house for about two weeks.
We should have been more observant, I know. Yet it’s easy to overlook things when you are not familiar with the way that they work.
While the manager can’t figure out which employee is responsible for this mistake, my husband and I are wondering how this will be resolved.
Of course, as it is with most things, I decided to write about it and ask you: If you were the owner of a company and your employee made a costly mistake that hit the customer’s pocket, how would you resolve the issue?
Do you take the money out of the employee’s paycheck a little at a time?
Do you expect the homeowner or the client to pay for the mistake but give them something in return?
Do you pay for it out of the company’s money and then fire the employee? Keep the employee on but not expect him to pay for the problem?
The manager will show up this morning at 8:30 and will be handed our electric bill first thing. How will it go from there? Of course I will keep you updated!
In the meantime, I’m trying NOT to think about that electric bill.
Have a good Tuesday, working parents.