TikTok Problem Solved. No, Not THAT TikTok

filterSo many of you wrote in with your thoughts, suggestions, and tips in regards to that awful tick-tick-tick in our walls. Though all of your help is appreciated, none of you nailed the cause of the noise. It wasn't bees, or raccoons, or birds in the venting. It wasn't the house settling. And much to my relief, it wasn't scary mojo from long-forgotten burial grounds beneath the basement. But it is to the basement we shall go to solve our problem...

Thursday evening the printer died. Alexa2 stopped answering questions. By checking our phones I could tell that one of our wifi networks had died (no, I don't know why we have two networks, the installer just did it that way.) So I visited the basement utility room to reboot the router or modem or whatever the black box is called. And the ticking down here was louder. I knew I was near the source.

I hunted around and saw a small green signal light flashing in time with the ticking. I flipped a switch under the flashing light and the ticking ended. Eureka! And what was the device that had been causing the ticks and the flashing light? It was an electronic air cleaner, part of our HVAC system.

When I think of house air filters, I think of fiberglass sheets in flimsy cardboard panels that slide into metal frames in the air duct system. You buy the filters by the case, and if you remember, you change them every few months, trying to avoid skinning your knuckles forcing them into place. That type of filter served us well in all our prior homes.

But the architect for this house designed the system with more "state-of-the-art" electronic air cleaners. These use filters to trap large particles, and electric charges to clump and remove smaller particles. But as the repairman explained to Barb, they are temperamental little beasts. They get dirty, they stop filtering, they click---and unless you pledge to clean all the parts several times a year, they are expensive to maintain. The workman let us know that many households left the casing in place but pulled out the electronic innards and inserted replaceable HEPA filters. Something for us to chew on.

Barb and I have developed a philosophy. We believe that the more gizmos and gadgets we have in the home, the more gizmos and gadgets we have that can go wrong. Yes, of course we love some of the doodads. Alexa keeps us entertained, the electronic keypad on our side door lets me go for a run without bringing keys. But sometimes plain-old plain-old wins the day. Give me those old cardboard air filters any day. I'll live with a set of skinned knuckles. That is what Band-Aids are for.

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