Sunday, May 4, 2014

How To Fix a Stove-Top Vent: Prune the Wisteria

Wisteria is a lovely thing. In the spring, when it blooms, it nearly takes my breath away. It really is one of my favorites. But, it is an interesting plant. It needs to be trained, or it will ramble wildly about the garden.

I have a three wisteria vines in my yard, and all three are very vigorous and healthy. They certainly do not have to be babied. In fact, we found out several years ago that in order to get your vine to bloom at it's best, you need to beat up the main trunk a bit. As in take the claw of a hammer and whack it til you have opened the bark in several areas. We also learned that you should not fertilize your lawn anywhere near the vine, because that will also inhibit blooming. So, in a nutshell... beat 'er up and don't feed 'er. Sounds like abuse, but it works!

Moving along... a year ago, my stove-top vent stopped working. I have one of those that rises up from the back of the stove top and sucks the air away from the cooking area and drafts the air down and out of the house (instead of up, like usual). After it stopped working, the vent would still rise up, but the fan wouldn't engage. It happened to be a bit down on my list of "to-do's", so I didn't think about it for a good long time. And then, earlier this year, somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered if my wisteria vine had found it's way into the vent from the outside.

On Friday, when I was trimming back the wisteria, I came to the vent on the outside of the house, and this is what I found:

One little vine had found it's way into the vent right into the fan area. I pulled it out and cut it way back from that area, and crossed my fingers when I went into the house to turn the fan on. And voila! It worked like a charm!

In this photo of the wisteria, you can see the air vent in the upper right-hand corner... freed from the wisteria vine, and in great working order. It's funny how sometimes small victories like that make me want to celebrate. I mean, I avoided having to call in a repairman, and paying who knows how much to have him take a look and finally come to the same conclusion as I did. It would have been so painful to see him dislodge that little vine and hand me a bill for his services. So, if your down-draft vent stops working, check to make sure nothing has found it's way into the outside venting area.... you never do know.

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