So, yesterday I was relaxing in my chair and reading the Sunday paper. I hear a very strange sound coming from upstairs and I was wondering what it could have been. It didn’t go on for very long, maybe a few seconds. So, I kept reading my paper. A few minutes later, my oldest son comes downstairs with a very frightened look on his face.
“What happened?” I asked.
“I don’t want to tell you.” he said.
“You know you are going to have to tell me, so just go ahead and get the pain over with and tell me.”
“I dropped a ball down the vent in my room.” he says through his grimace.
That was how it all began. The sound that I had heard upstairs was the medium size plastic ball rolling in my duct work. The ball was too far down the ductwork for me just to reach. I tried to use my Dyson to suck it out, but alas, it was too far down the duct even for my Dyson. I was beginning to panic now. I couldn’t just leave a good size plastic ball in my ductwork forever and ever. What if it melts? What if is rolls all over my duct work and lands in my furnace? A thousand scenarios were running through my head. I have a tendency to turn little problems into very large ones. It is something that I am working on. Not successfully, unfortunately. Anyway, I call my dad and tell him the predicament. He wasn’t sure what to do, either. I called my friend and she didn’t know what to do, either. Did you know that if you google “ball down the vent” you don’t get anything remotely related to a ball falling into your ductwork? I knew that I could not have been the only one that has had a child lose something down the register. That is why I am writing about it. So, you can have future reference on what to do when your son accidentally on purpose drops a medium size plastic ball down your register.
Well, my friend and a neighbor came over and we duct taped hoses together and hooked up the shop vac. That was a no go too. We did manage to push the ball further into the ductwork, so the positive was that I knew for certain where the ball was. The negative was the ball was still in the ducts.
I lay awake most of the night with thoughts of a dumb ball stuck insinde the walls of my house. Really, let’s be honest. There are much bigger problems than a ball melting inside the ducts, but I lost sleep anyway. I called a HVAC company. “Oh, sure, we can get that out.” they told me. “It will be $250.”
Wowsa! That was going to be an expensive plastic ball. It doesn’t even have an autograph on it or anything, but I set up the appointment anyway.
While I was trying to reconcile myself to spending $250 to get a ball that was 8 feet from my grasp, my friend talked to another friend who had a good idea. Acutally, it was brought up earlier, but I wasn’t hesitant to try it because I was afraid that something would go wrong and the ball would end up in no man’s land, but now there was $250 on the line. I was willing to try anything now. So, the idea was to close every register in the house except for the one that the ball fell down. Turn on the air and at the same time use the shop vac to bring the ball up. So, my dad came over, we closed all the vents, turned on the furnace. We listened to the furnace rev up and waited for some action. The furnance turned on and my dad gets a major blast of air and dust in his face and the ball rolled right into his hand. It almost popped out of the vent. We didn’t even need to turn on the shopvac. I was like a little kid. I was hopping up and down; I was so excited.
So, this is for future reference for anyone with kids who may accidentally on purpose drop a medium size plastic ball down the vent in their room. Better yet, glue the cover to the floor so they can’t lift it off and drop anything down there in the first place.