They told me I’d be fixing appliances. I imagined broken belts and failed electrical components. And I was mostly right. But over the years I learned to notice when and where there are rodent droppings inside an appliance.
I got a call for a refrigerator that wasn’t cooling at the Santa Anita horse race track in California when I was a new technician. It was not a race day so the parking lot was mostly empty. I followed the directions they gave me to get to the correct stable. I walked past what would be the equivalent of 5 star hotels for horses. They were spotless. No expense was spared on the luxury and beauty of the stables. But then, many of these horses were likely worth more than I could expect to make in my lifetime.
I turned that last corner and looked up at a nicely dressed woman. “You must be my repairman.” She stated without question.
“That’s me. I’m Blake. I hear your refrigerator quit on you?”
“Yes. It’s right through these doors.” She led the way. I followed. She introduced me to the side by side refrigerator the way that almost every person I’ve met does. She stood in front of the refrigerator and opened both doors and gave me the backstory. It's almost like shaking hands with the appliance. Most backstories include 5 minutes of details I don’t need and one or two sentences that I do. To diagnose the refrigerator I don’t really need to know that it came from Home Depot after your oldest daughter got married but before your youngest got accepted to Cornell. I just need to know the symptoms it's giving.
The woman closed the refrigerator doors as I got the symptoms I needed and she stepped aside so I could work. She told me it wasn’t cooling in the refrigerator or freezer and it was hot on the metal between the doors. I took the kickpanel off and could hear the compressor trying to run but no air was moving underneath. I rolled the refrigerator out and removed half a dozen screws that were holding the cardboard panel on the bottom. I flipped on my flashlight to look around and immediately saw the tail and back end of a dead mouse stuck in the fan blade that cools the compressor down. He must have jumped through right as the fan kicked on and it caught him like a high tech mouse trap. I don’t know if he died quickly but the refrigerator did. Without the fan to cool the compressor, it overheated and kicked off and the refrigerator and freezer started heating up.
Rodents are common in stables and even in homes. Even if they are 5 star.