Monday, December 30, 2013

The dog ate my blog...

Yeah, that's the ticket.
If those blogging people on the right hand side of the page here wouldn't write so well and so often, I might write more often.
Brigid in particular.
I groan when I see she's posted something new.
Where does she get the time to write, and so well?
I'll never get anything done.
Except comment.
Or fix my furnace.
I'm kinda motivated on that one.

For years now I've been helping other people with their home repairs.
I've been particularly helpful in the area of furnace repair, which can make you many friends in Michigan.
Today, I realized my furnace has been trying to kill us.
Shortly after replacing my water heater, my furnace has been exhibiting a behavior called flame rollout.
What this means is that the flame, instead of jetting into the heat exchanger, is instead coming back out of the furnace on one burner.
There are a number of reasons it might do this.
A dirty burner, a blocked flue, a bad heat exchanger, or improperly sized chimney.
By removing the warmth of the pilot light of the previous water heater, it was possible that the exhaust gases of the furnace were now encountering a cold chimney that cooled the gases too quickly causing them to fall back providing a back pressure.
This has been known to happen with houses that have been shut up for a while.

If the heat exchanger is cracked, the blower motor pressurizes the flame front through the crack causing it to come back out of the furnace.

Well, that's what's happening.
It's the heat exchanger, which means carbon monoxide.
Of which our CO detector has been unaware.

So now we're glad we have these electric heaters in storage.
Tomorrow, I see what's available at what price.
Tonight I'm glad for the electric mattress pad.
Have been for years.

What a crock.
I'm under warranty.
30 miles from here,  there is a heat exchanger sitting on a shelf.
If I could get a licensed HVAC guy to take mine there and exchange it, it's free.
No heating and cooling (HVAC) guy will touch it.
Not enough payback.
I just now came within inches of removing it.
It's not that hard.
What I did do is block the gas going in to the offending burner, move the igniter to a working burner and convert my 100,000 btu furnace into a 75,000 btu furnace.
And by checking around, I found out, with the insulation I've done, and the fact that the original guy oversold me, I could be happy with a 60,000 btu unit, which I'll buy this summer.
On sale.


  1. My grandparent's old house had gas space heaters. The ceramic bricks would be glowing from the flames; filling the rooms with heat.

    None of the heaters were vented to the outside. The old house had enough air leaks to keep the carbon monoxide from building to a deadly level, but I still remember headaches, after spending a long time in their house on cold days.

    At night, he'd turn the flames down to a very low setting and they'd sleep under heavy quilts. I'm guessing he was aware of the danger of carbon monoxide build up and - since he raised a family during the Great Depression - the savings in gas was a necessary demand.

    1. Sounds charming, until you realize how deadly it can be, eh?
      I had a catalytic heater in my family room.
      Amazing how many people use those.

    2. From what you've just described, and having been raised in an old farmhouse that used to be my grandparent's, may explain a lot of my weird behavior, Jess. I guess the only reason we're still alive is because we were so poor that all the heaters got cut off at bedtime.


  2. HAPPY AND HEALTHY New Year my friend!...xoxoxox:)

  3. Ed, you're a good man for what you've done for others. May God continue to bless you in the new year.

    ...and I hope you get heat before August.