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cold house, no shower and unhappy SWMBO

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Kaiser

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Last night I came home and turned on the heat. After being in the basement for a while I noticed that it got unusually warm and it started smelling like burnt oil. So I check the vent outside and it is not blowing. Oh well, the blower seems to be broken, but what concerned me the most is that there is a system in place that is supposed to shut off the furnace if the venting doesn't work. I had to remove dirt from the sensor pipe earlier this heating season to fix a sporadic burner-shut-off.

The thing is, that if I would not have been in the basement, and noticed this, the house could have burnt down. Supposedly there should be a back-up sensor for heat build-up, but that only exists for the warm water heater.
So I reajusted the pressure sensor to work again and the blower was broken b/c it's blower wheel corroded away. I literally broke off the drive shaft since it was an aluminum one that is not supposed to be used for oil-heat, the internet is great for this kind of research. But nobody seems to sell them w/o selling the motor with it which would be $340 instead of $40. Ahhhrgg...

Well I found a place on-line that has them, but I won't have it until tomorrow. But until then cold house, no shower and unhappy SWMBO.
And beer just doesn't taste good when you enjoy it in the cold, except for the Doppelbock ;)
Kai
 

bigjohnmilford

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Sorry to hear about that. At least it hasn't been that cold this week. I hope you get it fixed before the weekend.
 

the_bird

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Ugh, that sucks. I've had more issues with the furnace than I want to think about (mostly my fault).

I'm a complete tool. Last winter, before I finally got around to getting our oil delivered automatically, we ran out. In February. On the coldest day in February. It was like -10° or -15°. Sunday night. Whole town pretty much shut down. So, we spent the night in a hotel until I could get an emergency delivery in the morning.

I've also had the furnace start spewing black smoke everywhere before I learned that it needs to be cleaned EVERY winter. Filled the entire basement with soot. House reeked of fuel oil/smoke for weeks. Nothing less sexy than a burned-petroleum stench. Again, me = tool.
 

Alamo_Beer

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Man that sucks Kai!

Heat isn't a big deal down here, we could probubly even do without a heater. AC on the other hand is a MUST. When we first moved into our house the AC stopped coming on, oh yeah and this was August. Of course we were broke and just lived with it for a few horrible, hot, sweaty days. We finally saved up a little cash and called some place. Dude came out, looked it all over and laughed. Some dinky little fuse went out at the AC unit. It would have cost like $20 but he noticed our bumper stickers from Austin and said he was from there too. He did it for like $5.

Man those 3 of 4 sweaty days sucked!
 
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Kaiser

Kaiser

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the_bird said:
Last winter, before I finally got around to getting our oil delivered automatically, we ran out.
Happened to us too. But I blame a faulty gauge on this. It stopped at 1/8 full and I thought that we can still go for a few days since I wanted to push the expense into the next month. Well I was wrong and looked like a dope when I had to tell the oil company that they should hurry b/c I ran out.

Kai
 

Bobby_M

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It's nice to own one of those oil filled electric radiators for emergencies like this. Growing up in my parent's house, we had an oil fired hot water based heat system that also supplied the house's hot water. It sucked. They eventually converted over to nat gas and got a standalone water heater and now they don't run out of hot water mid shower. It also sounds like a good reason to think about put a wood burning stove somewhere in the house.
 

the_bird

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We have a wood-burning stove in the basement, but I've never planned to use it so I've never had it inspected.

To finish my "I'm a dumbass" story, of course once the oil was delivered, we weren't getting heat to the whole house - pipes had frozen. This also contributed to the dishwasher freezing up (which it tends to do every winter anyway, I need to gut the kitchen and re-insulate), which led to some value breaking, which led to hot water pouring out of the front of the dishwasher and across the floor and into the basement.....
 

Yooper

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Oh, that just sucks! My mind keeps running through the fact that you were in the basement and noticed this. It could have been a disaster for your family if you were just heading off to bed or something and didn't notice that. Thank God you did!

Oh, and Boston- two words for you:

Past 1,000?
 

Sir Humpsalot

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When my water heater went out, I took a shower using a bucket of water microwaved to a comfortable temperature in the microwave, a towel, and a little starsan.

Hey, why not? It kills germs and bacteria, right?
 

bigjohnmilford

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[
Oh, and Boston- two words for you:

Past 1,000?[/QUOTE]


I thought I noticed that last night. But I may have had a few beers last night too.
 

Joker

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Water + pot + burner + wort chiller = shower.

For heat I suggest blanket wrestling best 2 out of 3 falls.
 

david_42

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That's a major pain. I had a phenolic washer shatter in my furnace blower when I was in college. Ithaca, NY in January, on a Saturday night, late. This was back before Algore invented the Internet. After calling around & getting nowhere, I cleaned the blower & motor, reassembled it and got it running. The house was down to 40F or so.

I keep losing power here, which is a pain with a heat-pump, but I do have a badly designed stove-insert in my fireplace. I can more or less heat the house using it as long as I stay near the ceiling.
 

Boston

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I had my 1,000th post ready for all the Patriots Haters on the forum. It's pretty graphic.
 

Joker

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DeathBrewer said:
what do you need the wort chiller for??

Running hot water = shower. Unless they just wanna bath then skip the chiller.
 

Jesse17

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We've got an electric heat pump with geothermal wells. I've got a 10,000 Watt generator, and one of those portable kerosene heaters. We keep about 20 - 30 gal. of Kerosene around, but always end up using our gasoline and not filling the cans until we need it for something.

My biggest fear as a home owner in Montana, is that the power will go out during a real blizzard, where we can't get to town for gasoline for a week. I don't know if the Kerosene would hold out, and I know the few gallons of gasoline in the generator wouldn't.

I really need to get on the ball about stalking up on stuff like that.
 
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Kaiser said:

But until then cold house, no shower and unhappy SWMBO.
Shouldn't your SWMBO be happy that her spouse found a problem that could have burned the house down? And that he's capable of fixing it himself, and saving the family a ton of money?

As Yooper says, I'm glad you found it before anybody was hurt!
 
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Kaiser

Kaiser

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BlindLemonLars said:
Shouldn't your SWMBO be happy that her spouse found a problem that could have burned the house down? And that he's capable of fixing it himself, and saving the family a ton of money?
Well, I'm not really getting a bad attitude from her and she understands the situation. And I still wonder if there is not something in the furnace, that I don't see from the outside. that would have eventuallt tripped. The Hot water heater has 2 safety mechanisms so I expect the funace to have two as well. It might even be code.

The blower wheel is on its way and we showered at my in-laws house tonight. And we are saving quite some oil while we are keeping the bedroom heated with an oil-radiator.

Kai
 

Bedlam

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this is Howard the husband of Bedlam...we have a buck stove in our great room, and penty of split oak stacked out back. We could probably go weeks without power and do OK...wood to heat, and cook, propane for space heaters, and we can dip water from the pond or creek if needed.

And we spent almost 5k last year installing a new SER 13 HVAC/Heat Pump. Our highest utility to include heat, A/C, lights, water, sewer (aerobic system with pumps and such), shop power for air compressor and welders has been under $200/month. But we DO have warm summers dowm here. I would HATE to have to go back to an oil burner...

Howard
 

Sir Humpsalot

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We paid $150 last month (gas+electric) with nothing more fancy than a digital programmable thermostat. Those things are real money savers!!! Wrap up with lots of blankets and let the thermostat dip into the 50's at night. Cuddle up with SWMBO... hey, it could be worse. ;)

Still, I would love a cast iron stove. I keep telling SWMBO that I could live with one of those as my only source of heat. There's just something very zen-like about having to maintain your heat source.... instead of just flipping a switch or pressing a button.

But yeah, when it comes to power tools and shop air, I'm right there with you. There's really no substitute for power/air tools, is there? :cross:
 

Sir Humpsalot

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Jesse17 said:
We've got an electric heat pump with geothermal wells. I've got a 10,000 Watt generator, and one of those portable kerosene heaters. We keep about 20 - 30 gal. of Kerosene around, but always end up using our gasoline and not filling the cans until we need it for something.

My biggest fear as a home owner in Montana, is that the power will go out during a real blizzard, where we can't get to town for gasoline for a week. I don't know if the Kerosene would hold out, and I know the few gallons of gasoline in the generator wouldn't.

I really need to get on the ball about stalking up on stuff like that.
Do you have any idea how hot fire is? It's a silly-sounding comment, but I'm serious. It's something I've been saying to myself lately. Get a tiny little fire going, with lots of steel or ceramic (brick) around it to hold in the heat and radiate it. Just a few little twigs can keep you warm in a room for a few hours. Seriously.

I have a propane heater, I've looked at kerosene heaters, I've used LP and NG and electric and, truth be told, if I had to fend for myself in a less than urban environment, I would choose wood. It may not be the most efficient or environmentally friendly, but it's readily available in emergencies and even cutting it down helps to keep you warm... Oh sure, I suppose that mining for natural gas deposits would keep you warm too, but that just sounds like too much work when you're at risk of freezing to death.

To put it another way, if we were both freezing to death and couldn't make it to town, I bet I could find more wood lying around than you could find gasoline. ;) Yeah, I know I know I'm just a silly city kid. I know kerosene and gasoline is more convenient and easier to deal with, but damn. If you're really depending on yourself, there ain't much that's easier than wood, is there....
 

Jesse17

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Sir Humpsalot said:
Do you have any idea how hot fire is? It's a silly-sounding comment, but I'm serious. It's something I've been saying to myself lately. Get a tiny little fire going, with lots of steel or ceramic (brick) around it to hold in the heat and radiate it. Just a few little twigs can keep you warm in a room for a few hours. Seriously.

I have a propane heater, I've looked at kerosene heaters, I've used LP and NG and electric and, truth be told, if I had to fend for myself in a less than urban environment, I would choose wood. It may not be the most efficient or environmentally friendly, but it's readily available in emergencies and even cutting it down helps to keep you warm... Oh sure, I suppose that mining for natural gas deposits would keep you warm too, but that just sounds like too much work when you're at risk of freezing to death.

To put it another way, if we were both freezing to death and couldn't make it to town, I bet I could find more wood lying around than you could find gasoline. ;) Yeah, I know I know I'm just a silly city kid. I know kerosene and gasoline is more convenient and easier to deal with, but damn. If you're really depending on yourself, there ain't much that's easier than wood, is there....
I absolutely agree with you 100%. I'm in the process (a long slow process) of finishing my basement, and I've framed a opening to cut through the wall above the ground level, to install a wood stove later. We wanted, but didn't go with wood when we built the house, because we both traveled for weeks at a time for work, and need a constant heat source when we're gone. It's that, or drain the water lines, add antifreeze to all the p-traps, and hope for the best when we get back.

I also wanted to go propane, if you keep the tank relatively full, it'll last quit a while in an emergency. Unfortunately, a friend of ours is afraid of gas in homes and got SWMBO all worried about it. So no gas for us. I'm still kicking myself for giving in on that one.

Another factor in eastern Montana is you can look 360° and not see a tree. You can buy wood here that's trucked in from not too far, but in a pinch all you're gonna be able to gather is sage brush and grease wood.

I do use a wood stove to heat my wood shop though. So far I haven't had to buy wood, just burning scraps from building the shop and house, and from furniture projects.
 

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My folks have a cast iron wood buring stove in thier house. They don't use it much bc we're in Texas but it's pretty nice. It's got a tile floor and wall behind it.

They use it more for decoration than anything else. But, once durring high school the power went out for like three days in December. School was canceled and we were all stuck at home. We used that thing to heat the house and even warm stuff up on top of it (they've got an electric stove). It worked pretty well, only thing that sucked was lighting. We had to use propane lanterns in the house which probubly wasn't the best idea.

Wood rocks
 

pjj2ba

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We heat with coal. It costs us about $500 for the whole heating season. It is a bit dusty and must be tended to at least twice a day. The cats love it! I have no fears about the power going out in the middle of winter. It is not ideal to cook on, but I could. It is quite nice to put some sock above the stove for 5 min. and then put them on your feet. Mmmmmmm cozy.

We do have electric baseboard backups which we do turn on a little when we are out of town.
 

Alamo_Beer

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Man I gotta say, all of this talk of "heat or die" and different ways of heating is kinda scaring me!

SWMBO and I are most likely moving out of Texas next year for her to go to Grad School. We're looking at Indiana but anything is a go at the moment. I'm going to have to learn all this stuff! :eek:
 

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