Turning up the heat

For quite some time, our furnace has sometimes kicked on, but not fully ignited and cycled. When this happens, the smell of natural gas wafts out into the basement hallway (abode of my mother-in-law, Nancy) and up through the air vents. P-U.

Several weeks ago, we finally had a heating contractor come out to take a look. He tested the lines and said they were dropping pressure, a sign of an obstruction in the supply line. Yesterday, he came back out to replace that line plus install a new line and some vented gas logs in Nancy’s fireplace.

Surprise #1: We were missing the regulator or ignitor (some small, but vital piece of equipment) which goes betweeen the supply line and the logs. We didn’t know what we were doing and assumed the pricey vented gas log kit would come with everything needed to hook it to the gas supply pipe. Not so! Cha-ching, there goes another $70 at Lowe’s for that part.

Surprise #2: The furnace problem persists. The contractor told us the gas meter must be bad. We called the gas company and they sent a tech out yesterday afternoon to test the line. He measured the pressure at 4-something inches and said that was enough. When Howie read right on the furnace that the pressure has to be at least at 5-something, Gas Man told my husband that “doesn’t mean anything”. *sigh* No, that’s just why they put the sticker on there, because it means nothing.

It sounds reminiscent of ISP’s telling people their connection problems are because of the telephone companies…And the phone companies just point at the ISP’s.

The contractor called the gas company on our behalf and they had the tech call and speak to him directly. So far it’s still a draw…Gas Guy says it’s the furnace, Contractor says it’s the gas meter. We’ve already spent $200 on the gas line replacement and installation of the line for the fireplace, so we sure hope it isn’t our furnace.

But the heating fun continues outside. Walk with me to the van! We’d noticed our GMC Savannah van was leaking antifreeze, plus the rear heater recently quit working. The air conditioning quit working last year, so that was also of issue. We decided it was time to bring it into the shop – thank God for our tax refund.

Howie suspected the antifreeze problems had to do with the Dex-Cool anti-freeze in it. GM has several class-action lawsuits against it because of that junk – The stuff corrodes gaskets and ruins engines. There’s a quality product, huh?

Our van is one of the statistics, though we’re thankful it was not necessary to replace a lot more. Still, the shop had to remove the upper half of the engine to get to the damaged parts to replace them.

So, there goes another $850, and the fun’s not over yet. The rear heater core may be shot, but we’re hoping it was just clogged by the Dex-Cool and it will start working. We can always hope, right? To replace it is very expensive because it involves removing the interior of the van – all the panels back there and such – to even get to the core.

It’s not the end of the world since we can crank up the heat in front and keep the back at a tolerable level. We just have little shrunken-raisin eyes in the front, that’s all.

They also flushed out the Dexcool anti-freeze and converted it to standard anti-freeze, plus they re-charged the A/C and put dye in it so they can check for the source of the leak in a couple weeks. Worst-case scenario, THAT repair could be another $500-600.

I keep telling myself, even if we were back in horse and buggy days, we’d have to feed the horse and repair the wagons.

On the plus side, we did get back to the YMCA today. We missed yesterday due to the furnace work and all that good stuff. We bought goggles Friday night an I used mine for the first time today. They’re pretty neat, but I’ve learned I definitely need to get a nose clip, too! Nomatter how hard I try to blow air out my nose when my face is in the water, I still get that water up my nose. All that extra chlorine in the warm pool makes it really NASTY!

Regardless, I’m happy I went and feel great. I didn’t feel like going when I got up, but once we were there, I was glad I made the effort. The teacher on Tuesdays and Thursdays is 82 years old, but you’d never, ever guess it. She’s lean and lively, really something! The lady who teaches on the alternate weekdays is really nice, plus she’s a Survivor fan. She is going to loan us her tape of the season premier – we missed it last Thurdsay night.

5 thoughts on “Turning up the heat

  1. I hope you get the heat fixed in the house and the van without spending too much more money. If it were me and Kevin we would probably be thinking that winter is almost over so it can all wait! That’s how we put off spending money.

  2. Sounds like us right now, vehicles can be such money pits. We’re also glad income tax season is coming up.

  3. Yuck. What an ordeal. When it rains, it definitely pours. Hopefully all will be well again soon. WTG on the exercise.

  4. You know, if you had an aircooled VW bus, no anti-freeze probs. But then, you have been having furnace probs. so maybe you don’t want to freeze in a VW bus in the winter.

    I like it because I can many repairs myself.

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