Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ladies - Be Prepared

As temperatures are dropping, I decided it was time to learn about this subject tonight. Who knows -- I might actually have to DO this job, some day, by myself.

Our furnace is an old, so far dependable, behemoth oil unit, converted to gas. (If I didn't have that huge old furnace, I'd have room for a long-arm!!!)

I have heard of women who have never pumped their own gasoline, have never brought their car in for service themselves, have not managed a checking account (huh? in this day and age?). Being independant by nature, I can manage most of the household maintenance projects, but the furnace operations eluded me. Hey, it cost nearly $100.00 for a service call and the tech wouldn't know how to do it right anyway. I'd rather do it myself. You never know when you'll need to know these things!

I'll leave these instructions for the next home owner should we ever leave.

Turning AC off, and furnace ON (inside and Out)

1. Turn A.C. switch OFF (down) on the outside of house and associated breaker panel switch in basement OFF.
2. Get rug for knees. Grab a bunch of paper towels and stuff them in your pocket. Collect flashlight and two adjustable wrenches. Pull hair off your face and clip it back - very important!
3. Turn light on by water heater, open lower panel on furnace, get down on your knees or stomach (hope you are wearing old clothes!) and lubricate both right and left ‘spigots’ on each side of the motor. You need two hands to do this job - one to hold the spring loaded oil spot and one to hold the oil can, so I hope stomach/chest muscles are in great shape. Oil can is already there. A longer spout would be helpful on the oil can. A stronger battery on the flashlight would also be helpful. A younger body for the 'doer' would also be helpful. Rotate the belt several times.
4. Change Filters (2). You are DONE in this area.
5. Remove precious Barbed Wire Collectible (Robert's) on the wood door that opens into the other side of the furnace. Open the door with muscle!(it sticks) on the other side of the furnace, access from the family room. Remove furnace panel to expose the works.
6. Open door to boiler, and locate Red Reset button near floor. Assure that pilot valve is ON. Looks like the letter “B” .. (need wrench) to turn it to a vertical position.
7. Get matches, extension match holder from the cabinet to your right where they are stored. Then, look down inside boiler to locate the approximate area of pilot light. You will have to put you head INSIDE the boiler to find it. That's why you need your hair pulled out of the way.
8. Light match without breaking it at the same time and secure it in the extension tool.
9. Look at the equipment near the floor and locate the RED reset button. While holding down the RED button with left hand, reach down inside the boiler with your right hand in the area of the pilot light, with lit match clipped on the extension tool and listen for the pilot light to ignite, all the time continuing to hold the RED Reset Button down. When the pilot lights, continue to hold down the RED button for about 1 minute. This has something to do with a thermoxxxxxxer.
10. Get back UP from your knees. It might help to keep a small chair or stool in this area to lean on while trying to get back in an upright position.
11. If you don’t have an assistant to yell at, RUN upstairs, set Thermostat to HEAT, and temp to appropriate setting to ensure furnace will turn ON. When you hear the Whoosh downstairs, everything is working correctly.
12. Close the boiler door. Close the panel on the furnace.
13. Close that damned wood door that needs to be shortened so it doesn’t close with such difficulty – you need muscle to close it!
14. Replace collectable Barbed Wire ‘thing’ on the Damned Wood Door, then go upstairs and fix yourself a Screwdriver to celebrate accomplishment of this job.
15. Carry tools, flashlight, back upstairs, replace the rug that you put down for your poor ole knees.
16. Enjoy the warmth! Modulate thermostat upstairs for ON and OFF relative to temerature settings.
17. Occasionally, if the wind blows very hard, that pilot light blows out.

Come spring, reverse the process.


paula, the quilter said...

O My. I'm so glad I have a newer furnace and AC. It is so easy to light and operate. Like you, I try to do it myself.

Lindah said...

Elaine! Your story reminds me of the woodburner's story...cutting down the tree, bucking it up, carrying/loading/unloading/chopping/stacking...makes one warm enough no fire is needed. I salute you! And the screwdriver seems so appropriate to the job accomplished! lol

Owens Family Adventures said...

I think your new theme song should be "I am woman!"
You go girlfriend!!!

Joyce said...

We have electric heat. Turn thermostat on. Thank goodness! How did you learn all that? You are one independent woman. Your husband better be nice to you because you really don't need him. Lol.

Mama Koch said...

We are also total electric. Not so good when the power lines go down...but we do have propane backup...but not wanting to use it.

17. the wind doesn't ever NOT blow here!

Mary said...

I'm a very independent person but furnace rooms scare me - seriously. I try not to go into ours and happily pay for annual service.