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View Full Version : Our batteries in Charleston Harbor have fired on Fort Sumter...



Shang
10-20-2009, 09:21 PM
As Indian Summer approaches in the Midwest we are nearing the season when we will require the gas heater in the bedroom to compensate the Autumn chill. When I test-lighted it, the pilot light came on as instructed, then I threw the switch that admits the gas and starts the gentle heat…

GAR-FUGGIN’-BBOOOMM…!

…the gas heater cut loose with a blast that rattled the windows for several city blocks around!

Tomorrow a man with Professional Qualifications will come and check the heater to see what made it so, but does anyone have any suggestions about what the Professional Guy should check…?
City gas, simulated open fire behind tempered glass, worked fine last year...

Phillip Allen
10-20-2009, 09:41 PM
have him check flamables in the furnace...:) (heck, I don't know)

WX
10-20-2009, 10:12 PM
I have a gas hot water system with a pilot light. My water pressure is quite low as it's from a dam so I don't bother with the cold water tap. I just turn down the gas, if I turn it down too low I can get a good wump as it lights. So maybe check gas pressure.

Shang
10-21-2009, 11:26 AM
The repair guy came this morning. Took one look at the stove and said, "Pilot light is too low." Then he disconnected the pilot light tube, blew accumulated dust out out of the pilot with compressed air, and reconnected the whole schmeer.
"City gas is lighter than air, so when you flipped the switch to admit gas to the stove the gas rose up to the top of the stove without reaching the low pilot light. By the time the gas-air mixture finally reached the pilot the whole stove was full of gas, and Kar-Boom!"
The pilot is now easier to light, burns brighter, holds its flame, and the stove lights properly.

By the way, what happens when guys like the repair guy finally retire? He has 35 years experience with stoves, air conditioners, and furnaces. He made my stove problem look simple because he knew what to do. How many young guys are ready, willing and able to learn a trade like that? They'd never get rich doing hands-on work, but they'd never be poor either.

Captain Blight
10-21-2009, 11:30 AM
You should have called up Milo and asked him how to get it lit. I understand he's fully qualified in these matters.

Shang
10-21-2009, 08:14 PM
You should have called up Milo and asked him how to get it lit. I understand he's fully qualified in these matters.

The stove is gas operated, not hot air...

(Sorry, Milo, I couldn't resist...)

Tom Galyen
10-21-2009, 08:30 PM
Shang,

I work in a gas plant that stores natural gas both underground and in above ground tanks as LNG (Liquid Natural Gas). This year we had to hire some new people to replace retirees, and in spite of the economy we had no what I would call young people apply. The people hired were all in the late 30ish to mid 40ish age range. I myself am 65 and working with a financial planner to see about retirement, I am an instrument tech at the plant. We will have a new tech start in the next couple of weeks to replace one who retired in July. I wonder how old he will be.

I have to admit I was a few weeks shy of 40 when I started at the plant 25 years ago. I've had a great time there and except for one or two people I've greatly enjoyed working with the crew there. I've gotten to work with a lot of cutting edge technical toys over the last 25 years.

But, too many people graduating from tech school today seem to want to sit in front of a computer and push buttons. They don't want to go out in the heat, cold, rain etc to install or maintain the transmitters etc. that feed the info to the computers or the controllers that operate the valves out in the yard.

Shang
10-21-2009, 08:38 PM
I wonder about this too, Tom. The guy who fixed my heater has gray in his hair, but a year ago he has slouching around in knee deep cold ugly water in my basement, trying to tear out the waterlogged furnace and install a new one. He should be acknowledged as An American Hero... or as the Japanese do, a Living National Treasure.
When he sends a bill I pay him promptly and first on the list.

But who will replace him when he is gone?

Shang
10-21-2009, 08:41 PM
The best business advice I've heard was from the older man who owns the four-person sewer line rooting company in town:
"It'll give you a living, but you have to work it..."

Milo Christensen
10-21-2009, 09:01 PM
Another story from the life of J.R. and lesson to be learned for those who would get to close to him:

J.R. goes to his girlfriend's parents' house for dinner. This is to be his first time meeting the family and he is very nervous. They all sit down and begin eating a fine meal. J.R. is beginning to feel a little discomfort, thanks to his nervousness and the broccoli casserole. The gas pains are almost making his eyes water. Left with no other choice, he decides to relieve himself a bit and lets out a little fart. It wasn't loud, but everyone at the table heard the poot. Before he even had a chance to be embarrassed, his girlfriend's father looked over at the dog that had been snoozing at J.R.'s feet, and said in a rather stern voice, "Ginger!" J.R. thought, "this is great!" and a big smile came across his face. A couple minutes later, he was beginning to feel the pain again. This time, he didn't even hesitate. He let a much louder and longer fart rip. The father again looked at the dog and yelled, "dammit Ginger!" Once again J.R. smiled and thought, "yes!" A few minutes later J.R. had to let another one rip. This time he didn't even think about it. He let rip with a fart that rivaled a train whistle blowing. Again, the father looked at the dog with disgust and yelled, "dammit Ginger, get away from him before he craps on you!"http://www.funnyhumor.com/viewcount.php?type=joke&id=740&s=

brad9798
10-22-2009, 08:51 AM
How many young guys are ready, willing and able to learn a trade like that?

My BIL could have told you that without a service call! And told you what to do to fix it also!

:D

He is all of 37! And there are plenty like him ... about as many as the generation before.

Tylerdurden
10-22-2009, 09:16 AM
The repair guy came this morning. Took one look at the stove and said, "Pilot light is too low." Then he disconnected the pilot light tube, blew accumulated dust out out of the pilot with compressed air, and reconnected the whole schmeer.
"City gas is lighter than air, so when you flipped the switch to admit gas to the stove the gas rose up to the top of the stove without reaching the low pilot light. By the time the gas-air mixture finally reached the pilot the whole stove was full of gas, and Kar-Boom!"
The pilot is now easier to light, burns brighter, holds its flame, and the stove lights properly.

By the way, what happens when guys like the repair guy finally retire? He has 35 years experience with stoves, air conditioners, and furnaces. He made my stove problem look simple because he knew what to do. How many young guys are ready, willing and able to learn a trade like that? They'd never get rich doing hands-on work, but they'd never be poor either.

He was right on in diagnosis but I would have changed the pilot orifice. If the pilot line was aluminum I would have changed it also as the oxides clog the orifice. It may be good for a season but once she sits the problem will arise again. I would suggest if it does happen again you make those suggestions to your gas guy. If possible have him change the pilot line to steel if in fact it is aluminum.
And yes, there are very few gas guys around and fewer still young ones. When I started we rebuilt valves and controls but liabilty has made a generation of parts changers with little practical experience.
The other problem is in much of the new stuff as it gets quite sophisticated. If your not qualified to diagnose modern electronic controls your useless most often.

Tylerdurden
10-22-2009, 09:31 AM
My BIL could have told you that without a service call! And told you what to do to fix it also!

:D

He is all of 37! And there are plenty like him ... about as many as the generation before.

Residential maybe, I have been doing commercial for going on 30 years and I don't see it. The last outfit I worked for would burn through 10 young guys to get one that could be taught. 90% of diagnosis is patience and experience. I know lots of parts changers and very few techs. They don't want to learn most often once they reach a certain point. Go to any service company and I guarantee the lead guy is an old fart. I know when I started the old guys where saying the same thing but they knew their ****e and were right as its been a steady decline since the 70's. The biggest issue is the good ones can't get paid anymore unless the boss know's their worth. I generally make almost double what a standard tech makes but my numbers are three times higher without recalls.

skuthorp
10-22-2009, 10:11 AM
A plumbers' van blew up here today, gas leaking from a cylinder ignited by a remote locking device. No one injured but debris blown more than a hundred yards. Once I saw someones chimney explode as I drove past from domestic gas build up.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/10/22/2720745.htm?section=australia