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I've Got Gas Problems

Friday, November 24, 2023

I used to say, when life got hard, that forbearance is my superpower. I've been flying low with my Cape of Forbearance these last few weeks, keeping it all in perspective, knowing that problems get solved eventually. Waiting for the eventual is tough, but in light of what much of the world's populace is going through now, it's nothing. I have a little problem, and it'll get solved, eventually. Here's my little problem.

(This was written on November 15. I've figured some things out since then, but it's not yet the way I want it. Anyway, here's the story).

For ten nights, I've been waking up at 1, 2, 3, 4...and going out to check the heater in the greenhouse. It has been kicking off every single night, usually from 2 to about 4, and then often around 9 or 10  the next morning. Charming habit, that, especially when nights are in the 20's. We installed the newer of the two small Dynaglo blue flame gas space heaters, reasoning that the newer one might be better. Both saw use last winter. I got the new one probably in December 2022.

 Walter and I have been trying to figure out what's been going on with this heater the entire time. First we blew out the line using gas pressure, to see if there was water in it (none came out, though there was a lot of water in it when Walter did the initial hook-in). Finally we concluded that there had to be a problem with the line, so I asked Lane Johns to come back and dig out the 23' line with his small excavator. 

It was delicate work, excavating the shallowly buried gasline, but I was sure we didn't want to dig it by hand. The clay was muddy and heavy as could be.

We were very surprised to see 1" PVC running from the house to the L junction, where a 2' segment of 1/2" iron line was connected. We thought we'd found the problem--maybe that 1" line was too big, and the gas lacked sufficient pressure to push through 23' and around the L-bend of probably 5' to the heater. 

So on Nov. 4 Walter replaced the entire line. All new 1/2" iron pipe, fittings, everything ship-shape. We had to rule out a bad line as the reason for the heater kick-off.

It was a huge day, November 4. Not only did Johns Excavating come to dig out the line, but Walter, Brandon and Kevin came to mow the meadows with my old Massey '54, and to burn a couple of my huge "rok's nest" brushpiles. I was pretty excited to see the tractor and excavator both deployed at once.

Curtis, of course, was completely nonplussed.

Though I did absolutely everything on Nov. 4, which was the big mow and burn and putting the bonsais to bed,  with heavy equipment roaring all around, before I allowed myself to go to bed, I committed the ultimate act of hope: I replaced all the plants in the greenhouse.  We had a new gasline. Surely the heater would run all night tonight!

You see, I'd been shuttling them in at night for the last 8 days so I could sleep, for gosh sake, without having to wonder if they were slowly freezing to death out there after 2 AM. My lower back was absolutely shot, lugging those monstrous plants in and out of the bedroom every evening and back out into the greenhouse every morning. Leaving the plants for the night was my way of saying, "We've got this conquered now. The struggle is over. Time to enjoy this greenhouse. All will be well."

To Be Continued...


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