Friday, December 29, 2017

Calling All Real Men

As I mentioned in a previous post, we came home from the Lake Placid tournament to a cold house because our boiler had failed. I was talking to mom and she said the Amazing PR Man said to look in the manual for trouble shooting tips. Of course I ignored this and simply turned the thing off and then on, and I could have sworn the thing re-booted itself and was on it's way to heating the water before it fizzled out and died again. There were some flashing lights which were trying to tell me something, and had I read the manual I would have figured it out, but I didn't. Instead I did what I normally do in my time of need - I called someone who would know what to do. I called my friend and neighbor, JP, who is a licensed electrician and a senior facilities manager at the college. He was home and had some time so he came over with his tool bag and did exactly what the Amazing PR Man said to do, he looked at the manual.

In that manual it said that the flashing light that was seeing meant that the igniter to the boiler was not working. This would explain why the boiler was initially starting but then petering out. JP took it a step further and examined the flow chart of the electrical circuit to determine the proper steps to ignition, thus confirming where the problem was occurring. He then, like any real man, went about taking the boiler apart (I watched in awe) and removing the igniter, which was clearly fried. Truth be told, if I had the huevos to do it, I probably could have followed the same steps, but I never would have had the wherewithal to just do it. I would have been way too neurotic.

The next step was to find the part. JP got on Google and he located it on, which has a warehouse in New Jersey. It said we could get it on Tuesday (this was Sunday), but JP said it was worth seeing if I could find it at a nearby plumbing store. On Monday morning I stopped by one of the big ones, FW Webb, and they said nobody around here deals with our brand of boiler, so finding that part was going to be hard. Say no more - I came straight home and ordered it. I just wanted to mention that I got amazingly good service from, they said the part would come on Tuesday, and I ordered it on Monday. I almost didn't believe it, but sure enough, it came the next afternoon, and I didn't have to pay for expedited shipping. I used standard shipping at $5 and got next day service. That is a company I would use again.

Now I had to install the igniter. I'm always wary of fiddling with things that involve propane, fire, and electricity, but someone had to do it. You can't live in a house with two kids and not have hot water, so I dove in and did it, and it wasn't that bad. In fact, re-installing the igniter was very easy, though something I hope to do only once in my life. We'll see how that goes. I hooked up the wiring, re-opened the propane valve, crossed my fingers and held my breath, and flicked on the switch. The boiler came top life and stayed on. Success!

Boy was I stoked. Not only did I not destroy the house (or boiler), but we now had hot water. And best of all, we managed to do it for about $50 in parts and no labor costs. We have a service plan with our gas company but they (over) charge for parts and who knows when they could make it over. As I mentioned, days or weeks without hot showers when you're tragically hip is just not acceptable.

I also managed to fix the toilet but that's a story for another time. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Laura for the pic.

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