Friday, December 20, 2013

Failure to heat

Its not as cold here as it is in Buchanan.  “Here” being Cowichan Bay.  But its still plenty cold, particularly without a furnace.  Which is the situation we found ourselves in last night when we arrived back at the boat around supper time. 

We put in two marathon days, leaving Buchanan at 6:00 Wednesday morning and Golden at 6:00 yesterday morning.  That got us to the Tsawassen Terminal at 2:00 (the silly bastards there thought it was only 12:00 but it was clearly 2:00)  There was 50% remaining on what they called the 1:00 boat to Swartz Bay so that’s what we bought because coming through Sidney makes it easy to stop at Costco on the way home. 

When we got back to the boat we found a couple of water leaks which didn’t turn out to be particularly serious.  The fresh water taps on the aft deck must have frozen up and the ice pushed the lines off where they connect under the sink.  There’s isolation valves there so I just closed the valves – I’ll deal with that one later.  We always leave the water turned off but I’ve never bothered to blow the lines – perhaps I should from now on.  The bigger issue was that the furnace wouldn’t light.

The batteries were dead in the thermostat so I changed them out and I think something about the sequence of how I turned on the furnace and then put the batteries into the thermostat confused the poor thing.  It absolutely refused to do anything.  Its got a little green light that is supposed to flash to tell me what its problem is but the light thought everything was A-OK.  A-OK but still no heat.

Somewhere onboard I’ve got a paper manual for the furnace and I think I actually know where that somewhere is but I didn’t bother even looking.  Mr. Google quickly came up with a couple of installation manuals, both of which are now safely stored on my laptop along with various other similar resources.  One of those manuals suggested that there was a very specific startup sequence that I might need to go through when it was behaving the way it was.  I had to disconnect the power to the furnace with the thermostat set to ON and then turn the thermostat to OFF while the furnace was powered down.  Then put the power back to the furnace and finally turn the thermostat back to ON.  Sure enough as soon as I did that I could hear the little ceramic glow plug start to crackle and then the pulse pump started pulsing slowly.  Its a neat process that it goes through when it is getting itself going and it took quite a while last night because everything was so cold.  The fuel was likely a little thick too because I assume we have summer fuel onboard.  Finally though the turbine started to wind up and we had heat coming out of the registers.

I managed to make myself sick by pushing too hard to get here.  I was feeling a little out of sorts when we left Buchanan and by Wednesday night in Golden I was pretty fucked up.  I managed to pull it together yesterday and get us here but today I’m taking the day off in bed with the electric blanket and the furnace turned on.  Meanwhile Marilyn is wrapping up Ag in the Classroom so she occasionally appears to ask me questions about GPS or breeding cows.  If anybody has a picture of a donor cow with multiple babies surrounding her I could really use that picture right now.

It was a little traumatic coming back to the boat last night because there were so many reminders of the god damn cat. 

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