Friday, December 10, 2021

Rippin' it up

Some of you ripped up an alarm clock as a kid, right? RIGHT!  Man, it was easy rippin' it up...but there was NO WAY it was goin' back together to keep time again.  It was D-O-A the minute your little kid hands starting rippin' it up.

Fast forward to being a 70-something geezer.  It's a time of my life when I studiously avoid ripoin' it up.  After all, it's impossible to fix anything these days, right?  Plus, stuff is made to fail from the git go.  That's the modern marketing mantra.  Make it good enuf to work for awhile and then fail.  So people buy a new one.

Well, this week I somehow regressed and began rippin' it up.  Only it wasn't an alarm clock.  It was a propane heater!  YIKES!

A year ago we bought a $100 Mr. Heater catalytic unit to use in our travel trailer.  It performed flawlessly for the past year and completely changed our 12 volt paradigm.  We both LOVE the thing.

And then...  POOF!  It broke.  Like TOTALLY BROKE.  At first I was like, "NO way!"  But this thing was way broke.  I watched all the various YouTube videos on how to fix it.  Most of them looked really scary and I thought like I could die if I tried that stuff.  Propane heaters aren't like alarm clocks.  Alarm clock can't kill you.  Propane heaters CAN kill you!  Trust me.

So, there was a lot of ear and loathing in my rippin' it up this week.  Each day I would rip and tear into a little bit more and then get gunshy and stop.  Then the next day I'd get a little more aggressive and get to rippin' it up a little more.  Finally, Thursday I kind of passed the point of no return and I thought to myself, "I'm NEVER gonna get this thing put back together, let's just go buy a new one."

SO, I dutifully traipsed over to Tractor Supply in Cottonwood and that's when the fun began.  Sure enuf, they have one of the $100 units.  But they said it could only be returned for 30 days.  They said the warranty was only good if you shipped it back to Mr. Heater!  Well, I got cold feet on shellin' out another hundred bucks.

So, I figured, to heck with it, let's really RIP IT UP!  And I came home with a rippin' vengeance in my eyes.  A couple of hours later, the thing lay in even more pieces than ever before.  

And then...

I figured out the problem.  The pilot light feed orifice was completely clogged. Not a nano-atom of gas could pass through it.  So, after a lot of hassle, I got the orifice opened up.  And then, for good measure, I took the feed line to a local auto shop and had them blow it out with compressed air.  Sure enuf, the feed line was clogged with oil.  Oil?  Huh?  Well, Propane People put a so-called "odorant" into the odorless propane gas so humans can smell a leak.  The odorant is an oil.  If the propane sits around long enough, the oil separates and fills in the low areas of the feed line.

So it was a double whammy--a completely sealed orifice and a oil-filled feed line.  Whoop-dee-DOO!

Anyway, I got the innards put back together feng shui safe and, man, that little puppy fired right up with the strongest blue flame pilot light I'd ever seen on it.

All I have to do now is put the sheet metal and plastic side guards back on the unit, attach the handle and we should be good to go.

All this rippin' it up saved us over $100 so I reckon we can call it good.

We DO keep a carbon monoxide and propane gas detector near this unit "just in case," as they say.

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