that’s it–this heater is history

So, we have had nothing but trouble with our boiler from the first winter we were in this house (three years–can you believe that?). We’ve had people out to fix one thing, then another, then the first thing again, and again….the flame sensor, the thermocoupling (whatever the hell a thermocoupling is), valves, wires, etc.

About four days ago it conked out again. We called our repair guy (who is very good) and he said, “I think it’s the flame sensor.” (AGAIN!)

He got a part for it, brought it over, and discovered it’s not the right variety (our boiler is too old). So he showed us what part of the boiler to bang on to get it to come on. Seriously. “Just give it a tap here…or a whack, if that’s what it takes.” He said he’d get the right part and call us back. Well, the hit-the-boiler-with-something-hard trick worked for a day and then it stopped.

Then he called back. Turns out they’re not making this part this way anymore; the one we have contains mercury and new ones don’t. So, the conversion kit is $700 + labor.

We decided, upon about six seconds of reflection, that no way in HELL are we dumping $800 into this boiler. So I guess we’re getting a new one. This, however, raises two questions:

* How long is it going to take to get a new one? Since we’re currently without heat and the house is 40 degrees, this is important.

* How exactly are they going to get the old one out and the new one in, given that the people who installed the old one then built a wall in front of it with a door for boiler access–a door that is smaller than the boiler itself? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I went to the hardware store and got another space heater (the one Conor and I had been using has gotten too scary to use; the plug gets hot if you run it, which is not something we want to mess with). I brought it home, put the kids down for a nap (in their room, which has a space heater…THEY seem fine with the cold house), and tested out the new heater.

In a moment of abstraction, I used the wrong outlet–the one that, for some reason, is on the same circuit as 3/4 of the house. The circuit blew after 5 seconds. Shrieking ensued from the kids’ room (their light is on the same circuit too). So I ran to the basement, reset the circuit, moved the heater, soothed the kids (I may have bribed Mary with a jelly bean to get back in her bed…don’t tell anyone), and then collapsed, exhausted. I will not miss this boiler.

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