Why Now?
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Very frustrating day down here. A gas heater went out the same time the temperature decided to drop so it had to be dealt with immediately.

Now it wasn't as bad as it could have been, because all of the local stores stop stocking heaters before Christmas. The inventory fairies have determined that no one on the Gulf Coast will buy a heater after Christmas so there's no need to have them in stock. I found a replacement for the heater and it was marked down 50% for clearance.

This was the replacement model for the heater that died: same manufacturer, very similar model number, same BTU output and controls. How lucky could I get?

So, I turned off the gas, disconnected everything, stopped the bleeding, applied antiseptic and bandages, removed the heater from the wall, and was ready to clean threads, apply pipe compound and put the new in, except....

The studs in the wall of a house are usually spaced 16 inches apart. That's a given. Everyone who has to install anything learns about that early in the process. If you are going to put anything heavy on the wall, you want to locate the studs so that you are screwing into wood and not playing games with various schemes for fastening things to sheetrock.

Both the old and new heaters are 20" wide, which is good for fastening a mounting bracket to two studs, which is exactly how the old bracket is mounted. The bracket for the new model is only 14" wide, which means that one end has to be fastened to sheetrock. Fortunately before I headed out to get the hardware for that job, I looked at the gas connection. The old heater had a 1/2" connection, but the new one uses a 3/8" connection, so I added that to my list.

I finally got the thing installed and working at about 8pm. Blogger was down so I couldn't have posted anyway. The swelling has gone down in my knuckles, so I can type.

I should have been able to disconnect the gas, take the old unit off the wall, put the new unit up, and re-connect, but they have to "improve" the product. The new color scheme is nice, but it's going to need a new cover, as it's taller than before. Changing the mounting bracket and inlet size makes no sense. I realize the old one lasted a decade, and the new one is supposed to be more efficient, which is nice with the high cost of natural gas, but I still haven't been able to install my new heavy duty electric line, and I have to do some yard work.

[grumble, grumble, grumble....]


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