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Blogging In The Snow

Today is another real interesting day for my blogging at both Progressive Values and at Wizbang Blue where I'm also an editor. The Christmas holiday is fast approaching, it's only 21 degrees here in Portland, Oregon, and there's as much as 11 inches of snow in the city. And, oh yeah, I have no heat. And I'm very cold.DSC00175-1.JPG

It turns out that the fuel line and oil tank decided to wait until the holidays and the worst Arctic cold storm in years to give me one big lump of coal for Christmas.

I installed my own new oil furnace a few days ago when I knew that the motor failed in the old one because of the terrible noises it was making and lack of heat. But when the new one sounded good, but was still cutting out before offering any real heat to speak of to this very cold guy, I knew that I had some other real problems and should perhaps consult a real furnace professional.DSC00176-2.JPG

I found a company that was willing for a mere $180 an hour(extra pay for Sunday service as well as an extra charge for the weather) to look at the furnace, and come to find out I have problems with the fuel line and tank. So for a mere few hundred dollars in service fees, I'm still here in the cold. And it turns out that the fuel line problems usually aren't something that fuel line companies work on this time of year, because they involve lots of digging in the ground and tearing up concrete basements. So I'm highly likely to be spending both Christmas as well as New Year's Day in the cold with only some woefully inadequate electric heaters to put up a losing effort to keep me warm. And this is after I made a little cash gift to a poor family as well as wrote a check to the Salvation Army so that other less fortunate persons might have a nice Christmas.

Sometimes it seems that no good deed goes unpunished.

Well, I'll continue to blog despite these Siberian prison type cold conditions. Or at least until my toes fall off from frostbite. Even my pets think that I suck as an owner because of the cold in the house for a few days while I figure what to do next.

Happy Holidays.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (7)


Don't worry Paul, global warming will keep you warm.

Also it is wonderful how you pat yourself on the back for your good deeds. I guess you would rather have your reward here than in heaven.

Engineer, I'm only trying to encourage others to do something kind for others in this holiday season while trying to find a little humor in the mess that I'm in. Life is always going to be that way. You do a good turn for others, but you have crappy times yourself. That's just life.

Look at Abbott & Costello for example. They spent the war entertaining the troops to lift their morale, but one of them fell behind on taxes, so the government took most of his property one day. And while trying so hard to make others laugh, one had a daughter drown right before they were to do a national live radio show, but went on with the show anyway. They made every attempt to be good guys, but still faced bad times. That's life.

Paul, sorry to hear about your heat loss. Is it possible that you might be able to sleep at a friend's house until you can get the work done?

Woouldn't hurt to ask. You don't want to be in the cold for too long.

Thanks for your concern, Dwayne. I have skills in welding and since I'm currently homebound with snow of a foot or more outside, I'm going to try to tap into the oil line and run the furnace off of an external tank of some sort on an emergency basis as long as I can make a safe setup that is not a serious fire danger.

If the snow wasn't so deep I could buy materials today and make a pretty good temporary setup. But being homebound with the heavy snow, I have to be a bit like McIVER today and find materials to bring the fuel to the furnace with what I have. Also many businesses are also likely closed due to the weather as well, and it's Christmas week on top of it. I'm probably in a deep mess, but I'm a tough and resourceful guy, and I'm figure out something that works if I can find the right materials to build something safe to get me by.

I have 158 gallons of heating oil in the tank outside but no connection to the furnace. So I need to bring this oil to the furnace with some sort of temporary supply system.

Doubting Thomas:

Have you tried blowing the line clear with an air hose from the furnace end? It won't help (much) if the thing's rusted solid on you, but if there's just scale and junk in the line you might get a temporary reprieve blowing it back into the main tank. You'd still have the junk in the tank, but you ought to get a flow of oil.

I ain't sure welding's a skill you need right now - sounds more like plumbing. Don't make an ash of yourself or your house!


Having driven from Astoria to Portland today to help my SO make it to an 8AM flight, dodging under trees fallen on 30 (low enough for my Olds Cutlass to pass under but not any of the Pick Ups who were the only other vehicles on the road), and now enjoying the idea of driving back tomorrow to the relatively warm and balmy coast, I can only suggest A LOT of electrical heaters carefully placed would be much safer than a jerry-rigged fuel line. Is you hot water electric or also oil?

Good Luck Paul..

A warm holidays greetings to you, Epador. I always appreciate your commentary anywhere I offer my two cents.

I tried to see if I could get fuel from the fuel line, but the problem goes all the way back to the fuel tank itself according to what I found out today by testing. Blowing out the line with Co2 didn't work either. So I'm basically screwed until sometime after Christmas when there's less than a foot of snow on the ground and I can get a five gallon gas can and hook up a diesel setup to the furnace directly.

Of the homes I own, the one I live is the largest one. And even five electric heaters don't do the job at all. And any more blows fuses.

My fingers and toes hurt from the cold. I have steam heat powered by oil(diesel). I knew the motor went bad in the old unit, so for $585 wholesale from Johnston Supply I bought a brand new burner unit and installed it myself. But I still wasn't getting proper fuel line draw, so I paid $180 an hour to have an expert evaluate the problem, and he thought it was the fuel line based on his tests. But my further tests today found the problem all the way back to the fuel tank. However this time of year, none of the companies that does fuel line or oil tank work really want to work on such things, which basically leaves me screwed until Spring. So the idea of having a 55gallon basement fuel tank seems like an option, although that is not without refilling problems. It is difficult to get those filled with your cheaper cost home heating oil, which probably forces me to pay about a dollar more a gallon for gas station diesel for it, which is also screwed.

I thought last Christmas was bad, with my ailing mother which I cared for dying shortly before the holiday, and the estate lawyers still not completely settled the probate of the estate of my parents. Last November, the roof fell in and cost me $44,000 in a complete rebuild. And renters did $70,000 damage to one of my homes which i had to sell at a $130,000 loss. And the lawyers charged me around $37,000 for their legal fees for this past year. Now this furnace business comes up where I spending some darn cold days with a foot of snow on the ground. The financial bleeding just never stops for me it seems.

Well, at least I'm entitled to one phone on Christmas day from by blonde haired girlfriend who's just over half my 53 years of age. I've got that to look forward to at least. But overall my life isn't a bowl of cherries right now. At least during the Spring I can get on one of my motorbikes and just ride, and not have a care in the world.

At any rate, happy holidays to you, Epador. Thanks for your kind and encouraging words.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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