27 December 2011
The Furnace Problem That Wasn't
It's been getting cold at night (20s F), but the furnace has always worked well down to at least that temp when we set the thermostat to 62 F. Sometime after we arrived, however, the furnace stopped getting as hot as it should. It would run and run, and often the burner would cut off shortly after lighting. The fan was blowing air that was sometimes barely warmer than the outside temp and at best it was body temp. Clearly something was wrong somewhere in the furnace system, but the repair folks were all out of town for the year end holidays. Then we got lucky when...
Celia asked around among others in her line dance class and got the name of a mobile repair guy that's new to the Benson area. One person had had occasion to call him and he'd treated them fairly and done a good job. So we called Wayne Tedford (928-242-9123) and asked for help. He apologized that he wouldn't be able to get over right away... would 2 hours be OK? Huh?! In my mind 2-hours is pretty darn close to instantaneous!
Wayne had the right equipment to check the pressure of our propane line and, happily, that was the problem. Why happily? Cuz pressure that's too low is probably caused by a bad regulator and, at least in our case, a regulator is easy to replace. Plus, as RV parts go, propane regulators are cheap. We have an RV parts store 1.5 mi. down the road (Cates-Hill on AZ-80), so he was back in 30 minutes with a work-alike part that fit the space. Now we have a new cross-over regulator from the same mfr. (Marshall). The story was that the model regulator delivered with our Montana had a high failure rate. The replacement regulator has been on the market longer and is touted as being reliable. We'll see. Plus it's possibly the last 250,000 BTU crossover around as regulator mfrs have stopped making anything that big for an RV (seems odd considering all the high-end rigs available these days).
The big surprise was when Wayne removed the old regulator and oil started dripping out of the low pressure hose. Yikes!! Turns out this is a common occurrence and almost always shows up on the low-pressure side of the regulator. I asked where the oil came from and Wayne asked which version of the story I wanted to hear. Apparently the experts don't agree: could be propane turning back into oil; or leaking seals on the supply pump; or a certain chemical (sorry... forgot the name) which is added to propane for odor; or a combination of these guesses. Whatever the cause, you really don't want to get any of that nasty oil stuff in your mouth like I did while trying to blow the excess out of the hose. Uugh! 1/2 hour after I set the old regulator on top of the power pylon it was still oozing oil. I can't help but wonder if that was what killed the regulator but have no idea.
We managed to get past the holiday, but not without falling off the diet-wagon. A couple of chocolate Santas (each), a bunch of cherry cordials, a chocolate orange (each), packages of various chocolate candies, and more. After all that we were ready to say "Enough!"
As planned, we did manage to avoid the big 2-day Christmas feed at the club house by going out to eat. We'd planned on Golden Corral in Sierra Vista (buffet style restaurant) but they closed for Christmas day. It seems like any question you might have has answers at Celia's dance class, so once again Celia asked and, sure enough, she got an answer, this time from Alaska Linda. 3 places were open this Christmas: Denny's in Benson, Omar's Truck Stop (dunno where they are but they're supposed to have really good chicken fried steak) and the Triangle-T Dude Ranch in Dragoon. Armed with Celia's info, friends Mike & Susan did all the arranging and I volunteered to haul 5 of us in our truck. There were 10 of us all together and we had a great roast beef dinner with all the trimmings but gravy (the Admiral says that's good but I disagree!). And we had 3 choices of pie (the Admiral says that's bad but I disagree!). And they provided live entertainment. Raleigh Jay sang and accompanied himself on guitar... we enjoyed his singing very much. Unfortunately for Alaska Linda and her party, they arrived too early for the roast beef and had ham steaks instead. They weren't impressed.
It's getting warmer
The NWS says it's getting warmer this week. Supposed to get into the 70s during the day by Wednesday. Hope that's true. We've seen mostly high 40s or low 50s for the last couple weeks as the jet stream has drooped down near our latitude. Night time temps are the biggest concern: we've seen 20F every nite for the last 5 nights. Generally speaking, NWS predictions suck for San Pedro Valley evening temps... we've been consistently 10 or more degrees colder than forecast. Same thing happened last year, and local TV forecasts are worse.
Anyway, a general warming trend is welcome news and I may actually be able to put my down coat away for awhile. Annie & Kelly are perfectly happy with the colder temps, but I whine a lot!