I figured with it being the end of october today I should try to get my furnace going again. I know, it may be a little early, with daytime temps around 75F here (23C?), but what a better time to check things out than when bitterly cold? I tried all of the old tricks I used last year when starting the furnace, but all they did was smoke up the house. My CO monitor went off at a reading of 357PPM!! I was smart enough to have doors and windows open, fans blowing, and the dog outside. Discouraged, I remembered one last trick that I hadn’t tried yet, and no, it wasn’t gasoline. I have a small box-stove upstairs that keeps me toasty in my living room. It has been keeping me warm at night and gets throttled down during the day.

I got a metal bucket that I use for ashes, put most of the glowing coals from the box- stove into it, and carried them downstairs to the furnace. I then shoveled them onto a carefully lain bed of kindling. Voila! instant fire! It is heating beautifully, and preparing a good coal bed for later tonight. A few new lessons learned: 1 sometimes the brute force method works best (aka the mountain to Mohammed method) 2 always use a CO monitor, as the stuff can be tricky 3 a cold or barely warm chimney rarely starts a draft,esp when its warm out (though both the furnace and box-stove share the same chimney, albeit separate liners) and finally, 4 when a puppy pees through the heater grate onto the outside of the furnace during the spring and early summer, the smell of ammonia from the initial firing will be enough to drive you from the house.

You All Must First Be Nuts… Now Lets Talk Safe… Nuts like us always get something a little different than we expected so safe thinking ahead of time will prevent major calamity. CO monitor if indoors…Absolute bare minimum and test it frequently…better to find dead battery then to be found dead. Fire Extiguisher in or out of doors… And don’t put it on top of the stove you’re working on! Try as many ideas outdoors that will function even partly there… I’ve had many of the tests go horribly wrong but outdoors…One empty red tube thingy and lots of smoke later no problem… Protect your hair and skin…

I’ve got blotches still from an unexpected splash of heated oil…Think containment…One flash of atomized oil took off all hair on the front of my face eyebrows and lashes and a little off the top…and I saw it coming… Heat in the wrong place can be just as bad…think about running water and replace that with 1400 F aluminum. or a stove pipe that glowing red and laying on the floor… Which brings me to the last issue. Plan your escape and think about walking as if with oil on the floor…or smoke so thick you cant breath or see…make sure you can pull the plug to all sources of power on the way out… Now do you think you’ve covered it all…what about 55 gallon spills or leaks…containment is your friend…and a wet dry vac… If you don’t test the flash point don’t heat the oil up…unless you know whats in it. Sage advice from a friend here… We should probably post our crashes here to keep us all sober to the reality that this can get a little messy…