Monday, December 2, 2019

The Kitty Melter, Improved!

Katherine gets a major checkmark. Also she gets kudos. (And I get some of the aura). When we moved to Kenmore and Kitten Farm West, the house had a direct vent gas-fueled fireplace (AKA The Kitty Melter). Flick a switch, even during a power outage, and it goes on (the pilot light powers a tiny generator ... I think). It was even installed with an outlet and a wall switch for a fan to actively pull air under the firebox, push the air around the firebox, and blowing it, now heated, out the top.

But it didn't have a fan actually installed. It had been on my wish list for years to put a fan in. I've poked around and never found a source, and Katherine viewed the entire project as "Drew is tilting at windmills." I got a break this May when the HVAC contractor who installed our A/C in 2015 came in to do our annual A/C service, and I saw they had "fireplaces" listed on their invoice. I called their office, who pointed me at a second contractor, who pointed me at a third contractor, who pointed me at Amazon. Bingo (and it was cheap). I ordered. The fan arrived broken, with a spade connector for a wire having come loose. Months passed as we ignored it (it wasn't fireplace season), tried a failed fix, and finally I pinged the Amazon merchant. They asked for photographs, then they asked for our address, and then a new (intact) unit magically appeared. Interweaved with all this, we opened the fireplace access panel, and we determined that:
  1. The gas feed was in the way,
  2. The line needed to be
    1. unhooked and
    2. moved out of the way, and
    3. not done by us.
I went through another round of phone calls. and this time we ended up with Puget Sound Energy (our gas company). The nice PSE technician who came out explained the flexible metal hose can simply be safely shoved out the way -- no disconnection needed.
Yesterday, it all came together -- after various consultations and a trip by me to the hardware store for two tiny nuts, Katherine got it in. Windmill defeated!