Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

A shocking story

Jackmartin
Jackmartin Member Posts: 179
edited April 30 in THE MAIN WALL
Well, I am sitting here thinking about something funny, I don't think I have seen anyone really laugh since this Covid crap started. This was a long time ago, I was four months short of being a journeyman. I had spent the bulk of my apprenticeship in the Industrial Refrigeration business so I was a little short on heating experience. I had decided that I needed to get out of the packing houses, dirty stinking places.

I got a job with a contractor that everyone knew was going under, so I thought I couldn't cause the shop any real damage, given my non -existent heating experience. I got a call from Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation that the heating was not coming on. So, I attended the building, this service center had a relatively large rooftop heating /cooling unit the heating was 750 K so of course, it had all the commercial heating controls.
I was a fair electrician, even though what I knew about heating was close to zero. The day was relatively warm for our part of the world 10 below, but I decided I would put on my snowmobile suit anyways, why be uncomfortable?

So, on the roof, I look at this thing and I have to admit it was the first one I had ever seen. I read the manual some kind soul had left, looked at the wiring diagram, and decided to recycle the RA890. I turn the unit off at the disconnect and recycled it back on, I looked in the sight glass on the unit no pilot, HMMMM. Now with my razor wit, I decided the pilot was not getting any gas, yeah I know rookie move. Nope, lots of gas, so I thought what else could be wrong, well obviously to my untrained eye the unit was not getting an ignition spark from the spark plug. I don't know if high voltage probes were available for Fluke Meters at that time and I sure as hell didn't have one.

In my innocence, I decided to take the plug out, ground it, and see if I had a spark. I lay the spark plug against the gas pipe for ground and restarted the unit again, I was congratulating myself about my diagnostic skills, ah the self-assured will always pay, the price. The RA890 cycled and sure enough, it had spark, and just as sure I had my leg against the gas pipe it was grounded to. That was the first time I had experienced 10 k voltage and to say it was a surprise was an understatement. I am thrown back by involuntary muscle spasm and I am a little foggy, so I of course lean against the gas pipe for support, well the second jolt of 10k made some things happen.

I was wearing wool trap door underwear and I had just left the coffee shop about half an hour before; shooting the bull with the guys. I had, shall we say, a distended bladder, the second jolt of 10k made some wet things happen, suddenly my trap doors were as wet as a baby's nappy after a long nap. In a snit, I put the plug back in, and because I was somewhat upset, I hammered the unit with my mittened fist, I still had all my pipefitting muscle and I could hit. Turned the unit back on and the stupid thing fired up. I know everyone reading this knows exactly what was wrong with it by this time, I wish I did.

So, I slammed the pig together and went home for some less soggy clothes. Sure enough, the damned thing was out the next morning, now I am a little pissed (sorry Erin) and I got up there and just for old times sake, I hit it again. Starts right up, by this time the light bulb had gone on (darkly) the air proving switch was not making, frozen solid. Now, I would have instantly seen the baseboard heater, installed as original equipment, was missing, I only realized that, after I read the manual again. Long story short installed a new air proving switch -- the old one was perfectly fine-- and I picked up a 110-volt baseboard heater at Canadian Tire, so that was what that duplex receptacle was for!!!!! I would just like to tell people, that just have to have the baseboard heaters on these units, I hope your service truck battery is frozen. Stay Well and Be Blessed Jack

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,858
    Chortle... I think we all have at least one tale like that -- it's part of learning! Like the time I slid 30 ton drill rig off an embankment into a swamp...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,014
    A former co-worker went to service a gas fired roof top unit. Just a PM they wern't having any problems.

    He set up his extension ladder, went on the roof and the unit was running so he pulled the disconnect. Wen't down the ladder to get air filters and tools and futzed around in his truck looking for something.

    By the time he got back on the roof the unit was on fire and had burned most of the wiring.

    Bad gas valve suck open :)
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 408
    edited April 30
    I once held the pilot on a Power Flame burner in a fan unit that held up a tennis bubble at a high school. To get to this burner you had to crawl into and through the access door. I was holding the pilot in my hand on a call for heat and could not let go. The 6K voltage transformer called my name and I called it something I can't say here. Boy, that 15 second "try for pilot" was a long long time. We have all done a few stupid things.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,014
    @retiredguy

    I guess you "completed the circuit" :)
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,367

    A former co-worker went to service a gas fired roof top unit. Just a PM they wern't having any problems.

    He set up his extension ladder, went on the roof and the unit was running so he pulled the disconnect. Wen't down the ladder to get air filters and tools and futzed around in his truck looking for something.

    By the time he got back on the roof the unit was on fire and had burned most of the wiring.

    Bad gas valve suck open :)

    And that is why we don't use tape on gas lines. I've seen it get lodged under the seat of gas valves.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,008

    A former co-worker went to service a gas fired roof top unit. Just a PM they wern't having any problems.

    He set up his extension ladder, went on the roof and the unit was running so he pulled the disconnect. Wen't down the ladder to get air filters and tools and futzed around in his truck looking for something.

    By the time he got back on the roof the unit was on fire and had burned most of the wiring.

    Bad gas valve suck open :)

    Sounds like if they weren't having a problem they were about to have a problem.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!