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The Moratherm, or, My Crumbling House 1


I haven't mentioned my house much lately. I have already discussed the heat and the yard and the walls, but now there is a new problem. Our Moratherm gas furnace is grouchy. The cool temperatures have been more noticeable as the snow settles in. Brno got a white Christmas after all and the snow has stayed on the ground for a few weeks now. Though it's still normal to get rain and the temperature is hovering around 0 C, it has been desirable to have the furnace on.

I returned from Prague on Tuesday after a weekend of New Year's observations with fellow Fulbright students. I arrived home to the usual cold, about 13 degrees (that's about 55 Farenheit). It's always about this temperature because we can't leave the furnace on when everyone is gone since it would heat indiscriminately until the entire house was 40 degrees (that's over 100F)--there is no thermostat. "It's old," says the repairman (he is older).

That is not the main problem, though. The pilot light does not stay lit. When I was here last week the pilot light kept going out and I could relight it, but finally it was no use. The pilot was out and could not be relit. What I read online about the Mora (that's the brand, short for MoraTherm, which is located in Moravia) furnaces and other gas furnaces indicates that this is a bad sign (particularly on my mind give the recent Brno gas leak). If this happens to you, there may be a serious problem with your furnace. But again, our furnace is old.

When I arrived home the furnace was disassembled and a handwritten sign read, "Do not turn on the furnace." Uh oh. I had been planning to buy a portable heater anyway because my room tends to be on the cool side since it is the last furnace on the circuit. I also have a large window. This meant the first thing I had to do was go shopping for a portable heat source. I had already borrowed the space heater from downstairs, but presumably they want it back.

I went to all the big department stores, and they all seemed to be out of things, not have anything worth buying, or had things that were too expensive. There was BauMaxx--seemingly related to the Bauhaus chain but more like HomeDepot in orientation. They advertised portable heaters at "sell-out" prices, but none were under 9.999Kč (about 400USD). Then there was Carrefour--they had a few tiny fans with heating elements and one "halogen heater" but nothing significant. I almost went to Interspar, but that was out of the way and might have been closed already. So I finally ended up at Tesco--not the dirty downtown one, but the brand new one by IKEA south of town. They had one "oil radiator" left at discount price (799Kč, less than 40USD). I grabbed it and went home to spend a cool but not freezing night in my not-so-cozy room with a view.

The regular furnace has now been "fixed." The solution is to leave the door that shields the pilot light open. I don't know what sort of solution this could be, but my neighbors think it will work. Hmm. The pilot has stayed lit for almost the whole day! There has also been a new part added. I still can't get over the feeling that there is probably a bigger problem with the pilot light, but who wants to fix an old furnace?

Comments:

Blogger Karla said . . .

This doesn't sound good.    

5:38 PM, January 06, 2006


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