thought I was outta gas

My am I silly. When installing my stove, I had to turn off the gas at the tanks to put in the gas line. When I was finished, I opened the valves again. I went inside to test the new line for leaks using soapy water, I saw bubbles on the first connection I sprayed, so I tightened it a good bit. I soon realized, however, that my soap, probably because it is the “oxy” variety, bubbled no matter what. I then opened the valve to try the stove, but got nothing. We were not completely sure the line ran to it was actually connected to the tanks, as I didn’t recall where it connected into the line going to the furnace, so I figured it must not be hooked up. I went to turn on the furnace. The last time I had done it, I had just left the knob set to ‘on’ and lit it up. I couldn’t seem to get it lit. I knew I had had trouble before, and had needed to let the gas flow out for a bit, so I tried for a while. I tried opening the valves on the tank more outside, closing and opening them again, and even turning the furnace knob to pilot. I glanced at the instructions, but saw mostly jibber-jabber about being careful and what-not.

After reading up in some Amerigas pamphlets, I came to the assumption that I had a ‘gas-out’, as I was slightly low (26%) and the pamphlet mentioned this could happen even without running the tank all the way down. I used my electric space-heater, but it was only 8°F outside, windchill -7°. It got down to perhaps 36° in most of the house and near 50° in my bedroom (where the heater was). I worked that day. When I came home, I had hoped perhaps the heat of the sun would start them flowing again, but my attempts still failed.

I fell asleep, as I was tired, so I didn’t get to call Amerigas till after their hours. I called at 8:30 the next morning, telling them I think I had a gas-out. It was a bit of a confused conversation, and when I said I had 26% left, she said that I wasn’t out of gas, but that I shouldn’t let it run too low or they’d charge $75 for a leak test. I declined the rush delivery, which ran $100. She gave me the charge just for the gas at a special lock-in price. She said she’d send me the forms to get this lock-in, and that I’d have to send them back ASAP. She was waving the $40 application fee normally involved. Sweet. The price quoted at the lock-in was perhaps 50¢ a gallon cheaper.

After work that night, and after doing some shopping, I called my Dad (he had called while I was out to check up on me) and told him that I though I had a gas-out. I told him I couldn’t get the furnace or the stove to light. He rather quickly realized I had not held down the button of the knob while it was at the ‘pilot’ setting, pointing out that the thermocouple closed when it cooled down to prevent gas from leaking out. The instructions reinforced the idea of pushing down the button. Had I but read them a little more thoroughly, I would’ve seen that. How silly of me. Such a simple little thing, and I had been freezing away for a day and a half. The problem with the stove was soon fixed as well. When I had been unable to light it at first, I had hoped there was a valve somewhere below the house just for that line. My dad suggested I check for this, and if that didn’t work, unscrew the flex-line going to the stove to see if gas came out there. There indeed was a valve, an old decrepit one, right near the side of the house, making it easy to access.

My house was warmer very quickly. I lowered the thermostat from the usual 50° to 45° to ensure I wouldn’t really run out of gas. The stove worked as well, and I got to play with it a bit. I didn’t end up cooking anything that night though, as I was a bit lazy and cold (still) and ended up just falling asleep.