Motivating frost... There's a chore I've been putting off for weeks that last night's frost motivated me to do this morning: getting the heater in our “water shed” going. The water shed is a small building (about 300 square feet) whose main purpose is to house our water pump and pressure tank. This pump pulls from an underground cistern just a few feet outside the water shed, and pushes into a 200 gallon pressure tank. The pressure tank and associated plumbing is all above ground, and therefore is susceptible to freezing. That's why there's a heater in there.
The heater is an old-fashioned standing pilot light model. The former owners were in the habit of shutting off the gas supply for the heater every spring. This saved them $5/month for the separate meter on the water shed. Then every fall they'd get the gas turned back on and relight the pilot. We bought the place after they'd shut off the gas already, so I had it turned back on last month. This morning I downloaded the manual for the heater and went out to light it off. That turned out to be more challenging than I expected, as the little sliding door that looks like a port to light the pilot is no such thing! Instead, as I discovered the hard way (it's not covered in the manual), you have to take off the bottom of the heater (many little sheet metal screws) to get to it. Even then it's a challenge to get a lighter up to the pilot. I finally managed to get it lit, and cycled the thermostat a few times to make sure it was all working correctly. Hopefully this will keep the pressure tank from freezing over the winter!
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