More trouble in the cellar by berelaxed

More trouble in the cellar

I will keep this as short as possible, but Friday night we had a near catastrophe in our old cellar. We were calmly eating our usual Friday night pizza when a shrill alarm sounded. The smoke detectors were fine, we couldn't find anything and were wondering what was going on when sounded again. I went to the cellar and it was our Carbon Monoxide detector. I immediately shut off our steam gas boiler and opened the cellar window. Carbon Monoxide is odorless, but we had smelled a strange carbon smell earlier that day. The Fire Department was called and responded quickly with two wonderful firefighters.

They turned on the steam boiler and got a high CO2 reading when it fired, but the rest of the house was fine, thankfully. The town Gas Inspector was called and the Gas Company as well. They checked everything again and the gas was shut off to the trusty 22 year old boiler.( steam boilers normally have a long life). Luckily , we have another forced hot water heating system in our addition and a gas fireplace in the living room. The chimney going through the walls venting that heats up the bedroom wall upstairs. The TV room and front hall depending on radiators can still reach mid sixties(18C) this afternoon with the other heat and gas fireplace turned up higher. It was a bit chillier this morning since the outside temp was only 15 F/-9C! It warmed up during the day even without sun. So, we are healthy and fine. The firefighters loved Merry who supervised from the top of her cat tree. Her cinnamon color is a big draw.

So, why did this happen? Two theories to be checked. Did it "soot up" ( we were smelling burning soot earlier they said)because it or the flue is dirty from all the dusty work done in the cellar...OR, did the insulation work in the cellar and crawlspaces we did a month ago limit the amount of oxygen the system needs for proper combustion. Each theory produces carbon monoxide. Did the cellar become too tight for proper air flow when we were trying to make the house better insulated ?? If that is so, some sort of fan would be needed to bring in fresh air when the boiler

We have been on the phone on and off all day, trying to find someone to come and service or give the boiler an expensive RIP edict. Our usual heating company is not big enough to install an 800 pound/362kilo new boiler. Not enough big guys to get a boiler in and the old one out since we don't have an outside access to the cellar. It's an old house, originally a second home/summer home from the late 1890 to 1928 when my grandparents bought it and had a heating system installed. Of course this is not that boiler. It's one installed in 1999 when we converted to gas after a nightmare oil spill during a scheduled oil tank fill up that was not our fault. We lived in a trailer for 11 months as the house lifted and the surrounding soil was cleaned. What does this cellar have against us, we saved her from the oil spill?? We have a smudge stick ready, believe me.

We finally found a company that will come out on Thursday after dead ends everywhere. Steam heat and cast iron radiators are not installed in new homes, they are not efficient. All of the companies we contacted operate nearer to Boston where there are still lots of old buildings, homes and apartments that use steam. None would will not travel 45- 30 minutes south. The company that installed it 22 years ago is not taking new customers, we don't use them for service, so we were out of luck there.

Stay tuned, but we are warm and fine after scaring the neighbors with the firetruck, no siren thankfully.

Needless to say we are stressed, but fine, hoping we don't have to have a very expensive item added to the cellar...and that the soot cleaning is nothing like the last situations with dust. Soot is worse, but they have assured us...

For the Record,
This day came in dark with warming temps and rain.

All hands wary
Hope it all works out. Makes my stopped up toilet seem minor and I was able to plunge it. I would have been a nervous wreck to deal with your situation. Glad you are two that makes things better.
February 23rd, 2021  
I am so glad you caught it before the CO2 gas got too bad in your living area. Thank goodness for detectors. I hope you stay warm and that it can be easily repaired.
February 23rd, 2021  
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