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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Gas Fireplace Repair

Can You Really Compare Harbor Freight To Snap-On? (Yes)

I like tools. I have a bunch, not a huge bunch like some people (video above), but enough to get me this far. I have a problem keeping track of them because I have some in my office where I work on small stuff, and a handful in a drawer in the kitchen because there is always something that needs to be fixed in the house. The bulk of them were in the garage in a roll-around tool chest. Those are all for automotive repairs and the bulk of them were wrenches. I say 'were' because since my family has started buying houses, houses that need remodeling, my tools have gotten scattered across three (and now four) locations.

Special Tool - Multi-Size Test-Ball Plug

I try and avoid special purpose tools, I prefer general purpose tools, but sometimes you can't avoid it, like when you want to pull the radio out of a 1995 Ford Windstar, or you need to test the sewer line for the building inspector.

Where are my Giant Channellock Pliers?

I was freeze proofing the outside water lines the other day and I could not loosen the hose fitting on the backyard faucet, so I went looking for a pair of Channellocks but I could not find any. Bah, double bah and humbug. That dang Osmany doesn't know his own strength. Whatever. I rooted around in my tool chest and came up with some kind of weird chisel. With that and a small hammer I has able to loosen the fitting.

How to remove a rounded nut or bolt- 5 different ways
[clipped to show hammer & chisel technique]
Ultimate Handyman
It's hard to see in the video, but you need to aim the chisel to some point away from the center, the farther the better. Having a sharp chisel helps here. You're going to make a dent in the surface, but if you are this deep into it, that probably doesn't matter. You many even need to make a small cut straight in to the center in order to have something to push against to turn the bolt.

Now we're going to tackle the gas fireplace. The pilot light has gone out and relighting it doesn't help. There is a thermopile sitting in the pilot light flame. It generates a small amount of electricity (less than one volt) to run the gas valve. I check the voltage coming out of this thing and it's 165 millivolts, which is half of the recommended 325 millivolt minimum. So, new thermopile.

750 Millivolt Thermopile

Low and behold, Amazon has one for ten bucks, and they even offer same day delivery, on Sunday! 


There is a small catch, your order needs to be at least $35. Well, what else do I need? How about some Channellocks? I find one I like, but it's only $17, not enough to reach the number I need. I could buy a pair but the small one is only like six inches long. I already have one of those and I'm not real fond of it. I hardly ever use it. If I have to resort to channellocks, I want a big one. I finally settle on this set which includes a decent size channellock (yes, I know they are all Channellock brand, but I'm talking about the arc-joint pliers).

I do have a really big pair that have come in handy more times than I can count. I like them, but one pair is enough. Besides a new pair runs $70.

P.S. Not really happy with the new thermopile. The output is just above the recommended minimum and nowhere near the claimed 750 millivolt output. Well, what do you expect for $10?

1 comment:

xoxoxoBruce said...

Like you I have tools in each of the three vehicles, the garage, the cellar, and in my junk drawer as well as my desk. Oh, I forgot the tool bag in the spare bedroom, kind of a bug out bag when somebody needs help.. A lot are duplicates especially pliers and screwdrivers. I used to buy all the sizes of Channellocks but have switched to Knipex Cobra pliers from Germany. A little more money but easy and comfortable (arthritis is a bitch) to use and always work well. And when a pair gets a little rusty from lazy storage in bad places they are still easy to adjust.