B. D. Wait Co. Furnace Troubles


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Old 11-02-10, 11:57 AM
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Question B. D. Wait Co. Furnace Troubles

Okay, so my girlfriend and I moved into an apartment earlier this year with a B. D. Wait Co. NW-35 Circulator. Recently the temps outside have been dropping off slightly, so we've wanted to heat the place up a little. We called our landlord to find out how to light the pilot, but he had no idea (the long story made short is that he inherited the building a few years ago from his father-in-law without any real instructions); he said that the local gas company always lit it for him. So we called the gas, and they flat-out refused to send someone down, saying that they haven't provided that kind of service for at least ten years. After that, we broke out the phone book to look up a contractor, but being that we live in a rural area, the closest heating/cooling agency is at least 45 minutes away, and would charge some astronomical service fee. So I'm hoping you guys can talk me through this.

Like I said, the unit is a B. D. Wait Co. NW-35 Circulator; I'm not really sure how old it is, but I know Wait has been out of business for at least a few years. It's been pretty chilly lately, about 0-10 degrees during the day and about 5-10 degrees colder by night (Celsius, I'm not really sure how that translates into Fahrenheit). It's a natgas heater, and it only has a 1-10 dial on the back of the unit to use as a thermostat. There's a panel on the right side of the unit that has some pretty vague instructions on it, but nothing on how or where to actually light the pilot.

If there's anything else you guys need to know, just tell me. Thanks a lot! =)
 
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Old 11-02-10, 01:48 PM
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The landlord should do this for you

I attempted to find a manual or pilot lighting instructions, to no avail. Good on you for trying to do this, but in fact your landlord should do this for you. If you were an elderly or disabled renter, or someone just incapable of doing it, what would happen? Unless you signed up for something different, the most maintenance you should do as a renter is change a lightbulb.

But if you insist, please post the vague instructions and possibly some photos, and someone here may be able to help you out.

Dave O
 
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Old 11-02-10, 04:26 PM
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I agree with CycleZen that lighting the pilot should be the responsibility of the landlord but generally speaking lighting a pilot is not a difficult task. If you could post some pictures of the furnace with the access door removed so we could see the burner and valve arrangement it is possible that we could detail the necessary steps.

To post pictures you need to first upload the pictures to a photo hosting site such as photobucket.com or villagephotos.com. and then post the public URLs for the pictures (or album) here. More pictures are always better than fewer. Please have CLEAR pictures and have both close up pictures and ones from a far enough distance that we can see how the various parts are interconnected.
 
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Old 11-02-10, 04:37 PM
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CycleZen: Same here. I've been looking for a few days now, trying every possible search phrase I could think of. Normally my Google-Fu is pretty strong, but this time I wasn't able to find anything either. I appreciate the effort, though.

As for the landlord, he's been here a few times already over this, but he's kinda stretched thin between the other properties he manages and his day job; he looks pretty haggared most of the time, so I don't mind doing what I can around this place. And he usually compensates me for it, so there's that too. =P

Anyway, here are some pictures:


the front of the unit, not much to see really; we tried fiddling with the front panels, I don't think they come off.


This is the famed side panel with its oh-so-vague instructions: "1. Turn knob to 'pilot' position, depress knob, light pilot.
2. Keep knob depressed for one minute, and release. If pilot is burning, turn knob to 'on'. If not, repeat no, 1 and 2.
3. Set thermostat, if fitted, to desired room temperature.

NOTE: If pilot goes out, wait 5 minutes to relight."


The guts.


This is a closer shot of the base of the heater. The little hole down there is where we were trying to light this thing earlier, to no avail.


The aforementioned "knob" and dial-thermo. Being that the unit is placed so close to the wall, managing the lighter AND depressing the knob can be pretty tricky.
 
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Old 11-02-10, 04:46 PM
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Are you at ALL familiar with gas heaters, even gas water heaters, and know what the gas valve looks like, and if you can see about a 1/4 inch aluminum pilot tube come out of the gas valve and head into where the heater fire is made? If so, you could look to see if there is any access hole/opening to reach a "long match" into where that pilot tube goes.

If you see such a place, do not attempt to light it yet. I am curious if you see any old matches in there. Often, if people have to manually light a furnace or heater, you will find spent matches down inside where the end of the pilot tube winds up.

If you do not see something like that, it is possible you have a piazzo ignitor or some other sparker device, or some electronic device that fires it up. Burners that have sparkers to set off the fire usually have a taller(maybe 1 inch) cylindrical shaped push button either attached to the side of the gas valve or remotely attached to the heater in an easy spot to get to. This push button is different than that of say a lower profile red button that sits a top a gas valve.

With pictures, as Furd mentioned, then everyone familiar with gas valves in general, could maybe identify how yours does light.
 
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Old 11-02-10, 04:51 PM
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Ah ha! You do have an old fashion standard, light it yourself, pilot system with a thermocouple. Go to your picture number 3. You will have to remove that one screw above the pilot tube to remove that little tiny 2 inch? panel to reach in there with a "long match", and do what the instructions say. Do not depress the gas valve button for any longer than it says, and if unsuccessful lighting, allow 5 minutes between re-lighting attempts, to allow the built up gas inside to ventilate.
 
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Old 11-02-10, 05:30 PM
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ECMAN51!!!! You are a genius!!! It lit on the first go!!

Thank you sooo, so much!
 
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Old 11-02-10, 05:35 PM
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Many thanks to everyone who posted in this thread! Were it not for all of you, we'd still be sitting in a freezing-cold apartment!

We are forever in your collective debt (if not at least until spring! haha)!!
 
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Old 11-02-10, 06:03 PM
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Glad you got it lit and thank you for letting us know. Now don't be a stranger and maybe you can help someone on one of the other sub-forums.
 
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Old 11-02-10, 06:39 PM
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I'll take a look, Furd! Thanks again!
 
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Old 11-03-10, 07:37 AM
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Whoo hoo! Success!

Nicely done! Good on ya for doing this yourself: another type of person might seize up with uncertainty at anything to do with natural gas. But one thing I've noticed about this site: the people here empower you with the knowledge and ability to make things happen. Yes, you were motivated by cold temperatures, but you were a) smart enough to do the job and b) smart enough to ask questions.

Some more info, only because you may find it interesting too: the reason the instructions say to keep the knob pressed during the lighting process is to allow the thermocouple to warm up. When heated, the thermocouple allows electrons to flow, and the furnace "knows" the pilot is lighted and permits gas to keep flowing- it's a safety feature to prevent gas flow if there is no pilot. Keeping the knob pressed allows gas to flow during the warmup.

And sorry to be a nervous nelly, but: do you have a carbon monoxide alarm? It looks and acts like a smoke detector.

If I may suggest, do yourself, or maybe the next renter, or possibly your girlfriend, a favor and leave a set of instructions (maybe even with the pictures) for next time, while it's still fresh in your mind.

Congrats again for doing the job!
Dave O
 
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Old 11-03-10, 09:17 AM
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Ecman A Genious!

We're gonna have to buy him a larger size hat now!
 
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Old 11-03-10, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
We're gonna have to buy him a larger size hat now!
Not really. I was just the first johhny on the spot, that's all. We all know that you and Furd knew what I suggested.

Jboose, you are welcome.
 
 

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