Friday, July 04, 2008

Sucker, Part III

Pardon the blurry cellphone pics, please.


Ok, so I was angry. The guy before me was really too busy to help me, cleaning out a boiler. I was left to my own devices. I soon learned that there were no devices - you just kinda looked around for leaks, fixed what you found, and tried it again. I had a couple of problems with this, in that I didn't know what I was looking at, listening for, or feeling around at. After about a week, crawling around in ceilings - oh yes, it's all in the ceilings, obscured by ductwork, insulation, and conduits - I decided that I needed a device. Something to measure the movement of air, specifically suction. Following the layout of the zone, I still really couldn't tell where my vacuum was dropping off, at least not by sticking my hand into the open maw of each tube station to get a sense. I needed numbers.


Air pressure/vacuum is measured in "inches of water" - no, I really still don't know what that means, my degree is in psychology. At any rate, I found a Magnehelic gauge with a working range for what I wanted to do, and set to drilling, running a tube through a carrier to said gauge. My co-workers gazed at me with disdain, the college boy's wasting more time. I fitted it with a rubber collar, I didn't want this thing taking off and embarrassing me further.



I soon learned that a properly working station would peg the scale, providing at least 5 inches of water. The non-working stations were only 'pulling' 3 or more. Receiving, at the end of the line, barely made 2.

I enlisted the aid of my co-workers. Some gave me good advice, some told me long, anecdotal stories with no real point, and still others sent me on complete wild-goose chases. One of the things that ultimately turned me from psychology as a career, as a young man, was that it's practical application depended upon one's philosophy/philosophies, there were no concrete answers. I was beginning to feel that way about this tentacled beast that seemed to defy common sense. Everyone had their theories, but none were proven. I was wrong, of course, it was just a matter of getting the right information, this is physics, not the inner workings of the human mind.

I was on my way. There was at least one big leak, and I was going to find it. Now, if it had been water, the problem would be evident. How to find it? Couldn't use smoke. . . although it was tempting. Thought of using some sort of odor, but I let that pass, too. I knew from my exploration that there were no gaping holes, no cracked open section due to some contractor's mucking about on some other mission. It had to be the diverters. Specifically, it had to be either diverter C12, C07, C11 or C06. I'd been told (and shown!) by one co-worker that they were all fine. Little did I know that he knew as little as I did.

Next time: Diversions and Elbog's rubber-band theory of space and time.