For all sorts of reasons I heat this palace with anthracite grains in a aged Trianco gravity feed boiler.
Through the summer the only load has been for domestic hot water. The process needs careful attention or the fire goes out.... which it has done far too often recently.
I have been assiduous in scraping and brushing the flues and began to wonder if I had a substandard load of fuel.
The light dawned, the fan had been replaced a few years ago and neglected since.
A sort of turbo fan with an aluminium drum, balanced blades and a substantial motor. Disgraceful! A grey clay-like dust had built up making each blade almost cylindrical in shape and wrecking any hope of a decent draught.
To think of the number of times I have cleaned PC fans and recommended others to do likewise. If a computer fan had become so clarted there would have been a fire or component failure.
The boiler relit this time with a fraction of the fuss, and the gentle background heat in my workshop is as it used to be. Years ago a son had a similar setup in his first house. His fan was caked with lint from airing baby clothes close to the boiler.
Strewth - had one of those in a married quarter 20 yrs ago and it was old then! Very relieved when it was replaced by a gas one, and I could go away for a weekend knowing that the house would warm when I returned.
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