Saturday, January 23, 2010

The water heater keeps cutting out and we think it's a supply problem

Most of the time it works just fine. But then for a block of time (a few hours or a few days) it refuses to stay lit. After taking the heater partially apart, cleaning out any dirt and making sure there were no loose connections, we're pretty sure it's an issue with the supply.

We've heard from different ones about problems with the natural gas supply. One young friend who bought a condo in a new building NEVER had gas heat all last winter, even though he was supposed to be hooked up. There's a whole section of town that has never had gas lines put in because the municipality knows it cannot expand with the current system.

But why the fluctuation in supply?

We have a theory. More and more people are running GNC powered cars in Argentina (only Pakistan has more according to the IANGV). We ourselves would love to convert our car to GNC since fuel costs are about 1/4 of regular gasoline. But the price of conversion is steeper than we want to deal with at this point.

Anyway, as I've mentioned before, Carlos Paz is a popular tourist destination and in the summer we are inundated with visitors. A good many of whom drive GNC powered cars and need refills while in town. Because natural gas has to be compressed before injecting it into the small tanks of vehicles, the GNC gas stations have to suck enormous amounts of gas from the system to fill all those cars lined up on weekends, creating a vacuum in the system and lowering pressure to the residential areas.

Not every gas station has GNC, which isn't a problem except when we have an influx of tourists.

Since Carlos Paz has a fairly small supply of natural gas allotted to it, when the demand by GNC powered vehicles run high, our supply runs low.

At least that's our theory.

If anyone has a better one, we'd love to hear it.

I guess we'll have to be like pioneers of old who only took baths once a week. Of course, they usually bathed on Saturday night so they wouldn't stink up church the next day. We'll have to make sure we shower before the hordes hit on Fridays. 

I was intrigued by the concept of filling up at home, a fairly new innovation and not one that has reached Argentina yet. In the U.S. , NGV (natural gas vehicles) are selling for big bucks. The higher price tag up front is offset by the huge savings in operational costs.

But while I find the concept interesting and would relish the savings involved, all of that is immaterial when I just want a hot shower.


skoots1mom said...

my grandmother grew up taking 'wash basin baths' from hot water cooked on the open fire or wood was so normal to her, she would never take baths in the tub...she always took sink baths. I so love my hot showers...when we were under water restrictions we would only turn the hot water on to rinse off...that was hard too!
this will sound strange ... but...
hope you have more gas soon!!

Kelly L said...

Love you posts - and your heart.

Love to you.