Thursday, December 31, 2020

The 11-dollar hundred-dollar space heater

Another man's treasure. That's what this is.

The electric heater, not the cat.

You're looking at the discontinued Kozy World Shilo Electric Stove Fireplace, which online goes for anywhere from $60 used, to $144 (but out of stock), to as much as $377.16 at a site called Discount Cleaning Products... Similar heaters at big-box stores range $80–$150.

We got it for free, because someone was throwing it out. A house down the street was being renovated and sold. As the sale closing date approached, a lot of stuff appeared on the curb each week on trash day. Among the stuff was this heater. Len carried it home to see if it still worked. 

It sort of worked. 

It needed a fresh light bulb and had a familiar rattle Len knew how to fix from working on other electric space heaters. So, Len opened it up, cleaned it up, replaced the light bulb and voilĂ ! It works. 

After using it a few times, the flame generator stopped spinning. (That's the reflective, uh, wand, that catches light like a disco ball to generate the look of dancing flames against the back wall of the heater.) Len opened it up again to work on the timing motor. Ultimately, he made a trip to American Science and Surplus and bought two new timing motors, each a different RPM, because we weren't sure exactly how fast the original had been spinning.

This errand, not counting the nominal gas to the get there, cost a grand total of $11.

Now we have the cat's new favorite napping spot and an extra timing motor for some future project.

The moral of the story, kids, is that a broken hundred-dollar appliance often just needs a new five-dollar part.


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