I have been in Elim for the past week. This has been a combination work and family trip. If you want to see the family stuff check out the Rudstrom Family Blog.
Most of the work that you see me doing in other blog posts is for my business, Rudstrom Repair. However I also work for Kawerak Inc. doing maintenance and repair on their Headstart facilities. I take care of the buildings in Brevig and Teller and also occasionally travel to Elim, Gambel, and Shishmeraf.
The first project I tackled on this trip was adding some more baseboard heat in the kitchen. The kitchen has a 20' long exterior wall on the north side of the building. This wall only had 6' of baseboard on it and it could not provide enough heat for the room when the cold north wind would blow.
I spliced into the glycol line and added 8' of new fin tube. In the photo you can see where the original flow came up through the floor, through the ball valve, into the zone valve (the one with the box on top), and on to the fin tube on the right. The new flow comes from the floor and through the ball valve, but then it travels to the new fin tube on the left, returns underneath, and then goes to the zone valve and old fin tube. It took a few hours to cut, fit, and solder all the new tubing in place.
The next project was to get our new oil hauling trailer and tank put together. The building is heated with fuel oil, and there is no oil delivery service here. In the past the oil was hauled in 55 gallon drums. This is a back breaking and messy job. With this new trailer it will be much easier and faster.
The trailer (but not the tank) was purchased as a kit. Amazingly the whole trailer was shipped through the mail in pieces. Assembly was easy, all of the holes were drilled already and all I had to do was bolt it together. The oil tank was purchased from Greer in Anchorage. The tank came as a plain tank with threaded ports on top. I put together the various fittings for the fill, vent and pump connections. The 110 volt pump is mounted to the tank and has a 30' hose. Most days you could get by with a lot shorter hose, but sometimes in the winter the snow drifts up and makes it hard to get a trailer close to the storage tank.
Most of the rest of my time was spent in this boiler room servicing the two hot water boilers and the oil fired water heater. Annually I change the nozzles and filters and adjust the burners. On this trip I also had to change a couple of oil pumps, clean the gunk out of a glycol circulation pump, and replace a burner motor. The last few years we had some problems with the ph of the glycol in the heating system. The glycol was acidic and it was causing some corrosion issues. Last winter I added a buffer chemical to the system to bring the ph back to normal. On this trip I tested the ph again and everything seems to be fine.
Now it's time to get back to Brevig. There are a bunch of broken ATV's and snowmobiles waiting for me.