Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Heat Gun Intelligence

I’m proud to say that, last night, I took the heat gun out of its box. I confess; I am afraid of the heat gun. I fear it like I once feared my jigsaw and still fear my sewing machine. As Sun Tzu advises, I undertook to know my enemy in order to conquer it. I read the owner’s manual.

The manual was both amusing and frightening. Amusing: “Do not use the heat gun as a hair dryer.” Frightening: “Wear a dust respirator mask of a dual filter respirator mask for dust and fumes…Disposable paper masks are not adequate.” Now I wish I had saved a gas mask from my military days. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure now that the linoleum we removed had asbestos, so my lungs are shot anyway. Also frightening were the admonitions against eating and drinking in the work area and the recommendation to decontaminate one’s body, clothing, and shoes after a work session. I disregarded most of the warnings, but was stopped short by the half page devoted to the need for the product to be grounded.

We have very few grounded outlets in the house. We have circumvented this obstacle for many of our appliances by using a temporary grounding adaptor. However, when using such an adaptor, the metal loop should be held in place through the central outlet screw, thus grounding it. Perhaps it is because we have old outlets, but the plug loop and the outlet screw never match up, and so we live in constant danger of electrocution. I flirt with death each time I use my Hoover or anything plugged into a power strip (TV, computers, lamps). (They do not make two-pronged power strips!) In the case of the heat gun with a three-prong plug, I decided not to risk it.

Last night’s maneuvers were limited to a fact finding mission. I refuse to turn the heat gun on until I buy a three-pronged extension cord long enough to reach a grounded outlet in the kitchen or sunroom. The stairs are not worth risking certain death for. Watching TV probably is.


5 Comments:

Blogger Scott in Washington said...

Kasmira,

Maybe you could mitigate the danger of using an ungrounded outlet by decontaminating your shoes twice?

Seriously, replacing outlets is really, really, mucho easy-o. It would be a good Saturday morning project requiring twenty minutes of reading in a wiring book and one trip to Home Despot, for which you are guaranteed a heady shot of self esteem boost.

SD
http://www.repair-home.com/Replacing_a_Non-Grounding_Outlet

http://www.codecheck.com/250_50_commentary.html

9:17 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Okay that whole post just totally FREAKED ME OUT because I doubt any of our wiring upstairs is grounded. Panicking in my shoes about the potential firebomb I live in.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Scott,
Thanks for the tip! I thought installing a grounded plug was something only a "qualified electrician" could do!

Brit,
Sounds like it's time for Scott to ground your upstairs outlets!

4:26 PM  
Blogger Scott in Washington said...

Strangely enough, all considered, our upstair outlets are grounded. That won't stop us, though, from tearing them out. The more we look at it, the more the idea of just tearing all the way down to the studs sounds attractive. Maybe we'll even take off the tongue and groove cedar and use it in other projects - its just so pretty, and even if the wallpaper won't come off, we could just reverse the boards.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Pixie Potters Adventures said...

Thanks a lot Kazmira! Mow I'm afraid of my room!

6:59 PM  

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