CVRF mechanics are preparing for an increased demand in Toyostove repairs
After hearing of the shortage of new Toyostoves this year, yet another symptom of the COVID-19 pandemic, George Smith in Scammon Bay got ready to fix a lot of broken ones.
“Things that we normally see fail, we went ahead and ordered additional parts. Like the igniters, and the joint gas compounds, and the gaskets,” Smith said.
Smith is a regional mechanic manager for the non-profit organization Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF), which serves 20 villages along the coast of Southwest Alaska.
If this winter’s weather is anything like last year's, Smith might have his hands especially full. He said that demand for Toyostove repairs was abnormally high last year as well because of the heavy snowfall.
“Snow built up, covered the exhaust. The exhaust couldn't go anywhere. So the stove sort of just exploded and, you know, fumes went in the house and so on,” Smith said.
He said that Toyostove repairs can cost anywhere from $100 to a few hundred dollars. A new Toyostove can cost over $1,000. The service is cheaper for people who reside in CVRF’s 20 communities, but Smith said that his shops will serve customers regardless of where they’re located.
“At the very least, they could call the shops there in our communities and ask for advice on what to do,” Smith said.
He said that people can also prevent their Toyostove from needing a repair in the first place.
“I've had my old one for maybe 20 years, and it’s a matter of taking care of it,” Smith said.
He said to make sure you’re using clean fuel, changing the filters every fall, and using a surge protector in case of power outages. And he said, most importantly, you need to set the clock on your Toyostove so that it can conduct its daily clean cycle.