Friday, April 18, 2008

Lipitor for Radiators

I always find that when I sit down to update the blog, there seems to be nothing to write about, and then as I type, the flood gates open and before long, I have this horrendously long post. I'm standing at the top of the Hoover Dam. One side is dry and the other is full. Now I wonder which way the water is flowing...

We had our heating guys out again today. We had a little fiasco in January when our boiler stopped working. We were able to get the boiler fixed under our home warranty, which was good, because in the end they replaced the entire heat exchange system, which would have been something like $3,000. Ever since then, there's been water standing on the floor in the boiler room. I wasn't sure if it was outside water leaking in or water leaking out from the boiler. Last week I vacuumed up the water and when I went down the next day, it was obvious that it was coming from the boiler.

So, I finally got around to calling the boiler guys to have them out to do a few things. First was to repair that stupid leak. Second was to flush the radiator system. Third was to get a quote together to repair the radiators that froze and busted over the winter.

In looking at the drain at the bottom of the boiler, they found that the plastic part was cracked. And of course, they no longer make replacement parts. It is illegal to use plastic for that piece now. It must be metal. So the guys used some glue and caulk for the short term and will be getting back to us with a cost to get a custom stainless steel tube made. Make me a part indeed.

Draining the radiators should be interesting. I'm not sure if they have ever been drained. I know that when we replaced the heat exchange earlier in the year, air got into the system and we had to bleed all the radiators for several days. The water that come out initially was disgusting. It was black and oily smelling. After awhile, it came out clean so the gunk did settle out. We do have one radiator though that just won't get warm anymore, so I'm guessing that all the gunk settled in the pipe to that radiator.

The heating guys dumped chemicals into the water that are supposed to help dissolve any deposits in the pipes and help keep the water flowing around a little more. Sometime in May they'll be back to flush the entire system. We'll fill it back up and then, short of replacing the boiler and iron pipes, I'm not sure sure that there is much more we can do to improve the heating.

As for the repair of the radiators, we should get a quote in short order. The radiators in the sun room were put in sometime around 1990, so there should be little difficulty in getting replacement parts. They come in sections, so the only question is whether they can just replace the broken sections or whether they need to replace the entire length.

We like our heating guy, Ted. He's a bit younger than us, or maybe the same age and reminds us a lot of one of our college friends. For those of you who know us, it's the one that was in charge of the trebuchet (which can be the subject of a post another day). He's got many of the same mannerisms and the same humor. Heck, he's even a military guy (on the side, of course).

We haven't made as much progress as I'd like on planning this summer's work. I've been paralyzed with indecision. The total bill to fix all the structural items on the house is higher than my bank account, so picking and choosing what gets done first is proving difficult. I've asked a restoration specialist to work with us for a few hours to come up with a plan. It's a bit of money up front, but hopefully it will keep us from spending our money foolishly. We meet with him next week.

This weekend we'll be focusing on coming up with a list of things to work on while my parents are visiting. They'll be here the first week in May and have offered to help. considering how much they got accomplished last time they were here, I'm expecting to have the house pretty much down by the time they go.

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