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Weekend of pain

The balloons inside my head seem to have deflated somewhat.

I think that I have allergies to the house. Which is not entirely disunderstandable, considering the shape it's in. Pet dander, fur, dust, mold...

Most of Saturday was spent in the basement with Colin and saveau installing the new boiler.

Rick (on the left) and Colin handily soldering some of the new piping.

This is pretty much where we left off last night. All of the really neat stuff on the wall to the right of the boiler is the stuff that I already had done previously. And yes, I know exactly what it all does.

Tiny detail: in the first picture between Rick & Colin, you can see a small valve with a green knob. This is a tempering valve, and it is essentially used to stabilize the temperature of the heating circulation water so that the system only uses the boiler as needed. The idea is that the recirculating water from the radiators mixes with the water in the boiler to come out at a constant temperature-- so if the return from the radiators is colder, the valve adjusts to use more of the hot water from the boiler. When it's warmer, it adjusts to use less from the boiler.
It serves two purposes: to stabilize the house temperature over a wide range, and to increase the efficiency of the heating system.
It's a neat trick that I learned from watching TV. And reading a lot of books.

We crumpled last (Saturday) night at somewhere around 8:30 when Jessica (Colin's wife) called and talked us into dinner at TGI Fridays. She had had a pretty bad day running a convention that had a much smaller-than-expected turnout, and we ended up really having quite a good time. Again, I have really good friends.

I think I finally made it home around 11:30, when I decided that there was no way I could stay awake to finish the last of the plumbing, so I turtled.

Woke up about 5:00 when the pets decided it was time for some attention, and I was head-full of allergy snot. So I took some Benadryl, and ended up spending about a half-hour massaging Sadie and Micha, until they started fighting over who should be getting petted more.

Woke up again around 10:00, massively groggy from the Benadryl. I think it finally took me an hour to get up and composed enough to head once again into the breach, where saveau and I managed to finish the plumbing in about an hour and a half.

Then came the testing.


Oddly enough, despite it being Rick's first time soldering copper, all of the soldered joints were fine. It was the threaded joints that were being a pain in the ass. Despite being set with pipe dope, we had several leaky joints when we pressurized the system, and we ended up spending a good three hours fixing leaks.

Finally we got it pressurized with no visible leaking, and installed the vent stack which the lovely Colin had previously cut to the exact size, and taped up all of the joints.

I still have all of the electrical work to do, and we need to bleed the radiators again, but the big pain in the ass part is done.

And my legs feel like they've been laid on by an elephant. I spent entirely too much time in uncomfortable positions working on this thing, and driving back they started to ache.

Ah, well.

Traffic down was a real mess. 35 south is down to one lane, and there was a half-hour delay just from traffic. And then just north of the Iowa border, I saw the dreaded cop lights in the rear view mirror. I started to pull over, and the trooper went right on by... and in a few miles I saw why:
There was a really bad traffic accident on the northbound side of 35. I saw three ambulances and one med-evac chopper, and what I think was once a minivan that looked like it had done several somersaults and was crumpled like so much tinfoil. There had to have been 12 cop cars on the scene, and traffic on the northbound side was backed up for miles. Stopped dead. People out of their cars and walking around.

It looked bad.

But I am back, and will soon be sleeping. It was a good weekend of work, and will be well worth it when winter sets in.

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April 2012


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