Wednesday, 17 March 2004
Click on the thumbnails to see the full size picture.
What happened last night was, after all the installation was done, we
had trouble getting the furnace to supply hot water. Ralph had warned
me about this: I've been using this boiler for domestic hot water for
nigh on ten years, but the zone valve (which supplies heating water)
has been sitting unused for all that time, and it didn't want to work.
It took me, Ralph, the plumber, and his assistant all together to
figure it out. The new thermostat signals a relay when it wants hot
water, and the relay drives a servomotor, and the servomotor drives
the zone valve (it's a little more complicated than that, but that's
the basics). Manual operation of the zone valve would give us hot
water just fine, but when the thermostat called for hot water, we
weren't getting it.
We debugged the steps in this chain, and finally found out that the
servomotor was frozen. We removed it, and I was about to start the
search for a replacement part, when the assistant tried turning the
servo by hand, and got it unfrozen. So we put it back in, and it
works! Good enough so the guys could go home around 7:00 pm (in the
thick of the snowstorm) and I had heat for the night.
In any case, they finished up the new insulation, detail carpentry,
moldings, and covers today, and the job is done!
The furnace boiler with connections in place. The aluminum clad
flex-pipe (coming down from the basement ceiling) meets the new
heating zone plumbing.
Details of the zone plumbing connections. In the first picture, I'm
pointing to the troublesome servomotor, but I couldn't get the flash
to work, so the second picture has the flash to show details.
The kitchen stairwell with wallboard in place. They've left the top
panel without mudding, so I can use it as an access hatch if need be.
Finished kitchen. The new baseboards are nice and unobtrusive, much
nicer than the old electrics, and much more effective too!
The kitchen closet still has this opening where the supply and return
pipes meet. Gotta find a little piece of wallboard or something to
close it up.
Finished bathroom. I expected them to run the new pipes through the
chase, but they ended up with this dogleg around the chase, which I
don't really like. There's a little can of paint on the window sill
for these pipes, but Ralph said to wait until warmer weather and paint
the pipes while they're cold, to avoid a strong paint smell.
Finished living room baseboard. There's another dogleg to meet the
pipes coming from the bathroom, it's behind the couch in this picture.
Finished office baseboards. The first picture shows where they cut
away a bit of the molding to allow the telephone and cable connections
to come through, but I still need to figure out a way to attach the
telephone box. The second picture shows the cutouts in the book
shelves, which allow them to lie flat against the wall. I lose the
use of the bottom shelves, but I gain a flat profile and stability.
So now, there are a few minor things left to finish up:
Now all I have to do is put the rest of my home back together!
- The baseboards were making trickling sounds this morning, after
bleeding was done once. They bled the system again today, but it may
need another bleeding to get all the air out of the pipes.
- Keep an eye on that servomotor to ensure that it keeps working
correctly. Also look into replacement parts for this furnace, in case
they're needed later.
- The zone valve is now opening properly when the thermostat calls
for heat, but we haven't verified that it closes properly. In warmer
weather, the baseboards should get completely cold. Check this later.
- The furnace was installed when I was using it for domestic hot
water only, and its output goes directly to my hot water taps, without
mixing. At that time, the furnace's internal regulator was set around
130 F and the domestic hot water was hot but not scalding. Now that
the furnace is used for heating as well, its internal regulator is set
around 180 F which is what the FHW system needs. Domestic hot water
may be hot enough to scald. So far I've been careful and haven't had
a problem, but I may want to add a mixing valve to the feed, to
control the hot water temperature at the taps.
- The furnace's pressure relief is dripping some. It's not enough
to be critical (half fills that little bucket overnight) but I may
want to bring the plumber back to replace the pressure release valve.
- Still need to paint the wallboard in the kitchen stairwell, find a
cover for the opening in the kitchen closet, paint the pipes in
the bathroom, and figure out how to program the new setback thermostat.
Go on to Aftermath and follow-ups
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