About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Heating project: The plumbing

This project seems to be going on for ever. Maybe if I tell you about the next stage I'll feel a bit more enthusiastic about carrying on with the work. So, the plumbing...

The plumber* called us a couple of times in the week before he was due to come, to confirm arrangements (two of his guys arriving on Tuesday) and check we'd be ready. I think he was hoping we wouldn't be. We were, but were quite glad of the extra day, and were working right up to the last minute. It wouldn't have been quite so near the wind if it had just been laying the boards, but at about 9pm on Monday evening we realised that the airing cupboard would need gutting to make way for the tank. It was still full of scarves and gloves, towels and old net curtains, and the tool box, and all those other things that live in airing cupboards.

The cupboard not only had to be emptied, but the shelves needed taking out. Those shelves were not installed with a view to future dismantling. Many pieces of the frame were nailed in two directions, meaning they couldn't be just pulled apart. No, this isn't enthusing me to get on with the work, I'm just remembering how hard it all was.

Anyway, we were pretty much ready by the time the plumbers turned up on Tuesday morning. For the rest of the week we didn't have much to do apart from keeping out of their way and making the occasional cup of tea. By the end of the first day, the stove was in place...

Scavenged stove in excavated fireplace

... as was the tank.

New tank - sorry, thermal store - just about fitting in the airing cupboard

We'd replaced a piece of glass in the stove door and straightened out the blanking plate at the back of the stove (covering the hole where the flue might have gone, in another life) before we got to this stage, and a last piece of shelf in the airing cupboard needed wrenching out at the last minute because it was in the way.

The pipes you see in that picture were actually added on the second day. These connect up with the stove - the top one brings hot water into the tank and the bottom one takes cooler water back to the stove. The plumbing all went fairly smoothly, though our electrics caused some consternation when it came to connecting up the immersion heaters and pumps. Where there should have been electricity, there was none! After a bit of poking about an electrician was called, who poked about a bit more and found the mysteriously cut off wires, connected it all up again, and hey presto...

Lower gauge on the tank, showing warmth

... we have heat! Actual hot water came out of the taps - such luxury!

The photo was taken during the test of the immersion heaters. At this stage, all the plumbing is in place, electrics are connected up, everything is ready to go apart from one thing. We still don't have the stove installed.

Rather than do the job ourselves, we'd decided to get it done properly, i.e. by a HETAS approved installer. The plumber was not such a man, so he subcontracted this part of the job to someone else. Unfortunately the stove man wasn't available straight away, so we had to wait until Thursday of the following week for him to come and connect the flue pipe. It felt like forever, looking at our unusable stove as it sat in the fireplace.

When he did turn up, it was at 7:20 am. We were not terribly impressed. We were even less impressed when he stuck his ladder through the greenhouse (he assured us the cost of repair would come off the bill). However, the flue was stuffed down the chimney...

... and into the fireplace.

After a bit of connecting up, the stove was finally functional!

The installer failed to mention that the white disk was in fact a protective film over the brass plate underneath. That was also irritating.

It was wonderful to be able to get the fire lit and the underfloor heating running. Pebble was a bit confused by this at first, but she soon got the hang of it.

Underfloor heating - we only did it for the cat.

Having got heat into the house, the next stage was (is) to keep it there...

* I'd usually put a link, but he doesn't have a website. It was Mike Jerman of BMJ Plumbing & Heating Ltd, Abernant, Troed Y Garth, Y Fan, SY18 6NA, Phone/fax: 01686 411121 – Mobile: 07778 809002, Email: bmjplumbit@aol.com

1 comment:

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