Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Must be April Fools

Here was our weather on Wednesday March 30, 2011 - Sunny and mild, mid 50s.

And here was our weather on April 1, 2011 - snowstorm!

OK, so Spring is a transitional time in New England.  We know this.  But it is SUCH a bummer when we go from having 90% of the snow gone, to getting dumped with another 6 inches!

Working on the gable dormer

Dean took advantage of the short spell of sunny, mild Spring weather to work on getting shingles and bead board installed on the gable dormer at the front of the house.

Putting up bead board to close in the soffit.

Here I am at the cut-off saw cutting the lengths of bead board.

With this section of bead board in, Dean turns his attention to shingles.


Plumbing update

In my last post, I told you about some of the plumbing issues we were having...

After receiving a mildly threatening letter sent by registered mail in which we again outlined the issues we were having, the plumber finally agreed to come out and address our concerns.

  • He replaced the outdoor spigot that was turning itself on.
  • He re-routed the hot water to the kitchen sink.  Now we get hot water in 6 seconds - sweet!
  • He brought us the trim pieces for the upstairs shower

He still insists that the heating system he designed should be adequate, and he is running the calculations again. 

After reading my last post, here's what Tom had to say about our situation :
"Here are some things to consider with your heating system...I don't know how your plumber did his heat loss calculation to size the boiler and the amount of baseboard heat you need, but here are some things to think about.

Your old house is much different because it's very difficult to do heat loss calculation, so the boiler sizing is usually very generous to compensate for unknowns. So when you turn the heat on in your old house you have a lot of extra btu's working for you. When you do heat loss calculations it's designed to keep your house at 72 degrees F based on your average outdoor temp for your area. The systems are really not designed for excess btu's to bring your house temp up quickly. The heat loss calculation done on your new house would probably come up as a very low heat loss and so the boiler and your baseboard heat would have been sized accordingly. There is probably not a lot of extra btu's in your heating system to be able to go from 60 to 70 degrees that quickly. There also is a big difference between a gas fired boiler and an oil fired boiler. Even if the boilers have the same btu rating the oil fired boiler is going to recover much quicker. Your new house has plaster on the inside walls which do not like to heat up very quickly when cool. This is great in the summer, but not so much in the winter. Also, I don't know if your plumber put glycol or any other antifreeze in your heating system, but it significantly decreases waters ability to absorb, carry and release heat if the concentration is over 50%. Antifreeze will make systems less efficient. Much more less efficient if the concentration if over 50%. If your boiler is max'd out on the btu's the antifreeze could make a difference. The most efficient system would have no glycol, but is sometimes needed to prevent freezing. A lot of plumbers add it to their heating system even if it's not needed for a little insurance for themselves. I don't know if you have a way of testing the mixture in your heating system, but that would be a good place to start."
Thanks for your input, Tom.

In the meantime, Dean is taking matters into his own hands and adding more heat registers in the bedroom, the living room and the entryway.

Here is the living room.  This project required taking out the already finished enclosures we had built for the baseboard registers.  Yes - another "re-do". 

The entryway is getting a 4 story bank of registers.  This will be tucked under the bench that will eventually go in this space.

This seems to be working, by the way, in case you were wondering.  This morning, we turned the heat up, and in about 30 minutes the house temp went from 64 to 68 degrees.  This is a big improvement.

Dean working in the bedroom

What our plumber still refuses to take responsibility for, is the washing machine drain that freezes.  He claims that this is the responsibility of the insulation contractors. 

Even when we showed him this photo that clearly shows the placement of the pipe directly against the outside wall!

What do you think?  Poor design by the plumber, or negligence by the insulators? (You can click on the photo to see a larger image)

At any rate, the fix is going to require ripping out plaster and insulation in order to get in the wall and re-route this pipe...

Finish work

When we are not ripping things out, we continue to work on various bits of finish work such as trim, and painting.

Now that the additional registers are in, Dean is again working on the enclosures.

Lately, I've been into painting doors.

Hunting for Moles

One member of our family was just delighted by the April Fool's snowstorm.  Here she is enjoying some mole hunting.

Here's hoping these will be the last snowy pictures that I post to this blog...

The Persian New Year

I will leave you on a greener note.

Sebze (sprouted lentils) on the windowsill in preparation for our celebration of Nowruz (the Persian New Year) with Dean's family.

Aid-eh Shomo Mobarak!


  1. love seeing the updates! Great to see and celebrate with you guys!
    xxoo -P

  2. Happy Nowruz!