Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We hit a brick wall

In the figurative sense. Our living room radiator has switched over from problem child to devil's spawn. Last night we came very close to having the heat turned on, but we're having a pretty significant problem with the piping to the living room radiator.

To give you a better idea, this is the piping underneath the floorboards. As you can see, the piping angles up so much so that the valve is not perpendicular to the floor. Somehow, when the radiator was installed, they were able to get this to work and it's something that we never noticed before we took the radiator out. I wonder if by leveling the floor, we made the problem worse.

We did notice the problem but tried to hook it up. (this was extremely challenging because with connecting 2 sides of pipes we had to pull the pipes sitting in the floor apart to sneak the radiator in. Anyone who's worked with radiators know the difficulty in this. I was on the ground pushing the pipe with my feet, while Glenn maneuvered the radiator.) It took a bit to fit it into the slot, but we did.

Anyway, so yesterday, we thought everything was hooked up (and we were prety excited about this) we started to fill the radiators up. I put towels under all the connections for safety purposes so that if there was any sort of leak we would catch it early on. Then, we both ran from radiator to radiator to bleed them and check to see if they were filled. (this takes some time)

We've drained radiators several times before as well as filled them up. For the first time yesterday though, we did not hook on a "just in case" empty cup near the bleed nozzle. (usually we caught the radiators before they started spewing water). Well, of course this wasn't the case yesterday. All of a sudden EVERY radiator started spewing water and we were running around trying to get them turned off ASAP and cleaning up the water. (during the process, I got absolutely soaked as I caught the water with my pants!) Then, we noticed the living room radiator was actually leaking and had to do the mad dash to find things to collect the water as well as to clean up the huge water puddle on our brand new hard wood floor. Glenn tried to tighten the connection, but the issue was that the angle of the valve was preventing a good seal. We never noticed this while it was filling up.

Of course, to add to the problem, there's some water damage to the rental apartment and more specifically, our current bedroom, so we also needed to do ceiling water drainage. (and move a lot of stuff out of the bedroom before we did this. I got a whole bunch of exercise running upstairs then downstairs, converting our wet/dry vac into wet mode, grabbing towels, tarps blankets, etc.) Thankfully, water really didn't come out of the ceiling, so only a little must have gotten through. We'll have to monitor the situation to see about what long term impact this has in the plaster.

Now, after that whole debacle, we need to come up with plan B. I'm going to go get a cap so that if worse comes to worse, we can get the heat (absent the living room radiator turned on). Also, some additional piping. We've done some troubleshooting and have some ideas that we need to fine tune to get the valve perpendicular to the floor. (if I stand on the left side, it could work, but we need to see if we can convert the valve top into a pipe-it's hard to stand on a 1/4 inch lip!)

Anyway, this is just one of those things and one of those reasons that anyone dealing with an older home need to have patience and problem solving skills. When you hit a brick wall, you don't give up, you just figure a way around it, which is the stage we are in.

I must say too, that we've gotten used to this and despite the obvious crisis (water shooting everywhere, a completely filled radiator leaking onto the floor, the ceiling leaking, etc.) we wethered it well. Neither of us spent time screaming or let it get us into a bad mood-which it could have. It's sort of funny if you think about it. If there could have been a videotape...

So, the radiator saga continues....

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Blogger Jocelyn said...

You guys are pretty adventurous taking on re-activating your heating system. I do know what you mean about staying calm amidst chaos/water leakage. I've had this happen a few times and now I'm a seasoned pro.

My motto: drywall and plaster can pretty easily be repaired.

October 24, 2006 6:44 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, our radiator saga continues-but I'll have to get into that later. Let's just say we are running out to Menard's now and I don't think the radiator appreciated being referred to as "devil's spawn"

I've told furniture delivery people to bang up my wall. (when they were reluctant to do so) The positive about the hole in the ceiling in our temporary bedroom is actually that we have another hole from the flooring project. We were planning on hiring that out anyway-good to give them more business.

October 24, 2006 7:25 PM  

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