Posts Tagged 'radiators'

Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

Update: Still leaking. 😦 Even worse – leak wouldn’t happen when the plumbers came back to see/fix. This morning after I pushed the heat up I came down to find a puddle under the pipe and a drip still on the pipe. By the time the plumbers came the puddle had dried to 1/2 its original size. We pushed the heat up again in an attempt to start the dripping, but nothing dripped. I’m incredibly frustrated that I cannot demonstrate this. The good news is Michael saw the remaining puddle and believes me. They are once again cutting and replacing pipes. Isn’t it a good thing that no one closed up the ceiling yesterday? Is that a 😦 or a 🙂 ? And now back to our original post….

TJI still have a half-written post about how wonderful it is to work in the new kitchen. I have photos, too. But I’ve been a bit busy with other things and haven’t had much time or mental energy to write. It’s interesting how bad things can get those mental juices flowing. That must be part of the reason so much great literature is about unhappiness. Take the opening line of ‘Anna Karenina‘: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” When everything is great and happy and wonderful, there is less impetus to write.

preparing front hallYesterday was an exciting day in the kitchen renovation. It should have been the penultimate day (I’m still hoping that Don will come through for me and get the electricians here with deck lighting, but just between you and me – I suspect that lighting has fallen by the wayside.). The plumbers and TJ were here to put in the new radiators, install the cold water filter under the kitchen sink and to put in the oil-rubbed bronze hardware in the pocket door. 3 plumbers and TJ all working away in the kitchen, basement and front hall. The cats were imprisoned once again upstairs. BC had gone up there on her own, but I had to physically catch and carry GC and WC up behind the wooden door. The plumber was astounded at the sounds WC makes as she is carried up to her incarceration. Hard to believe such a little thing can make such a loud appalling noise. (Her life is soooo hard, she’s had much practice.)

The new radiators were very exciting to everyone, as the plumbers had never worked with this kind of unit before. placing the radiatorI learned a lot of interesting things as well. For starters, I learned that “wall mounted” does NOT mean that the water pipes come through the walls. It means that there are no feet on the floor, but that the water pipes do still come through the floor. I’d been told that the front hall radiator would be wall mounted but the one in the kitchen would not, as it is situated in front of the pocket door. As it turned out, they were both mounted on the wall. I knew the new floor would be drilled in the kitchen therefore but I did not realize the slate in the front hall would be drilled as well. That was not an issue because I’d already told Michael weeks ago that I was resigned to the fact that the slate might need to be drilled. The holes for the pipes are so small (comparatively) that it really is no big deal. The radiators are beautiful and do exactly what I hoped – fade into the wall behind them.

The other thing I learned was how my heating system works. My husband was very smug when he told me he knew this all along. Huh. But he knows NOTHING about BLEEDING the radiators, so there. hole in ceilingMy huge old cast iron radiators all have 4 feet (hence not wall-mounted) and there is a pipe going in one end and a pipe coming out the other end. I’ve always assumed that meant the water flowed in one end, out the other and went on its merry way to the next radiator. That is NOT the case. All of the radiators get water IN from one set of pipes and release it OUT to a different set of pipes. That explains why when I see the pipe running up from one floor to another there are always 2 pipes. The IN system is controlled by valves on each radiator that can either allow water into that unit or that unit can be bypassed as the water flows to the next unit. This setup means that the boiler can be going but individual radiators can be turned off without turning off every radiator downstream. I never realized that. It will be important.

soffitAnyway, things were going swimmingly (and yes, I choose that word deliberately). The filter was in, the pocket door hardware was in, the radiators were in, the water was turned on to fill the radiators and we upped the thermostat to make the water hot. And then Michael saw water on the kitchen floor. He went to the basement and there was water dripping down onto the floor there. There was a leak within the walls.

dirty fingerprintsI will spare you the drama that ensued. I will say that I stayed very calm, which I suspect most of you will not believe. But over the last year or so I HAVE learned that things that can be solved by money are probably not the big things in life. And these contractors have worked such magic that I believe they can fix anything and make it beautiful. I was concerned that the plumber might have heart failure, he was that upset. That is NOT fixable by money.

So. At day’s end we did have heat (which was good, because the overnight temps were in the 40s F), although the 2 new radiators were still offline. There is now a big hole in my gorgeous kitchen ceiling, saw-marks on the soffit, and dirty fingerprints on the other side of the soffit (for balance while investigating). kitchen radiatorThere is also a scratch on the floor from the step ladder but you have to have your face very close to see it. I mentioned it to my husband who said “I see it” and pointed to a non-existent scratch elsewhere. *grin* I was up close and personal because I was cleaning up after everyone had left.

Michael is back today (not the whole crew) and he’s bringing the new radiators online. I understand there will be someone coming sometime to fix the ceiling, front hall radiatorbut as is typical with communications on this job (I have mentioned my dissatisfaction with the information flow) I don’t know who or when. Since there is no longer a key in the lock box they will have to let me know. I do hope it’s sooner rather than later as I was planning to throw a “come see my gorgeous new kitchen” party. Sigh.

These are all things and can be fixed. It’s disappointing, but not terminal. The house is warm, all the radiators are going. My water is filtered. I have matching hardware in my pocket door. The sun is shining. And the cats are happy.
One of these days I’ll even finish the post about how fantastic it is to work in the kitchen.

BC on boots

Obligatory Cat Photo – BC decided to rest on my rainboots

Return to Renovations

IMG_8603
When last we left our heroine, she was remarking on the widened passage to the breakfast room, the emergence of the white cat, and hoping her husband liked sloped ceilings.

WC is still doing fine, and still throwing periodic hissy fits of hiding to remind us that she does NOT like change and does NOT like the new living conditions. On the other hand she is eating, drinking and producing output, even if she IS refusing any cuddling (wrong chair – she can only be cuddled on the downstairs furniture). IMG_8606As you can see, she’s just fine. BC and GC are fine too, although there seems to be a slight dispute over who sleeps with me. BC prefers to be on or between my calves, whereas GC prefers “next to”. BC understands the concept of sleeping in (at least until 6:30) and the concept that turning over in the middle of the night does NOT mean I’m awake. GC believes that ANY time is good for a cuddle and will purr in my ear, or lean over to tickle my face with her whiskers. If I roll over she will begin meowing to remind me that she is there to be cuddled. As GC never used to sleep with me, BC is a bit annoyed. I would not be surprised if one of these days I wake to a bit of caterwauling.

I’m still thrilled with the wide opening between the 2 rooms. It feels much more like a single room. Version 2We now have a pocket for our pocket door. The door to the basement has always partially blocked the big bay window over the sink. As the door stands open probably 98% of the time, it would be wonderful NOT to have it there. But for the 2% of the time that I NEED a door, I couldn’t get rid of the door. Solution: pocket door. The pocket door is one of the ways we chose our contractor. Contractor J didn’t think it was a good idea and wanted a folding door. Contractor M said good idea, yes, we can do that. 🙂 Contractor M pretty much heard EVERYTHING I said even though I didn’t think he was listening. Contractor J ignored 3 of my key requests. Anyway, the pocket went up amazingly quickly. It necessitated removing 2 radiators (boiler/hot water system, 12 old cast iron radiators in the house). The front hall (yeah, I haven’t mentioned that little bit of this project) and the kitchen will have something more modern and stream-lined for heat.

IMG_8506I think that the same day they built the pocket they also framed out the cabinets. I had a long chat with the foreman yesterday and learned something I’d not noticed and probably never would have noticed. 🙂 Apparently the (sewer?) pipe that runs from the upstairs bathroom down to the basement has an unsightly bulge. Now in some houses and pipes that unsightly bulge would have placed itself a little higher, a little lower. Not in our house. Never in our house. (Have I mentioned we hit another knob & tube wiring issue?) IMG_8567 In OUR house the unsightly bulge is right where our (gorgeous) backsplash is to be. The foreman dealt with this by framing out the cabinets about an inch further out than had there been no bulge. This does leave a gap between the existing tiled bay window and where things will now be, but that will be addressed with additional wood framing. 🙂 I LOVE having competent, intelligent, forward-thinking contractors. This crew (foreman, electricians, carpenters, plumbing) have been simply fantastic. Innovate, responsive and cheerful. Which leads me to my sloped ceiling.

Much to my surprise and dismay my husband, the structural engineer, DID have an issue with a sloped ceiling. Keep in mind that the description I provide next is a non-engineer attempting to convey an engineering lesson. IMG_8592 Apparently if you remove the cross beam supports of the flat ceiling, you will have pressure on the bay window wall, causing it to bow outward. At the time when we discussed this I had no price estimate for the job, I had no reason to create marital discord and I let it drop. I was disappointed but knew that there were other things I’d want to champion and I’d already lived with the (wrong) flat ceiling for over 20 years. This past weekend we got the quote for doing the sloped ceiling. I wrote back to them and mentioned my husband’s issue with the slope and asked them to explain how they would deal with that downward-outward pressure. Yesterday the foreman and construction chief came by and discussed plans with my husband. To my everlasting gratitude, he agreed with their proposals and said that their adjustments addressed his concerns and we could go ahead. YAY!!!!!!! IMG_8593 My husband then took off for work leaving me to discuss all the OTHER issues: ways around our latest K&T issue, placement of switches, the fact that our electrical sub-panel is not up to code (the way they put it in 20 or so years ago), despite all the permits stuck on it, and what we’re going to do about modern radiators. There may have been a few other things but those were yesterday’s top items.

Today has been a day of hammering and power on and off and calls of “can you see if I’m on the right side?”. I had a long chat with the chief electrician and, oh what a surprise, we are adding another update to this job. For decades I’ve had a switch to turn on the deck lights on my deck (small, low wattage bulbs mounted under the bottom rail of the railing). The switch works fine but the lights don’t. 🙂 We will get new deck lighting and have that done while the insides are ripped open. ka-ching, ka-ching. And one day I’ll describe what we hope to do in the front hall…….

Siri on bed


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