Thursday, December 23, 2010

Problems come in more than threes!

Sorry about the lack of Posts recently. Although we haven't had the coldest temperatures in the UK here in the flatlands they have been pretty cold and seem to have stressed out our heating which has broken. For a variety of reasons we replaced a large boiler with separate gas boilers for water heating and house heating. Apparently this means that they can be run more efficiently. There is no point in heating a large boiler for a bit of hot water, yet when the cold weather comes along there is enough power to heat the house. The house is not new and so probably not the most well-insulated house - although we did add further insulation when we bought it. The boiler system circulates hot water around when needed. The problem comes when the water disappears from the system.

Given the recent cold weather you might think it was a leak - but no, the Hot water boiler was basically sending a plume of water vapour out of the flume until there was no water in the system and then it started making loud clanking noises. This seems to be a fail-noisy mechanism to ensure that when it happens it wakes everyone in the house. The good news is we have a maintenance contract with British Gas - the bad news it is Winter and they are busy. So we rang them up at the weekend and were told to expect an engineer sometime between 12 and 6pm on Wednesday. Now this is in the middle of last-minute present buying (yes I am bad!) and relative collecting and food buying - so unfortunately cycling takes the lowest priority possible.

On Monday the heating boiler also started "burning" water and making clanking noises. My wife spent ages not getting through on the phone to British Gas to alert them to the problem but failed. Still they were coming - it would be already - enough time to find the problem get some parts fitted surely. So on Wednesday we arranged to have someone in all afternoon. At least we have the Immersion heater to heat the hot water and a gas fire in the living room. Mind you when the weather is really cold the hot water heater also heats towel radiators which keep the bathrooms warm - that doesn't happen when the immersion heater is used.

Did I mention that one of our cars showed a warning light. We have a small Honda Jazz, about 5 years olds. The handbook's advice, "hardly drive the car and get it to a garage quick". Fortunately although British Gas were busy the local Honda garage wasn't and we took it in. The problem a sticky exhaust gas return valve - the cost of repair huge ( a couple of hundred quid for the part!!!) - it happens often enough that there are comments on Bulletin Boards.

Finally a British Gas (BG) engineer turned up around 4.30pm, but admitted she was fairly new, two years on the job and basically just seemed to top up the water and pump the expansion tank up. Hum - not my idea of a fix. We rang BG she had booked for another engineer to visit today (Thursday) between - well the whole bl**dy day actually. So we have lots of curtains closed trying to keep the house warm, fortunately it is not freezing going down to -8C overnight, but we do have an elderly relly staying.

So I am the appointed house-sitter today, feeling slightly cold and trying to not get annoyed sitting in a gloomy house. Things don't look to good for a warm Christmas at the moment. Still at least we do have hot water and two working gas fires.

Still we do have the Cambridge Guided Busway to look forward to in the New Year.

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