Just in case you don’t remember all the ways in which the universe has pooped on us in the past month, here is a recap.
- Well pump no longer supplies enough water for both the geothermal HVAC and the household water with even minimal pressure. Result: we have a new well pump installed.
- New pump works but not adequately. Turns out we need a new pressure tank, as well.
- Household water pressure still inadequate when temps drop below zero. Smokey adjusts flow to the geothermal; reduced flow causes outlet from same into the lake to freeze, rendering geothermal inoperable. This is complicated by the interruptible power being interrupted daily.
- When temp rises and outlet opens up, geothermal unit itself freezes because inadequate water flow allows it to extract way too much heat from the ground water; result = ice in the heat pump.
- (In case you are worried that we are suffering hypothermia and frostbite whilst watching TV in our cold house, know that we have supplemental heat in the form of a propane wall furnace in the lower level and a wood stove capable of warming the house to near 80˚F, not to mention numerous space heaters to be deployed as necessary. Household temp never drops below 57˚F and generally maintains at around 65˚-68˚F. If all else fail, I have handknits galore. Smokey is on his own.)
- Younger Son, who rents our Minneapolis house, goes to Chicago for a week on business. Fortunately, because the forecast was for subzero temps that week, he turns off the water to the house. Unfortunately, the furnace pilot light fails and the entire hot water heating system freezes, thereby causing every one of the eleven radiators in the house to crack or burst.
- Smokey gets preliminary repair estimate from one of the few HVAC contractors in Minneapolis who works on our kind of system (vintage 1937 with radiators, original to the house). Result: $32,665, plus additional $1,000s for asbestos remediation and carpentry, and not including repairing damage from and replacing from leaking regular water pipes. Happily, this is all covered by insurance.
- Aside: there happened to be a thermometer in the house that records the warmest and coldest temperature. It got to -13˚F in our living room. No wonder every drop in the house of water froze.
- Hot water heater here stops delivering hot water. Result: plumber installs new thermostat in it and I can shower again.
- Telephone service here goes kerplufft. Smokey does enough trouble-shooting to determine that the problem is not the telephone wiring in the house. Call the phone company? They can’t get in until our driveway is plowed. Call the plow guy? Can’t do that without phone service. (No cellular reception at our house.) Use the internet phone? Oops, internet just went kerplufft, too. Sheesh. Happily, the telephone lines returned to full functionality within a few minutes; apparently, the outage was more widespread than just us, and the phone company fixed it pronto.
The only system that hasn’t failed in some way is the electric power. If we get a severe ice storm here, I may not be able to say that. There is no such storm in the short-term or long-term forecasts; let’s all hope it stays that way, ‘kay?
Here, for your enjoyment, is a cracked and burst radiator:
I am not suffering at all during this whole thing because my husband is a hero. He is handling all the trouble-shooting, heating adjustments, dealing with contractors, and general horribleness of the past few weeks. Thank you, Smokey!
Before Smoke called the heating contractor, he and Younger Son had to clear the basement of a crapton of stuff left behind by former renters. Two days work resulted in 8-10 boxes of such stuff being hauled here for me to sort through. Most of it was kitchen stuff.