Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Boiler

I say “boiler” but actually the Sureway Heating operative I spoke to on the telephone rather tartly informed me that what I actually have is a water heater not a boiler.

Whatever it is the damn things is haunted or possessed or has had a section of its metallic intestines pulled through into an inter-dimensional wormhole because it is just not functioning as it should.

In fact it isn’t even functioning as the laws of physics say it should and, you have to admit, it’s got to have a hefty demon on its shoulders to mess with Professor Brian Cox.

Now, I’m no heating / plumbing engineer, but I know that basically what I have in the bathroom is a big heater thing that heats up the hot water passing through it and then transports it to various outlets around the house via a couple of pipes. We don’t have many outlets. Just two sets in the bathroom and one set downstairs. I live in a 3 bedroomed semi not Longleat House after all.

So. In simple terms:

Heater >> short expanse of pipework >> taps.

An elegant little flowchart. Not much room for error.

And yet things are not right.

We have hot water upstairs. The pilot light is on. The water heater blazes inside like a miniature furnace whenever the hot taps are turned to the full-on position.

But we have no hot water downstairs. None at all. The hot tap is turned on, the heater blazes, water gushes through the pipes but it ain’t (even half) hot (mum). It’s stone cold.

How can this be? How can we have hot water upstairs but not downstairs when all the pipes are fed from the same heater? It’s not like the pipes downstairs are several kilometres longer than the ones upstairs to give the water time to cool down. They don’t divert our water through Siberia or Antarctica on its way to the kitchen tap. Where is our hot water going?

The only change of circumstance that has occurred recently has been the arrival of a new bunch of students next door but they look rather sweet and not the type to siphon of hot water illegally from their neighbours. Borrow a couple of herbal tea bags, yes. Nick hot water, no. And besides. As we all know, students and baths / washing up / clothes washing do not mix. The only thing they know to do with hot water is to shove it into a Pot Noodle. And there isn’t a Pot Noodle hunger big enough to warrant the amount of hot water that has gone missing from my house.

So I’ve rung the experts. The guy I spoke to sounded a little perturbed by the problem and is going to send his best man out this week to take a look at it. OK. OK. He’s going to send a man out to look at it. And then we shall see what we shall see.

In the meantime, I’m breaking out the garlic and the holy water and calling a priest.

Our hot water heater has plainly got bad juju.



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34 comments:

Martin Lower said...

Sorry to hear about your boiler problems. We had the same thing a couple of years ago, and it's not funny.
Hope you get it fixed quickly (and cheaply).

Steve said...

Martin: I'll settle just for cheaply. Seriously.

libby said...

Hope you get it all sorted Steve..these little domestic things are hugely important to the smooth running of our happy little lives....and Gosh I wish I didn't sound so effing boring when I post on your blog............I think the fact that you write so well makes me a bit mouselike in response!!

Steve said...

Libby: nothing mousey about you at all in my opinion. And you're right... these little glitches serve to remind us how much we depend on modern gadgetry.

Jon said...

The woman whom I conned into marrying me with promises of romance, money and exotic travel is perplexed by your problem.

This might seem unremarkable except that before we moved here on a whim she was a consulting chemical engineer of some repute, particularly where furnaces were concerned.

She agrees with you - what you describe cannot be happening. But it is.

She recommends you add rabbits' feet and lucky gypsy heather to your armoury and looks forward to learning the reason for this strange phenomenon.

Alienne said...

Mmmm, verrry spooky; you're sure it isn't being diverted via the freezer?

Steve said...

Jon: I suspect the massed spirits of the dead upon whose cemetary my house is built are unlikely to appeased by a simple rabbit's foot...

Alienne: the freezer is a bit of a tart, I must admit. She likes to get off with all the appliances.

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's probably something simple, like a tap that someone closed. But you'd better daub yourself with paint and do an exorcism dance just to be on the safe side.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Your boiler wots really a water heater reminds me that the thing I call a septic tank is a wastewater treatment system. It has unpleasant consequences too, when the gremlins get in (maybe your lack of hot water is something to do with Halloween!) There's only one sane answer to your problem your realise Steve - emmigrate to a little cottage in NZ where there is firewood a plenty.

Kelloggsville said...

do you remember hammer house of horror where the blood started to ooze out of the heating pipes? Not related, just wondered?!

Dicky said...

Your house is definitely possessed. Do not under any circumstances, call a plumber. Please contact your local Catholic Church immediately.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: a normal night in for me, then.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden: have chopper, will travel.

Kelloggsville: provided it was piping hot it would be welcomed.

Dicky: but aren't they more expensive in the long run?

Clippy Mat said...

right, wot you've got heor is a water heater NOT a boiler.
i see, well let me just bend down heor and have a look at your pipes.
stand off to the right side son in case me plumber's crack gies ye an eyeful.
ah aye, reet hang on ah see ya problem son,oh aye, ah can see it exaccerly, it's right,.....
heor!
the hot water is not coming oota the reet pipes.
ah divn't knaa where its gannin' bonny lad.
but ye've defnitely gorra problem.
ya reet there.
99 pound 50 son.
ya welcome.

Steve said...

Clippy Mat: howay, apparently I laff like a fuckun drain. Can yer fix that while yer doon there unall?

Löst Jimmy said...

I wouldn't worry Steve, your hot water is being diverted by the Government as part of the nation's austerity drive. You were obviously using more hot water than a citizen should've! Shame on you

The Sagittarian said...

After one of the big earthquakes (in the days before our house was munted) we had a similar problem, mainly the fireplace which used to heat the water was obliterated. So, since we already had gas heating for the upstairs the Bright Young Man Who Couldn't Even Keep his Pants Up Right suggested that we just re-route the pipes for downstairs to cash in on the gas heating! Easy.
Well, no. Not really. We could drive to the airport in my rusty ol' Morris Minor and back before the downstairs had even started to heat up. Not sure what went wrong as the next big quake shook the house to bits.
Good luck that the same thing doesn't happen to you, mate!

the fly in the web said...

Mr Fly had this problem years ago when installing a French water heater in a British property.
It is something to do with the position of the boiler...but I couldn't distinguish more than that between the obscenities uttered.

Owen said...

Try shooting it with a couple of silver bullets, and then buy a new one, that's what the gods of commerce will be wanting you to do. Why bother repairing something when you can throw it out and get a brand new one... Isn't that how everything works these days ?

Being Me said...

I now have visions of a large cauldron (vat-style) of Pot Noodle being stirred next door to you in the share house.

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: kind of a hot water tax? Shame they don't bring in a hot air tax - our politician's would never speak again.

Amanda: you think my lack of hot water might be down to the start of a big seismic disturbance?!

The fly in the web: our hot water heater is a "Mersey" - you can't get more un-French than that. It leaves me with a little hope.

Owen: I can't afford the silver at the moment. Might have to be plastic.

Being Me: they probably bathe in it too.

Nota Bene said...

I can't believe all these flippant comments on your serious water system problem.

It's yer valves mate. Pheeeeeew (deep breath) not seen one like that for a long time. Sigh. Yeah, that'll be it. Hard water area innit? 'xpect the limescale has done for it. Shoulders sag. I'll do my best, but really mate it could go anytime. I'll be here for a while. Are you putting the kettle on luv?

Steve said...

Nota Bene: the kettle is never not on. It's the only hot water I've currently got. Have to say, your English is remarkably good. You're from Poland, did you say?

Marginalia said...

Do the pipes bang in the night? Have you witnessed any blood flowing out of the taps; or foul smelling offel leaking into the bathroom. No?

It must be British Gas installing the new mains down the road. They've mis connected you. Just don't smoke on the loo.

Knut Cearious II said...

Whater hiss happynink hiss huhd hair rices, no?
So, tink. Yes?
You guess..?
Yes! Huhd whadder too also rices. No? Yes!

I send you Bill later. Yes? He good frent, you my goot frent too, he will not ask too mush.

Beast rearguards,
Gregor Gorigore

Steve said...

Marginalia: smoke on the loo? I assure you that only happens after a particularly strong curry.

Knut Cearious II: are you any relation to nut cutlet? No matter. Do you accept payment in drachma?

About Last Weekend said...

My husband actually has cold showers as part of his Four Hour Diet regime, apparently burns loads more fat. (not sure if that helps or now...)

Mark said...

Ah, bad juju in the old bolier - a regular problem at college if I recall. Not that it ever happened to me of course...

Steve said...

About Last Weekend: that explains why I'm a 6st weakling then...

Mark: bad juju in the old boiler? Do hope that isn't a euphemism.

Wanderlust said...

I would divert the pipes through the microwave.

Keith said...

I had similar problems this weekend. The heater clanked and buzzed and grinded it's way through it's cycle, the pipes were toasty warm, but the water in the tap was, at best, tepid.

I think our heaters are linked via some astral temporal vortex, and someone else is having luxurious showers on us.

Maybe that is the REAL Alien conspiracy. We are all unwittingly heating Area 51.

Katriina said...

The Young Ones also looked harmless, don't forget, though admittedly even The Young Ones never did steal their grown-up neighbours' hot water. Am remembering that episode where they all shared the bathwater ("it's a little bit cloudy, Mike") and Neil found his lost bicycle in it.
please tell me I'm not the only one old enough to have watched The Young Ones...

Steve said...

Wanderlust: gosh tarnation! Wish I'd thought of that before I'd booked the engineer!

Keith: I refuse to supply the hot water to the hot-tubs of Admiral Ackbar and Jabbe The Hut! We need to make a stand! I'm going to run off all the hot water I can and store it in buckets in the garden shed - that'll teach them!

Katriina: no. You're not the only one. My favourite ep is the one where Mike is nailing plates to the table and inadvertently goes through his own legs.

John Gray said...

I always get a little man in at times like these
(apologies for sounding like Kenneth Williams)

Steve said...

John: a little man? I guess it depends on the size of the pipework involved...