The Tale of the Boiler

Isn’t it just typical that at the first sign of  minus temperatures our boiler decides to go on the blink.

On Sunday afternoon I turned the radiators on upstairs ready for the return of CC and Jay who had been to see friends and do some shopping in England.

By the evening all the radiaters downstairs were cold and by Monday morning there was only one radiator working – the one directly above the boiler.

I phoned the plumber and he popped in to have a look that afternoon.

“It’s the pump” he declared and said he would fit a new one as soon as he could but that he was inundated with work which all had to be done before he left to visit family for Christmas next week.

So I was pleasantly surprised when he came back on Wednesday clutching the replacement pump.

“It’s a quick job” he claimed.

But well over an hour later he was scratching his head because the system was still stone cold.

“Can’t understand why it’s not working” he muttered but he couldn’t wait any longer chez-nous. He had other clients waiting.

I began to imagine the festive season grouped round the wood stove. All very well if there was a spirit of goodwill towards all men but, knowing our lot, that wouldn’t be very likely – at least, not for a whole week.

Then at nine o’clock this morning, there he was, bless him, with a mate in tow.

They both spent the morning bleeding the radiators (which we’d aleady done), turning them on and off,  scratching about in the attic and generally uttering a few (mild I think) expletives. There were also a few remarks about how the previous owner, who had ‘renovated’ the house himself, must have been a ‘cowboy’.

I kept them supplied with coffee and even invited them to have lunch with us: anything to keep them here until the job was done.

But they went off at midday, promising to return with some parts – and, hopefully, some more ideas.

This afternoon they beavered away in the garage and then called me to look at the muck they had found in the pipes. It wasn’t limescale, it was MUD!

It took them nearly a couple of hours to dismantle and unblock the boiler and then put it back together. They then tried  a more powerful pump than the one already refitted and changed three valves which are supposed to automatically purge the system and prevent airlocks.

Finally, to everyone’s relief, the boiler fired and the radiators started to heat up.

“I’ll have to come back after the holiday to put in a cleaning product to make sure we get rid of all that dirt” said Mr C.

They sat down to another yet coffee and a slice or two of gingerbread and then went off into the cold.

They still had another call to make.

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4 Responses to “The Tale of the Boiler”

  1. Z Says:

    They were wonderful! I bet they won’t leave any clients without heat before Christmas.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Well, it’s fingers crossed for my friend whose boiler is leaking. They ordered a new one and should have fitted it last Thursday but it hadn’t arrived. If it doesn’t get here by tomorrow she could have problems.

  2. bretonne Says:

    But where did the mud come from? My water-pressure has been variable for most of the year, culminating in water-hammer that i feared would dislodge the boiler. The bright lad from the boiler-service had 2 sessions and couldn’t find anything, and the plumber said it was the water-company’s fault, so when they next came to check on their little pumping-station (opposite the house) I went out and spoke to them. They have now changed the “ballon” in the station but before that the plumber’s son came round, and investigated the pipes around the stop-cock, and sorted the problem. ???? “Quleques cochoneries” he explained. Yes, mud/grit.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Having spoken to several other people it seems it’s fairly normal for the system to clog up with dirt. After all, it has been running for well over ten years with just the ocasional top-up. No doubt the bottoms of the radiators are inches deep – yuk! – so I hope this cleaning product he has promised to put in will sort it out.

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