Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Brrrrrrrrrrr! (part two)

Jan, Olof and me at the top of the Copeland Pass. Copyright WebWeaver ProductionsSee how exciting my life is? Reduced to blogging about my central heating system for goodness sake! I.need.to.get.out.more.... heh.

BTW, this photo has nothing much to do with anything except it's a nice image and it's a cold image. Jan, Olof and me at the top of the Copeland Pass mumbletymumble years ago.

So Nigel the nice gas man came over this afternoon. Fantastic! A tradesman who turns up when he says he will. This is most excellent. I think I'll keep him :)

I live in a classic wooden Kiwi villa - it's 96 years old, and still going strong. I love it. It's perched on the side of quite a steep slope, which means that it's one and a half storeys high - one storey on the upper side of the slope and two storeys on the lower side. There's a flat downstairs which takes up half the footprint of the house on the downslope side. Behind the flat (underneath the main house) there's a high crawl space, which gets lower and lower as you crawl up the slope. My central heating unit is in the crawl space. It's perched on top of a very strong-looking wooden platform, with big posts around it which go floor to ceiling.

All good so far. Except that the platform has been built almost like a wooden cage around the unit - so when you need to get into the unit, it's really tricky because the wooden posts are right in the way. Hmmmm.

Turns out whoever put in my central heating system didn't plan ahead and didn't consider the possibility that someone might need to get into the metal box thingy one day.

Anyway, so there we are, crouching under the house with torches and tools, trying not to stir up too much dusty dirt as we move around, and poor old Nigel's swearing away under his breath and grunting in a not-too-impressed kind of a way because it's a real mission to get the screws undone so he can take a look inside.

Finally he gets it open and takes a look.

Have you ever heard the phrase "a stitch in time saves nine?" Yes, well I'd heard it too, but I haven't been paying attention. Stupid, stupid. Won't do that again.

Poor old central heating system. The combustion fan's completely kaput, and it's a sealed unit, so it has to be ordered and then installed. And Nigel's busy for at least the next two weeks. If I had got the darned thing looked at about 6 months ago when it first started making funny noises I wouldn't be sitting here in the middle of winter freezing my *beep* off and looking at another two weeks of coldcoldcold.

Nigel's going to find out tomorrow how much a new combustion unit costs, and then I'll have to wait until he can fit me in. *sigh*

I caved yesterday and went out and bought a portable oil-filled radiator thingy and a dehumidifier. When I was at Angela's place the other night (having supper and meeting the "nice young American") they lent me a little fan heater as well, so now I'm moving my various heating devices around the house, trying to keep this side of freezing. Two more weeks. Bummer!

Well, you know, at least it's taught me a lesson - I'll be getting things serviced a bit more regularly from now on - and I also found out that having a blog and telling your friends about it is no bad thing either. My friend Sally called me up yesterday, offering to lend me her gas heater if I needed it. She'd been reading my blog. Isn't that nice! Hi Sally!

Did I mention I hate being cold?

Update a few hours later

Nigel called. He's ordered the parts and he reckons he can do it on Friday assuming they arrive in time. Yaaay! I'm definitely keeping him. It's gonna cost quite a chunk of change in labour, but the parts aren't as expensive as he thought. Thank goodness for small mercies - and reliable tradesmen!

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