May 23rd, 2002

bundled up, walkabout, snow

Old houses

It's cold.

But it's not really as cold this morning as it was last night.

I generally try not to complain a lot about my house, when it's hot, when it's cold. I start wearing pretty skimpy clothes when it's hot, and don layers of sweaters when it's cold. When I'm cold, I tend to have trouble getting myself to move around - I huddle under blankets, and rediscover that doing dishes by hand is wonderful, because of the hot water.

But if I complain about the hot house or the cold house, I'm sure friends wonder what the big deal is. Friends who have "normal" houses. The kind where you change the temperature by flicking a switch.

Our heating system is a big gas-heated boiler, a pump delivering the hot water to four different locations in the house, and four air-handlers, where air is blown over the hot water, flowing through coils like those in a radiator. Oh, and the pump is over 12 years old, now. And more finicky than the pilot light on the also over 12 years old boiler.

Which means that turning the heat on doesn't happen quickly, or reliably. Oh, it's a great system, once it's on, that keeps this big old house warm pretty much unless the outside temperature dips to -10. Then it looses ground. But if the pilot light doesn't stay lit, the water in the air-handlers isn't hot. Or, if the pump doesn't come on, the water doesn't get circulated, so the water in the air-handlers is basement temperature. Or, colder, if we try to use the heat, as the air blown over the coils gets colder, circulating through a cold house.

Which means I think long and hard about turning the heat off, when I start getting hot. I really don't like giving in to the air conditioner, if there's a chance that it'll get cold enough to need the heat again. But damn, it was hot in April.

And it was cold for days, two or three frost advisories, before I finally asked Flar to turn the heat back on. He's been down to the cellar (a nasty place with spiders) twice now, but I think either the pump or the boiler didn't come back on properly, cause the vents were blowing cool air before I turned the thermostat way down.

It's supposed to get up over 80 tomorrow. And I'm told that it's really more important that the nights aren't dipping down into the 30s anymore in the forecast.

But it's really discouraging to finally give up and ask for heat. And not get it.
  • Current Mood
    cold cold