Over Z’s head-er tank

My latest house guest is my sister. Her boiler stopped working yesterday, so I trailed up into her attic this morning. I’ll break off for a short rant.

Some 17 years ago, a new boiler was needed for the annexe, where Al, Dilly and Squiffany then lived, with Pugsley on the way. The plumber had the bright idea of putting the new boiler in the loft, as it would free up room in the kitchen. Al and the (not so sagacious) Sage agreed and – I didn’t discover this for 15 years – Dilly’s protests were ignored. Unsurprisingly, she hated it. It was before the boiler could be altered by remote control, so if she wanted to adjust the timing or it needed any attention, she had to wait until Al was at home. I had no idea and said, if I’d known at the time, I’d have put my foot down.

I won’t go into details about more recent problems, but at least it’s not the same plumber. Anyway, when I went up into the loft this morning, it turned out that the problem is that the header tank needs more water. There was a chair up there, which I stood on and the tank was still above my head. Wink fetched a pair of steps and I carried them up – still far too high.

I went down to the workshop for a ladder and all the ones in the small workshop were too heavy. So I went to the big workshop, for half the extending aluminium ladder. The door was locked. I don’t normally lock it. I fetched the keys – there are four keys for four garages/workshops. The lock was frozen. I phoned Wince, no reply.

I said to Wink, come and stay with me until it’s sorted out. I hate to admit it, but I’m too short and too puny and too old for this. It needs a man.

I’m really pissed off that people who design and install systems are tall, strong men and it never enters their head that other people are not. Mirrors that are too high to see more than the top of your head, peepholes in front doors that are way over the head of elderly people with osteoporosis, windows that are so high and so awkwardly placed that the resident can’t ever clean them.

Anyway, Wink is very welcome and it’s lovely having her to stay.

6 comments on “Over Z’s head-er tank

  1. Blue Witch

    It’s called tradesmen ensuring they always have follow-on work for the future….

    We had to put our foot (feet?) down very firmly on several occasions to ensure that trades did what we wanted rather than what was easiest for them when we were building.

    When all the regs changed on boilers some years back, many were put in unsuitable and unnecessary places.

    British Gas moved Mr BW’s Mum’s boiler into an airing cupboard (sideways on) when they replaced it shortly before she died. Not even Mr BW could easily get to, or see, the controls. Madness, but you have to trust that installers know what they are doing… Had she not been so unwell (which took up all our time) we would undoubtedly have challenged them and made them resite it where it ws before, which still met the regs.

    Is Wink’s boiler oil or LPG? Both options exist as versions that can be sited outside. In case you didn’t know, and in case it is helpful when you come to replace the boiler eventually. Because I can’t imagine that a heat pump will be a possibility?

    1. Z Post author

      It’s LPG, but it’s only about 4 years old – that’s another story, I don’t think replacement was needed at all. A previous plumber put in the wrong pipes. I gather that a heat pump is best if there’s superb insulation and underfloor heating. As the extension is part of the house’s listed status, double glazing probably isn’t possible and we don’t have underfloor heating. The bungalow is about 40 years old. The bungalows built within the last five years, on the other side of this road, didn’t even have solar panels fitted, let alone heat pumps.

  2. Martina

    The problem I ran into was the tradesmen got old and retired and there were no under age 60 tradesmen willing to fix things.
    New place has front door peephole six inches higher than my head. Doorbell cams not allowed by management. Ugh…

    1. Z Post author

      There is a local volunteer group who fix things for a modest price for pensioners – I’m not poor enough to qualify! Actually, there are some good handymen around, it’s just knowing who to approach. I’ve got a lovely (young) tree surgeon coming on Tuesday, to appraise my Scots Pine trees, that I’m concerned about. I know what you mean about the peephole, the council had them fitted in local authority owned houses, far too high for anyone, let alone the elderly people who lived there. And new electricity meters were put high up on the wall, in the corner above kitchen worktops, instead of in the cupboard under the stairs where they used to be, so resetting the hair-trigger trip-switch wasn’t possible for the residents.

  3. Blue Witch

    You have put your finger on the problem with new builds perfectly. IThey should all have solar panels, solar tubes, heat pumps, waste water purification for reuse for toilet flushing etc. They are still being allowed to build new houses with oil boilers!

    And yes, exactly, about requirements for heat pumps. How any listed or old houses in rural areas will ever be able to get away from oil/LPG I have no idea. Underfloor heating isn’t as efficient as they claim either.

    Someone we know has just built an ‘eco house’ (3 bed, not huge). £50Ks worth of solar panels, heat pump etc etc, even with zero VAT as it’s new build. Bill for the last month for electric drawn from the grid: £720. Solar panels in the south produce very little in winter. Solar panels in the north produce even less. As she has found to her cost. Government targets are all very well, but they are totally unattainable.

    1. Z Post author

      Tim and I went to look at a newly built, by the owners, house when we were first getting together and he was thinking of moving to Norfolk. It wasn’t suitable for either of us and a million pounds for a three bedroom house in mid-Norfolk was quite a lot then – rather a lot even now. They’d got all the latest eco-tech too and they said their heating bills were minimal – I can’t remember the details, but it was something like £30 a month average, though in those days you could sell surplus energy back to the grid at a good price. They’d got a wood burner but never used it as they often had to open windows as they were too hot. It shows the difference between south and north of the country, I guess. This will never be an eco house, I suspect I have to stay here for life as it’s unsellable.


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