Warm water, with gas, despite everything.


A few projects drew nearly to an end this past week. Most notably, the installation and activation of the new gas-fired high efficiency boiler finally brought to a close our year long experiences with oil-burning heat and hot water.

As frequent readers of this blog will recall, our experiences with oil-fired steam heat have not been rosy. After a while of this, plus the expenses of oil (even on a monthly budget), we started thinking hard about other options. When we talked to the contractor who put in our Unico system, he suggested we consider a high efficiency gas boiler in its place. We considered, we thought, and we bought. And the installation, occurring this week when gas (and oil) prices jumped almost beyond recognition, seems to have come in a timely fashion. We’ll see how the bills work out, but right now it seems like a good move.

One funny note from the installation. We had the boiler on line by 3 pm on Friday. Lisa and her family came back from the beach at 4:30, and took a few showers. We ate, and later Lisa’s father reported that the water from the kitchen sink seemed cool. In fact, it was cold. My initial investigations suggested that all was well, just not working. The contractor said he would send someone out in the morning.

The next morning, Lisa took a shower and reported delightedly that there was hot water. Shortly thereafter, the contractor knocked and asked, before, I could even say anything, “You have hot water now, don’t you?” It turns out that, as he explained to me, there were two settings that were failing us. One, a power-saving setting, was set at the factory to turn off domestic hot water production between 10 PM and 6 AM. The other? The clock, which was still apparently set on German time. By my calculations, hot water had stopped at about 4 pm, and the 50 gallon tank had run out by about 9 pm—five hours later. Not too bad, all things considered, and even better now that the clock is set to the proper time.