Home > home ownership > Adventures of Home Ownership, Part 2

Adventures of Home Ownership, Part 2

Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 20:17 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

(For part 1, see “One Week, Three Different Kinds of Weather.”)

Buying an older home always involves some risk. The pipe joint that’s been fine for 25 years springs a leak, the bath tub periodically needs re-caulkling, the old concrete front steps go through one too many harsh winters and develop a crack that eventually needs repair. I grew up in a very old house (the original part is about 250 years old, the most recent addition is 29) so buying a 70 year old house didn’t faze me. Many problems, though, can be prevented with a little care and attention.

Those with hot water or steam heating systems, for example, can avoid waking up to a cold house by periodically checking the water level on the boiler. I didn’t, and as a result it was 55°F when I awoke this morning. Brrrrrrr!

In fairness to myself, I was aware (thanks to the advice of the home inspector) that I should drain some water from the boiler at least every month to remove sediment, and then add water to bring it back up to the necessary level. I wasn’t aware that the boiler has a low-water cutoff feature. Having not yet gotten around to doing the draining, I didn’t realize that the water level was low. At some time since last evening, the boiler shut off.

The good news is that the unfortunate incident prompted me to get an account set up with an oil company, schedule a delivery (I’m under a quarter tank), and buy an appropriate service contract. Then, after the service technician showed me the error of my ways in not checking the water level, he also identified a problem in one of my heating zones and replaced a part, thereby killing two birds with one stone. And just like that, I have heat and hot water again.

What other exciting adventures await your humble correspondent and new homeowner? Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Here’s a picture of the water level indicator. With the boiler not running, the water level should be up to the black ring near the top of the tube. If you have a hot water boiler, do yourself a favor and go check it now. To learn more about your boiler, check out this site. And don’t say I never do anything for you.

Boiler water level indicator

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