DIY Project Updates

I have waited a while to post about these two latest DIY projects and I am quite happy with the results.  They worked, and I want to report now on my results.

Erosion Repair Success

It’s been a while since I last posted about my erosion repair.  We have had several more heavy rains in the 6 weeks since I last wrote about this, and nothing has gone wrong.  The bricks have held up.  The large rocks have held up.  I think the addition of about a gagillion leaves, technical term there, played a part.  

The upper area is literally covered in several inches of a thick mat of wet maple and oak leaves that is surprisingly tolerate to heavy rain.  The large heavy rocks that I put in underneath are also holding up well.  Now to be fair, the rain could have been softer than those 3 intense storms back in September and October, but I don’t think so.  

The lower area with the landscape bricks is the heavier duty part.  Those suckers did not move.  The hillside that they are holding up has not eroded more.  There are no extra leaves there helping them out, and soil is starting to accumulate a tiny bit between the bricks.  Due to the slope, when I blow leaves off my grass, they tend to fly past the bricks.

So overall, I think this is a success, and a great DIY learning experience.  We have already had some snow, quite early this year, and Thanksgiving was shockingly cold.  The ground froze hard, and then thawed with the rain over the weekend.  Nothing moved, and the rain following the hard freeze did not trigger any issues. No doubt there will be more rain, and we’ll see what happens.

If you want to read my previous posts on this, Erosion Repair, Erosion Repair Fail 1, and Erosion Repair Fail 2.

Thermostat Success

Back in early September,  I put in a reasonably priced thermostat to replace an old mercury one that had stopped working.  Just in case you are curious, I did take the mercury one to the annual town hazmat collection where my town takes such materials for proper safe disposal. Well, I am happy to say that the thing is working quite well. 

The programmed timing of the unit is great, and it does work as intended. I do periodically update the temperature as and when I need to using the temporary override functionality. We sometimes get home early, or like on Thanksgiving, we were home when we are not normally.   I like it, and it works quite well.  I still use my heat pumps when the ambient temperature is at about 40F, and the balance is working out quite well for me. I say balance as if the heat pump is heating the room then, the new thermostat is happy not to run regardless of the setting.  

I will be replacing the other two mercury thermostats with the inexpensive one I put in come next spring.  There is no sense in risking breaking them this winter.

DIY Bonus Story: A Furnace Success

After I had my oil furnace’s annual maintenance checkup, the system was loud and somewhat cranky.  It didn’t seem right that after the service it would get very loud.  I am talking crazy banging and the like.  My gut told me something was not right.  My wife was traveling for business, and it was just me and the kiddo.  I did not have time to follow up on my hunch.

Fast forward a few days, and my mother stopped by to help out for a few days of my wife’s long business trip.  It’s great having mom here for many reasons, and how well she gets along with my son is not the least of them.

Mom’s help, though, also bought me a few minutes to investigate the system.  My hunch was that there was not enough water in the system.  The gurgling sounds and banging sounds from the uneven heating of the pipes screamed to me that there was too much air or not enough water in the system.  I did my normal staring at the system, and some Googling on the subject. I came up with the idea that I simply needed to add more water. I felt this as I noticed that the gauge was at about 0 – 1 pound of pressure, instead of the normal 25 or so.  My hunch was that the step down water pressure valve was not adding enough water back into the system. All I had to do was to trip the valve and I would add water back to the system.  So I tried it, and it worked.  It was loud, and I will admit I was a bit nervous, but in all fairness the whole thing is rather simple. I am not sure why I think otherwise.  

With the heat pumps available for heating, even if the 30F air temperatures that day would have made them less efficient, we still could heat the home.  That made me more comfortable messing with the system.  The more I do mess with it, the more comfortable I am messing with it, within reason.  

It’s been a few weeks, and the pressure returned, in seconds, to 25lbs.  Actually, it went up to 35 for a while, and I was quite concerned.  When it didn’t go down for more than an hour, I did call my furnace people to ask if I needed them to come out.  I have a service contract for my oil unit for any issues that may happen during the year.  They said no need to worry, but to monitor it.  By morning, the pressure was back down to the normal 25. 

The technician who did the work did not notice the problem, and did not re-pressurize the system properly when he did the annual cleaning.  Whether or not you are as “brave” as I am in messing with the system, trusting your gut is a good idea.  I should not have waited a few days to fix an obvious problem.  The smart move would have been to address the issue right away, and call them back.  

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