plumbing, etc

Hey hey, spring is finally here. Now my house is actually warm or even hot during the days, and with a little heat it can be regular room temperature during the night. Much better than the 45 in most of my house and at most 60 in the bedroom from during the winter. That was mighty cold. Warmth makes it much easier to do things other than sit at the computer or in bed or any other dormant activity in my cozy electric blanket, so I may actually get the stuff I’ve been wanting to done.

My water heater went stopped working properly perhaps two months ago, and then generally stopped working altogether maybe a month ago. I tried working on it during that time, buying some parts and what not, but determined it was probably time to get a new one: there was a very large amount of sediment in the bottom that made it impossible to get the heating element out I was trying to replace. Me, my brother, and cousin Paul dropped it from its access panel and rolled it around my house, leaving a rusty mess along the way, to where it now sits. Luckily for me, April is summit county appliance recycle month, so I should be able to easily recycle it. It’s been sitting for two weeks though, so hopefully I’ll take action soon. I’ve also had no plumbed water for longer than that. I’ve been using a hose run into the bathroom to fill up buckets of water. It’s actually worked out okay, and has taught me many good ways to work without running water. But I’d still prefer running water, and am slowly working towards replumbing the pipes I’m replacing. Some of the old pipes (the iron ones) were quite corroded, and I’m replacing them with copper. Eventually I’ll replace the pipes under the flooring, but for now just the easily accessible ones. I’ve soldered and cut a few peices already, and hope to finish tomorrow. Then I can finally have my running water back.

Unfortunately, I’ll still be without hot water. I’ve been taking showers at my parents. Once I boiled water on the stove for washing dishes, which worked nicely, though took a while. I’m looking at water heaters. The tankless are what I really want, as they are more efficient, take up less space, last longer, and won’t run out of hot water. They’re also much more expensive and harder to find though, with fewer models available. The tankless models are at least $500, while I could get tanked electric ones for less than $200. I was going to use electric, as it would be much easier to install (no need to plumb gas line or cut a hole for venting) but my electrical system doesn’t appear to be up to it; these tankless ones require a lot of power. That’s too bad, as propane tankless probably won’t be much cheaper to run than electric, and the electric one I was looking at was much more efficient than the gas ones that I could afford. 82% is a bit dissappointing, though still impressive compared to the 60% of many gas tank heaters. Now that I know I need a gas one, I’ve done plenty of research and should be ready to purchase soon. Luckily, the gas ones can be found at Home Depot, though they must need to special order them; they’re not on display.

I’ve got many things still to do to this place just to get it up to par, even before I include the many things I plan to eventually do to make it closer to my dream super-efficient home. This summer, I definately must work on the insulation and air infiltration problem. I’ll do what I can, though I don’t currently have a lot of money to afford something like tearing out the old insulation and putting in new. I’ll concentrate on infiltration, though leaks are everywhere, along every junction of every wall and every window and door, and many other places too. It’ll be quite hard, but I’m hoping next winter I can heat my house to normal people temperatures, or at least heat it to the colder temperatures at closer to the cost of a regular similarly sized dwelling: it shure sucks paying maybe $150 or so dollars a month to keep the thermostat at 45° for half the winter and 60° for the other half.

I also still need a stove. I’ve been using a hot plate and camping stove, but neither are quite good enough: the pan slips off the camping stove very easily, and the hot plate seems only be on or off (very hot or very cold) despite the full range dial. My parents will buy me one as a Christmas present (now 4 months past), but I’ve been having lots of trouble deciding which to get. I definately want a 24″ or 20″, as I have very limited counter space, and find anything bigger to be excessive anyway. These stove sizes are unavailable from any place I’ve tried with a store front, so I’ll probably have to order it online. Unfortunately the best one I’ve seen for the money is a range. I really would prefer just a cooktop, as it would fit much better (allowing the storage space that would be quite missed beneath it), it would require much less work to install (no cutting out a big section of the counter), and I already have a convection microwave that functions as a convection oven. That microwave certainly isn’t nearly as nice as a real oven, which is one of the few reasons I’m still considering the range. I’ll decide soon though, as it really would be nice to have a good stove.

This has been a very long post, since the last one was so long ago, so I’ll stop now