Saturday night we noticed that our heat didn't seem to be running at full steam. What great news to get during the winter in New England. By Sunday morning, it was dead. And a call to local service companies told us we'd need to pay the "emergency rate" of labor starting at $600.....um, no thank you. I can think of a lot of other things to spend $600 on....ya...
Have I told you how awesome my husband is? Seriously, the guy is amazing. The idea of fixing the issue ourselves hadn't really crossed my mind. I know nothing about plumbing or heating systems. Nothing. Apparently J does! And anything he didn't know, he researched and reviewed online. The beauty of the internet..
Anyways, before I knew it, he had assessed our situation, figured out what was wrong, and we were on our way to Home Depot to get what we needed - a new recirculating pump. Side note - who names a plumbing company Taco?
Honestly, I'm not going to tell you how to replace it because that would just be crazy. But here's what we had to do.
There are 3 condos in our building....3 water heaters, 3 gas boilers, lots and lots of pipes!
J's trying to give me a lesson on how the closed system boiler works....there are way too many pipes going in every which direction! I have no idea what each means, ask J.
And here's the jerk that decided to die on us and leave us to freeze.
We did a bit of googling to make sure we were doing the right thing. Some of the sites we used are here, here, here and here. These sites may be exceptionally basic for anyone who knows what they're doing, but basic is just what we needed!
We did end up needing to buy a hose in order to drain the system before taking the pump out. Though we have no use for a hose at our condo otherwise, I guess that's one less thing to buy down the road!
All in all, this was a pretty satisfying project. It felt really, really good to know that we were capable of fixing it ourselves. And when I say we....I really mean J. He couldn't have done it without me because it was necessary at times to have a second set of hands, but that's about it....I also did a fair amount of running up to our unit and back down to check the heat, grab water, let the dog out, etc. Living on the 3rd floor has its price I suppose, I feel like I did the stair master all day!
A few tips we came across/made sure to do/learned along the way -
- Turn the circuit breaker to your furnace off and turn the power switch on the furnace off....safety first!
- Check for a valve that's shaped like a bell - most likely that means you have a fast-fill furnace. We didn't read about that at first....and spent an hour trying to figure out how to re-fill the furnace when we don't even have a hose spigot on our property...we were prepared to use the water line from our washer. But it was connected to the main water line the whole time....
- The pump has an arrow on it. Our original pump had the arrow pointing down. We didn't even look at the new pump because we bought the same exact pump....or so we thought. Sunday night around 9 we realized the heat stopped working. J went to investigate and realized that they had changed the placement of the motor on the new pump. So even though it looked exactly the same and had the exact same part number, we had put it in upside down. And now the pipes were 130 degrees since they had been on.....off went the entire system for the night. We stuck it out for the night under our down comforter and got up extra early Monday morning to fix the pump before heading to work.
The fun part of being a homeowner I suppose! Now...if only J could learn how to vault ceilings on his own.....Kidding! Sorta...