I’m not exactly sure what I last wrote about the saga of my non-operational heating system, and I’m a little …. cautious…. about reading up on it because I don’t need reminding about exactly how painful its all been. So let me summarize: I discovered that the Divicon circulation pump hadn’t been working since the beginning, and the glycol had just been sitting in the solar panels, festering – or as they say in solar-panel-world; stagnating, rather than circulating into the 80 gallon hot water tank like it was supposed to do to heat my floor and also to pre-heat the domestic hot water tank. Got it? The panels were making plenty of heat, but it wasn’t getting circulated into the system which means that not only didn’t they add to the heating of my home, but he panels were getting corroded. One of the panels subsequently started to leak.
I figured this out, and contacted both Ginnaty Plumbing and Radiant Engineering, but neither of them responded to my phone calls or emails. Then I contacted the ‘area representatives’ who represent the companies who make the components which weren’t working. The tekmar representative sat on the phone with me for fifteen minutes while I probed this and that with a volt meter and determined that the tekmar controller was bad. He sent me a new one. As I replaced it, I realized that what had happened was that Bruce (no longer “the Cap’n”) had inadvertently separated the connector for relay 1 from the circuit board when he installed it. Probably because the wires for the main relay were huge – like 12 gauge – and the unit itself was all plastic-y and flimsy – no match for 12 gauge wires. It would be easy to separate those two while installing the wires and never know it.
So all winter long the tekmar was telling the circulation pump to turn on, but the message never got to the pump, and the glycol in the solar panel suffered from stagnation. I, with the help of my perspicacious and talented friend Bob took the failed panel out, replaced the tekmar computer and re-charged the system with fresh glycol pressurized to 2 bar and thoroughly circulated the glycol by hot-wiring the pump, and the next sunny day, the circulation pump came on exactly when it was supposed to. Its almost like it should have been four months ago, only more expensive and frustrating. And only half as effective, given that there’s only one panel.
The defective panel is going back to Radiant Engineering in the back of the pick up of a student of – how fitting! – engineering at Montana State University. I’m prepared for– in an ulcer-inducing sort of way – the eventuality that my good friend Dale who sits on the board of directors of My Fan Club along with Jack and Rat and all the rest, will claim that the panel was somehow damaged in transit. But what was I supposed to do? Send it by Registered Mail with a return receipt requested? That would cost as much as the solar panel itself.
I just don’t know what to say. I’m exceptionally grateful to my friend Bob, without whom I’d not only not have heat, but not have heat. He fixed my problems by not only supplying a wood stove, but by plumbing in – or out, actually – the malfunctioning solar panel. He also just said no to the obvious, testosterone-driven fix of fire-bombing Radiant Enjgineering and Ginnaty Plumbing, as they deserved. Bob’s a good guy. I’m not that good, as I’ve been told. Bad, bad, bad. Too bad I’m not bad enough to do whatever it is that bad people do. I just sit here and suffer.