solar update


 I thought you’d like an update on the solar system, as I’m not blogging any more (I got tired of not getting any feedback. Blogging would work for me if I got money, adoration or hot Turkish Houseboys eager to please, but as it stands….).  You’ll be happy to hear that Radiant Engineering, the firm which designed the system, had $115k embezzled by the receptionist. That lovely lady who wrote me threatening emails claiming that her boss could do no wrong…. So that’s nice. God seems to be on my revenge team.

          I never got any satisfaction from either RE or the plumber, Bruce Gramaux at Ginnaty plumbing, and had finally written the whole thing off to being cheated, so I was heating my house by the wood stove. Lucky for me, the national forests around here are chock-full of standing dead trees just begging to be chopped down and thrown into the wood stove, since they have been infested with pine bark beetles, spruce bud worms and, – it wouldn’t surprise me – existential angst for good measure. I have oodles of firewood chopped and ready. Then I found a fellow over in near Missoula who was kind enough to slog through a whole bunch of emailing pictures and suggestions back and forth, while he tried to figure out what wasn’t working on the system.

          With Greg’s help, I replaced one valve, which was nice, but not helpful. Then I disconnected another and hotwired the boiler directly, and am now able to turn it on and make it put heat into the floor. It can only be on full blast or off, so every so often I turn it on for a few hours to keep the slab warm. One solar panel has been working its little heart out, after Mike – who seems to be a better sort of plumber than the others, but there’s time yet for him to disappoint –  took it apart and repaired it. RE and the Viessmann company insisted that that was impossible, but they were, as ever, wrong.

          In the meantime I worked with the area representative of Viessmann down in Colorado to get the other panel replaced. They said it was a good will gesture, but it didn’t work. I wouldn’t recommend Viessmann to Dick Cheney.  The negotiations for replacing the panel only took two years, but finally they came through. The hoops they made me jump through for their ‘largesse’ were such that I’m grateful for the years that I’ve practiced yoga.  Today, the second panel was finally installed, and despite my having lost some of the hardware, and Viessmann not having provided some of the adjuncts they had promised, Mike’s ingenuity pulled us through. We’ll see what THAT bill looks like soon enough, no doubt.

          Like most of the other people who know a plumbing framus from a heating gee-gaw, Mike is of the opinion that the design was hideously over-complicated from the beginning.  I did run the design by a engineering type or two before I agreed to the project, but no one had anything helpful to say then. Then was then. Do I sound bitter? Oh, good. Anyway, Mike took some pics and is going to draw up a proposal for re-jiggering the system, re-using most of the parts but eliminating a lot and replacing some to make something that will actually work. Snort. We’ll see. My financial obligations are already such that I’m learning all about beans. If only I could pay him in hand-thrown pottery sinks.

          So that’s the all the news that isn’t. Aside from that, life is pretty much bearable. Jiminy the cat left me a mouse head to discover with my bare feet. She’s so thoughtful. Allie the dog never thinks of that.

Shock and Awe

          It seems like I’m just not ever going to get heat in my house. Poor Bruce  has struggled and struggled to get the lousy boiler to boil. Three weeks ago he said he was going to be finished, and I’d have heat and water, and each week he gets stymied by yet another snafu. For a while there it was because the electrician hadn’t put in the correct breaker or fuse, then it turned out that he had wired it incorrectly since the boiler is German and Mitch isn’t. The Germans, it turns out, have their own way of color-coding wires. Next it was because Radiant Engineering – who designed my system and sold us the parts – failed to deliver the special water tank. After that Dan failed to step up and assemble the solar panels as he promised to do, and no one was available to install the countertop, so we’d have sinks to plumb to. Then holidays got in the way, and then he had his Continue reading