It started out to be a pretty good day, and if the truth be told ended on a high note. But there was a stretch in the middle that bit, big time.
The morning found me doing little things around the house, building a stand for a glycol pump for instance, and then I headed home for a phone meeting which turned out surprisingly well, and relieved some of the pressures we've been feeling lately. The afternoon found me back at the House helping in the preparations for getting heat in it.
We were filling the boiler and the system with glycol, and I suppose some explanation of the set up is in order. The glycol is mixed with water and then added to the system. Basically I would get a bucket of glycol from the drum outside and add it to the large plastic garbage can that we were using as a reservoir for the pump to add the glycol to the system, then added the proper amount of water to the glycol. A hose ran from the garbage can to the pump, and then from the pump to the boiler main.
My main job while filling the system was simple. While Dale, the plumber, bled the system I ran the pump. With one hand on a valve, and the other on the plug for the pump, I kept an eye on a pressure gauge. The goal was to keep the pressure just a little under 30 psi, go over and a pressure relief valve will blow, spewing glycol, go 10 pounds or so under and there isn't enough pressure to get the fluid up to the attic and down to where it needs to go (the mile of pipes under the floor). You partially control the pressure with the valve, but if it starts to climb near 30 psi you shut the valve. When you shut the valve you have to unplug (or switch off) the pump, or you risk blowing out the hose from it's fitting. Just shut off the pump and not close the valve and the glycol mixture runs back into the reservoir.
Things went pretty well, once we figured out that we were looking at the wrong numbers on the gauge, and after coffee when it came time to fill the reservoir again Dale took the opportunity to go home to make some phone calls. I filled the garbage can to a few inches from the top with a couple of buckets of glycol and the water to go with them, in all about, I don't know, 30 gallons. As Dale wasn't back at this point, I took the opportunity to go home and deal with a couple of small matters.
I finished up and walked back to the house. When I got there I thought it was strange that Gary and the rest of the crew were not outside where they had been working earlier. As I walked up the back steps I noticed that there was glycol on the door sill, I hadn't remembered spilling any and made a mental note to be more careful with the next bucket. And then I opened the door. Sometime during my absence the garbage can had collapsed and fallen over, spilling its entire contents of glycol and water over the floor to the sealift room, water tank and mechanical room, soaking all the boxes of plumbing supplies stored on the floor. Everyone was madly cleaning it up, soaking it up, scooping it into buckets and containers. Now I have to find out how to dispose of it. Luckily, we still have enough glycol to finish the job. What a mess!
But like I said the day finished on a high note. Once the clean up was done, we again set up the pump system, this time with the reservoir secured to a wall, and in quick order finished filling the heating loops (there remains the heat coils for the air exchangers, make up air and the hot water tank). And at long long last, we have heat. No more temporary measures, by tomorrow there will be a warm floor and warmer air in the house, and tonight there is smoke coming out of the chimney.