Daily Archives: February 3, 2012

What! No Heat? You’re Kidding Me!

Well, as much as I love the snow we just had and I don’t really mind cold weather, I was not happy to come home last night from work and find my heater not working.

We have the boiler system in our house. It looks like this

It has a large tank that holds around 2,000 liters of red diesel fuel in the garage.

When we moved in to the house last summer there just happened to be a fair amount of fuel left in the tank from the previous owners. Sheer joy and luck for us cuz that meant we wouldn’t have to worry about filling the tank while all this other construction stuff was going on around us.

Every day since we started using the boiler we would check the gauge on the tank and every day it would still show that we had fuel. Yaaay! We’ve been trying to keep the usage of fuel down this winter and we only use two of the six radiators in the house.

I have to say that I love this type of heating system. I’ve come across some writings lately where people are doing away with the boiler system and wanting to go for electric heaters, solar heating, or some other type of heating system because they feel that the “chaudière au fuel”, which is what we’ve been told it’s called, is too expensive in fuel costs.

Since we haven’t paid a dime yet for the fuel I don’t really have an argument for that one. I’ll get back to you next winter with my commentary on that subject.  I do however have an opinion on the heating. This system is the bomb. I swear that the two radiators we have going, heat our house up just fine and it’s always nice and toasty. That’s saying a lot too since our house is large, old and made of cold, stone walls.

Before buying this house we lived in a new apartment building which has those newfangled electric radiators. I swear I had those things going all day long on top speed and I still had to stand right in front of them to get warm!  On top of the fact that they dried out the air so bad that we kept getting the s**t shocked out of us constantly! I hated them.

The water/fuel system we have now makes the heat radiate throughout the room evenly and it gives a very nice, all encompassing, warmth. It’s wonderful! We even have radiators in the bathrooms! Love it 🙂

Dude did some research on the system we have and they are quite expensive to put in so I’m not sure I would recommend it if one was wondering about installing it new. I do have to tell you that the old owners spent bucks on our system. They most likely installed in sometime in the 1970’s (Dude’s best guess), but because they died in the early 1980’s and the house has been vacant, it wasn’t used much at all and is in really good shape except for a few odds and ends (aka the pump- which will be written about in a future post), but for the most part it’s been working like a charm. They totally went to town on this thing, copper piping, back up hot water for the house, and all, which is another reason why I would hate to do away with it. Also, I just love the old school radiator heating system. It’s totally retro and fits my old house!

Okay-back to my story on no heat. When Dude and I got home and found that the heater wasn’t working, of course the first thing we did was check the fuel gauge to see what was up. All good there. Then Dude started to get worried that something major had broken and was running around cussing, like he always does lately about this house, and was all up in arms about the fact that he didn’t want to fix this thing right now when it was freezing, that he wasn’t a heater expert, and that this was definitely the wrong time for it to go out.

Well, we put on our grubbies and got to work to figure out what the deal was. He took off the cover to the motor and checked it really good, he checked the lines and inspected the electrical and nothing was wrong. So the only thing we could do was open the hole where the gauge was and look down into the tank with a light to double check that everything was okay and there really was fuel still in there like it said there was.

Guess what?? No fuel was left. That gauge lied to us! It flat out told us we still had a decent amount of fuel left and it lied to us. Nice time to start not telling us the truth, in the middle of the coldest winter Provence has seen in years!

So Dude inspected the gauge and now we are going to have to fix it so it will tell us the truth from now on. In the meantime we have no radiator heat in our stone cold house.

Today we found a place not far from us who can deliver fuel to our house. They said that it couldn’t be today or tomorrow, though (big surprise). Tomorrow was out of the question because we are due for another snow storm tonight AND tomorrow all the way through the afternoon, so the lady said if that happens it’s completely interdit for large trucks to be on the road.

Well, what were we going to do about that? Nothing is what. So, we booked a delivery for Monday morning for 1,000 liters of fuel. Yes, that’s gonna cost me (at least I had a heads up on pricing from Piglet in France), but I will be nice, warm and happy for the duration of the upcoming cold days or weeks.

So now, we are all living in the kitchen with a tiny electric heater.

The rest of the house is too cold to be in. I guess it will be this way for the next two days. So to help us out we’re having homemade chicken stew for dinner. Not only will that help warm up our little kitchen/living area, but it will also warm our tummies, as well.

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