Beastly Boiler


It’s a cold Monday in January, which means that the heat is out, and I’m huddled by the fire, waiting for Captain Idiot.

Actually, the date is insignificant. And the heating repair guy isn’t an idiot. I’m just sick of being a spectator in this tennis match: the heat goes out, (we schedule a repair, I babysit the house for its service call), then the boiler gets fixed. And then it dies a day later.

I blogged about this two months ago here, when we bought the new boiler. Immediately, we noticed a problem: a clanging cacophony that’s a nuisance during the day, and jarring and impossible to sleep through at night.

 Apparently, the clanging was a warning that failure was imminent. In the last 10 days, we’ve had to summon help last Friday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and last night.

The latest diagnosis: the auto-fill mechanism on the boiler is faulty and feeds water into the system, flooding the boiler and the pipes. (On one occasion, water spurted from the radiator vents. I discovered the puddles in the morning).

When the boiler is on its course toward overhydration, the clanging occurs as water and steam clash in the pipes.

Why wasn’t this a problem with our old boiler? Because that model had a manual fill — once a week we’d check the water level in a glass chamber, and top off as needed — and drain off the rusty/silty/sludgy liquid in a bucket.

This new heavy-duty, automated beast of a boiler is so powerful, it is forcing more silt and rust from the pipes. In other words, the boiler is not making a love connection with our old house.

Captain Idiot and crew are trying to amend the situation. The Captain just left after replacing the faulty part on the auto-fill. If that doesn’t work, the next step will be to disable the component entirely.

We hope that the boiler and house will find a way to peaceably coexist.

In the meantime, the 24-hour repair service is on speed dial and I’m thankful for our firewood supply, and for the dedicated service of our space heater brigade.


Most kids crowd around the TV; ours flock to the space heaters.