Heating Installation, Phase 1 (Mar 1 – 12, 2010)

Pete was only gone for a week from his February visit before he was back again for another ten day stint.  And also along was his bother Barry or ‘Baz’ or ‘Purple’ as he’s known to be called.  Purple was going to be his right-hand man in this next stage of renovation work:  the taking down of the quite possibly 100 year old double brick chimney and the removal of the fireplace, both of which would entail removing beautiful built-in furniture and a gorgeous fire surround, and the ripping off of relatively new gib board (sheet rock) walls and then installing a temporary fireplace and putting up a new wall.   And all in ten days time or less!

This house is extremely cold in winter (partially due to the lack of wall insulation which we plan to remedy) and the existing fireplace, in it’s brick encasing, does not put out enough heat to warm the house.     During our year-long meetings with our architect, we’d researched various heating systems and decided that we were going to install a cooker-heater wood burning stove, called The Gourmet Cooker,  which would be powerful enough to heat the house through a boiler/radiator system and heat our hot water for domestic household use.   This is accomplished through the use of two or three hot water cylinders which will be stored in the attic space directly above the stove.  When in use, the stove, which is encased with a hot water jacket, will heat water and distribute it to radiators in all the bedrooms, living room, and bathroom.    It will also heat up the hot water cylinder for our showers, laundry, and dishwashing needs.   When not in use (in summertime), we plan to heat our domestic hot water via solar panels or by normal good ol’ electricity.    And another virtue of this stove is that we can cook in/on it! (it’ll look like this when we finally get it:)


So, given that we can only work on this renovation part-time, we need to do the heating installation project in phases.  And as I see it, it’ll go something like this:

Phase 1:  Demolition of existing infrastructure and installation of temporary stove  {March}  COMPLETED!
Phase 2:  Opening up of kitchen/living room wall and installation of structural wall beam and installation of reinforcing beams in attic space  {April}
Phase 3:   Installation of hot water cylinders and some of the radiators  {May}
Phase 4:   Installation of remaining radiators and piping {June}
Phase 5:   Installation of Gourmet Cooker {July}

Time will tell whether my project management guestimate skills are on target or not.

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But back to Phase 1.    The first task to accomplish was to remove the old fireplace (easy peasy) and take down the chimney (relatively easy peasy).  The brick chimney, Pete noted, was held together by clay and not cement which meant that it could be easily taken apart by light chiseling.  Purple, a chinese astrological monkey, climbed onto the roof and onto the chimney.   As the photo above shows, this was not for the faint of heart yet Purple climbed around like he was only inches off the ground.

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While Purple was on top, chiseling away, and dropping bricks down the chimney, Bruce & woofer Brian were down below in the living room, with a wooden board over the fireplace, waiting for a batch of bricks to drop.  Then, voila, wooden board removed, and bricks available for wheelbarrowing out the kitchen onto the lawn.  This little dance of drop and haul took a full eight hour day to complete.   What was left was a rather large enclosure, large enough we joked, to potentially be a wee little bedroom!  And a whole pile o’ bricks, hopefully to be used as paving in one of the future projects.

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The next day, it was time to remove the built-in furniture and finish demolishing the wall which had encased the double chimney.  This meant taking out part of the wall in the living room and one of the bedrooms.   Pete and Purple went at it all day, sawing huge chunks of the wall apart.   In the end, we had a very nice wall opening from one room to the other!

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Over the next few days, the wall got reframed and insulated.  They put in additional electrical plugs and internet sockets.  And eventually they re-gibbed the wall.

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Lastly, the new flue was installed (probably a good 30 feet of it) and the temporary stove was put in and tested that night.  Hmmmm, warm and toasty!    And a wonderful feeling of accomplishment for Phase 1.   Till next month……  {before and after photos:}

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