Heating Installation, Phase 3 (June 7 – July 2, 2010)


Ah, nothing like a deluge of rain and a slide into winter to put us waaaaayyyyy behind schedule.

I have failed miserably as a project manager <grin> as my original ‘guestimates’ for the heating installation project timeline has now slipped by a month or two:

  • 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}  COMPLETED!
  • Phase 3:   Installation of hot water cylinders and some of the radiators  {May}  {June/July}  PARTIALLY COMPLETED just a wee bit!
  • Phase 4:   Installation of remaining radiators and piping {June} {July/August}
  • Phase 5:   Installation of Gourmet Cooker {July}  {August}

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We ended Phase 2 on May 7th and Pete, Ollie, and Kat were due to come back May 23rd for their next two-week stint.  But a huge storm front came through and dumped rain on the south island for a good solid week.   Roads were washed out and the days were just miserable.   The main highway from Oamaru (where Pete lives) to Christchurch was closed for a few days due to flooding and Pete was stuck on his property, not able to pull the trailer out of the mud and muck.    So, slippery, slide, work was postponed for a few weeks.

The crew finally made it up on June 7th and in between a long weekend trip back to Oamaru, a few days off to Christchurch, and some more inclement weather, the team managed to get about 15 days of work done in this three-plus week period.

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Pete brought all the components of the hot water boiler system on the trailer and laid it all out in the garage driveway so he and Kat could finish up attaching the fittings and piping and Pete could get his head around the mechanics of the system.

The boiler system consists of five hot water cylinders:  one very large copper tank (about 300 litres), which I’ve aptly named Steampunk Sys (just look at the photo!) and four 200-litre plastic drums which Pete has fitted out with heat exchangers, gauges, and pipes which will run our radiators.  It all kind of looks like a pile of random bits and bobs, but I know that it will all be amazing once it’s up and running.       The whole system will sit on a big aluminium ‘drip’ tray which Pete fashioned together.   It’s going to be cool (er, I mean hot!).

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So, work commenced slowly on the system.  In addition to putting together the cylinders, there was work to be done in the attic to bolt the beams into place.

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Finally, we were ready to move the components into the attic and the only way in was through the roof.  So off came a part of the roofing iron, a planking system was thrown together, and with a bit of help from our Canadian woofers Erin and Mike, the crew carried, rolled, and heaved the cylinders and the drip try into the attic where they now sit strewn about until the next round of work.

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Meanwhile, the rest of us do not sit idle!   Pete and I each did a trip into town to collect the other components of our heating system:  the radiators and The Gourmet stove.   The five radiators made it out in the van and the stove, weighing a mighty 450 pounds, got fork-lifted onto the trailer and hauled out by the 4×4.    Pete backed the trailer as close to the house as he could, and then six of us, slowly lifted and stepped, and lifted and stepped that puppy into the house.

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My oh my, what a beauty.

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As you can see from the photo, it’s twice the size of the current logburner we are using.   The Gourmet has a baking oven on the bottom and a stove top for cooking and we’re really looking forward to when we’re preparing full meals and heating the entire house from this classic stove!

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And while Pete and Kat focused on the heating system, the rest of us did other things.   Ollie continued work on the outbuilding bedrooms and we enjoyed the company of three woofers for a week.  Cathy, a traditional Shamanic sound healer from Wales, spent a week with us, giving each of us two rounds of 1 ½ hr individual healings.  This coincided over the weekend of the full moon eclipse which was very powerful.  We all bundled up and went to the meditation centre in Akaroa for a full-moon meditation and then celebrated the 11:38 p.m. eclipse by belting out our best howls from the front porch.

Erin and Mike, our Canadian woofers, spent ten days with us.  In between downpours, we managed to transplant 40+ strawberry trees into the upper paddock, collect many buckets of cow manure, weed out parts of the lower paddock, prune the hedges around the porch perimeter, and dig in a leaf mold bin, along with making curtains for their van and whipping up many, many delicious meals.   We all also were treated to using Pete’s new foot spa!

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We also had the privilege of celebrating Canada Day, on July 1st and were treated to a traditional meal of poutine – a deep fried french fry dish covered with cheese curds and gravy.  Hmmm, the perfect winters’ day staple, though we did try to make it somewhat healthy.  We also gorged ourselves on pancakes and Canadian maple syrup and learned to badly sing the Canadian national anthem.


We love the team!