Week 84

Flicking through my Waitrose Magazine searching in vain for interesting Christmas recipes this week (and only coming up with increasing feelings of inadequacy looking at saucy Nigella in page after posed page of perfection), I saw this quote by Michael Roux. You gotta hand it to Trevor and Sid for getting onsite double quick when things go wrong. We must be on their quick-dial list which is great for service, but I think they should have listened to Michael.

After much inspecting and head-scratching, Sid realised that last week’s tepid-water situation was down to the lack of a non-return valve in the pipework feeding the tank. It looked like the cold was getting pumped round the pipes when required, but kept filling things until turned off. One of those things was the big hot water tank in the loft which kept getting topped with cold as we used the hot. Sid said he’d seen it before on a dog-washing station (really?!) where a blending valve had been added. The more hot water we used, the more it got cooled down by the cold water. Not great. So one valve installed later, and now we’ve got bags of hot from every tap and shower. Hooray!

He doesn’t usually carry a non-return valve around with him, so he cribbed one off the setup in the girls’ bathroom that he was due to check anyway. We’d bought one of those fancy ExoFill taps where the waste doubles as a fill, so it eliminates the need for a separate spout. Very whizzy and not that expensive. Our problem was that it never filled with any speed. It was always just a dribble. It was odd, because the pipes were 25 mm diameter, the same as the sink which flowed like fury. Sid thought the slowth might be the thermostatic valve plumbed in upstream, so he gradually took it apart over the course of the morning. The valve was ok, and the cartridge worked, but what he found was that there was a massive wodge of silicone gunk in the pipework blocking the flow. Wodge removed, and now the ExoFill is a torrent. Fabulous.

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torrential bath

Dave came to site midweek to check that the mould growing in the loft required the loft boards to be changed. You may recall from previous posts about June’s flood that the contractor was working from a Scope Document that set out what work was required to fix the house. This document became the kind of bible for the remedial works, and is the one the insurers approved. One of the items on it was to replace stained loft floorboards. That’s a large job and one that Tim’s been avoiding even though it’s in black and white on the snagging list and the scope document. I’m not quite sure why this one has been left and left and left. It’s even more curious because another item in the document is to cover the ceiling lights that poke up through the floor of the loft with little hoods to protect them from frying the insulation that they get covered with. At the moment, the solution was to leave the lights  completely bare of insulation in the whole area which leaves great big cold spots–not great from a thermal efficiency point of view.

The question is: why would Tim hesitate to have the insurance company pay to replace the loft boards when he’s got to go up there anyway and take them up to add the hoods and insulation? A bit of mould would work in his favour here. I just don’t get it, and I don’t like to think he’s being contrary for the sake of it. The Loss Adjuster wants proof that the work hasn’t been carried out if he’s to chase Tim, and Tim needed proof that there is mould to carry out the work. So Dave’s visit was all about recording these things, taking some snaps, and writing a report (and corresponding invoice) to say the bleeding obvious and get the whole thing in motion. A big thanks to Dave; he’s always welcome and always good for a very measured and balanced view on how to manage the situation. And another week goes by…..

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mouldy loft and lights ready for their hoods

Ricky the New Sparky was in on Friday to sort out some of the light sockets too. We’ve got dippy things occurring like inconsistent multi-gang switches (the main lights are always the switch nearest a doorway) a fancy skirting light missing its innards, and fiddling with the outdoor lights sunk into the ground to stop the circuits tripping every time it rains. That was an easy one–the seals had been installed upside down. There are six of these, and now they’re bomb-proofed, sunk in the right way round and all siliconed up.

Hopefully we’re getting to the very end of Bits And Pieces.

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happy ground light
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not happy skirting light

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