Oh, finally, finally we have real heat! Up to this point we’ve been relying on a collection of electric heaters meant to supplement rather than stand in and even running four of them and consuming 6,000 watts of electricity in the process, it’s been cold. The insulation helped quite a bit, but ultimately we just needed the radiators working.

Mechanical Panel

Mechanical Panel

Lester finished up the other jobs he’d been working on and started working more seriously on our project. Over the course of a couple weeks he got the mechanical panel built out and the boiler hooked up. We figured out where we were temporarily putting the radiators on the second floor (until we remodel the floor and install in-floor radiant) and Mike helped me mount plywood panels to the wall so we could mount them. We also got the old steam radiators out onto the back porch.

Plywood panels

Plywood panels

I had originally wanted to run the PEX tubing that supplies the radiators through the attic, so Lester was going to put a manifold on the second floor. I decided the manifold could go behind the dishwasher since it’s on the wet wall and that spot will be in the master bath once we remodel. Unfortunately, when I pulled out the dishwasher and cut open the wall I found that spot occupied by five different supply and drain pipes.

All of the pipes

All of the pipes

Instead Lester put the manifold on the first floor and ran the PEX through the first floor. That may complicate things later, such as the plumbing that needs to go right where the manifold is and the ceiling where the tubing is running, but I guess we’ll figure that out when we get there. Top priority was getting heat.

Radiator being warm

Radiator being warm

With the radiators mounted and everything connected, Lester fired up the system and soon it started to get warm. We’ll still use one or two electric heaters if it gets too cold outside since the radiators are sized for our future insulation rather than the current lack thereof, but the difference in warmth and comfort is profound.

We had one hiccup though. After we got back from a long weekend with my family we discovered that the pipes had frozen. I had put an electric heater on the first floor but the circuit tripped so it wasn’t running. Fortunately there was no damage and we got everything thawed back out. This weekend I’m planning to get some pipe heating cable since its much cheaper to run than a 1,500 watt oil-filled electric heater.

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