The brownstone building needed a new steam boiler to replace the scary, leaky old one. After calculating the connected load of pipes and radiators, we selected a commercial type boiler with large sections that could accommodate a large pipe diameter header. We disconnected the old number and waved as it went out the door, to be recycled. Our multi-talented and -muscled demo team brought the heavy new boiler sections into the building and set them out of the way for us at the same time.
We installed the gas cooktop and the nice deep sink and we moved pipes in the wall behind it so there could be windows and a good view of the garden to compensate the person stuck doing the dishes.
The old farmhouse had gone through a lot of heating and domestic hot water changes in its three and a half centuries of life: first there was the big central chimney with fireplaces in each room where a pot of water would be heated for bathing, then a coal fired boiler and companion coal fired water heater followed by an oil fired boiler with a coil in it. The coil was there to take the heat from the boiler’s water through its walls to make the house’s hot water, a system with limits, the worst of which was the boiler’s water had to be kept at a temperature high enough to supply hot water whenever a tap was opened. This meant the oil burner fired every 20 minutes, winter and summer, keeping the boiler hot, running down the oil tank and running up the bills.
There are a lot of reasons it’s not easy to be a plumber. We don’t have to go into them now- we are used to being us at this point. There are a lot of good things about our job too. It’s just that a lot- no most- of our good work gets buried, and the only reason you know it’s right is that you don’t ever think about it. It doesn’t leak, smell or make noise. It does what it’s supposed to do, when it’s supposed to do it.
When we do get a chance to leave our work exposed, it’s a cause for celebration and some pride. One of the places our work shows is in the outlets for high efficiency boilers that penetrate the outside of our customer’s houses. There are some pretty hideous examples of how not to do it, but we thought we’d share some that show how well it can be done.