silver-plated lobster claw
Tuesday, January 17 2006
In the course of two different errands today I bought big wrenches to help me with my massive union fittings. The first was a massive pipe wrench, which only cost $13 at Home Depot. But because of space restrictions, I couldn't get it to tighten a nut on one of the still-leaking unions. So on my way through Rosendale later I bought a crazy wrench designed to tighten slip and lock nuts. It looked like a silver-plated lobster claw and cost only about $10. (Unfortunately, it turned out that it didn't have the strength to rotate anything as massive as 1.75 inch nut.)
After a housecall near New Paltz I returned to Rosendale and met Gretchen at the Rosendale Café. The plan was for us to meet a number of people after dinner at the Rosendale Theatre to see Pride and Prejudice as part of some benefit. But it seems that the theatre staff are unusually sensitive to inclement weather, because they'd preemptively closed the theatre. A little sleet had fallen, but nothing was sticking to the roads and conditions were far from dangerous. It was the sort of overreaction you'd expect from a theatre in Atlanta, not one on the edge of the Catskills.
Back at the house I was able to stop all the remaining leaks in the union fittings, meaning the only thing left to do before testing the system with circulating fluid was to connect up the water feed supply. I'd had the stub of such a supply ready to go since early in the solar project because I'd been concerned the boiler's feed valve was failing. By using two check valves, I was able to use one feed valve to supply separate feed water to both the boiler and to the slab loop. All I needed to do was to run the ten feet of half inch copper line connecting the two check valves near the heat exchanger to the feed valve back near the heart of the solar plumbing. That was how I spent my evening. Once I got started I had to keep going because it's potentially disastrous to run a boiler without a working feed supply. Owing to a general absence of cut-off valves, I had to turn off and depressurize the household fresh water system for about twenty minutes early in the process.
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