still snowy on the last day of March
Tuesday, March 31 2015
Gretchen had to attend a bullshit training session early this morning down in Newburgh, so it fell to me to walk the dogs. For the first time in months, I took them some distance off-trail. We walked into the forest west of the Farm Road and continued nearly to Dug Hill Road at our neighbor Tommy's house. He's the guy who likes to mountain bike and snowshoe in the nearby forests and is the person I usually come across when I come across a person in those forests at all. Surprisingly for so late in the season, there was still enough snow on the ground in some places to make walking across it unpleasant, so I mostly kept to Tommy's snowshoe and ski trails, of which there were several leading from his house.
This evening as I was getting reading to take my twice-weekly bath, I decided to recharge antifreeze into the household hydronic system. Periodically the boiler disgorges some into a bucket, so perhaps that was the reason the pressure in the automatic recharger had fallen to zero. After circulating some through the loop going up to the panels on the roof in order to dislodge any air bubbles, I thought I should go up there and check for leaks. Earlier in the season I'd seen a disconcerting wet spot on the east roof, and the characteristics of that spot (particularly its resistance to drying up) had suggested it might be antifreeze, though when I'd gone up there to check I'd seen no leaks. Tonight, though, even before I got up to the roof, I could hear the sound of water spraying from a leak. Fuck! It seems that a gash had torn at the fitting at the end of a black rubber hose. This is something that has happened several times before and seems to be a consequence of both too much weight hanging from the fitting and degradation of the rubber from exposure to the sun. I didn't have any good way to fix the problem so that it wouldn't happen again, so I just cut an inch off the end of the hose and reinstalled the fitting. Unfortunately, it seemed a lot of antifreeze had bled from the system both today and in that prior incident. Later as I lay in the bathtub, I thought of some way to prevent such minor disasters in the future. I have a couple flowmeters from Sparkfun, and perhaps I could use one to monitor the rate of antifreeze being added to the system and sound an alarm when that rate increases dramatically.
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