Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Best Day of 2015

2015 was a tough year, perhaps one of the toughest I can remember. And yet, today, the very last day of the year, something happened that I’m very close to considering the best day of 2015… WE HAVE HEAT AGAIN!

Radiant Boiler Setup

Radiant Boiler Pex PipingA big thanks to Chris K. and Pete for their hard work on this very complex system. Installed in 1940, the system utilizes an oil-fueled boiler to heat water, pushing it through galvanized pipes to 17 radiators throughout the three stories of the house. When this type of system is in peak working order, it’s a dream, but when it hasn’t been maintained well, it requires more attention. Chris and Pete replaced all of the old galvanized piping with state-of-the-art PEX, routing it with care above ceiling level through many old joists and beams. The result is a much higher efficiency – and you can actually see out of the basement windows without the obstruction of black pipes.

Once the piping was done, Pete took 17 almost-unsalvageable brass radiator valves and brought them back to life with a lot of care and elbow grease. What a beautiful sight.

Radiator Valves Radiator Valves

One of my favorite elements in the basement is the old flue cover on the wall behind the boiler, probably from the 1940s. I love that the house has blend of technology spanning 230 years. In just one picture, like the one at the top, you can see the hand-hewn beams, next to the PEX, copper, PVC, and handmade bricks. It certainly tells a story of craftsmanship and skill.

Flue Cover

Those of you that know me personally have heard me kvetch for almost six months about getting the heat restored before it got cold. We moved into fall with brisk weather, then November, and finally December, but something odd happened… the temperature kept going up! We had spring all over again with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. It has certainly been an odd start to winter. But who’s to complain when you don’t have heat? It was like an early Christmas miracle. This weekend, it will drop to 25 and probably keep dropping for the remaining season. And just in time, the heat is hooked up and ready to go.

May you all have an equally warm and uplifting new year!

New Year's Eve in Virginia

December 31, 2015 – The Beeyard