urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The boiler repair guy came and went by about 10. [personal profile] vatine kindly stayed home to deal with him, and I managed to sleep through the whole thing. (Besides the social awkwardness thing, after getting one really skeezy-acting meter reader I'm still pretty sure didn't attack me because I was bigger than he was--and still kept sizing me up--I do not like to let strangers into the house while I'm home alone.)

You may have hard water when it takes two or three years for your boiler to get limed up to the point of cascading failure. Yep, we had to replace it not too long ago, and it's again to the point of "as much to fix it as replace it". (To the tune of about £2000, IIRC.) They didn't suggest any regular maintenance on the current one, but maybe some kind of preventative care will help the next one live longer. One drawback to the otherwise pretty cool and space-efficient combi boiler approach: it's complicated, with very little that is user serviceable. And you're not supposed to open them up and poke around without being Gas Safe certified. I was hoping there was some kind of minor flushing we could do or something to get some of the limescale out, but apparently not.

Ah well. It could be worse. It's June, the shower heats water (besides the dishwasher and washing machine), and we've got a space heater just in case.

And I'm reminded of this one: 50% of Americans Couldn’t Come Up with $2,000 in an Emergency (and I was surprised it wasn't more). Ghost poverty had me automatically half-panicking and hoping we'd be able to get heat and hot water back before winter, but, yeah, that's not a major problem now. As much as I still near-literally nickel-and-dime myself to death, even with me unable to work now, we're apparently in the top 20% of UK incomes.* (Which says a lot about inequality, actually.)

We're also on the second replacement washing machine in a few years. Even with regularly using sodium carbonate in the wash and running empty hot loads with lots of vinegar or citric acid, they've gotten crudded up with lime internally. But, you boil a pot of water and get lime scum on the top and a ring around the pot. I grew up on limestone karst, where there used to be a lot of mineral spring resorts, and never saw anything like the liquid chalk you get in London. I guess the softer stone makes a huge difference in ready solubility.

* This really struck me when we knew we needed at least an £800 boiler system flushing (no, insufficient after all!)--and Ingvar suggested going out and looking at Xooms. (ETA: And he's hardly prone to wild spending sprees. /ETA) I think my jaw was honestly hanging open for a minute there. I mean, I knew we weren't poor, but I'd been cutting back on food expenses and putting off buying things like a new pair of £50 walking sandals and a couple of shirts. Different assumptions and expectations based on experience, indeed. :-|

September 2011

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