Thursday, September 18, 2014

Out with the Quietside in with the Rinnai

I guess after ten years (wow- where does the time go?!) that you are bound to replace something. We've been really fortunate so far (knock on wood!) that we built a sturdy home and it has served us so well so far.

Our Quietside unit partially failed last winter and spring- the home heating system portion failed. We had never had it serviced and had difficulty contacting customer support the few times it was needed.

Bob, a local technician (Landry Home Services) saved the day last winter with some immediate repairs. But in the spring when the heat system died again, it became apparent that there were many parts in the unit that were corroded.

We've been really happy with our decision to use an on-demand water heater for both our domestic hot water and our heating system. On-demand units have certainly become a lot more popular in our region in the past decade and when it became time to choose a new unit, we found we had more options that we hope also come with more reliable service.

Fortunately, we didn't need the heat all summer and that gave us time to shop around for a new unit while we continued to use the domestic hot water supply, which was still operational.

We chose a Rinnai unit that, although it needed some additional parts, basically connects and vents and functions the same so it would be, in many ways, the easiest replacement.

Here's Stach with the old Quietside unit, before he cut it out on Monday.

Stach had already made a couple visits to look at the old setup and measure everything out. He and Bob (Landry Home Services) had also taken a Rinnai workshop at the local supply house (Snow & Jones) over the summer. Stach also started setting up some of the new piping on Monday.

Over the next two days, Bob and Stach worked on installing the new unit and all the new proper connections and valves. Kenny the electrician also came by to check out the job and then to do all the wiring of the new unit.

On Thursday afternoon, with a little programming assistance over the phone from the Rinnai contact person, Stach and Bob fired up the unit! It all works fine. 

Bob also fine tuned the efficiency of the burner and printed out a report-  98.1% !! Bob says it's the highest efficiency reading on any unit he's tested.  Here's the new unit setup- you can see the report, with some other technical numbers, taped to the front of the unit. 

I took my first hot shower with the new unit late this afternoon and it was great! And I never thought I would be so pleased to load up the dishwasher and washing machine with what's piled up over the past couple of days.

The Rinnai unit has a bit larger capacity and more flow power than the Quietside, so I am looking forward to seeing a bit of an improvement on both, esp. since I suspect our Quietside had been incrementally failing over the past couple of years.

Overall, the Rinnai is bigger and needed additional valves and things like an exterior expansion tank, but it also looks a lot sturdier and easier to service, esp. the individual parts within the unit.

Thanks so much to Stach, Bob and Kenneth for all their hard work! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

on the verge

We are on the verge of summer, as per usual Cape Cod weather, essentially skipping spring. One weekend from Memorial Day and we started summer early. Fish, stuffed quahogs, corn on the cob and Sam Adams Summer Ale for Sunday dinner and a heap of yard work with the new wheelbarrow (why are they not called wheel barrels, or wheel buckets?)

I'm quite excited about the wheelbarrow acquisition! I had a hand-me down one that lasted a couple years but was already on its way out when we got it.  Since then, I've been accomplishing weeding and raking and moving of branches and sticks with a five gallon bucket or by hand. No wonder not a lot has gotten accomplished!

I still have big plans for the yard. It's not and will never have the look of a professionally landscaped yard. But in the meantime, it's nice to see how the wild land has recovered from the beating it took during house building, almost a decade ago.  I try to take care of the few things that we have planted, which have all come as gifts or clippings from friends and family.  It's heartwarming to see how these little sprouts have grown.

The yard has recovered so well, in fact, that most of my yard work is protecting the few things we have planted from the encroaching wilds.

In these pictures, you can see lily of the valley that started as a few clippings from my dad.  He also gave me the climbing hydrangea (in front of the recycle bin waiting for a bit of lattice to be installed so it can crawl) and some grass in front of the front steps that started as a few clippings from my friend erin kate's parents.  To the left of the front door is a thriving blue lace hydrangea given to us by my parents as an anniversary gift.

These pretty purple flowers  (like the grass, I need to refresh my memory on the correct names) also came from erin's parents and behind them you can see the ivy that is spreading like nobody's business as came as a bucket of shoots from my dad. I need to seriously prune both this season.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Snow 2012

Monday, December 26, 2011

To All a Good Night

One thing that gave me a good chuckle while migrating the house building pages was the shots of myself polyurethaning our "bed."

It was a platform made of extra two by fours with strapping laid crosswise. It sat barely above the floor, our mattress on top.

I am amused by my apparent excitement at the time, though the piece did have a simple zen feel. It also served its function until I found a bed I liked.

I became enamored of a wrought iron bed from Celtic Wrought Iron Beds online. At some point, they had a sale, I ordered and the bed arrived, well-packed and ready for me to assemble. It is a very sturdy and solid iron, not a thin imitation metal and the beds are supposedly reproduction designs of older ones. The detail in the mold is also well done, not a cheesy half-hearted impression.

I recall calling them up with a question and found them very friendly.

Ours is the "Celtic," though it looks like that model is no longer offered in this country. We purchased a new very firm mattress from Ikea and we were in business.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Big Tree

We've never had a habit of putting up a Christmas tree. Two small trees that we'd gotten have been planted in the yard, but it has been years since either of those.
I decided this year to try for a bit of a return to the fun parts of the holiday- a tree, watching my favorite films , taking time to indulge in old-timely favorite treats - I even got an advent calendar just to eat the chocolate. Mostly this post is an excuse to try posting pics and content from my new phone.

This is extra amusing because this blog started out with ben tethering his laptop to a phone so we could update the blog remotely. Our GPS was borrowed at the time as well, though all of these things seemed rather high-tech at the time. Now I have a Blogger app right on my phone, which will also take the pictures and act as a GPS.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

House Blogging?

(porch flowers)

i'm almost done transferring all the posts from our old homepage to this blog.

when we built our house (in 2003-2004), we started posting pictures and text about construction. we continued for some time after we moved in, through early 2006. though we haven't updated the site in years, we've continued paying for an outdated earthlink web service, because that's where the pages were hosted.

we've been using comast cable, i think since the day we moved in here, and i decided it was time to finally clean house (so to speak) and stop paying for something obsolete.

i am migrating everything over to this blog; we opened it when we went on a pretty lengthy road trip back in 2007.

it's true, the posts about the house don't look exactly the same on this blog, but all the content is here.

it's strange to look back on the house building process. though i'd never forget how much help we received, i had certainly forgotten a lot of the details, including how many people showed up on different days to help us with different projects. it's still amazing to think how many people took time out of their lives to help us with part of ours.

it's also funny to look back at things like our Open House party. the house was so empty, in comparison. we knew we'd never go out and simply populate our house with an entire Pottery Barn catalog. we wanted to fill it with more personal items over time. but the result is that from time to time, and certainly when we invited everyone over to celebrate with us, our home still had the appearance of a first apartment.

all in all, the house blog reminds me how our house was both empty and evolving, how it still needs finishing and improving and taking care of. i'm envious of the emptiness of the basement but not the bareness of the walls. i still notice all those things that were never finished, but having repainted our upstairs bathroom last winter, i'm also aware of how easy it is to change things.

in fact, we've rearranged quite often since we first shared photos of our moving-in days. i can't help but note that the whole place seems a lot more like a home now than it did back then.

transferring the old house blog posts has also given me some inspiration to maybe start updating this blog again, as a means of keeping me on task with some of those house projects that i never got around to, or that are still cropping up...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

news from bogg hill

we have been on several weekend road trips since clairstock '07 but we just haven't kept up with this little blog. we've been to NH to see a friend bike up Mt. Washington, been to NYC to see Rush and visit djelliott and stay at the infamous Chelsea Hotel, and we've just returned from another family weekend in DC. we had a busy summer of dog-sitting, weddings, housewarmings, bbq's and more! to see pictures of many of these events and pics from now on, you can visit b's great new photography site:

i have been spending free time doing little sketches and drawings lately and you can see these by going to

and clicking on "erica's art blog"