It’s quite cold and windy today.

I don’t particularly mind the cold.

I don’t particularly mind the wind.

But when the two come together, I have a problem.

You see, when it’s cold I like to fire up a bit of heating.  I have a choice of bottled gas or the central heating which uses kerosene.  But the bottled gas makes a stink and I have to open all the windows which sort of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise as the room fills with cold air again.

So I light the central heating.

And that’s where my problems really begin.

Because while our system is very good at coping with the cold, it ain’t so hot at dealing with the wind.

If the wind is from a particular direction, it works well.  Unfortunately, the right direction accounts for about five degrees out of the total three hundred and sixty.  If the wind is blowing from any of those other three hundred and fifty five, the fucking thing blows back and fills the house with kerosene fumes.  The only way to stop it stinking is to open the windows.

Back to square one.

We have had experts out.  They have mounted all sorts of different cowls on the pot but none makes the blindest bit of difference.  Our system wants to stink, so stink it shall.  Our experts have left, scratching their heads and coughing up kerosene fumes.  They have conceded defeat.

One of the experts at one stage installed all sorts of fancy valves and flaps at the back of the boiler.  These act as vacuum breakers or something.  There are little flaps with balancing screws on them to adjust whether the flaps flap or not.  But there seem to be no hard and fast rule as to whether those screws should be screwed in or out.

So if anyone wants me today, I’ll be be behind the boiler.

I’ll be having a quiet screw.

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Screwing the system — 21 Comments

  1. "I’ll be having a quiet screw."  And don't come back until the job is finished GD!
    Nail it good now!

    You're turning into quite the Benny Hill aren't you?  I like it!
    Nothing wrong with a little double entendre now and then… good one happened me and a friend a few weeks ago in work.. we're getting coffee and I decide I want some chocolate too. So I gets a twix.. then he goes to get a twix too, so I says to him, I'll only eat half of this, do you just want the other half.. he says yeah, that's grand so.. to which your one behind the counter says, oh ye're having a finger each.. good thinking.  To which we all bust our asses laughing.   It was funny at the time.. a finger each, geddit? 

    It's kind of worrying that he's buying twix bars ever since and asking me do I want a finger… I'm not that gone on twixes really.  



  2. Our heating system is electric. Turns out the 3 year old was dropping playing cards in the vent all summer. So we had a nice open fire the first time we switched the heat on last Autumn.

  3. What about a weather vane attached to a movable cowl…. always be facing away from the wind then, regardless of which way it blew… would create a vacuum and suck fumes out rather than be blown back in… just an idea… 🙂

    • I'm fairly sure that one was tried.  The problem here is that this part of the mountains is very prone to wind eddies so the weather vane type never has a chance to settle in one direction.

      • hmmmm….. maybe some type of extractor fan inline in the chimney…if its just extracting fumes and not heat, it just may be a way…… been thinking about one a bit today…. must be solvable…

  4. What about one of those "H" jobbies? That's what I have on my wood burner, and it's very rare that I get any blowback down the pipe. Or those thingys that have slots in them and spin like whirling dervishes in the wind?


    Valves and flaps? Behind the boiler? Sounds distinctly dodgy to me.  Sort of like behind the bike sheds.  Yes, definitely dodgy.

    • I did think of getting one of them whirly yokes all right [bloody expensive too!].  Whether it would work or not I don't know.  Maybe sometime……

  5. One of those whirly things cured my neighbour's smoke problem.  We've got a bird-shaped cowl on our chimney and that works well but after 5 years it's starting to creak as it turns and sounds like the dogs snoring at night.  All I've got to do now is work out how to get up there with an oil can.

    • There is no problem with access here.  Herself is quite adept at shinning up the roof to the chimney stack.  All it takes is the promise of a naggin of vodka.

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