Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ice on the Lake

Wednesday Morning - Look carefully and you can see ice on the surface of the lake next to the shore. The ice was a real surprise.

I ended up getting to do quite a bit of the work getting the indirect-fired water heater hooked up to the 40 year old boiler. Many of the shutoff valves leaked when shut off so we ended up pulling the manifold out and rebuilding it with new ball valves. Wayne, the boiler tech, had some pretty cool tools that sped up the installation. He only had to break out the torch to remove a couple of the old valves. All of the new fitting were ProPress fittings which needed a special hydraulic tool to crimp the joint. Pretty cool.

All of the connections between the boiler and the new water heater used Wirsbo plastic tubing. He showed me how to use the special installation tool and had me running all of the tubing while he started on the supply manifold. While we were at it, we added more ball valves to more easily isolate different heating circuits as well as replace the pressure relief valve which have been leaking since the original domestic hot water pipe sprung a leak inside the boiler which allowed domestic water to bleed into the boiler building up pressure.

Anyway, we now have this fancy digital temperature control to set the hot water temperature to whatever we need. And the 45 gallon tank should provide us with plenty of hot water.

Thursday Morning - On my way in this morning, I noticed that the ice on Ballaine Lake was all the way across. Obviously not enough to support anything beyond falling leaves but still significant. It was 21°F this morning and I had to spend a bit of time digging out the heated gear controller. I am back to using my older FirstGear Kilimanjaro jacket and pants and they seem awkward to put on compared to the Roadcrafter Light which is at Aerostitch for repair.

After coffee and running back to the plumbing shop to return some unused bits and pieces ($250 back!), I headed out to the Goldstream Valley since it was such a beautiful day. I turned at Murphy Dome Road since in the 33 years I've lived in Fairbanks I've never been to the top of Murphy Dome. It was a nice ride with about 20 miles or so of gravel. Kind of hard to see but there was a nice view of the mountains and still a bit of snow from our recent storm.

There is a government facility on top with some sort of radar but I didn't go out on the dirt road to see who ran the facility. There were a few other vehicles up on top with empty trailers. I assume that they belonged to folks out moose hunting as well as a couple of trucks at the radar site.

The views were spectacular to east and south. If you look carefully you can seen the Alaska Range in the distance with several prominent peaks. This was definitely one of those 200 mile visibility days. So nice after the rain cleans up the air.

Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) can be seen clearly when up there but is a little hard to see in the photo. It is ⅓ of the way from the right on the picture. I used the Hydra iPhone app which has a zoom feature that takes a pile of pictures with you hand holding the phone. It uses your hand shaking to increase the resolution of the image since it is only using a portion of the sensor.

After all the running around locally picking up plumbing parts, climbing up and down a few hills and cruising on the highway, I filled the Ural up with over 200 km on the odometer. It took only 3.829 gallons of gas for a GPS corrected gas mileage of 35.7 mpg. My best tank ever!

10 comments:

  1. Snow and ice, I guess fall is over!

    Your plumbing looks a lot better than the copper maze in my basement. The local HVAC company told me that they knew who plumbed my house and that they'd be willing to start over and do it right. I'd consider it, but the $$$ was more than I want to spent just to simplify things.
    I've got a Buderus propane boiler that supplies domestic hot water and water for the 2 in-floor heat runs. I almost never run the in-floor in the garage, and only set the basement thermostat at about 62. I let the forced air do most of the work.

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    1. The forecast for tomorrow is for 5" to 10" of the white stuff. It won't stick.

      Heated floors are the way to go. I wish we had them. We were able to remove quite a bit of copper from behind the boiler since we aren't running the domestic hot water through the boiler itself. Once I add some clamps to hold the Wirsbo tubing to the plywood it'll look better.

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  2. No snow here in Maui, not even chilly at the summit of Haleakala crater (10,023 ft. a record for me, altitude-wise).

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    1. No snow in Maui! How can that be? ;-)

      Enjoy!

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  3. Had 3°C (37.4F) yesterday morning, so close to freezing... summer is over for sure ;-)
    The second to last snapshot would make an awesome header picture...

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    1. Yes, summer is over for sure. And, at least here, Fall is over as well...

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  4. Ugh, ice on lakes, and morning temps near the teens... Will this winter never end?! Oh wait, it hasn't even begun yet. *sigh of defeat*

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    1. Soon you'll too get to enjoy winter in all it's glory!

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  5. Installing the water heater looks like quite a job. I bet you're glad to get that behind you.

    Your temperature sounds a little too chilly for this time of year. The pictures from up high (Murphy's Dome Road) sure are pretty.

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    1. It was a lot more involved than I thought it would be. Probably due to the age of the system. The good thing is that maintenance and future replacement of the boiler is now easier and only one relief valve wouldn't be used when that happened.

      I had never been up Murphy Dome Road before since it is quite a ways out of town and there really isn't much out there. Now I know that there is a great view.

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