by Mark

Ah, the heat is on. It came on Tuesday the 15th of September.  We are still waiting on snow but I have a feeling its not to far behind.  In order to get ready we had to do a few repairs to the pars (radiators).  Its been a very cool and wet summer.  We are thinking that this winter could be a cold one.

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Each par is actually make up of several sections and each section is connected by a coupling.  We had to replace several gaskets.  (I say we but it was the CAMA handyman Olan Bayer who did it- I just helped carry the things and believe me, they are heavy!) We took them outside and drained the sludge (rust) out.  We used a piece of re-bar with a pry bar (see below) to un-screw the couplings from the inside. 

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Here you can see the new section.  The frayed stuff in between is called- rope but is either hemp or oakum.  They wrap it around the threads and then the build up of deposits will eventually seal the leaks.  It actually works much better than Teflon here.  The pars will probably leak for the first week or so until the leaks self-seal.  Most pars need to be changed, cleaned every two years.  Occasionally when they fix pipe bursts sand and tiny rocks can get washed into the line- you have to flush it out.  

There are two kinds of pars, Russian and Chinese.  You only want to get the Russian ones- they are designed and built to last.

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The pipes in the kitchen had to be cut through and then new couplings were put on.  Notice there are not shut of valves.  The pars are connected in series.  If there is a problem the whole apartment is shut off.  The water will be warm for several weeks and then turn HOT.  We had a bit of a scare when several people said the water was coming on today.  This would not have been good.  We actually reduced the number sections in the living room because our apartment is just way to hot in the winter (around 80-85 F No, I’m not kidding but am certainly glad for the heat when it hits -30 F)

The system is not perfect but I have to say, it is great to have heat that isn’t dependent on electricity and overall is a dependable system.  You have a hot shower available and serious water pressure! Best shower I have had.   

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