Efflorescence in our cellar

Since moving in I’ve noticed a strange white fur growing on the walls and floor of the cellar. Originally I just figured it was mould caused by the damp in the cellar and ignored it, but yesterday I went into the cellar and noticed it’d grown all over the solid stone table that’s down there. It wasn’t on it the day before, somehow it’d just magically sprung up overnight.

Having lived in mouldy houses before, I’ve never encountered the stuff just appearing overnight. A bit of Googling told me that it was something called efflorescence, a deposit of minerals and salts that leech out of stone and masonry that is damp. It makes sense I suppose, brickwork can’t go mouldy it grows slime and moss instead.




Debugging my boiler

I suppose there’s one benefit to having a knackered heating system – it requires lots of testing, to work out what’s wrong with it. It’s quite nice sitting in a roasting hot house during the day, under the guise of “testing” my heating system works.

Or in this case doesn’t. The water keeps trying to escape. The boiler man came yesterday, it’s the same bloke who does the gas inspections, and we had a bit of a play with it. Of course, since he was there things worked better than just me being there. We discovered that the boiler pressurises the system up to 4 bar quite happily, which is bad – it should only go to 2 bar. Above 3 the safety relief valve should open and send hot water outside through a little drain pipe. Sure enough, dribbling down the wall outside was some very hot water, and the pressure started to drop. Continue reading Debugging my boiler

And my boiler’s broken…

Leaking boiler
Leaking boiler

What you’re looking at is the underside of my central heating boiler. The crusty white stuff on that pipe is limescale caused by the water in this area. The crusty white stuff shouldn’t be there, it means that pipe has a leak, and is probably partially responsible for my heating system having no water pressure.

I tried filling the radiators back up, but as soon as I started the boiler a fairly fast dripping noise came out the bottom of the boiler. A quick look with my torch showed not one, not two but four leaks on this boiler!

Here’s two of the leaks on the plumbing going to the rest of the house. And in this photo are two more leaks. One is on the pressure relief valve, the other is coming from the back, just above the copper pipe in the background.

Since this is a rented house I’ve just phoned the letting agency who are going to have a plumber call me back. Fortunately the boiler is in my kitchen with all the pipework exposed so I can see and hear this stuff happening. If it was locked away in a cupboard I’d probably never notice.

And no, this isn’t the first time I’ve run the boiler since last winter. I made the point of running it for a few hours each month and it was fine at the weekend when I used it.

Kuroshio Sea Aquarium

The aquarium is a part of the Ocean Expo Commemorative National Government Park located in Motobu, Okinawa. The main tank called the ‘Kuroshio Sea’ holds 7,500-cubic meters (1,981,290 gallons) of water and features the world’s second largest acrylic glass panel, measuring 8.2 meters by 22.5 meters with a thickness of 60 centimeters.

Imagine cleaning the glass on that! I think I need to sort my own aquarium out, it contains two fish and quite a lot of snails. The new filter seems to be running nicely, so I’ll pull out the old under-gravel filter out and restock it with fish again.