Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Gonna take my heater back to rehab, I say 'no no no'

I know what you want hear about now... A heater update!

The fun continues as we had a factory representative out from Buderus to look at the German built Logamatic controller just before Thanksgiving. He was basically giving me the "so why am I here" routine since he drove in from New Hampshire on the day before Thanksgiving and so that is exactly what he asked me "Why am I here?".

The Logamatic controller ...ur ahh... that sound so formal. From now on, I'm going to call it a Farfanugan.

So the Farfanugan supposed to sense the outside temperature and adjust the boiler water temperature accordingly. If it is 50 degrees out, the boiler won't come up to 180 degrees as a typical boiler will, it only comes up to 125. It will take a little longer to heat your house but you save money since you are not bringing the boiler up to full temperature and if the weather is warmer this should be OK.

Those Germans sure are smart. Those of the single eyed persuasion.... well... you be the judge.

One-eyed Bob set the Logamatic/Farfanugan to the equivalent of not having a Farfanugan since every time I looked, the boiler temperature was one hundered and ninety freaking degrees. Remember now, he had come out in early October when I called one morning. The weather was warm and the heat never came on. I suspect at the time that just slammed the Farfanugan so it came on in warm weather.

I just reminded me of a scene in "The Hunt for Red October" where Sean Connery is conjecturing that the captain of the Russian Alpha sub "won't make that mistake again and right now is turning off the safetys on his torpedoes" but Sean says it more like "shavtys".

One Eyed Bob didn't want to tune the new fangled Farfanugan from Germany and so he set it as high as he could. He turned off the Shavtys since the heat didn't come on.

I told Buderus guy this minus the shavtys part and he says "let's have a look". He went nuts on the keyboard and dial. Four of us stood in 3 x 5 room filled with a boiler, a washer and dryer while the heater came on and went off. We waited and measured and tuned and watched for an hour. In the end, the Farfanugan was appropriately tuned. He told me "don't touch it now". He must know me. Maybe the thermometers wired all over the heater gave me away.

Great! The Farfanugan was tuned just in time for actual winter where it does very little since it is cold outside and the boiler temperature is going to be 180 degrees anyway.

Having been satisfied that the smarts on the heater were OK after he left, I noticed that the setback thermometer was making the heat come on at 3 AM in order to get the house up to a warm temperature by 7 AM. These new thermostats are supposed to learn how long it takes your heater to heat your house and then start at the right time to heat your house. It's called Automatic Intelligent Recovery or AIR, except mine wasn't being very intelligent. I'm pretty sure that's because the super smart thermostat learned while the farfunugun was mis-tuned.

I know the heat was coming on at 3 because I have more charts and graphs for my heater than NASA has for a shuttle launch.

See? The heat was coming on at 3:27 AM.

I wanted to fix this but I wanted do it without having it drop all the set back times and temperatures.

So I fiddled with it.

I turned off the AIR feature and then turned it back on not knowing if this would reset it or not. Actually I did it and then forgot I did it so wasn't I surprised Monday morning when I woke up on the coldest day of the year to a freezing house. I ran downstairs to see what was going on at about 6 AM and found two things:

1. It was 57 degrees.

2. The super smarty pants thermostat was flashing "IN RECOVERY".

The IN RECOVERY thing made perfect sense, because the thermostat was on some sort of twelve step program. Step 1, admit you have a problem: "yes, my house is freaking c-c-c-c-cold" I have a problem.

You know this "IN RECOVERY" message had to be the work of some engineer. Any normal person would used a word like "learning" or "discovering". IN RECOVERY sounds like it is raking leaves with Liza Minnelli or making Popsicle stick bird houses with Lindsay Lohan. But then that does explain the whole coming on at 3 AM thing. It was drunk and up at three AM. I guess I'm just lucky it didn't flash me on the way out of the Escalade.

It's the Amy Winehouse of thermostats.

That was Monday. By now Amy and I have come to accept each other for the way we are and I am generally leaving her alone.

This seem to be working OK now but I have no idea if I am actually saving money or not yet. I think I have to go through a whole season to figure that part out. Until then, I'll keep you posted.

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