Friday, 23 January 2009

No Hot Water

My water heater isn't working and nor (properly) is my central heating. With the winter temperatures consistently well below zero, this is a disaster. The radiators are just about lukewarm, which at least means that the chill is taken off all the rooms and the water in the pipes does not freeze, but it is far from satisfactory. Fortunately we do have our wonderful wood-burning stove (see previous post), with which we are able to heat our main living room.

When we bought the house we took a load of professional advice on the best heating system for it – given there would be times when we would not be there and when we would want to temper the house to just above freezing. This seemed to preclude the exclusive use of the woodburning stoves, as these require topping up. The heating system we got was meant to be the best – with four large tanks installed in the back basement room in which water, that had been heated at times when the electricity rate was lowest, could be stored before being pumped to the radiators. The control system was again meant to be brilliant, with thermostatic controls, a digital timer with a multitude of programmes to choose from, and even the facility to be controlled remotely by phone – the idea being we can ring from England and it would come on in advance of our arrival. The remote control option didn't work from the beginning – the receiver was set in a wall with poor telephone reception. Within a year of use the digital timer had broken and had to be replaced, and now the bit that tells the boiler to come on and by how much seems not to be working. Added to that bills far in excess of what we had been led to expect – we are now told that a switch has been installed wrongly and so not only have been heating the water when the electric is at its most expensive but the surges in the current are what have been breaking the equipment – and you can see why I am close to suggesting we get rid of the lot.

Then when we got back from England just before the New Year the water heater failed to heat. Aaarghh!!! Of course all the Czechs were taking extended Christmas and New Year holidays and so it was not until the 12th that I was able to arrange for the electrician to turn up. I waited for him in vain, he had decided to go down the pub instead. I hate to say it, but I have come to recognise this as being par for the course here in the Czech Republic. The only consolation was I was so angry I managed to chop all the logs in the barn. Previously I had struggled in vain to split them, now imagining them to be someone's head I did the lot!

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