Monthly Archives: August 2014

Ground loop leak finally fixed

Written by stephen gale

This time last year we were installing the ground loops in the top field.  And it looks as if we have finally located and fixed the leak.  It was only a slightly leak, but over a two week period we would lose all of the pressure in the ground loops.

The ground loops themselves were put under pressure once they were installed and while the ground was being back filled.  This would have enabled us to detect if there were any problems.  In the end, the ground loops were under pressure for a few months without losing any pressure.  So we knew this wasn’t going to be the problem.  We had checked (and rechecked) all of the manifolds in the manholes.  Again no problems. This only left the large pipes that feed the manifolds.

The leak was on one of the compression elbows on the large 63mm pipes.  Unfortunately, the leaking elbow was not in one of the manholes and this meant digging a hole – a big hole.  Once the joint was exposed, it was cleaned  and tightened up.  We haven’t lost any pressure since Tuesday (4 days ago).  We will give it a few more days before gently backfilling the holes.  It is a great relief all round that we have finally located and fixed the leak.

Leak in the ground source loops

Written by stephen gale

We have had our fair share of problems with the ground source heat pump.  At first, it kept tripping out with low pressure alerts.  The ground loops were flushed 3 or 4 times and eventually the alerts abated – we have only had one in the past 3 months.

However, there seems to be a leak on the ground loops and the end result is that we lose pressure  in the system.  This is a bit surprising since we had the ground loops on a pressure test for a few weeks after the ground was back filled – we didn’t lose a drop during this period.  However, the larger pipes that connect the manifolds were back filled later and we believe that the joints on these larger (653mm) pipes may have worked loose.  In hindsight, we should have made sure that all the joints in the system were accessible from inside the manhole, however, we now have no choice other than to dig them up.

This one was dug by hand.  It was decided it was time to order an excavator after this one.

This one was dug by hand. It was decided it was time to order an excavator after this one.

Unfortunately, not all of the joints are accessible via the manholes.  This means if you want to check them, then a hole (a big one) has to be dug.  This one was dug by hand.

Unfortunately, not all of the joints are accessible via the manholes. This means if you want to check them, then a hole (a big one) has to be dug. This one was dug by hand.

The task here is to dig holes alongside the existing manholes so that we can access the pipework that runs alongside them.  The majority of the digging was done by machine.  The last 300mm was dug by hand.

The task here is to dig holes alongside the existing manholes so that we can access the pipework that runs alongside them. The majority of the digging was done by machine. The last 300mm was dug by hand.

Grass cutting

Written by stephen gale

Now we have re-seeded the top field, we seem to have an awful lot of grass to cut!

The bottom field has always been a bit of a challenge – it is fairly lumpy and has quite a slope to it.  We have ended up borrowing a tractor and topper a couple of times a year, but this means that the grass only gets cut when it is 4ft high.  The topper ends up flattening more grass than it really cuts.

The top field is fairly flat with some good grass on it.  It was only sown about 6-7 weeks ago, so it will be next year before it fully thickens out.

These two fields are about an acre each.  Then we have the orchard which is full of trees and the occasional tree stump.  Up until now we have been using a mulching mower to cope with the grass in the orchard, but now with the top field re-seeded we have decided that it is time to invest in a ride on mower.  Once we have a mower of our own (rather than having to borrow one), we suspect that the grass will get cut a little more often.

After quite a bit of research, we decided to invest in a zero turn mower.  We haven’t been very impressed with the tractor and topper – it feels very unstable on the slope in the bottom field and the quality of the cut has been pretty poor.  While a zero turn mower is going to be less versatile than a compact tractor, it is going to be quicker and make a better job of cutting the grass.  It is also going to be a cheaper option.

We had a good look around and ended up on deciding on a John Deere Z425.  Although John Deere kit is expensive, it is very well made and should cope well with the size of area that we are cutting. We have always opted for slightly more commercial equipment because of the size of the property.  We arranged for a demonstration through our local dealer (Bob Wild in Hebden Bridge) and were so convinced by the machine that we decided to buy it there and then.

Over the weekend we have cut the grass in the bottom field a couple of times.  We have raked the grass in-between each cut (don’t forget it was 4ft high a couple of weeks ago) and hope that we will get this into a decent state before the summer is out.

Adrian from Bob Wild Grass Machinery demonstrating the John Deere Z425 on the slope in the bottom field.  This machine is a lot more stable (and a lot quicker) than a compact tractor and topper.  Adrian actually demonstrated that it is possible to cut along the slope with this machine.  The slope doesn't look much in these photos, but it feels steep when you are on it!

Adrian from Bob Wild Grass Machinery demonstrating the John Deere Z425 on the slope in the bottom field. This machine is a lot more stable (and a lot quicker) than a compact tractor and topper. Adrian actually demonstrated that it is possible to cut along the slope with this machine. The slope doesn’t look much in these photos, but it feels steep when you are on it!

If Daleks could mow grass, this is what it would look like!  It feels a bit like driving a large motorised wheelchair.  We need to shoot some video and post it.

If Daleks could mow grass, this is what it would look like! It feels a bit like driving a large motorised wheelchair. We need to shoot some video and post it.

Log burning stove for the hall

Written by stephen gale

We have finally had a log stove installed in the hall.  Ever since we moved in, we have had the fireplace boarded up and the stainless steel flue tucked up out of the way.

Since we have been delighted with the Firebelly stove that we installed in the snug, we have decided to install another Firebelly stove.  This time it is the slightly larger FB2 model.  This outputs about 12Kw, so it should be more than enough to heat the hall, stairway and landing.  They come in a variety of colours – this one is sky blue.

We have had absolutely no trouble with our existing FB1 stove – it is a dream to use – easy to control and clean.  I am sure the FB2 will be just as good.

This was installed in the hall today and looks great.  It is a Firebelly FB2 supplied direct from the local manufacturer based in Elland (Halifax).  They are an absolute pleasure to do business with.  Highly recommended.

This was installed in the hall today and looks great. It is a Firebelly FB2 supplied direct from the local manufacturer based in Elland (Halifax). They are an absolute pleasure to do business with. Highly recommended.

These stoves come from a local manufacturer and come in a variety of colours.  This model (FB2) is in sky blue with a matching stove pipe.  This outputs around 12Kw.

These stoves come from a local manufacturer and come in a variety of colours. This model (FB2) is in sky blue with a matching stove pipe. This outputs around 12Kw.