Thursday, May 20, 2021

Pivoine et artichaut

Our pivoine (peony) is in flower now. It seems like it took a while longer than usual. That might be because our spring has been less warm than in recent years. The artichokes are doing well, too. The one in the middle is the largest of the three. We're expecting a day or two without rain, so I'm hopeful that I'll get some grass cut, starting today.

Behind our two apple trees you can see the row of dead hazelnuts that will be removed this summer.

Our central heating boiler is still having problems. The flame keeps going out, especially on windy mornings. We had another technician out to look at it on Monday and he agrees that the wind is the likely culprit. He also agrees that the best solution is to hook the exhaust up to the old boiler's chimney. When the new boiler was installed, the exhaust was routed out through the side of the house using a special exhaust/intake system called une ventouse (a forced pressure system used with condensation boilers). In our house, it's on the south wall, directly exposed to the prevailing southwest winds.

We're waiting to hear what this re-routing of the exhaust/intake line might cost. By the way, this morning there is no wind and the boiler is working normally. Yesterday was windy, and the flame blew out several times requiring us to reset the system manually. We think the evidence is pretty clear: it's the wind.


  1. So frustrating about the boiler. We have a small on-demand hot water heater in a partially open air balcony (utility room); and I think the pilot light, too, is sometimes blown out by the wind. Yours is obviously are much more major issue. Whenever your contractors do finally arrive, your gardens are going to be transformed.

  2. Is it a pilot light? One would think in this day and age it could be protected from the wind. Our building's hot water boilers are on the roof and at one time one pilot light would blow out. Somehow a fix to protect it from wind was devised.

  3. I'm thinking along the same lines as Andrew, above.... can you rig up a windbreak.... our condensing boiler in Leeds has two large baffle plates about a foot square either side because the design of the terrace and later buildings had created a north/south wind tunnel.... but this was done right at the beginning. But it was fitted by an independent gas fitter who lived in Leeds himself.... so most probably had come across the problem locally.... they were sheet aluminium and not part of the boiler.

  4. Ohhhh, very interesting that you've made the connection to the wind as the issue! Now, if only they can fix that for you.

  5. Beautiful peonies! Good luck with the boiler.

  6. I'm picturing a baffle over the vent outlet. As are a number of others, I see.
    So frustrating!

  7. mitch, andrew, I don't think we have a pilot light. I think the ignition is electronic.

    tim, we've thought about something to block the wind, but the chimney is there and not being used...

    judy, we'll see!

    bettyann, thanks.

    evelyn, :)

    chris, very! The boiler's only 5 years old.


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