Last week we had ‘Smart Meters’ installed. The energy company informed us that our Gas meter was coming to the end of it’s life (apparently only last 25 years) and needs to be replaced. The advertising blurb that accompanied the email, indicated that ‘… this would be the ideal time to switch to a “Smart Meter” for free!!’ It also suggested that we ‘could also change the Electric meter, at the same time!’ We thought about it and as there was no actual cost, we decided to go ahead. So last week both new meters were installed. It took the engineer about 40 minutes, which included teaching me how to use the ‘smart’ display and how to get the ‘best’ out of the unit.
I’ve been avoiding getting “Smart Meters” as I felt that it was misleading to hint that it would save us money. I noted that it was never actually stated we would save money just that we would be able to ‘… see what we are spending …’ and ‘… take appropriate action …’
Already we have an issue! The display does not show the amount of electricity being used. It did for the first couple of days, but now just shows the gas used. It is going to need a phone call to the energy company in the morning. Not a good start.
Today the new flooring goes down. We are having a laminate floor put on top of the old floor in the conservatory. In a marked contrast the the “Sparks” that came yesterday, there has been a lot of ‘tut tut‘, ‘Oh dear‘, ‘That’s not good‘ and a fair amount of head shaking! I hadn’t realised when the boss came to give us a quote, what a misery he was. The guy with him seems a lot more laid back, with ‘Don’t worry, we can fix it‘ attitude. I’m not sure how difficult the job can be. He is an expert and, according to his van a “Which Trusted Trader”!
Anyway, they were here when the said the would be, so we shall see how it goes.
So, we are just over 2 hours in, and the skirting is 90% done. We still have the head shaking and tutting, but I think they are getting there. Problem has been that when the patio door was removed, it left a gap in the floor which was more or less bare brickwork. Trying to level the floor has been quite a task.
The boss has just ‘nipped back to base’ to get something that they need. I would have thought they should have everything basic, so it must be something special for this job. But hey, what do I know.
He’s back now, with the comment ‘Some people just moan about anything’. The colour of pots and kettles sprung to mind. They are now having a ‘tea and chat’ break, so I’ve now idea how long this is going to take.
Lunch break is now over and the floor laying has begun. This going a lot faster than the previous 4 hours! Although both are now on their 4th cuppa!
It looks like they are almost done. That will make it 7½ hours in total or about 5 hours if you take out the chat/drink/lunch time. It looks good though and it means that we now have a room we can use all year round, instead of just the warm days in middle of summer.
I have the electrician with me today. You may remember we had an issue with some of the wiring when the new conservatory roof was put on. The electrician fixed that, but when he came to wire up the lighting, he found another problem. It appears that there is an issue with what he called ‘the zoning’ on the consummer panel. Back in the day, it was called a ‘Fuse Box’, but things have got a little more complicated since then.
The one we have currently has only 5 circuit breakers, a cooker circuit breaker and a main switch. It seems that this is not enough and so we are having to have a bigger (and better) one installed. Unfortunately, the one he brought had a part missing, so he had to go off to the wholesaler to get that replaced.
Looks like they could be here a while.
All finished with only one small problem which was easily fixed. It seems that one of the sockets did not have the earth wire connected correctly. It must have been like that since the conservatory was built. It wasn’t particularly dangerous, it just wasn’t very good.
All in all it took just over three and a half hours and a good one and a half was testing each socket.
It’s painting time. Eldest son came around to do the ceiling as Mrs H thought I would struggle. I’m not sure if she thought I was too short or too old. He is about 5′ 7″ and I’m 5′ 4″. I don’t think it was a height issue. There was huge amount to cover, but we got the undercoat done in one day.
The following day, I cracked on with the top coat on the walls. We are using the same neutral colour that we have throughout the house. It’s a colour called “Natural Hessian” and it’s a bit like a marriage between magnolia and beige. It looks awful when being applied, but it improves vastly as it dries. The picture doesn’t really do it justice. I just need to give the main wall another coat, as it has dried a little patchy where I have done the cutting in.
Now all that is needed, is the new flooring and the electrics to be sorted. When the electrician came to connect the new roof lights, he did some testing so he could sign off the work. He then found some issue with the house electrics. He thinks it is something to do with the ‘zoning’ in the fuse box. So he is coming back in the middle of March to sort that out. Meanwhile, we had booked the flooring guy to come next week to fit the new floor and as the electrician may have to lift some floorboards, having a new floor would be another issue. And so the saga continues.
Recently, I have revisited the online chat rooms that I used to use a few years ago. The site is supposed to be a ship, with lots of decks and rooms. There are people who monitor what is going on, so in theory, it is pretty much safe. I stopped about three five years ago as I was getting bored with it. Then there were issues with some of the chatters who were not as pleasant as they should be. However, about a month ago I signed up again, with a different profile and username just to see if anything had changed. Guess what? I found myself getting back into the swing of it. Only problem was that I was now a very basic user with limited access to the main site. You have to progress through the levels by chatting more. Last, when I changed my browser and tried to login to the chat room, the browser had remembered my old login and I was now using my old profile, that had 11 years experience. I was back at a quite high level.
I’m not sure how long it will last, but for the time being it’s all well.
Apart from a bit of snagging on Monday, the main bulk of the work is complete. Eldest lad is going to help me do the painting, but the plasterers said we can’t start until middle of next week. So it will have to be the walls under the windows that we do first.
The main snagging point is that a couple of the windows seem to be wrong. The opener on two of the frames open from left to right, whereas the rest open from right to left. I don’t think it should be much of a problem to fix, but it does look odd.
I’ve asked for the 3rd and 4th of March as leave, so that should give me a week, before the guy comes to do the flooring. What? Didn’t I mention that? Mrs H decided that she wanted the floor recovering with laminate flooring. He comes on the 9th March and Mrs H thinks it will only take one day to do. I can’t see it myself, as he is going to put new skirting in as well.
This is beginning to sound a bit like a Big Brother episode! The two fitters came back to finish off the last window board. They were only here about 10 minutes, but Mrs H cheekily managed to get rid of three of the old window blinds. They ‘kindly’ left me a huge length of the window board that was the wrong size, so that’s now something else filling the garage.
Plasterers turned up about half past nine and they seem to be cracking on at a good pace, although I can’t really see what they are doing.
It’s 14:30 and all the plasterboards have been fitted to the roof and walls, and they’ve had two skims plaster, so it looks like they have nearly finished.
They didn’t quite finish today. One of the window boards had been damaged and was too short. So the two lads are coming back in the morning to fit a new piece. The plasterer is also coming tomorrow to do the final insulated plasterboards in the roof. There seems to be quite a bit of plastering to do, but hopefully they should be all done early afternoon.
The issue with the three red wires that had been cut was sorted by the electrician. We have no real idea what happened but it is thought that the initial wiring problem was from when the conservatory was first built. Then when we had new outside lights installed, that particular electrician had not installed the lights properly. He also fixed our problem with the alarm system. We have got his details, as a good electrician that can be trusted, can be hard to find.
They are back again and right on time at 08:30. It’s very wet, so they opted to take the old patio door out. Problem: while cutting the frame, one of them cut through three wires. What is a strange thing is that all three wires are red! The electrician is coming to sort it out.
Tried contacting the alarm company, as we have/had a ‘tremble’ sensor on the door. The alarm company not interested as they did not install the original system. They wanted to charge a huge amount just to come out and look. It was going to be around £200.00 before they did anything so we are thinking just hide the sensor under the plasterwork. The main room sensor picks up movement where the old door was I don’t think we need it.
Mrs H has gone off to get her nails fixed and to get a few things done in Wetherby. That’s going to take a couple of hours at least. I overheard the fitters talking and they seem to think that they will have done all their work by around 15:30. Given how much work they have done this morning, I think that could be right.
Tomorrow, the plasterer is due. I’ll be glad when he’s done his work, as it means we will be able to get into the garage again. It’s always been a bit of a tight squeeze in there anyway, what with all the ‘stuff’ we already have, but now we have all the plaster-board in there ready to be used tomorrow. There is so little space, that I cannot even get to the cup-board where my beer is kept !!!
As I expected, there is still looks to be a bit to do. It’s supposed to be watertight and should be okay for light showers, so fingers crossed. They are back tomorrow morning, and we’re hoping that they get it finished in the morning. I’m not so sure. The roof tiling plates are still in their plastic wrapping and the old patio door is still in place. There’s also the beading that hasn’t even been started yet. Mrs H is having her nails doing tomorrow and we were supposed to be out for lunch. Not holding my breath.
We are expecting the plasterer on Friday and the electrician is due on Monday. Tuesday is the day it all gets signed off, hopefully and then there is just finance agreement to sign. We are paying over three years, which is supposed to be interest free, but as the sales rep said, “nothing is really free” so the interest is probably built into the final cost.
This is the day when our polycarbonate conservatory roof gets replaced with a solid one. It’s all my fault. I should have known when I had ‘the idea‘ that Mrs H would not let it go. It wasn’t as if it was a proper idea. I just said, after seeing the advert on the TV “I wonder how much that would cost?” Never thinking that anything would come of it. Then here we are, three months on and the thing is nearly down. Apart from having a new roof, we are having the windows and door replaced. They reckon that they can take the down and get the new one up and watertight in one day. I’m not so sure, although after two hours, most of it is down.
To cap it all, Mrs H is having a new floor put in too. It’s going to be that laminate flooring that we have upstairs. That wasn’t one of my ideas, in fact I don’t really think it is necessary, but there you go.