Sod’s Law In Operation

Sod’s law, a British culture axiom, states that “if something can go wrong, it will”. The law sometimes has a corollary: that the misfortune will happen at “the worst possible time”

Before the man came to fix the heating yesterday, it started working again. Despite the freezing conditions, we had to turn it off so that the pipes were not too hot for him when he turned up.

It is so typical that you call someone out to fix something, then that thing works before they arrive. Then it is more difficult for them to diagnose any faults.

Like taking a car to a mechanic because you can hear a grinding noise. A noise that immediately disappears as soon as you arrive at the workshop. Only to start grindng again as you drive home.

The young man turned up as promised, and got to work. He stripped down the thermostat, tested all the electrical connections, and declared it was working perfectly. Testing it in front of me, he showed how it was turning on and off exactly as it should. Then he tested all the electrical connections to the various pumps, valves, and micro-switches. They were all performing perfectly.

Our system operates on a 3-way valve. That decides on whether to heat both the hot water and central heating, hot water only, or heating only. The valve is given information from thermostats on the water tank, and the room stat. The fact that we were getting both hot water and heat indicated that it was working just as it should. More electrical testing of the valve connections confirmed this.

The engineer had nothing to repair. Before leaving, his only suggestion was that the 3-way valve might need replacing if the problem happened again. He asked for a very small payment, as he felt he had done little work to justify any more than that. When he left, the house was lovely and warm, and we turned the heat off before bedtime as usual.

This morning, I woke up to a very cold house, with the outside temperature well below freezing. I turned on our heating system just after 8am, trusting that it had been fully tested, and would work perfectly.

One hour later, the radiators are still stone cold, and my fingers are cold as I type this.

It won’t be long before I have to light the wood-burner, and then make a call to the same man to suggest replacement of the 3-way valve.

55 thoughts on “Sod’s Law In Operation

      1. Oh no! I’m so sorry, Pete. When it rains it pours. I hope Julie isn’t too sick. Covid can be asymptomatic, or the opposite. No wonder no one will come to the house to fix anything. My best to Julie!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is still ‘erratic’, Sue. I turned it on early this morning, but it refused to fire up until after midday. I had to use the log-burner for five hours. The repair man is now trying to get a part for the 3-way valve. Fingers crossed we get that fitted before Christmas. (And that it solves the problem.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, “it refused to fire up until after midday” surely has to be the issue…isn’t that the second day of late firing? And what would cause the delay in starting to fire, would be my query…..

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I mentioned this to Sam and he said maybe it’s due to the boiler’s intermittent failure to ignite. We had that problem years ago in a previous house. We could ignite that one ourselves, but not sure that you can do that with the newer boilers?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The boiler seems to be working well, as there is plenty of hot water. There is also no red light on the boiler indicating any issue, which has happened in the past. I am running out of ideas about what the problem could be now. This morning, it failed to heat the radiators again, so I lit the wood-burner. Now the heating has started to work at 12:40pm, and I had to turn it down! I am really getting fed up with it, as the weather here is still freezing cold.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This got me thinking about dental issues. Whenever my wife and I have what we think is a problem when it comes to that, it never seems to fail that after we make an appointment the issue goes away for a while. However, we’ve learned over the years to follow our instincts and keep the appointments. It almost always turns out to be something that needs intervention. Yay for the wood burning stove, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are lucky to have invested in the wood-burner in 2015, Robbie. We got that in case of power cuts, as the heating pump would not work if there was no electricity. Now we are depending on it for a different reason.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We don’t have central heating here, but we had a problem with the gas boiler a few months back, and it was a nightmare because it would work intermittently and then stop again. Eventually, after everything had been tried and it had stopped working completely, we had to have it replaced, but it sounds as if yours might be a smaller thing. Fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. His wife works with my wife, Don. We hadn’t used him before as he has only recently become self-employed. But we will use him again, for sure. He didn’t want to charge us to replace the thermostat, as he said it tested as fully working. But we will have to have him back now, to try to get to the root of the problem. I actually gave him £10 more than he asked for, as his bill was ridiculously low.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m trying to smile about it, FR. The heating actually fired up, but not until just after midday. So I have had to let the fire die down, because both is too much. It’s a mystery worthy of Sherlock Holmes!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One day it will be case of replacing us instead.
    My current ordeal. . . I ask 2 in the street (both owned by same landlord, the govt) if they can trim the Privet hedge as itis doing our breathing bad. No probs. But contractor comes and does just one neighbour. When asked why the other side of the hedge wasn’t done . . .
    “I’m sure we’ll get a job sheet for that”.

    Liked by 1 person

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