Using permaculture ethics & design principles to transform an old energy guzzling bungalow into a showcase of sustainable design. It's about energy cycling, building community, self-reliance,creatively using & reusing materials... all without spending heaps of money.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Roof top maintenance

Principle 6: Produce no waste

An important element to the principle of produce no waste is regular maintenance. Often maintenance is left too late and requires major work or replacement. If done on a timely basis it's not a big job at all.

The reason I went up onto the roof in the first place was to investigate a bird that was stuck in our chimney. On investigation I discovered that the the bird was stuck at the base of the chimney, not nesting at the top, which was my original thought. When I lifted the flue from the stove top two Indian Myna birds took off and flew about our living room, giving us all a bit of a fright. It had been over two years that we had moved in and this was the first time that this had occurred, I decided to leave the top of the flue uncovered figuring the chance of reoccurence slim.

When on the roof I noticed that the Solar PV Panels needed a clean, so I did so. I decided that this should be part of my 6 monthly maintenance regime, which includes termite inspections - made around the equinox each year.

Cleaning solar PV panels, you can see one in the middle that I missed
Cleaning flat plate solar hot water panels, the first time in two years.
 I'd known for a long time that I needed to do something about the lagging on the hot water system. I could see that the foam was deteriorating in the sun. On closer inspection I realised that is was much worse than I thought. This would take more than a coat of UV paint to maintain.

Lagging on our hot water system pipes was deteriorating from sun damage

Solar hot water system pipes left uncovered and exposed to the elements
Some underfloor insulation material left over would be suitable for the job of re-lagging the pipes. I used heavy duty tape to wrap it up, and painted the lot with acrylic paint, for UV protection. I'm hoping that this will last up to ten years, but will have to keep my eye on it.
I'd read in ReNew magazine about the wiring box for the heating element on the hot water tank being uninsulated. We are not using our heating element so I used some left over wool to fill the void and insulate the tank further. I also fitted the end covers that came with the system, helping to further protect the exposed pipework.

Left over underfloor insulation taped around water pipes to protect and further insulate

Pipes re-lagged. Small tank to the left is the expansion tank for the wetback (wood fired hot water heating).
The wiring box for the heating element of the hot water tank, which is unused, was filled with wool to insulate the tank.

End cover for water tank fitted, pipes re-lagged and painted for UV protection.
Just a day after having removed the birds from the flue we discovered another bird within the outer casing of the stove itself - it was probably there the whole time. It was stuck in the lower soot tray and took a bit of gentle persuasion to get out, alive but a well blackened blackbird. It did a great job off cleaning the soot out from around the firebox, but I decided to cover the flue with mesh to prevent further bird entries.

Wire over stove flue to prevent bird entry

3 comments:

plumbing fittings said...

Roof damage is a major source of property loss each year when buildings are subjected to high winds, wind-driven rain, hail, ice and snow, and wildfires. Local contractor or maintenance worker can perform most of the inspections and repairs that are necessary to keep rooftop equipment in good working order, it is important to inspect the equipment after the work is done to make sure all screws, cables, and cable straps are tightened and back in place.

Otis Kunkle said...

You’ve had a very productive day, my friend! It’s great that you took the time to cleaning your roof. It really is, important for you to clean them every once in a while to bring back its natural beauty and most of all to maintain its durability. Good job with the cleaning!

Otis  Kunkle

Lino Kosters said...

Good job on doing maintenance work on your roof, Richard. Many sometimes neglect their responsibility to keep their roof in mint condition and are left dumbfounded when problems arise. Covering your flue with a mesh is an effective way to prevent birds from nesting in it. Your hot water pipes definitely needed replacement, which is what you did accordingly. Just be careful when you're up on the roof though. :)



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