Hopefully, by learning from our mistakes, this will be useful for any new Rayburn owner. I’m going to record here what we learn; tips and tricks we find out and things that go wrong with using the Rayburn. This starts at the very beginning.
The first day. Chris thought I was being silly, but as an important event in the history of the house, I recorded the first lighting of the Rayburn on video camera! I was a bit annoyed actually that at about 11am on Friday the plumber went ahead and was the first person to light it – I wanted to have the honour! And he said he’d never done it before without firelighters – well that just proved that I am the real firestarter – I never need firelighters. (Great Girl Guide camps have come in useful). Anyway, I got over my little grievance and spent the afternoon feeding the flames and waiting for the house to warm up. Nothing happened for a while – the pipes coming out of the Rayburn were really hot, but it wasn’t reaching any of the radiators. This is when the pump proved invaluable. The system is gravity fed and I got the impression that the plumber thought it would be enough, but fortunately, there was a pump that had been used with the previous oil boiler. As soon as we put it on the radiators started to warm up.
I spent the whole of Friday reading the instructions over and over and over again. If you have a second hand Rayburn, you can read and I suppose print all user and installation guides on www.rayburn-web.co.uk. It does feel a bit like learning a new language though. The instructions really aren’t the best – but then instructions never are I suppose. Instead of explaining what each lever, knob and dial does; these things are mentioned throughout the leaflet, and you have to keep flicking back to the labelled picture to find out what it is talking about. It doesn’t help that the parts all sound similar eg Flue chamber door; Flue chamber damper and cooker/boiler damper.
So we kept the Rayburn running at the highest heat possible to get the whole system hot and the house could start to warm up. I can tell you it was amazing to feel all the radiators begin to warm up – and then the rooms as well! At 1pm I cooked Chris’s lunch-time toast in a toasting rack on the hob and it took 15 minutes. By about 5pm the cooker temperature gauge reached ‘roast’ and the living room was the same temperature that the oil-filled radiator kept the room. The kitchen was warmer though and the heavy velvet curtains that were separating the rooms and had been kept shut to keep the warmth in the living room, we are now keeping open. It’s weird sitting on the settee and being able to see into the kitchen again!
All afternoon and evening the boiler thermostat was at 8 – the highest setting; the spinwheel almost completely open and the flue chamber damper about half way.
We felt warmer than normal, but are still hoping that once the walls of the house have warmed up, we’ll be able to get it hotter. At 11pm it suddenly cooled down, despite the firebox being kept stoked and the draw seemingly ok. We have no idea why this happened. We got through 4 full Ikea bags of wood. This is pretty scary, but everyone warned us!
Then, not long after midnight we followed the instructions to bank it down for the night. So we emptied the ash tray; changed the boiler thermostat to 1; closed the spinwheel and the flue chamber damper; turned the flue dilution lever to the right and filled up the firebox to hopefully last the night.