Monday, December 7, 2009

3 days of fire, zip ties, and PEX

Well, its been a fun three days.


I loaded up the PEX in the truck and headed to the property. Newt met me out there, and we got a fire going, from some of the lumber waste from making the concrete forms in the garage, and from some dead wood on the property. It ended up being a smoky fire, but it did help take the chill off to occasionally stop and lean over it. I had gotten some marking done Friday night, but it wasn't much as you can see, and the lines for the walls hadn't turned out all that well.

I had just a few lines.

With Newt's help, we got all the walls marked out, marked where the doors would go, and finished marking things where I didn't want to run the PEX under. Then we started our battle with the PEX. First we put a board up, that we could attach the ends to. This is in the utility room, and it is where the PEX will get connected to all the valves, pumps, and the manifolds for the distribution system. Then we started with the PEX for the office. While Newt unrolled the PEX, I followed my diagram, and used zip ties to attach the PEX to the wire mesh that the concrete guys had layed out.

The office is in the top center, and has the white PEX looping back and fort on the floor.

The PEX was very stiff, and kept wanting to twist up on us. After we got the office done, we decided to continue on with the family room. The family room has two loops of PEX. Its layout was quite a bit more complicated than the office. As we went, we were learning how to get the PEX to cooperate better. By mid afternoon, we had the family room done.

 Office, and family room now have PEX.

From another angle.

Here, you can see where we are attaching the supply and return for each loop, to our board.

We both had commitments elsewhere for the evening, so we called it a day, as far as the PEX was concerned.


I went back out to the property Sunday afternoon, as the weather was good, and I wanted to get some more of the PEX layed. It was slower with only one person to both attach the PEX, and to try to manage the unrully roll of PEX. But I managed to get one of the loops in the kitchen almost done before dark. At least working down in the excavation, I was sheltered from the wind, so it wasn't as cold as it might have been.


Today was an adventure. We had just a skim of snow, but it froze into a sheet of ice in places. I made good use of the 4 wheel drive on the truck this morning. I ended up taking a detour since people were sliding off the road on my usual route to the property. On my detour, I saw a few incidents where someone was definitely driving too fast for conditions. I took it slow, so it took me a while to get to the property. The snow did offer nice views.

 Foam forms, and my Mt. Fuji of gravel

I decided I wanted a fire, since I knew I was going to get damp today with the snow covering the floor, and the PEX. It took a bit, but I managed to get a nice little fire going. I used it quite often today to try to dry out my gloves, and to keep my hands warm.

I worked most of the day by myself. It was slower going, as I was battling the PEX roll, trying to do zip ties, with the gloves on, and trying to get the cold PEX to bend into the loops I wanted. I was also stopping regularly to try to dry out the gloves. I managed to finish the loops in the kitchen and start the loop for the guest bedroom. Newt was able to escape from meetings in the afternoon, and came out. With his help, we finished up the guest bedroom, and got one of the two loops done for the master bedroom. That finished off the roll of red PEX. I am estimating I have between 10 and 12 feet left. That was cutting it close. We must have layed it down pretty close to the plan, I was supposed to have 21 feet left, and that wasn't counting the lengths that we are leaving at the board.

Here is what it looked like, before we started on the master bedroom.

We still have 4 loops. The second loop in the master bedroom, the loop in the hobby room, and the two that will probably be the most challenging, the ones in the bathrooms. The bathrooms will be challenging, because I want to place the tubing closer together to provide more heat in a given area of floor. But the rooms are small, and the PEX is proving quite obstinate in how it wants to bend. So I am going to look over the plan, and come up with a different way to arange the PEX for those two rooms.

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