Sunday, December 13, 2009

Under pressure

Friday, I went out to the property and got setup to try to finish laying the PEX. As I was working on getting a fire started, the building inspector came by. He was there to check on things for the permit to pour the slab for the floor. I talked to him, and answered the few questions he had. He was satisfied that things were in order, and handed me the permit. As he was leaving, Newt and his son Jake showed up. Newt talked to the inspector a bit, then the inpector left. Jake was there to give me a hand finishing up the laying of the PEX (although, taming of the PEX might be more correct). The weather prediction for Monday sounded promising, so we wanted to be ready so the concrete guys could get a slab down, if the weather cooperated.

It was a chilly day, but not near as bad a Thursday had been. Newt ran and got us some lunch, and Jake and I started laying the PEX. Then after a chilly lunch around the fire, Jake and I went back to work with the PEX. Getting the PEX off the rolls, without it tangling up like an overextended Slinky, is a challenge. With two people, it is easier. The bathrooms presented interesting challenges. First, I want to have the floor warmer in them than the rest of the house. So I wanted to place the tubing closer together. This will result in a more even heating, and add more heat for a given area of floor. The challenge was that the tubing wasn't wanting to bend for the wide loops I had been doing, so narrower loops, so that the tubing would end up closer together, were going to be out of the question. I had to use the wide turns, but overlap the run. The master bathroom, looked organized compared to how the guest bathroom turned out.

Not a lot of space for tubing in the master bathroom. Some is going under where the tub will be, on the right side.

No, I did not just throw it down on the floor. But it does look chaotic doesn't it?

The other challenge with the master bathroom, was that it was going to use almost as much PEX getting to and from that room, as I was going to lay in the floor of the room. To try to reduce how much heat I loose to the other parts of the floor, as I get over to the master bathroom, I added some insulation to the PEX. We didn't want to add foam to the PEX, since that would have made it more likely to try to float to the surface when they do the pour. What I did instead, was to put the PEX through PVC conduit. The PVC won't transfer heat as easily as the PEX. So it should reduce the heat lost before the water gets to the master bathroom.

Here you can see a couple sections of the grey PVC conduit with white PEX coming out of it.

Jake and I manage to finish laying the PEX. We were pretty chilly so we called it a day. Had I known how Sunday would turn out, I would have done some more work out there after Jake left. Here is how we left things on Friday:

All the PEX laid, now we need to pressure test it.

Sunday (today), my dad and I came to the property to pressure test the PEX. I wanted to make sure there were no leaks, before they tried to pour the concrete. Unfortunitly, with other obligations, it was late afternoon before we could start hooking all the loops together. We had a fair amount of rain overnight, and earlier today, and everything was soaked. But at least temperatures were moderate. I put a plug in the end of one loop, then we went from loop to loop, and connected them all together as one long loop. By the time we finished that, it was dark. I turned on the headlights on the truck, and we kept working. We got the pressure test fittings connected on (we put those together Saturday night, wait till Newt sees what we put together). Then it was time to cross our fingers, and pressurize the system with air. I had bought a little compressor, for filling tires. It worked reasonably well to get the system up to a little over 20 PSI. Then we used the air that dad had stored in his compressor back home, and boosted the pressure some more. It was at about 25 PSI and was holding pressure. I decided that I would come back after we had some supper, and see if it was holding. If it wasn't holding, there was nothing we would be able to do, and the pour would probably have to wait. When I came back after dinner, about an hour later, it still had the same pressure. So it looks like it is holding. So if the weather is OK, and the contractor is available, we should be able to pour a floor tomorrow.

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