Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A little oops

Monday, I called the inspector, and told him that the trenches with the conduit for the electrical, were ready for inspection. He said he would be able to inspect that day. I went out after work, and found he had left my inspection paper for me, indicating that the inspection was passed.

So, I worked on pushing some dirt into the ventilation trench. I wanted to get some dirt in, before I had Adam push a bunch in with the Bobcat. I talked to Adam, and he had Tuesday off. So he said he would come over and push some dirt into the trench so I could get the pipes covered, and he would also push dirt up against the North wall and around the pipes coming out of the house.

In the afternoon on Tuesday, Adam gave me a call. He had moved most of the dirt he could, until we finished filling the ventilation trench. However, there had been a problem. One of the pipes broke near the house! Not good, not good at all. After work, I went out to check on things.

Generator trench all filled in

Vent pipes partially backfilled

 Dirt in the trench, ready for me to spread

The pipe at the top, has a bit of an issue!

I found that it wasn't the pipe that had broken, but the adapter that goes from the 4 inch pipe, to the 3 inch pipe. I scratched my head a bit, on how I was going to connect these back together. I cut end of the 3 inch pipe with what was left of the adapter. That gave me a clean pipe end to work with. Then I saw that the adapter had only gone part way into the fitting. I carefully sawed the end of the fitting off, and took all of the adapter with it. Now I had two clean pipes, how to connect them. I wasn't going to be able to use the same adapter, since it wouldn't bridge the gap that was now present between the two pipes, and I wouldn't have been able to glue it in place without being able to move either pipe. I found that with the ends off various size pipes I had on hand, I could make an adapter that would have a chance of connecting the two pipes.

Marcus came out to lend me a hand, and any advice he could. He helped me cut the pieces I needed. Then I put them together. The fit between two of the pieces was not real good. There was a gap that would have to be filled in. I took it back and looked things over. Marcus did not feel that it was going to work vary well. As I looked at it, I decided that I agreed, this just as not looking like the right way to do this.

Today, I went and bought a different adapter, and a rubber coupling. The adapter went from the 4 inch pipe, to 3 inch pipe. The coupler allowed me to connect the two 3 inch pipes, without having to move them. I put the coupler on the one pipe, then lined it up with the other pipe, and slid the coupler over onto that pipe as well. I tightened the coupler, and it seemed to make a good joint between the two pipes. I now wish I had taken this approach originally.

Top pipe now has a rubber coupler.

To reduce the likely hood that there would be added strain around the pipes, I took some of the sand that was still sitting up on the roof, and brought it down, and packed it around the pipes after I tamped down the dirt that was under them.

Sand packed around fittings and pipes.

After I did that, I worked on getting the dirt smoothed out in the trench, and covering all the pipes.

Pipes are all covered.

Then I started to pull plastic sheeting, and foam pieces out of the house and the woods. I have quite a stock pile of foam and plastic that were cut off other pieces, but which are perfectly usable for in the trench. I read about covering the ventilation pipes with insulation and plastic sheeting, to make the pipes act like they are buried deeper than they are. The whole idea behind these pipes, is that they will moderate air temperatures all year long. To do this, they need ground that is significantly warmer than the air in winter, and significantly cooler than the air in the summer. With the ends of the pipes away from the house ending up only a couple feet underground, the ground will warm up during the summer and get too cold to have much value in the winter. To help isolate the ground around the pipes from the air temperature above ground, I am adding insulation. The plastic will reduce the amount of water that gets down into this soil, which would otherwise help transfer heat from the surface. This should allow the deeper ground temperatures to play a more significant role in the temperature of the pipes. That is the theory any way. If I had to buy new foam and plastic for the trench, I would probably forgo the expense, and just go with the dirt by itself. However, as we used foam for under the slab, in the walls, and on the roof, I kept the scrap pieces back in my woods, and some in the house. I have a large stock of foam pieces that wouldn't work for much else, but can be laid in the trench and then buried. Even if the foam has a minimal effect, it is better than just sending it to a landfill where it would just take up space. The same goes for the plastic that will go in the trench. I am using scraps that have been cut off the plastic that was used for the waterproofing.

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