Sunday, July 10, 2011

The drill's revenge!

Friday and Saturday were quite productive. Friday evening, Matt came up, and helped me work on some piping. First we worked on the pipes going through the garage wall. A long time ago, holes were arranged to go through the concrete garage wall for certain pipes that needed to get to the outside. I am finally putting those pipes in, and getting them ready for their intended purposes. I debated how to support these pipes. On the outside, they run through the Hardie panel, but on the inside, there was just a large hole. I decided to just use some of the Trex scraps I had laying around, to keep space held between the pipes as I sprayed foam in and around them. I also filled the pipe that went through the wall that I decided not to use. There are also two cables that you can see. Those go to the outside garage lights.

The three pipes will carry four things. One will be a vent for the battery box for my power system. It will allow hydrogen gas to exit the house and disperse, rather than building up in the battery enclosure and causing a risk for explosion. One will carry the propane line into the house, and also provide a conduit for a ground line to get outside and to a ground rod. The last one will be the air intake for the water heater. The outsides need to be finished, they currently just have fittings pushed on the ends to keep weather out.

Matt and I also worked on getting the radon vent run started. This goes out one of the vents under the overhang. This needed to transition from black corrugated plastic drain tile, to PVC pipe. It will have condensation in it, so it also needs to go through solid PVC pipe to get to the vent, so that any condensation can drain. This required a hodge podge of adapters, and some inventive sealing techniques. The drain tile fittings don't seal to it. They just direct water flow. This is a radon vent, so I needed to seal it up good. The spray foam I have used in various places, such as around the windows and other penetrations through the wall, is supposed to provide an air barrier. This pipe won't be under any real pressure, so I used some of the foam inside the fitting, and around it to seal it up. Then I sealed the top end of it to the PVC pipe with caulk in that junction. It made for an interesting site.

The adapter that I could get, went from the black corrugated pipe to 3" PVC. Since I didn't have any PVC that would normally be used for drain pipe in a 3" size, I used some of the gray conduit. It should be completely overkill, but I had it on hand. Then at the top I transitioned through another fitting to 2" pipe which will run over to the vent pipe.

I had to angle the pipe over rather than run it vertically since if it ran straight up, it was going to run into a joist. The other option would have been to use a couple fittings to shift the pipe over. In this case though, since the connection on the bottom wasn't real ridged, it seemed more sensible to just tilt the pipe a little. If it was a vertical and solid PVC connection at the floor, I wouldn't do it this way.

Then I went home and got to bed. Adam and I were going to start early on Saturday so we could get some good work done before it got too hot.

We got a couple layers put on, and then I put in the tie back.

While I worked on the tie back, Adam did a little sculpting on the dirt at the end of the first retaining wall. He smoothed it out, so it wasn't a sudden drop. He left some of what he removed, up at the top to fill in as it starts to settle.

Things were a little muddy in places. The closest weather station reported almost 3/4 inch of rain on Friday morning. By the way, there was no sign of a leak Friday evening. I am just shaking my head pondering this.

Back to retaining wall construction. Adam and I continued to stack ties and pin them to one another. Then the drill decided to take another victim, it tried to do Adam in, and instead took out itself! Dad had a couple run ins with this drill. It has a lot of power, and a can rip itself out of your hands if the bit gets stuck. It has a lock that allows you to pull the trigger, and lock the drill on. Adam and I agree this is a bad feature on a drill this powerful. If I let go of the drill, it should just stop. Well, it got stuck in one of the ties, and Adam didn't realize he had pushed the lock. He got hit in the head by the drill (not sure what part of it hit him, he seemed OK after a minute). He had let go as it got away from him, but it sat there and spun, till it broke its own power cord! Well at least that stopped it. Adam had some crimp connectors in the truck, and I got the electrical tape. We spliced the power cord, and continued working. After that, most of the time then I held on to the plug while he was drilling so if need be, I could pull the plug, literally. We got a couple more layers on and backfilled before we called it a day on the retaining wall.

I did some more work in the afternoon. I was trying to get the Trex trim sealed to the windows, so that there would be less chance of bugs finding a gap where they could build a nice protected nest. I didn't have quite enough caulk though, so I had to get more today to finish the job. I am hoping that this week we might be able to get the walls finished up. We certainly should be able to finish the one we are working on right now, but I am not sure how long it will take to do the ones by the garage. I am expecting them to be shorter in both height and length, so they should take less time.

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