Monday, August 29, 2011

How does your roof grow?

Well, quite a bit has been going on, and it has been difficult to find time to write. Tonight it is quite late, and I will be brief with the words and let the pictures tell the stories (for the most part).

Garage doors ready for the drywall to be put up around them.

Work continues on gas pipe, baseboard supports, plumbing and electrical. Water supply stubs are mounted in the guest bathroom.

The big purchase items are my water tank, and I have also bought all my kitchen cabinets now. The big work item that I have been working on the last few days is finishing the roof covering. 50 cubic yards of dirt moved onto the roof (in addition to the bags that were already there) moved mostly with help from Adam, Danny and Tony. 20 pounds of rye seed. A few hundred gallons of water with more to come.


 Darn, broke the Bobcat again!

 Almost enough...
Left over dirt bags finish the job.
 Water tank
 Rye seed mix for roof and slopes
 Some rain that had come through had put a crust on part of the soil, so I broke it up, so the rye will hopefully sprout better.

 Straw mats for the steep slopes
Watering the roof

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Moving the earth

A good weekend, but not much new to report. We continued with the gas lines in the house. Mom finished painting all the pieces that needed paint (for now). We finished up the two doors into the garage, I just have to clean up the spray foam insulation that I used to seal around them. Adam came over on Friday night to see if he could roll his Bobcat over....yes we moved a little dirt, and Adam scared himself a couple times. He filled in the trench where my ventilation drainage is, then we worked on getting the slopes around the retaining walls, filled back up to the roof line. There are a few places that are still very steep, and Adam had one time where he pretty much stood the Bobcat on its hind wheels. I need to find some good ground cover plants, and get them established on those slopes before the weeds come back.

I am hoping in a couple weeks to have some late evening parties, moving top soil onto my roof. It is also about time to get my drywall ordered.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Baked wasp, and a sleepover

Sunday afternoon, I went out to the house, with my mom and dad. Before I started the generator, I checked the oil. That was fine, but what was this thing sitting in the generator case?

Mmmmm, backed mud wasp! I think they made the nest on the muffler. When I ran the generator, it cooked the nest. I suspect they had died in the nest before I ran the generator. I doubt they would have stayed in the generator as it roared to life, and heated up their nest.

We had hauled out the parts for the ventilation house which had not been primed yet, out to the house to let mom give them a proper priming. We set mom up with those, and she continued working on priming boards for the utility room, and on getting these new pieces ready to assemble.

Dad and I checked the pressure on the gas pipe. It was still holding the full pressure we had put in. So it looks like that section is well sealed. We had put in 30 psi, and that should be more than 60 times the pressure it will have when the propane is flowing in it. We worked with the fittings we had on hand, and made note of the next fittings we were going to need, and lengths of the next pieces of pipe to get.

When we stopped for supper, we set up a little picnic in the family room and had a nice little meal, just the three of us.

We continued on into the evening, and dad and I got some more of the panels up in the utility room.

We left the wall section open, where the inspector will have to be able to see the plumbing.

This wall, is where my equipment for the radiant floor will be mounted.

As it got late, mom and dad said their goodbyes, and headed home. I continued for a little while, with mounting some more electrical boxes, and then I set up my bedroom.

I will have to try a better option for a bed. This works fine to stretch out on when you want to take a breather from work, but is not conducive to a good night's sleep. I also had a cricket in the garage, who decided to go into continuous chirp mode around 1am. What a racket! I got some rest, and I was able to get an early start on Monday, but I am not sure whether it was fully worth it. One of the big advantages, was that I left the generator, and the dehumidifiers running overnight. So I got a lot more moisture removed from inside.

I got some more electrical work done, and figured out some electrical boxes I needed to get. Around 10 Monday morning Matt got out there. He helped me and we put some more flashing sealant around the roof box cap edges. I think it is very well sealed to the lower part now. Then I tried to work on sealing up the inside of the roof box. I had a can of spray foam, but with everything in the way, I had to ask Matt to tell me if I had the nozzle pointed where I wanted it. DO NOT use spray polyurethane foam overhead, when you can't see what you are doing! Also, always where rubber gloves when working with that stuff. I spent an hour trying to clean if off of my hands and arms. I even managed to get some in my hair. No, there are no photos of that, so don't ask.

Later in the day, after we got back from lunch, I decided to use a different tactic. I just went ahead and started covering the edges of the hole at the bottom of the roof box, and as the foam stiffened, I added another layer. I continued this working my way in to the center to completely seal up the bottom of the box. It is ugly, and looks like something from a B grade horror movie, but the technique seems to have been effective. I finished that up tonight.

The large pipe on the left, is the vent for the septic. The pipe in the middle, near where the metal joist work crosses, is the pipe that will be the exhaust for the water heater. On the right, not easy to see since the end is covered with a bag to keep it clean, is the dryer vent pipe.

Matt and I were getting set to cut some boards for the utility room, when dad and mom showed up. Matt and I had laid out the next set of utility room boards for mom, so we got her some fresh primer, and she started rolling. With three of us there (dad, Matt and I) we decided to start getting the doors into the garage installed. We started with the double doors from the utility room. We had never unpacked these, so we moved them over into the utility room, and started figuring out which way they would have to go. We debated whether they should swing into the garage or into the utility room. Since there were moldings on the one side, we decided that those really would have to be able to go against the studs on the utility room side. So the doors would swing out into the garage. As we were discussing things about the install, I kept looking at the doors, and at the opening. The opening didn't look big enough. We checked what the packaging said the opening should be, and we measured the opening, and it was a couple inches too short! We thought, maybe the door will fit in if we put it in turned one way or the other. We took off the packaging, and measure the smallest hight, and nope, it was not going to fit. We had to modify the framing to make it fit. 5 pieces of 2 x 6 had been attached together over this door. With this being a non load bearing wall, there was no way all that was needed, so we remove a couple of them, and then the door would fit. About half an hour to 45 minutes wasted in that effort. But we managed to get them in.

 Looking from the garage.
And, from inside the utility room.

This will help reduce the amount of air and humidity that flows into the rest of the house, when we open the garage door, and it gets a large item out of the way, so we don't have to move it, or work around it now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Real power, what a gas

Thursday morning started early. I met the gentleman from the propane company, and we discussed where the propane tank would go, and hook up to the generator and the house.

The connection to the house isn't in yet since I didn't have the gas piping ready to go. However, I now have propane supplying the generator, and can start and stop it from inside the house.

First, a view inside the generator. Making the electrical connections was a little challenging with where they have protective shields that can't be removed without tearing apart a lot of parts.

Without removing the gas piping, and parts associated with it, you are not going to get a lot of room to get to the electrical wiring. We had times where we had to work by touch. Getting the battery in there was also a challenge. You have to turn it and tilt it just right to get it past the little plastic nubs at the bottom, and miss hitting a metal plate supporting other parts. I am going to have to remove it from the generator to check the battery acid. I think this could have been designed better so there was more access.

 The engine compartment, is also a challenge. They made it easy to check the oil and add to it. But that is about the only thing they made easy to access. I will have to take out quite a few fasteners to get panels off that will allow me to do things like change the oil filter.
 Oh, remember how my dad had to switch the gas piping around, so the battery would fit. Well, after that change, one of the panels that protects the gas line, could not be put back in. See it leaning up against the Z shaped gas line?
I worked at taking a couple panels out before I really ran the generator for any time, just to see what was going to be involved. It turns out, it is a good thing I did. This wasp nest might have caught fire if I ran the generator for very long. This is a heat shield/deflector that sits right over the end of the exhaust pipe.

So as for the propane install. Here is my tank:
500 gallons, which means it gets filled with 400. It came with 25 gallons in it, for testing purposes.
They trenched from where the pipe from the retaining wall came out of the backfill, down to the tank.

They trenched from in back of the generator over to the tank.
 They dug a hole to put the tank into.
There is a low pressure regulator over near the generator, with a valve so I can shut off gas to the generator, without having to shut it off to the house.
The hole for the tank is dug, and there is sand in the bottom to support the tank.
 The tank is put in the hole, and they get it level.
Then a high pressure regulator is put on the tank. This takes the pressure from the tank, and reduces it down to a lower pressure. Still quite a bit more pressure than what goes to the generator or the house, but much less than what is coming out of the tank.
They put a protective shroud over the tank fittings and pipes, then they cover the tank with sand, before they fill the hole with dirt.
All the fittings were tested for leaks. First with a solution that was sprayed on the fittings to see if there was any gas escaping, which would have made bubbles. Then he put on a pressure gauge, and after shutting off the supply, he made sure the pressure did not drop. Everything checked out.

I started the generator, and it started right up. After a couple tests, I shut it down. In the afternoon, they filled my tank. So that evening I was able to run things off of the propane generator. Here I am recharging a couple battery packs while we are working. The light switch in the middle, turns the generator on and off.

Mom, dad and Matt came out, and we worked on getting more plywood painted for the utility room, running gas pipe, and some cleanup.

Yesterday, work started early. I had a couple things I wanted to take care of outside, and I new it was going to be hot sweaty work. I wanted to get the vent drainage trench finished to the point where it was ready for Adam to come and back fill it. I also wanted to get some dirt added to the back edge of the house, where the ground has settled. I had the fresh dirt that was excess from burying the propane tank that I had them leave on the back side of the house. At least it was fairly close to where I needed to put it.

For the vent drainage, I had to dig further toward the vent pipes to get to the gravel around the vent pipes. I seem to have finally gotten to the gravel bed, and so then I laid PVC drain pipe in the trench. I had some gravel in the trench, and I added some more around the pipe. Then I put down filter fabric to keep the dirt from washing down into the gravel and the pipe. After that I put some more gravel on top to hold it in place. I also took a piece of drain tile, and used that to finish the drain.

Then I hauled dirt up from the pile they left me, and covered where it had settled along the back edge.

After that work yesterday morning, my clothes went "squish" when I sat down. I drank a lot of water during and after that work.

In the afternoon, I took a picture of the inside of the breaker box.
I got the last two pieces of baseboard support up, so that is ready for caulking. When I powered up the miter saw to cut the one piece, it spun up with no trouble. With the smaller generator, it always struggled to get started. It may have even spun up faster than when it is at my dad's house. I started to mark out where the light switches will go in the various rooms.

Mom and dad came out. I set up mom for more painting. Then dad and I worked on a pressure test of the gas pipe we currently have up. After we got that set up, we worked on mounting the first plywood sheet in the utility room.

I need to finish screwing it to the wall, but that will be work to continue with tomorrow and Monday. The pressure held in the gas pipe, so we will also continue with that work.