Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A breath of fresh air and mom is rolling!

Well, I have been getting a lot of help lately, and spending some long evenings working on the house. So not a lot of time to write. Last weekend, I went with the family to celebrate my grandfather's 90th birthday. Hmmm, I didn't think we actually had any Hobbit in the family tree, but...

Two weekends ago, we spent quite a bit of time working on the house. One thing we did was test my ventilation pipes. It was quite hot even early in the day, but I was pleased with the way the house was behaving temperature wise. I bought a dehumidifier though, because parts of the floor have been staying cool enough to condense water, and at times other things in the house are wet to the touch. I have been running the dehumidifier, and one that I borrowed from dad whenever the generator is running. The other thing that will help with the moisture, is to be able to run air through my vent pipes, and have them bring in fresh air, with some humidity removed. We set up a box fan over the vent pipes, and just ran an extension cord out to test the setup.

We had a thunderstorm roll through in the afternoon, so we only got to test it for an hour or two in the morning, but it seemed to work well. The air temperature inside has been hovering around 75 or so. The inside of the roof is getting up to around 80 in the afternoons, and the floor is staying down at between 72 and 75. The cooler spots on the floor are condensing water out of the air. While I had the ventilation running, the air outside was in the mid 80s as I recall, and the air coming into the house, was about 71. This was definitely below the outside dew point, so the air had to have condensed some water in the pipes, but I couldn't see that. I did some further planning for how the ventilation system will work, while I rode for about 20 hours last weekend. I am going to set up a cooling/heating coil in the air handler. That will let me either take warmth from the incoming air, and add it to the floor to cool the air further and condense out more moisture, and warm the floor above the dew point, or I can take heat from my radiant system and warm up the incoming air in the winter.

I am hoping that we can have the real ventilation house set up soon, so I can bring in fresh air much easier.

Dad and I started working on the gas piping. Once again, the steel roof and joists present a challenge. The joists are not spaced wide enough, or tall enough to let us slide pipe up through the center of the spans, so we have to run the gas pipe and the ventilation pipes along the ends of the joists where we have some room to work. Dad spent a fair amount of time working out the heights of the supports and getting them up. He had to cut through the foam on the underside of the roof deck so he could put in the supports. It is requiring working in some tight quarters and I think he is very glad he got a hard hat.

I helped dad at times with the supports, but when he didn't need a second set of hands, I worked on installing boxes for the electrical work.

Mom had asked me if there were things she could help with. Some opportunities presented themselves. I had been concerned that the utility room may have moisture problems from time to time after the house is built. I checked on the price of drywall that doesn't use paper, and is mold/mildew resistant. It was quite a bit more expensive than standard drywall. Dad and I discussed it, and we came up with an alternative, that had some other advantages as well. Why not use half inch plywood, and paint all the sides and edges with a sealant so that it would be resistant to moisture damage? I checked, and I could get the plywood for the same price as the mold resistant drywall. The plywood had other advantages for the utility room. I will have equipment that needs to be hung on the walls. With the plywood, I don't have to look for studs when I go to hang the equipment. The plywood should be able to hold a lot of weight anywhere I need to attach to it. The result of this design change, is that I had a job that needed to be done, which I thought would work well for mom. Mom has been painting the plywood sheets. It isn't difficult, but it is time consuming. So she has been saving me a lot of hours that I can then use working on things I need to be involved with. We get mom set up with a roller, and a bucket of paint, and she gives the boards a proper treatment.

Another thing that mom and Matt have been helping with, is caulking under the baseboard supports. Along the outside walls, I want to make sure that moisture doesn't come up through the concrete, or between the concrete and foam, and build up under the supports. So, I have been running caulk between the concrete and the plywood. Here again, not difficult, and easy enough to demonstrate what I need to someone else, so they can help me. We sweep and vacuum around the boards, then lay down a thick bead of caulk to seal things up.

We have also been working on getting the generator wiring finished. We have been getting the wires connected to the propane generator, and setting up a panel inside for temporary electrical service. The propane company is coming on Thursday to install my tank, and the generator will then be usable. With the generator hooked up to outlets inside, I will be able to flip a switch, and have plenty of power for lights and tools. I won't have to drag the gasoline generator outside, and fill the gas tank, and pull start it. If the weather is bad, I won't have to worry about keeping the generator protected. That will be nice. I will have to get some pictures to show the setup. We have been working outside till after dark, so it hasn't given me the opportunity to get good pictures.

My "lawn" has been growing quite well around the generator. To get ready for the propane tank to be installed, I had to knock down the plants so they will be able to see what they are doing when they install the tank. I started off with a battery powered trimmer, which worked fairly well, especially given how heavy the stems are. Then I finish with my manual cutting tool.

That was a good workout this evening. Well, hopefully when I write next, I will have news that the propane generator is helping me work faster and easier.

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