Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Superviser comes for an inspection

The last couple weeks have been quite busy at the house. We have made some very good progress. Erin came out to inspect the work.

She worked on re-stacking scrap blocks of wood and Trex, and felt that the proper safety gear was required (even if a little too big to fit).

We have worked to get the plumbing finished. This required connecting and insulating all the water lines. That was a little involved, but we finished it.

There were quite a few pieces to put together to get all the rest of the system functioning.

Last Wednesday, Matt came out to help me, and we fired up the water heater for the first time. It took a little bit of time to get it to start, since the lines in the house still had air and not propane in them. When it eventually started, it made a sputtering gurgling sound as it finally got fuel. Then it heated a tank of water very quickly. We had hot water that day from the one spigot in the garage, and still had warm water in the tank the next morning. I only fired it the once so far.

Jason, the plumber I am working with, came out, and looked over the plumbing and had a couple recommendations for addressing a couple minor leaks we were having. Then he looked over what needed to be done to get ready for the inspection. Matt and I worked on getting concrete broken out around the openings for the bathtub drains. The holes that had been left were too small to work in. Jason brought a hammer drill back the next morning. He was able to break out more concrete, and made adjustments to the concrete around the toilet flanges, so they could sit down properly.

We thought we were ready, and Jason gave the inspector a call to get an inspection later in the morning. I thought by lunch last Thursday I would have a checked off plumbing inspection. However, when we started trying to pressurize the drain system for the test, we couldn't get it to hold any pressure. The needle on the gauge just sat on 0! I started going around listening for leaks where the pipes came out of the floor. Then I heard a hissing from withing the utility room wall by the garage and hallway. This was not good at all. We could almost feel the air coming out of the floor. Since we weren't getting air from any other place that we could identify, we figured that the leak had to be close to where we heard it, but how would we get to it to fix it. The one answer was to jack hammer a hole close to where we believed it was leaking, and hope we could get into a position to be able to patch it. Since I have hydronic tubing running through the floor in the hall, and the utility room, we decide to try to break a hole in the corner of the garage. Marcus had found a company that would seal broken pipes, from inside the pipe, but the cost was pretty high. We decided to try the jack hammer route.

Jason sent over a couple guys and they started by drilling a series of holes to minimize the likelihood of cracking the slab beyond where we wanted the hole.

I hung a plastic drop cloth up to contain most of the dust. They broke out an area in the corner, and we pulled out the insulation. We could see a part of the pipe, and there was a hole right in the side of it. We think that sometime after my original drain inspection, someone hit the pipe maybe with a shovel while they were working and chipped it.

Keith and Jamie went to get some Quickrete to fill the hole. Jason was't going to be able to come out for a while. So I waited, and watched the snow fall.

Jason showed up and took a look at the hole. He had been expecting a chunk of the pipe would be missing, and we would have to rejoin it with a rubber fitting. The same type I had used on the pipes behind the house when I had problems there. However, this was a small hole, and he didn't really have room to put in a rubber fitting. I haven't been throwing much of any pieces of anything away, unless they are really trashed. I found I had a fitting I had not used, in the right size, and he cut a patch out of the end of the fitting, and glued it onto the side of the pipe, over the hole. Then we waited. We wanted to test it before we buried it, but the glue had to set up properly before we put pressure on it. I showed the guys around the house, and we talked about the various issues I had in building such a unique structure.

Then it was time to test the patch. Jason, put a little pressure in the system, and it held. So then they needed to mix, pour and work the Quickrete. We got the hole filled, and I lit up the propane heater I have been using when I want to warm things up. After things started to warm up in the garage, I turned it down to its low setting. However, I ran us out of the garage! They wanted it as warm as they could get it for the concrete to set up, but we were sweating while we were in there. After Jamie worked the patch for a bit, we went out and sat in our cold trucks, while we waited for it to set up more so Jamie could continue working it. Jaimie got it pretty good, but it is a shame that we had to take a chunk out of the nice floor I had.

Friday morning, I tried putting the plugs in, and testing the system. The needle started to climb. When it got a little above 4 pounds, it stopped climbing. I couldn't get it to go any higher! Oh no! When I stopped adding air, I could see the needle drop. Running around, as it lost pressure, I could hear a real quite hiss from the tub drain in the master bathroom, but I couldn't be sure that was were it was leaking. Jason wouldn't be able to make it out until Monday night. He said, just go ahead with my other work. So we did just that over the weekend.

We mounted the brackets to hold up the heat recovery ventilator (HRV), and started attaching ducting to it. This will help warm up incoming air in the winter, by drawing heat from the outgoing air.

We still have a little work to do to secure it, and we need to complete the duct work on it. We got the plenum for the incoming fresh air mounted onto the wall below the HRV.

The HRV will connect onto the top duct connections, and will circulate the incoming air between the plenum and the HRV, before the air passes out of the duct fitting on the right. The connection on the right, will direct the fresh air, to the water coil. This will add heat to the air if needed and will be fed by the hot water in the hydronic system.

We worked on getting the other components of the hydronics connected, and mounted.

The two insulated lines running across the top, go over to the water coil. It was a challenge in places to got the mounting clips up on the wall, because of the other equipment that is sitting along that wall.

It took, mom, dad and I to fish the lines behind the equipment, pipes and other tubing.

As we were working on this, Jason showed up to check out the drainage system. He adjusted the plug in the house drain, and inflated it and the plug in the floor drain in the utility room. Then he started to add air to the system, and I held the air in my lungs and listened.

No hissing sound, and he was able to take the pressure up to 5psi. We stood and talked about the other work I want him to do, while we waited to see if the pressure would hold. After a little bit, the pressure was holding right were it was supposed to!

Today, Jason met with the inspector, and my plumbing passed rough inspection. So now just the final inspection for my plumbing! That is a relief.

I have to finish the ventilation sytem, and the hydronics, and my rough wiring. Then I will be ready for my last rough inspection. Once I pass that, then we can get drywall up on the rest of the walls, put cabinets in, and finish the house.

Monday, January 2, 2012

So over the holidays, I got a number of things taken care of. Primarily with the plumbing, but that wasn't the only thing we worked on.

We worked on constructing the plenum, that will take the incoming fresh air, and collect it into one pipe. It will also be connected to the heat recovery ventilator to allow heat to be transfered between the incoming air, and the outgoing air. We are building this out of wood. It will all be primed when I am done with it, and it will eventually have a collector for any condensation that runs into it from the ventilation pipes, but that should not be an issue during the winter, so right now, it is just being put together so we can get it mounted and complete the ventilation system.

This is the frame for it, which will get attached to the wall in the utility room. The other sides are constructed, and will be put on after we mount it to the wall.

I got some nice rugs for places in the house such as in the kitchen and in front of the washer and dryer, for Christmas. I also went shopping more than once for things I will need. I got some cushions for on the window seat, and we are start constructing it and have gotten wood for the structure.

This should go nicely with the hickory wood on the cabinets.

A neighbor was over New Years Eve morning, to check for mice.

We changed a bit of the plumbing. The pressure pump was transferring a lot of vibration through the PEX tubing, so I replaced the pieces on either side, with some flexible tubing to quiet things down.

We also got the connection box for the washer, and the hose spigots mounted.

 Hot and cold spigots in the garage.

 Ready to be connected once I run the PEX lines to them.

Oh, by the way, the painted plywood on the left in those photos, is mounted perfectly vertical. The studs on the left, are not perfectly vertical!

We also got more drain lines set up. Now the drain for the water heater exhaust condensate is run to the floor drain.

 The condensate drain is coming out of the gray plastic fittings, and running over to the wall.

The hose (coming up from the bottom) is running from the boiler drain on the pressure tank fittings, so I could drain the system to change the plumbing on the pressure pump. The elbow hanging in mid air, has a piece of pipe that will drop into the floor drain but is not connected at the moment. I needed a bigger floor drain! Although, there are only two lines that will regularly have water coming out. That is the condensate line, and the drainage line from the pipes on the back wall. The two pipes running close to the floor, are for the drain pans under the holding tank, and the water heater.

I am hoping to be ready for my rough plumbing inspection in the next couple weeks. Then the ventilation system and electrical wiring need to be finished and inspected. After that, I get started on the finish work.