Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rinnai Rough In

Here is the laundry room and the plumbing for the small bathroom. I've hung the Rinnai 94 Lsi commercial tankless water heater to do the plumbing and gas rough-in. Problem discoved shortly after this shot: A top loader washing machine is unworkable with the height of the water heater... will need to solve that, or install it over the dryer.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Behind the Green Door

An outside view of the backside of the house. Here, left to right, are the new almond colored vinyl windows. Small bedroom casement egress, main bath awning, kitchen over-the-sink awning and the dining area windows. Previously there was only one window for the kitchen dining area.
The next change to this aspect is ditching the 32" wide green door for a 36" wide one. The 36" width is necessary to allow the movement of furniture into the house. The cold weather entry on the front of the house inhibits this with its severe angle.
Look closely to see the partial effect of the Pro Vents..still need to open up the soffets to get better air flow.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hair Shirt

A few aquaintances have noted my monk-like existance. There are monks that wear hairshirts for penance. The insulation work I did today re-enforces those friends that opin about my so-called self-denial. Who needs a goathair shirt, or for those that read "The Davinci Code" a cilice? Fiberglass insulation will do just fine.

Back to topic, here's a photo of the newly routed gas line for the oven, and the moved 220v outlet in the event of an electric range.

Bat Whisperer

Starting with a pic' of the proVent attic ventilation product in place. This allows air flow from the eves that might otherwise be blocked by insulation. The plastic vent is a plastic channel that allows the air to travel and keep a "cold roof" cold.
After installing these in the non-standard 20" center trusses, I have trimmed and installed the insulation from below. Then, balancing act complete, I stapled the 6mil vapor barrier with the whacker-tacker. Need the insulation, was in the teens Fahrenheit the other night.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grandpa To The Rescue!

Actually, Dad to the rescue. A kick in the arse and lots of help. For the new Rinnai instant water heater, the new gas range, and for the anticipated gas dryer in the farthest corner of this 1000 sq ft mansion, I needed to run some gas line.

The Rinnai heater needs 3/4 inch - this is because it is a 192,000 BTU unit. Remember - this is "instant heat" . These are sold as "energy savers" but I doubt it would really be cheaper to utilize this water heater with the water coming out of the ground at less than 40 degrees F.

I value this unit, as it will allow me to run a wall of cabinets and counter, in a minuscule laundry room that I would not have been able to with a tank-style heater.

Dad brought over Grandpa's ol' pipe-vise and assorted cutting and reaming tools. We hauled the 21' long sections of black pipe home, slung beneath my '71 Chevy pickup. Sorry no pics, but dad says that's the way it used to be done. The front of the pipe was conveniently passed through the lower mount for my snow plow, and the rear, tied up to the rear bumper.

A worker at the plumbing supply store said "you guys sure are handy". My father, without missing a beat, quoted Red Green: "If the ladies don't find ya handsome, they better find ya handy".

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Have moved inside, 15 days of rain in August caused an eruption of motivation. That and tent funk. In one week, I opened up the rough opening of the small bedroom window in anticipation of the new larger window, drywalled, textured and painted the small bedroom, installed the larger window and moved in. If I had that motivation all summer, I'd be done. So I am on the upswing...

I used a drywall jack to lift the 12' x4' 5/8" sheets to put a lid on the small room, rented for $30.00 for the weekend. Cool, but you will still need an assist getting the big sheets out of the truck, and again, on to the jack. Bought a Senco drywall screw gun.... oooooh so sweet. Yep that is an auto-feed strip of screws. Witnessed the drywallers using these in the house I had built three years ago and knew that I would need one someday.

Friday, July 25, 2008

guest room ready

My friend Sam is here this weekend for the Wilco Concert - should be great, I have set up the "guest room". Also, am in the process of moving the attic ladder from the master bedroom to the laundry room. This move - a before pic - is important before running the water and gas to the new Rinnai instant water heater.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Well ok, if you look closely enough, you will see the laser. Removed the one window and made two - one for "over the sink" and the other for the "dining area - considering a bench. Will upload a kitchen blueprint in the next day or so.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Broadcasting from the Tenternet

Loving the tent - my big railroad desk, tele' and of course the internet...the hot shower is up in the house with some make-do plumbing. (Pex is awesome!) Sleeping much better than I have lately - and "on ground" at the project.

The kitchen designer came out Friday, and I will meet with her this Friday to see what she has come up with.

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 9, 2008


"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." Douglas Adams

Yep, I've been comfortably house sitting, spending my workdays at the green ghetto B&B at a hobby pace. I truly enjoy the work - but the pace is too slow. There is a learning curve, a personal need for elegant mechanical solutions (plumbing art?), and a lack of vision - or perhaps taste. Read: do it, don't like it, do it again. So much of the plumbing is sub-grade or to be behind sheet-rock - I just don't wan't it to be wrong.

House sitting comes to an end soon. Good news, as I have my best ally in this business back: my dad. I will now be living at the project - and have made some progress to make it livable.. my cool new 12' x 8' addition. And, if you look carefully - the new Kohler Shower plumbing is showing through the wall above the new tub - that work is actually all in place and hidden by the Hardibacker panels. Used the new mildew resistant "green-board" for the rest of the bath

I added a video in the insulation removal post - ignore the music, check out how much that vacuum sucks!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lets try this again..

Having justified my emergency turn off by Groundskeeper Willie I was quite surprised by the deluge when I sawzalled the galvanized pipe just before the problematic valve.

I had already scheduled the "turn on" for after the valve replacement ( you can see the new valve with the hammer drill a couple posts ago) for the following Friday. The same middle-aged valve that let me down in the house, also was now letting me down on the city end of things. A deluge of water was disappearing into a mysterious place below my slab. Fortunately, after 20 minutes of pouring water, and kind conversations with Willie's partner in this business, we hit a sweet spot and the water stopped.

I will plumb the house with PEX - a plastic tubing. This will eliminate the galvanized pipe in the house - here is a cross-section of the half-century old plumbing. Check out the iron stalagtites.

Groundskeeper Willie was here...

So I'm messin' with the 50 Year Old valve that seperates the utility water from the house water. OK, it is Sunday, I've had a beer and am tired of "the Great Escape" going on between the Kitchen and the 'alf Bath. So, that valve pretty much decides that it will not. Sunday is the key problem here. It cost me $176.00 to have a AWWU employee come out to still the Chinese water torture that is drip - drip - driping out of the violated valve... The guy that came out to turn the key box had a scottish brouge and the cuss stream to make me think of:

Hammer - DRILL time..

Another confirmation of my tool fetish...the Bosch Hammer Drill - not as sexy as the walk-behind concrete saw, but way more portable. Used this German beast to cut a new hole in the floor of the existing bathroom. My father pointed out that the feng-sui wasn't right with the current commode-basin- tub arrangement. I have made moves to make it right.

Dig it?

A view from the underworld... Well, from the commode end of the 23 foot trench to the existing DVW (drain vent waste) pipe. Think 1/4" slope per foot of travel, you can see the target from here. Hellish as this trench was to dig, it is hardly the underworld. The goal of this trench is to add a half-bath and give the new laundry room a place to drain.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hammer Time!

Having lived previously in a house with just one bathroom I decided that adding a 1/2 bath would increase value, and as this house will eventually be a rental, make it a much more agreeable roomate situation. Yep I like tools. The saw seen here did the "heavy lifting".

The need to cut the slab is so I can put a 23 foot sewer pipe to carry the afluent from the new bath, and the water from the washer in the new laundry room.

The slab is 4" - 7" thick and the saw is very efficient at cutting it. The
busting, prying and removing of the concrete is pretty satisfying labor.

My best partner in this project, my father is off in two weeks for a long drive in his motor home. Good news is I'll have a place to live (house sitting) - and the good news is that I'll have to stand on my own on all the plumbing and electrical skills that he has shared with me over the years...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Batts in the Attic

Thats unfaced batts. After attempting to remove the blown-in inuslation from below - disasterous... I rented a 15Hp gas powered vacuum. Still lots of work, had to remove the fiberglass batts to access the blown in cellulose/newspaper/fiberglass mess.

The insulation goes down the hose to the vac and out to a "bag". The bags are huge (a picture of one in the back of the red truck), two bags did the trick. They are virtually unmovable once they are in the truck and suceptible to ripping if manhandled... big adventure at the landfill transfer station.

Bids for windows are in, looks like drywall, taped and texured is $1.30 a square foot. Otherwise progress is slow, if not steady.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Good news and cat news

Two good surprises today. And one bad. The wiring appears to be up to date - those wire nuts in the box are from the restoration company that stabilized the house post conflagration. The kitchen wall has insulation and vapor barrier - hopefully that is true throughout. Not a given on these 50's houses.

The first mal-olfactory experiance was cleaning out that fridge that has set, popped open for two months... salmon, chicken, potatoes and brocolli slurry. Gack. Now I'm looking to irradicate a much more insidious threat - cat urine. Double Gack! Really grew after pulling the carpet and pad up in the future laundry room and master bedroom.

Four days of work at my real job - and then back to it next Friday!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Welcome to my project!

Learning the real meaning of "sweat equity".