Insulate with Polyiso around Doors

We are cutting and fitting the polyiso left over from the wiring chase around the door areas to use up smaller pieces.

Cut and Fit Polyiso

Cut and Fit Polyiso

By using the polyiso so sparingly we can keep more of it tacked up as temporary bathroom walls.

More cut and fit

More Cut and Fit

The wiring chase is not finished but progress is being made.

Another large area that needed polyiso insulation to seal it was the opening to the attic for wiring. I had to spray foam into the wiring holes and a bit into a crack between the attic and the entry area to the wiring chase first. Then I cut a piece of 1″ foil covered polyiso to fit the opening. I used some leftover telephone wire to hold the foam against the opening and stapled it to the 2 x 4’s.

Wire Stapled to 2 x 4

Wire Stapled to 2 x 4

I had to cut a hole for the vacuum piping and then seal it all with spray foam. The spray foam was a bit awkward and the job was rather messy. I got spray foam all over my hands and some on my arms! But I have some cleaner that helped remove most of the stray foam from my body. I’ll have to trim extra stuff on the wall with a razor knife.

Spray foam sealing job

Spray foam sealing job

If we have enough 1 1/2″ polyiso I may fit a piece between the 2 x 4’s in front of the foil covered piece. After the polyiso is finished we can move on to installing the Siga membrane.

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Air Intrusion/Thermal Envelope, Construction | Leave a comment

Insulate the Plumbing in the Walls

Insulation in Family Room Bathroom

Insulation on Family Room Bathroom Hot Water Line

I almost forgot to insulate all the hot water lines in the walls. LEED requires at least R4 pipe insulation but I was able to order more R7 insulation from Supply House.
We were out of town for our Mom’s birthday and stuck in New York a few extra days because of a snow storm. I ordered the insulation to arrive just after we got home, but it got here before we did.

New York Snow Piles

New York Snow Piles

The hot water line is in a loop and so when the water is turned on it rises above the floor to the point of use and then returns under the slab to the next point. All of these risers needed to be insulated.

Insulated hot return

Insulated hot return

Now these returns are well insulated. So are the hot water pipes to the faucets in the house.

Insulated Master Bath

Insulated Master Bath

The only spot that I didn’t insulate was in the Family Room Bath’s shower wall. The stringer there is not deep enough for the 1″ insulation on the way to the shower and hand spray. I either have to double the width of the stringers or use a shallower insulation.

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Energy Efficiency, Plumbing | Leave a comment

Drywall Preparations

We have had two vendors look at the job and each says they can do it. We are awaiting the estimates. But there is a lot to do before the crew can come in and drywall. I’m thinking it is a pretty long list.

  1. Insulate the wiring chase and cover with polyiso.
  2. Insulate with polyiso around the doors that need it.
  3.  Install membrane on exterior walls and the rest of the ceiling.
  4. Install the nailers for drywall.
  5. Insulate the plumbing in the walls.
  6. Decide on phone and sensor cables.
  7. Decide about the master bathroom wall and light fixtures.
  8. Decide about the guest bathroom light fixtures
  9. Reinforce the vent shaft with corner braces.
  10. Alter the master bathroom wall for drywall.
  11. Be sure the vendor uses Denshield in the bathrooms.
  12. Pack the kitchen and other cabinets into boxes and move to the garage.
  13. Move furniture into the garage.
  14. Move tools into the garage.
  15. Tarp stove and TV cabinet. Put TV cabinet on sliders.
  16. Remove outlet and switch covers and tape
  17. Set up back rooms for entertainment and eating.

All of this needs to be finished by the end of March or early April and we are leaving for almost two weeks during this month. So it will be a challenge.
We started with caulking, polyiso and membrane around the doors and insulating and closing up the wiring chase. The back door needed a difficult application of slanted polyiso. Here the membrane is partially applied.

Polyiso and Membrane at Back Door

Polyiso and Membrane at Back Door

The back hallway had insulation installed and the polyiso layer has been started. It will need membrane and boards screwed in for nailers.

Insulation and Polyiso in Hallway

Insulation and Polyiso in Hallway

The wiring chase is almost finished being insulated but will need a polyiso layer and then membrane and nailer boards.

Insulation in Wiring Chase

Insulation in Wiring Chase

And the insulation continues in the wiring chase to the front closets. The phone wire that is hanging is not hooked up. Should we run a line to garage in case we ever want a hard wired phone? Probably not. Just will terminate this wire in the attic for some possible future use.

Insulation with Orphan Phone LIne

Insulation with Orphan Phone LIne

The work so far has taken a couple of days. I estimate that closing the ceiling and installing membrane will take another several days on the ceiling. Then we have walls to do and finishing touches on the location of the bathroom sconces etc.

We only have about ten working days left in March. So we will definitely run into April. Hopefully not too far into April so that we can get the drywalling done. My goal is to have that finished and the wall painted by my birthday in mid May.

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Air Intrusion/Thermal Envelope, Construction, Planning | Comments Off on Drywall Preparations

More Ventilation Ducting Fixes

Working on the join.

Working on the join.

We just enjoyed a visit from our friends Jan and Mike from Indiana and got some good help and ideas from them. They wanted to work on the house. What are good friends for anyway? So we redid one of the most difficult connections in the duct work with stainless bands. Of course it was not an easy task.

Stainless steel bands

Stainless steel bands

First the gorilla tape I had used instead of the foil tape had to be cut to open the insulation. Then the duct itself was only taped here and not zip tied. A mistake since I thought I had zip tied all the connections, but this one was just taped.

Once the insulation was separated and the pipe exposed I removed the tape holding the flex ducts onto the connecting duct. Then the bands had to be installed over the flex duct and onto the connector. That was not easy because the band is just slightly bigger than the pipe and connecting it while it is on the pipe was impossible for me. So I tried a larger clamp but it would not get tight enough to hold the pipe. Finally I started the ten inch band first and slipped it over one end of the connection. Then it was just a matter of squeezing the flex duct under the band all around the pipe. And it tightened!

The connection was then taped over the bands to make it air tight. I don’t know why I decided to do the bands first and then the tape. In most cases I did the taping first and then secured with the bands! The last step was retaping the insulation together. This time I used the silver ducting tape.

Taped bands

Taped bands

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Ventilation | Comments Off on More Ventilation Ducting Fixes

Central Vacuum in Action

Ahhh. Listen to the whooshing sound of the air sucking up tons of dirt. Wow, look at the dust disappearing from the duster into the innards of the pipe opening. A bit louder but what a great tool the power head is for picking up small debris from the nubby rug and entry mats.

A bit of the black nubby rug was sucked into the power head and it quit. I had to remember to reset it to get it to start again. There is a small red button on the back of the power head. I had read the instructions so I knew it was normal that it quit completely if it got stuck in order to keep from burning out the motor. Luckily I knew the reset button was there.

I zipped the quilted hose cover on the 30 ft. power head hose. I was wondering why they recommended a hose cover. But after I put it on, the hose didn’t kink nearly as much and apparently the hose can be hard on baseboards and furniture legs.

Zippered Vacuum Hose Cover

Zippered Vacuum Hose Cover

I ordered a longer hose cover for the 40 ft. hose. The longest zippered hose cover is 35 ft. but I read the covers don’t have to reach the entire hose. Leaving a couple feet at the handle and at the end will be as effective as covering the entire length of the hose. There are hose socks that offer longer sizes but they don’t have the zipper and look harder to put on and are not as thick and it seems they would do less to stop kinking and marring. And just owning a 30 or 35 foot zipper is quite an experience. I have never seen such long zippers!

I may have gone a bit overboard on the vacuum attachments. I thought having two hoses, one for each side of the house or one for the power head and one for other attachments made sense, but when I actually used the 40 ft.hose it reached all the way across the house using just one inlet and I have several more available, including the upper linen closet in the back of the house and one right at the garage entrance, but I just used the living area inlet in the middle. I like it that the second hose has an on off switch too so it can stay connected but not run the vacuum while moving furniture or changing the attachment.

Closet full of vacuum attachments

Closet full of vacuum attachments

The vacuum is quite a pleasure to use even though I dislike house cleaning completely, it will be nice to have a tool that is so versatile and effective.

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Central Vacuum, Maintenance and Repair | Comments Off on Central Vacuum in Action

Moved Modem

Ever since we moved in, the modem for our internet connection has been installed right at the garage door. There is a closet built in there now and although the electricians installed an extra outlet for the equipment, it did not seem to be the best place for house-wide access to wifi signal.
I have been planning to move it for several months. Now with trying to get the wiring chase to the point we can close it in, I finally bought an extension for the coax cable into the house and moved the modem to the center of the house in the living room.
I had a few coax fittings around from disassembly in the attic. Actually there were many more cables and fittings but I’m not sure where they got to. I installed the splitter under the ceiling in the closet so that if the connection is troubled in the future the connection will be exposed not hidden in the ceiling.

Coax Splitter

Coax Splitter

The living room shelf now has an outlet and a coax wall plate to connect the modem.  I added another outlet above the existing outlet on the post I bought a several sized electric surge protector to accommodate the multiple transformers needed for the various monitoring hubs I am using that are direct connected to the modem.

Modem in Living Room

Modem in Living Room

The exposed modem and equipment is not the most attractive for the living room area, but it should function much better for us back in the rear bedroom. I’ll figure how to gussy it up later.

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Air Intrusion/Thermal Envelope, Electrical, Maintenance and Repair, Tools | Comments Off on Moved Modem

Central Vacuum Wiring

When I had everything finally connected and all the inlets installed it was late in the afternoon and I was tired. I opened an inlet and nothing happened. Then I opened the vacpan inlet and all the inlets came on. I actually didn’t realize that all of the inlets are active when one is active.

The DC that allows the inlets to come on is connected in a “daisy chain” or the looping method. This puts all the wiring right at the inlets so that if some maintenance trouble shooting needs to be done, the wiring connections are accessible.

Daisy Chain Wiring

Daisy Chain Wiring

This seemed simple enough and I had no issues hooking up the wiring in this way. However, when the inlets did not come on when opened, I thought I had made an error in the wiring. That evening, I went back to the first few connections and thought about how to rewire them. But instead of rewiring I disconnected most of the house and just tested the vacpan and the utility inlet in the garage. Behold! I realized the utility inlet did come on when I shorted across the two metal bumps inside with a screwdriver. That turned on both inlets too. The vacpan is meant to come on without a hose connection!

So I reconnected the rest of the house and voila, the wiring worked just fine everywhere I plugged in a vacuum hose to turn on the system. I’m not sure why it didn’t make sense at first that all the inlets ran when one did. Once I figured out what was happening, it did make sense to me. All the pipe is connected to the vacuum like plumbing. When water in plumbing pipe is on all the pipe fills with water, but only the faucet that is turned on runs water. When all the vacuum pipe is sucking though, it may be possible to use more than one inlet at the same time. Although any extra openings reduce the pressure in the whole system.

I used the short vacuum hose to suck up a bit of sawdust and other dirt from the install. The suction seems very strong with the short hose. I wonder if it will be reduced much with longer hoses.

Two of the inlets have power assist. That means they can run a carpet powerhead. Older systems just used a nearby plug to power the rotating head. But the newer systems run the power right to the inlet. A separate plug in the inlet is for the electrified hose connection.

Powered Vacuum Inlet

Powered Vacuum Inlet

Near each of the powered inlets was an outlet. It was a simple matter to add the wires running to the powered inlet junction boxes. I haven’t tested the power units yet.

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Central Vacuum | Comments Off on Central Vacuum Wiring

Central Vacuum Connected

I finished connecting the central vacuum piping and wiring today. Even with all the parts I had ordered, I ran out of pipe and 90 degree sweep elbows so had to wait two days for Amazon to deliver more. I bought two more packages of 5 elbows and another package of 5 pipes.

First I worked on cutting and fitting most of the piping for the inlets. The piping to the unit itself and the first vacpan inlet was already cut and fitted before the ventilation system install. So the big challenge was running the pipe in the narrow garage attic area that all the electrical wiring also goes through. This is a narrow passage made even more narrow by the shaft for the ductwork in the family room. It was a bit of a squeeze to get my hips around the metal and into the space but I did it more than once to get the pipe cut and glued. The area was so awkward that I spilled about half of the can of glue and had to buy more to finish.

Garage Attic Connection

Garage Attic Connection

It is difficult to take a very informative photo of the connections. The camera focuses on just a small area or the piping is lost in busyness of wiring and other systems. The piping to the living area inlet runs through the living area ventilation shaft.

Piping to living area inlet

Piping to living area inlet

Then it goes down the wall between the master bedroom and the living area hallway.

Powered inlet for living area

Powered inlet for living area

I later added a sweep tee here to continue the piping to the hall closet.

Pipe to crawlspace

Pipe to crawlspace

I used a double inlet pipe for the kitchen vacpan and the family room powered inlet. These join the main pipe above the ventilation ductwork on the way to the living area piping.

Double inlet piping

Double inlet piping

There is an inlet between the double and the living area through a sweep tee that goes to the utility room. It runs through the ventilation attic and through the dead space between the back of the shower and the washer and dryer.

Piping to utility room

Piping to utility room inlet

I had the piping glued and the wiring run for all the inlets except one before the extra pipe and elbows arrived. These were for the final inlet in the upper bedroom hall closet. Finding the wall space from under the house was difficult. I used a long drill bit to drill through the drywall at a slight angle into the wall. Then I had to find the drill bit under the house. With a little knocking and running the drill help from Dave, I was able to locate the drill bit and use the 2″ hole saw to create the hole into the wall above. It almost seemed like a miracle that the hole ended up in the right spot.

Drilling the closet floor into the wall plate

Drilling the closet floor into the wall plate

The pipe runs through the wall from the living area inlet under the stairs to the upper bedrooms and over to the hall closet.

Piping in the crawlspace

Piping in the crawlspace

After crawling around under the house most of the day, I was finally able to test the system. I found one inlet that I had not glued all the way. It was LOUD where the leak was in the family room inlet so it was easy to find. I’m going to check the rest of the piping while it is running to see if there are any smaller leaks.

I also had an issue with the wiring which I will explain in another post.

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Central Vacuum | Comments Off on Central Vacuum Connected

Central Vacuum Accessories and Piping

I’m working on the central vac piping. The pipes are GO VACUUM brand for vacuum systems. These are 2″ but a bit smaller than Schedule 40 PVC. They supposedly build up less static inside them and fit the inlets exactly. They glue together much the same as plumbing pipe. The installation guidelines suggest using glue only on the pipe not the connectors.

I bought a couple of kits to put the system together as well as the long pieces of pipe.

Central Vac Install Kit

Central Vac Install Kit

The kit from Amazon included:
4 White Wall Plates.
4 Mounting Plates New Construction.
8 Stop Couplings
1 Can 8oz Glue.
4 90 Degree Short
8 Pipe Strap.
3 Sweep T.
8 45 Degree Elbow.
12 90 Degree Sweep.
120′ Low Voltage Wire.

I bought 25 straight pipes from Amazon too. They are each 56.5″ long and 2 inch diameter. And I ordered extra couplings.

I also purchased a dust pan inlet, one that accepts dirt swept from the floor, for the kitchen and a kit of three power inlets that allow the use of a powered vacuum head. The power inlets came with extra couplings and wire. I bought a powered vacuum head kit with a 30 ft. hose and another 40 ft. hose with a stainless wand and various attachments and extra bags. These items were from their retail store VacDepot.com which is now sent directly to Central Vacuum Stores.

Power Brush Kit

Power Brush Kit

Last month I added a stainless steel interceptor canister that allows the system to pick up liquids or heavy dirt and a nifty spin duster attachment that works by building up static in the brush that attracts the dust on furniture, and then sweeps the dirt off of it in a vacuum inlet attachment.

Cen-Tec Interceptor for Vacuum

Cen-Tec Interceptor for Vacuum

Spin Duster

Spin Duster

I just visited the web site though and they no longer sell online! They refer to Central Vacuum Systems but their products are not listed. Too bad. I thought the company had great products at reasonable prices. And the customer service was personal and well done. I hardly ever use a warranty so I doubt that will be an issue. I think the vacuum is repairable and the other items I bought were name brands such as Cen-Tec. I received an answer to my inquiry to Central Vacuum Stores about the Aspria. Turns out the Aspria was made by Cana-Vac for the VacDepot. So the version I purchased is almost the same as the Signature XLS 970 Cana-Vac.

Canvac Signature XLS 970

Cana-vac Signature XLS 970

The specifications are almost exactly the same. This is the Cana-Vac’s most powerful model. The warranty of the Aspria was 12 years and on the XLS 970 it is 15 years. The motor and other specifications are the same except that the bag is 6 gallons instead of 7 gallons. No wonder the Aspria’s specifications seemed so good. I was extremely lucky to buy all the components for about half of the cost of the Cana-Vac systems.

I now have a large box of items to put the system together. The plan is to install the dust pan inlet, three non-powered inlets, one of which has a dust pan option, and two powered inlets. There is also a utility inlet that goes close to the vac unit in the garage.

Central Vac Install Plan

Central Vac Install Plan

 

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Central Vacuum | Comments Off on Central Vacuum Accessories and Piping

Structural Inspection

Guest Shower Wall

Guest Shower Wall

We had a structural inspection a few months ago when we thought it had to come before the electrical was put in the walls. Instead, it had to wait until the rough plumbing and rough electrical were passed. I assumed the rough electrical was passed because the inspector told me to just call him when the electricians were finished with the last outlet and he would just approve it. Unfortunately that appears to not have happened after my call. The structural inspector still did the inspection though he said that rough electrical has to be finalized. I called the building department and they are going to put us on the schedule for rough electrical tomorrow. I was hoping the electrical inspector who told me it passed would just fix the paperwork. Oh well, not a big deal I guess.

UPDATE: After two more visits by electrical inspectors, the rough electrical was finally signed off without any further requirements. The first inspector was concerned that the bedroom fire alarms would not be hard wired but the original inspector said that was OK and passed us.

We passed the structural inspection although there are two things that still need to be done. Where the wires go up into a second story structure, the attic in this case, the electrical penetrations have to be filled with foam as a fire stop. And although we have multiple combo fire/carbon monoxide alarms wired into the house, a new requirement is to have a fire alarm in every bedroom but since they do not have to be hard-wired, we can buy two battery operated alarms for the back bedrooms.

Now we are free to finish up with the membrane and the rest of the tasks necessary before we get the drywall done. We only have six months from today (I guess the electrical gained us another week!) to have the final inspection and everything has to be done by then, all plumbing, finishing, lighting etc. It sounds almost impossible to me. Will probably have to have some kind of inspection just to continue our permit past August 16th or perhaps I can just apply for an extension.

I’m pretty sure it will take longer than six months to finish everything. I may work at it almost every day but progress is very slow.

 

Posted in -Chronological Recent Posts, Construction, Floating Walls | Comments Off on Structural Inspection