Patch Concrete Edge

There was a large gap between the edge of the new concrete floor and the steps.

Hole in concrete at stairway

Hole in concrete at stairway

I think this gap was caused by the moisture barrier plastic curling up at this edge, keeping the concrete from flowing all the way to the stairs.

Hole in concrete on other side

Hole in concrete on other side

I had been meaning to put concrete in the gap for some time, however it was just the sort of small job to do while recuperating. Dave is still working on his recycled concrete wall so he was making concrete anyway and brought a bucket of the stuff to me after I cleaned out the hole and chipped off the edge where the cement curled up above the level at the steps.
This is day two of drying.

Patched hole in concrete

Patched hole in concrete

I patched the whole concrete edge both deep sides and the smaller area in between.

Patched concrete edge

Patched concrete edge

I have a plastic foam sheet over it to keep it from drying too fast.

Plastic foam to retard drying

Plastic foam to retard drying

 

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It’s Fall!

Fall begins in Arvada

Fall begins in Arvada

So with the change in seasons as well as my immediate health condition, a new list is proposed.
First look back at the summer list.

Summer 2016 List

  1. Finish building walls
  2. Finish membrane on ceiling
  3. Move electric box in utility room
  4. Build pocket door for utility room
  5. Fix water filter and dishwasher drains
  6. Fix family room bathroom drain
  7. Install master bedroom door wall
  8. Cut down rustic doors to fit openings
  9. Build fence for pool
  10. Set up pool
  11. Put shade structure over hot tub
  12. Set up master bathroom
  13. Install radon fan and piping
  14. Build ductwork for ventilation
  15. Install ventilation
  16. Research radiant floor cooling
  17. Set up refrigerated floor system
  18. Fill in concrete edges and caulk
  19. Plan for crawlspace ventilation
  20. Fix crawlspace radon mitigation
  21. Install polyiso in crawlspace
  22. Install tile on slab periphery
  23. Install siding

Actually 10 out of 23. I believe I can count filling in the concrete edges because I just did it yesterday, although not all the caulking. Not too bad I guess. And as is typical, we scotched some items and added others. I posted that I gave up on radiant cooling because I needed more btu’s to chill the thermal mass of the floor than the 1/3 hp chiller could produce. That would mean an expensive heat pump system or large chiller system. We put the evaporative cooler back in one of the living room front doors and the portable in our bedroom and they took care of cooling for the rest of the summer.  Also the pool never got set up because we needed the electrician to extend our outdoor electricity and they didn’t get that job done until mid-September. A bit too late to set up a pool. But we got the electricians scheduled and the house remodel wired. Not on the summer list. We always like to start a new list with something x’d out anyway.

Fall 2016 List

  1. Schedule electrician to wire remodel
  2. Pass electrical inspection
  3. Schedule return of electricians to install outlets and switches
  4. Schedule plumber to install rough plumbing
  5. Pass plumbing inspection
  6. Pass structural inspection
  7. Finish membrane on walls
  8. Build ventilation chase
  9. Install ductwork for ventilation
  10. Schedule drywall
  11. Install radon fan and piping
  12. Install ventilation system and outdoor piping
  13. Plan for crawlspace ventilation
  14. Fix crawlspace radon mitigation
  15. Install polyiso in crawlspace
  16. Install tile on slab periphery
  17. Install siding

Another 23 items. I’ll wait on the doors as that is kind of a finishing step and I really hope to get to the drywall install before the end of this year! Five years of ownership in January of 2017 and it is about time the place is better put together.

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Electrical Fixes

The electrical fixes were completed while I was in the hospital although I did call the guy back to fix the area between the 2 x 2’s at the corner of the master bedroom. He still stapled the wire to the 2 x 2 even though at the back, he didn’t have an 1 1/4″ clearance so he redid the wire to clip against the studs instead.

2 x 2 wall in master bedroom

2 x 2 wall in master bedroom

The ceiling wires are now in a steel wire casing. (Aluminum was not considered strong enough.)

Steel covered wire in ceiling

Steel covered wire in ceiling

The distance from the furring is at least the required 1 1/4″.

Steel covered wire in ceiling 1 1/4" away from furring.

Steel covered wire in ceiling 1 1/4″ away from furring.

Extra steel plates protect the stud holes not drilled exactly in the middle of the stud.

Plates over shallow drill holes

Plates over shallow drill holes

I set up an inspection for Friday and I was supposed to get a different inspector, but the original guy who knew the issues came instead at the end of the day. He passed the fixes but noticed in the mudroom that there was an expanse of more than 2 feet that did not have an outlet. The one outlet in that wall was further than 6′ away from the opposite wall so he said one more outlet was needed but he said I could get the switches and outlets installed now and let him know that they put in that extra outlet. He will be back for final inspection.

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Setback!

I had emergency abdominal surgery because of a hernia trapping my intestine and killing part of it! No preliminary warning, just one week of fever with no stomach upset or pain and then one final large painful experience.

I was rushed to the hospital and given emergency excision and happy to say I got there fast enough and the care was smart and good enough that I survived. Actually came through the operation quite well.

First Meal

First Meal

However, this is a pretty major setback for my do it yourself approach to the house remodel. Looks like I’ll be contacting contractors for the rest of the major jobs in the house.

We are actually closer than ever too. Midway through the rough inspections and almost to the drywall stage.

My family wonders if it was work on the house that gave me the hernia–who knows? Why did it do so much damage that the outcome was losing small intestine?

But I was extremely lucky. If bowel obstruction is not treated almost immediately it is deadly. Mine was treated and I’m fine.

Release Day

First Meal Day–Released on the 31st.

Thanks to the EMS service that arrived in minutes, treated the terrible pain, got fluids into me, and got me to the Emergency Room so that I was taken right in. How fortunate is that?

So despite this setback I’m feeling very fortunate indeed.

 

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Central Vac Install

The new central vac was installed today and I spent all day on an incorrect piping system that I had to change based on this diagram.

Vac Line

Vac Line

The very first pipe I put in was a three way Y directed vertically at the vac input. That meant half of the piping at that point would be subject to dirt falling into it due to gravity. The supply pipe takeoffs must be horizontal. So I had a heck of a time re-figuring the piping to fit.

Three way Y fitting

Three way Y fitting

I took out the Y fitting and replaced it with a wide 90 degree so I had to attach all three of the lines to that. The main truck line is a vertical going up to the garage attic and the ventilation chase, the airlock entry pipe joins the mail line through a bend in the pipe and then the garage outlet is a 90 degree to the back wall.

New Piping

New Piping

This new piping arrangement makes the dirt entry either from a horizontal pipe or from above. That was the rule–no vertical dirt entry tees.

I think the machine looks pretty impressive installed in the garage. The top pipe attached to the muffler is the exhaust.

Central Vac Installed

Central Vac Installed

Then I slept on it and decided that the 45 degree angle would also allow dirt to fall backwards into the pipe so I changed it again to all horizontal pipes where the dirt enters.

New piping with 90 degree angles

New piping with 90 degree angles

But I had to use a short 90 degree elbow instead of a sweep to fit the pipe in the existing space. So it still breaks a rule. I sent the photos to the company to ask which one would be the best. I’m hoping I hear back from them after the weekend.

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Electrician’s Discussion

We met today to discuss the changes needed in the electrical work. The inspector gave us a 2 hour time frame and came about 10 minutes after it was over. So the project manager and I had a nice chat in the living room for two hours while waiting.
While we were waiting I went over what I understood the inspector to say at the inspection and I was mostly on target with a few mistakes and omissions. Here is the list as I remember it after listening again.

1. Some studs have holes for the wire that are closer than 1 1/4″ to the edge of the stud and these need metal plates. (I counted about 16 places.)
2. Where wires are within a 1 1/2″ chase they need to be stapled 1 1/4″ away from the studs. Using a different kind of staple will take care of that. (2 places in master bedroom/bath)
3. Where wires are exposed in the ceiling they will have to be changed to steel armored and must run 1 1/4″ away from the furring strips. Screwing through to the stud with a different kind of clip will take care of that. Boxes will have to be changed to accept the metal clamp connectors for these wires. (There are four ceiling fixtures and one outlet supply line that need to be replaced.)
4. The wood boiler supply wire will need to be placed in armored cable.
5. The wire mold stubs will need wiring ends. Home Depot does not carry these so I ordered two from Amazon.
6. In the ceiling chase, the wires that touch the old gas pipe need to be separated from the pipe with ties and insulation.

Otherwise the inspector said that they were a good company and it looked like a good job. Just a few things that they don’t run into every day that can’t pass. So with some electrical talk going on about NM wire and P Clips or whatever, they were able to come to a decision.

I really didn’t want the guy who had argued with me back so I asked the project manager if I could get the work done by the guy who came just one day whose work looked nice and neat. He said he would send the same helper with him. I may have to wait longer for this team but he will call me tomorrow to let me know what their schedule will be.

I need to be ready for drywall and get that put in soon as the electrical inspector can’t do the final inspection until it is drywalled and painted. So I better get moving on the membrane and the ventilation chase so it is ready for drywall.

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Central Vac Arrives

I’m unaccountably excited about the new Central Vac. I don’t like cleaning at all. It seems like such a relentless and thankless task and I’m wired to want to do something more permanent I guess. But installing the vacuum is exciting. Something I knew nothing about and now have some idea how and why to use this fancy machine.

I bought the scratch and dent model so looked it over carefully for any damage. Not that I wasn’t expecting a dent here or there or some scratched paint, but whatever the imperfection I really couldn’t tell. The machine is impressive too.

Aspria Central Vac Front

Aspria Central Vac Front

Aspria Vac Back

Aspria Vac Back

It is kind of beautiful in a robotic sort of way and all the attachments and installation bits are intriguing. I’m really looking forward to the install. If we can just get past the electrical inspection!

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Failed Miserably!

We failed the electrical inspection! Sad to say the inspector was not happy with so many things he requested a meeting with the contractor that will happen in a couple of days. So I had a feeling about those workers! With such a particular job it would have been good to have the best they have. So we will revisit the installation.

None of this wiring in the ceiling will pass. It must be back 1 1/4″ from the surface or in conduit.

Wiring in Ceiling

Wiring in Ceiling

Several of the mid wall holes are not centered so need metal plates. The wiring in my 2 x 2 wall is stapled too close to the surface too.

The small lengths of wire mold that were installed for the track lights do not have end caps that the inspector said they need.

The corner where the fireplace will be enclosed is not built so the inspector can’t pass it for inspection as it is. Again the wire would need to be in conduit.

I guess I am not actually upset about this delay. We have taken this long to complete the project for sure. It is just that I think the workers didn’t care about this project and did sloppy work wanting to argue with me instead of find solutions. That was the hard part for me. I care so much about it that having someone else come in and assume the system is wrong because they have not seen it before is depressing.

I think I’ll request a different crew for the fixes. One last day a new guy showed up and wired the wood boiler electrical box and the work just appears so much neater. Maybe I’ll ask for him.

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A Few More Electrical Details

The electricians asked if I would cover the wiring in the attic to protect it from the drywall installation. I said sure. They also requested that I provide a chase in the kitchen corner and I thought I had that solved but they proceeded to add wiring without moving it down into my chase so I had to redo that plan. Finally we needed the framing for the stone pillar so that the electrical box can be roughed in there.

I got to work on covering the wiring in the attic. I knew I would put a plywood box over the wiring and that I would frame it with 1 x 2’s and 1 x 4’s. It was relatively easy, once I moved some of the wiring down to make room for the frame. I also put the membrane up on the wall first and screwed the frame to that below the outside wall. You would think they would have thought ahead about the box so that the wires would be loose enough to stretch to the adjoining walls and also lay them flat against the beam but I had to pull several staples to reorganize wires to reach the wall or to lay flat under the cover and staple them in a row instead of willy nilly.

Wiring Cover in Attic

Wiring Cover in Attic

I was kind of upset that the wiring for the kitchen light switch was installed above the cove molding chase that I showed the electricians after they wired the half wall for outlets. I had to redesign the solution for that corner and it made me mad that they completely forgot or paid no attention to that solution by not stretching the new wires to the floor where the cove was going to be installed. They just laid them across the corner about mid wall.

Once I figured out how to redesign the corner I was less upset as the new design provides some stability to the half wall. I just installed two triangle areas at the floor and the top of the wall to be covered in wall board. I may have to cut out a slice to fit the corner of the cabinet back against the wall though. This would not have been an issue with the first design.

Corner for wiring chase

Corner for wiring chase

Figuring out these angles took me awhile as I wanted the triangles as close to the wall ends as possible.

Corner triangle at floor level

Corner triangle at floor level

While I was working on these two projects, Dave was building the wood framing for the pillar. I am very happy with the result. It will look great covered in the faux stone siding that I bought on Craigslist. And there is plenty of room for an outlet on the post.

Living Room Pillar

Living Room Pillar

With these projects finished I believe we are ready for the rough electrical inspection tomorrow.

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Central Vacuum System

LEED allows one point for installing a central vacuum system to improve air quality within the home. Central vacuums must have HEPA filtration and exhaust to the outdoors to meet this requirement. There are at least three different types or categories of central vacuum. Many do not need to be exhausted but some allow for exhaust if desired. Many have a HEPA filtration system and some do not but a HEPA filter can be attached at additional expense. Cyclonic vacuums require exhaust and they are more expensive. Bagless models are popular but these makes emptying the dirt more difficult. Since the vacuum chamber only needs to be emptied about two or three times a year, I decided the cost of bags is negligible.

There are several brands of central vacuum, although I read that several are made by the same manufacturers just branded differently.

Central Vacuum Brands

Central Vacuum Brands

Another list of brands at ThinkVacuums.com

More Central Vac Brands

More Central Vac Brands

This site has a pretty good explanation of the various types of vacuums; bagged, filtered, and cyclonic.

These are the diagrams used to explain the differences.

Bagged Vacuums

Bagged Vacuums

These have a motor and a catch chamber lined with a bag.

Filtered or Inverted bag vacuums

Filtered or Inverted bag Vacuums

These have the motor and a filter, either a washable or self cleaning or disposable cartridge, that keeps the debris from flowing into the motor. A Hybrid filtered system can be used with a bag or without.

Cyclonic Vacuums

Cyclonic Vacuums

This seems to be the controversial design. The air movement separates the debris from the air and protects the motor as in this diagram. These must be vented to the outdoors.

Vacuums can also have more than one motor and the motor can be separate from the containment tub. They can be made of metal or plastic and have varying warranties for motors, parts and cases.

Comparison points include the type, the physical size of the units, the “air watts” or total suck rating, the air lift, which is another measure of suck, and the CFM’s cubic feet per minute of air for the fans. Motors can be one, two or three stage which is basically the number of blades on the fans. A larger diameter motor is considered better and the units I studied had motors between 5.7 and 8.2 inches. Many of the components are made in China although assembled in the US or Canada. Ametek-Lamb motors are made in Ohio.

The number of square feet the vacuum will cover is an unreliable measure and at any rate the advice I read was to double your house square footage and then get a larger rated unit. I had to check if the filtration type was HEPA, and finally sound ratings in decibels will help determine which unit would be the quietest to use.

I had to put several system units on a spreadsheet comparing these qualities. Finding all the data on each required lots of searching.  Of course I wanted the highest combination of features for the most reasonable price. I found it at an independent brand not mentioned above. Aspria Systems has several models of central vacuums and the Duragetec had the best combination of features for the price on my spreadsheet so I ordered the Hybrid model as a scratch and dent to save another $100. This vacuum includes Hepa filtration and can be vented which works for the LEED requirements.

Aspria Duragetec Hybrid CPU8429HQ

Aspria Duragetec Hybrid CPU8429HQ

Aspria Systems (formerly VacDepot) also had the least expensive prices on attachments and supplies. I had already ordered pipe and a connection kit but I added some electrified inlets and two hose systems with attachments for different parts of the house.

Now I am researching the best design for piping and locations for the inlets. I’ll have low pile oriental carpets in the family room and living room so I want electrified inlets in those locations. I’m planning a vac pan (a device that allows sweeping dirt into the inlet)  in the kitchen and a hybrid inlet/pan in the entry. I’m hoping I can fit an inlet over the crawlspace too although the path could be tricky and it is the furthest away from the unit. I don’t want to do all that work only to have poor suction in that part of the house. I can use a long hose instead. The pipe will go in the ventilation duct chase and I think most of the inlets will be inside closets where I will store the attachments. I’m looking forward to this convenience in the house, something I never would have installed if not suggested by LEED.

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