Monday, February 17, 2014

Final Plumbing and Electrical Approvals

Just a quick update today.

3283 was visited today by Gordon Bosch and Gary Raak Park Township Electrical and Plumbing Inspectors. Both signed off on final inspection of work done. Should be able to request final building approval soon. Mechanical was approved this past summer (they didn't use the general form). 

Below is the electrical and plumbing sign off form.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ice Dams

Or probably more appropriately:
Damn Ice!!!

The back [east] porch at 3283 isn't heated. But we wrapped it in plastic last fall. This seems to have trapped some heat in it. Heat that escaped from the house or was generated through solar heating. The heat was enough to melt snow on the un-insulated roof and create a major ice dam at the edge. Behind the dam a lot...I mean a LOT... of snow built up.

There is a brand new roof on the porch....and we had heavy duty "ice guard" installed under the shingles, so I'm not too concerned about leaks. And any leak would only be onto the porch. But, they are predicting a thaw this week...and even rain in a few days. So I decided to try to remove as much of the snow as I could today. No, I didn't climb out on the roof. I used a roof-rake to push the snow off [from the upstairs bedroom windows]. It wasn't fun. It wasn't easy. It showed just how much ice is up there.

The pictures below aren't very exciting. But since I haven't posted in a while they, at least, prove that life goes on here at 3283.

The largest drift was at the south end of the porch.
You may be able to see the thickness of the ice along the edge of the roof.
Here's a close-up of that large drift.
See the 'wedge' of ice at the right.
There was no way to reach the snow from below....even with a roof rake. So I attacked the cold white enemy from above. I opened the bedroom windows and pushed the snow off as best I could.

Pushing snow with a tool made for pulling. Oh, well.
Another shot of the tool and the snow.
The first effort was at the south end where snow was deepest.
All the snow pushed from the roof, obviously, ended up on the deck
and needed to be moved again.
This time the tool is out the north window.
I often pulled some snow toward me to loosen it...then pushed it off the edge.
On the north side I was able to clear some snow down to shingles.
South side...basically done.
North side...basically done.
Here's the east side of 3283 with much snow removed from the porch roof.
I'll let you all know how it handles the thaw and rain this week.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Quick Update

Not a lot of progress has been made lately at 3283. Mostly I've been watching it snow, moving snow out of my way and learning about winter in west Michigan. I'm told that this is far from a normal maybe Mother Nature decided to give me a "baptism of fire".... or, more correctly of snow and ice.

One lingering task that did get completed [80%] was the covering of the heating duct in the living room that had to be run up to the second floor.  We decided to use some of the old paneling to 'box out' the corner. I installed the panels recently. I will eventually cover the top portion with 1x8 to mimic the 2x8 floor joists. And an outside corner molding needs to be installed, but we'll try to stain it to match the paneling, first.

Before paneling. Just studs around duct.
After paneling. Baseboard and top trim to come later.

One of the winter discoveries I made over the last few weeks concerned high winds, drifting snow and high efficiency furnaces. Most of us now-a-days have furnaces that no longer use house-air for combustion and vent out through a chimney. We have 'modern' high efficiency furnaces whose combustion air and exhaust travel through PVC pipe installed through openings at the side of our homes. These usually are seen as two 3 inch white pipes one of which that has smoke [steam] coming out when the furnace is running.

Often the pipes are not very pretty. So, last summer when my heating contractor installed the intake/exhaust for my system I was pleased by its appearance. It was a simple plastic plate almost flush with the siding at the level of the sill plate. A picture, taken this summer, is below.

The original Intake / Exhaust fitting.
Aesthetically pleasing for this sort of thing.
There is an endless debate as to the appropriate order of form and function. In this case the contractor chose form first and the installation functioned wonderfully. That is, it functioned wonderfully until the snows of winter blew in from the west and created a large drift. The drift covered the fitting, starving the furnace of combustion air and blocking the exhaust. The technology knew exactly what to do when that simply shut down the furnace.

It seems that the worst drift in this location is when heavy snow is blown in from the SSW. And we had that condition for a few days in a row recently. In order to assure warmth inside I continually went out and cleared the snow and attempted to build a "shield" to minimize the drifting. But during the worst of the period, I was clearing the snow every 4 hours or so. Needless to say I had a couple nights of sporadic sleep, at best.

My heating contractor stepped up and [hopefully] remedied the situation by installing the "goose neck" type piping that I had originally anticipated. In this case function will take precedence over form. And I expect that the pipe openings are high enough to handle even the worst drifts.

The 'old' cover plate was removed.
Vertical extensions were attached.
And, elbows were attached at the top.
These should be high enough to stay out of snowdrifts.
They will get painted in spring.

There will be another week or so of minimal effort at 3283. But as I progress I will continue to post updates. I hope all my readers are enjoying the winter of 2013-14; staying warm; having fun and being happy.