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.

1 comment:

  1. Winters are usually not a time for home improvement, so it's actually good to see you guys still finding time to do all of this work. Since you guys are really into this stuff, then I can only say good luck on your next projects.
    Arthur Bryant @ Contractor Express