Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the fun continues

I can't really get these posts done on Sunday night anymore because I'm too cranky and sore and tired.. So let's see if a couple of days gives me more perspective and takes the whine factor down a notch or two..

<-- Dan and his new toy are cutting through the joists like butter. The holes can't be bigger than a third of the depth of the joist, and can't be any closer than 2" from the edges of the board, but it's a scary number of holes that need to be drilled to get the tubing everywhere it needs to be and then back to the manifold. It's a bit of an obstacle course of existing cuts and pipes and whatnot to find a clear path for the tubing. Any jogs make it much harder to pull the tubing through, but the most important thing is keeping the structural integrity of the joists that are, you know.. holding up the house.

<-- This is Ian. Ian came by to help on Saturday! Ian had loads of fun helping me pull the tubing through one of the runs. I tried to take better explanatory pictures of the process, but that's pretty hard to do when you're up in the joists trying not to kink the tubing or whack your head..

Basically, it needs to one single run of tubing that starts at the manifold carrying hot water out down and up each of the joist bays in the loop, and then back to the manifold. It's an easy enough concept, but the tubing is pretty stiff and if you try to bend it too much (or if it gets caught behind a giant beam while being pulled through a tangle of coils) it can kink. Which is bad, because even after unkinking it, it's not as smooth as it started out, and could impede the flow of water.

What we learned the first day was that pulling the tubing all the way through all the joists and back before pulling loops down into the joists made it really hard to start the loops without kinking the tubing. So the new-and-improved process goes like this:

1 - Pull the straight run of tubing all the way through all the joists in the run

2 - Pull out a loop in the very last joist bay in the run, then feed the tubing back into the next to last bay

3 - Pull a little loop out in each bay, working the tubing through from the big loop in that last bay, through each of the others until you wind up back at the manifold. As needed, pull more tubing through the straight run to the big loop at the end, because this is what gets fed through into each of the other bays

4 - When you get to the first bay in the run, run the tubing all the way down to the end, trying to keep it up in the bay (instead of dangling down towards the floor). This makes it gauging the length for each bay more accurate (because there's no estimating), and also makes it easier and faster when it's time to come back and whack the tubing into the channels.

5 - After the first bay has as much tubing as it needs, you can work back towards the last bay (where the big loop of tubing is getting pulled from), filling each bay with a full loop until you're back at that last bay.

6 - Whacking the the tubing into the channels starts at the first bay too, because the tubing going from there to the manifold is a cut end, that can't be made longer or shorter. Any excess can be pushed into the next bay as you go, or you can pull a little more from the next one if you're a little short.

7 - When you get to the last bay there's plenty of adjusting to do, either pulling a bit more through the straight run from the main roll of tubing, or pushing any extra back through.

Or.. in this case.. trying to make what seemed it like it might (hopefully) be enough tubing last.. until it became obvious that we were about 5 feet short

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.. Dan was tackling the last bit of thin fins to be put up under the kitchen

By the end of the weekend, we finished running all the tubing under the front part of the house

<-- This is the loop under the front room

<-- and this is the next loop over, which covers the entryway and the hallway, and the beginning of the bathroom loop (you can see the loops of tubing at the ends of the runs get a bit jumbled.. that's because there's more than one loop going through that spot)

Doesn't Dan look happy to be done with the weekend's labor?! Sundays definitely go a little slower than Saturdays.. but we've got a long weekend next weekend and we hope to get the rest of this phase finished.


Auntie Sue said...

I can't believe the amount of work this heating takes! Does it get insulated underneath or do you rely on the fact that "heat rises?" Also, God forbid, you ever get a hole that leaks or an unkinkable kink in the tubing, is there a way to splice a new section in? I hope you took a little time off for Thanksgiving. Thank you for taking the time to keep us "Neumansky groupies" informed of your trials and tribulations --- and most importantly, your awesome accomplishments! Kudos!
---Auntie Sue

irene said...

I can't believe it either, but I sure understand better why it's so !@#$% expensive!

There will be insulation underneath, but not this winter.. even if/when we get everything ready for the heat, we still have gas, water and electricity to install before everything gets closed up and there's no way all that can happen for awhile

There is a way to splice more in, but it's much less preferred than having a single uninterrupted run which has no chance of leaking unless it's pierced by a nail or something.. We spliced a little extra onto the short run this weekend, so I took some pix of the fitting and fix.

and we did take Thursday off to sleep in a little and eat and relax with good friends :D