Saturday, April 26, 2008

And Dan Said, 'Let There Be Fire.'

And Low and Behold it was Good.

Doesn't this look pretty? Our old fire pit retrofitted to our new deck?


But I'm getting ahead of myself.

When we had our patio done we had the guys run a gas line out to the fire pit.

Here's the connection we made using the existing hose from our original fire pit.

And here's Irene showing us how it all fits together.

The old fire pit bowl fits exactly on the new pit....almost like someone was planning ahead or something...

Here's the stub-out that the concrete contractors put through the wall for the bbq.

Here's the stub-out for the fire-pit.

The question now is how to connect the stubouts to some propane?

Enter the manifold...
After dropping a good chunk of change at Pagano's hardware (boy are we glad that place is only 3 blocks away) we built the manifold.
We decided to go with 4 ports. 2 3/4" ports, one for the bbq and one for the fire pit, and two 1/2" ports for 'future expansion'. Maybe a patio heater, maybe some permanent fire art....who knows...

Here's Dan drilling into the fresh concrete so we can use tap-cons to install the manifold.

Fresh concrete is so soft compared to drilling in old completely cured stuff.
Like butter!

Here's Dan installing the manifold on the wall with our trusty Ryobi 18V cordless drill.

When doing this kind of stuff it's very important to make sure you use the yellow tape. Not the white tape! We use two wraps of the yellow tape and a very thin coat of teflon thread seal. Never get a leak like that.

Here's Dan installing the flex line from the manifold to the stub-out for the BBQ.

This stub-out was right in the dirt. We had to dig it out and clean it up really well so we could get a good seal.

Here's a shot of the manifold hooked up to the stub-outs and to the propane tank.

Dan's testing the manifold and connections with a spray bottle full of soapy water.

And of course no leaks!!!!

See, doesn't the old fire bowl fit our new pit like it was made for it?

And now some pictures of fire!!

Here's the new fire pit in all its flamey glory.

Here's the de-riguer shot of the madscientist in front of his creation.


Here's Mrs. Madscientist looking cute by our new fire pit.

Here's the happy couple enjoying their mutual love of all things flamey!

The ugly bricks are there as an experiment to see if we could get the fire to burn a little cleaner. We still have not solved the mystery of correctly carburated home-made propane powered firey goodness.

In other news we got the plan for the staple-up radiant done for the middle floor and the parts are being shipped to us as we speak. This has been holding us up for a bit as we don't want to run any wiring in the downstairs until this is done. After the staple up is done and pressure tested we can get rocking on the wiring and finishing the downstairs bath.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

the house, circa 1995

Our new neighbors across the street found a picture of our house in a cabinet.. take a look!

This is what our old neighbors had to look out at every day.. can you imagine?

I made my CSI attempt at beefing up the date at the bottom left (they make it look so easy!) The last digit is either a 5 or a 9, and since the digit before is definitely a 9 and it looks different, I'm going with 5.
So this picture was taken August 3, 1995

Aside from the layer of filth, there are a couple interesting things in this picture. The whole front stair is rotting out and the post which we just discovered is completely rotten isn't even there! That would mean it was put in when the stairs were rebuilt in 1996. We've just replaced the stairs, and we're going to need to replace that post this summer.

This reminds me.. we need to finish power-washing the house so it doesn't wind up looking like this again!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

all work and no... work..

Dan and I have both been spending so much time at work that we haven't had much time or energy left to work on the house.. In fact, I started this post 2 weeks ago and just now have a chance to finish it while Dan's off at work! yes, on a Saturday :(

Dan got the floor plans finished to get the heating plan designed, but now we have a decision to make.. On the 3rd floor - our someday master bedroom suite - we're going to carpet the floor, so were planning on installing radiators for heat. There are some fancy new-fangled ones that will work right off the same pex lines as the radiant in-floor heat, so that seemed like our best bet. As it turns out, we can put hydronic radiant under carpet but we'd have to figure out how to get it in there. The 2nd floor (which is where we're living) has finished ceilings, and the 3rd floor has a perfectly intact oak strip subfloor which we're definitely not tearing up. The ceilings in just about every room on the 2nd floor have an awful skip-trowel texture on them, and there would be no love lost in losing them. Plus, from what we were able to pull out from the edges above, the insulation between the floors probably still has some rats nests, which if we could, would be great to get out. The problem is, we're living here! tearing down the ceiling will be a giant mess, and if we'd realized that we'd need to do it before we moved in, it wouldn't've been so bad. Now, however, a shower of rat poop is a little harder to deal with.

We'll put in-floor radiant in the bathroom regardless of how we heat the bedroom and office. There's a 6" step down anyway, since it was originally a covered porch, and we have plenty of room to put warmboard down on top of the existing floor and still have headroom left for tile.

Our heating alternatives for the bedroom and office are:
  1. A radiator in each room, probably at the baseboard.

  2. Staple-up tubing from underneath, which would require tearing out the ceiling underneath. This is how we're heating the middle floor, but we have nice, exposed access for that. Plus, there would be more the heat would have to go through to get to the room because of the existing wood subfoor

  3. A warmboard-type subfloor laid above the existing subfloor, which would cause us to lose about 2" in height in the room
I'm a little unsure how effective radiant under a carpet would be anyway, so I'm investigating that first (if anyone has any experience with that, I'd LOVE to hear it!). We'd be limited to a fairly thin pad, because that is an extremely insulating layer, which we'd want to minimize. And I think we'd be a little limited in what kind of carpet we could use. So even after the actual work is done, regardless of if we put it in from above or below, the tradeoff would be thin carpet and invisible heat with no loss in floorspace, or thick, dig-your-toes-in carpet with radiators in the rooms.

It's a beautiful warm day, which makes it even harder to think about heating systems.. but it does mean I can open all the windows and get some fresh air circulating. And the reality of living in a house with exposed studs and indoor/outdoor carpet and throw rugs covering every possible inch of floor my bare feet will never touch, is that even after the thorough spring cleaning it's just about to get, it'll still look like it needs to be cleaned. Maybe instead I'll spend the day on our lovely patio snapping my fingers trying to have the house magically be done.