Civic interruptis 3

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Right side up, no longer flying in distress.

Jay Jank, service advisor at First Texas Honda, delivers the decision: Honda will pay 50 percent of the cost to either 1. rebuild the motor from Jacquela’s Civic, or 2. install an entirely new engine with zero miles on it.

Hmm.

The Leons are asked to pay $700 more for option 2 — approximately $2,000 for the rebuild, or $2,700 for boxes packed with bright, shiny, oily, new parts, to be assembled by a service tech, then tested, with documentation and a warranty.

Hmm.

This, kids, is a no brainer.

Jacquela’s Civic is getting a heart transplant — the new engine.

This will take about a week. Jacquela gets to continue driving the loaner.

Thank you, Jay. Thank you, First Texas Honda. Thank you, Honda.

 

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Chasing ducts

The HVAC team from Elite Heating & Air Conditioning is installing the ducts that will push heated and cooled air across the house.

Ron and Steve walked Emerald Hill, adjusting vents too close to ceiling fans or ceiling lights and, more important, spotting tight kinks in the flexible ducts that will restrict airflow.

There are several — two or more 90-degree turns back to back that twist duct from chase to ceiling bay, or two runs of duct compressed into chases that are undersized. And one duct run between the kitchen and mudroom appears to be crammed into the tight space under the lower roof, possibly extending outside the insulation envelope of the house while compressed between lumber runs.

It takes an hour talking through and testing various alternatives at several locations to resolve upon an easy solution — reframe the vertical chases to make them wider. For example, in the master bath on the second floor, there are two ducts that travel from the attic down to the kitchen, one to supply air to the mudroom and mudroom bath, and one to supply air to the kitchen. They squeeze against each other, compressed, kinked around tight turns and holes carved into the bathroom subfloor.  Steven volunteers another 12 or so inches out of the master bath wall that will be used for storage, towel bars and benches. The benches just won’t be as wide, that’s all — no big deal. That allows Ron to relocate one of the two duct runs into a second ceiling bay above the kitchen, decompressing the two ducts, solving airflow issues in two rooms on the first floor.

There’s a nearly identical issue across the house at the loft, where the copper pipes between the air handler in the attic and the compressor outside are going to be crammed into a 12×12 vertical chase shared with a flexible duct. The easy solution, again, is for Steven to volunteer to give up 12 inches or so for Ron to reframe a larger chase.

Downstairs, Ron and Steve ponder a different issue with Daneel from Elite Heating & Air Conditioning. The vertical chase in the laundry/utility room on the second floor delivers a flexible duct into the ceiling of the library/dining room on the first floor, directly over the planned location for the table, smack in the middle between two ceiling lights — and eight feet distant from a better location closer to the front windows. At the same time, adjacent to the library, per the plans, there are only two vents — one at each end — planned for the large “great room” created by combining the kitchen and family room. Daneel and Steve step upstairs to talk about adding another chase by taking space from bedroom 4, to potentially run a third air vent down to the great room. Daneel suggests a better solution — enlarge the vertical chase in the laundry room to enable Elite to run two ducts side by side from the attic down to the library. Then, in the bay between two ceiling joists in the library ceiling, turn the ducts in opposite directions — one toward the front windows, away from the dining table, and one toward the family room, where it can terminate in a new, third vent just about dead center of that room and nearly equidistant between the vents at each end of the great room.

Genius.

In the interim, Elite is responding to Steven’s request for better isolation of the HVAC system from the framing of the house, to reduce the possibility that vibrations from the system operating in the attic do not travel into the framing, to be conducted as noise.

Part of the HVAC system, sitting on foam blocks, with rubber isolation pads between the system and the foam blocks.
Part of the HVAC system, sitting on foam blocks, with rubber isolation pads between the system and the foam blocks.

How did Steven learn to ask about isolation and spot kinks in duct runs? Lessons learned when Carrier dispatched a regional rep to determine why the HVAC system at Sea Eagle View was a “carcass” that required total replacement. Which does not make Steven a licensed expert installer of HVAC equipment — for the record — just experienced.

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Mind the gap

Ron and Cris from Ranserve checked every window at Emerald Hill for level, plumb and square.

This window did not pass muster — one of the three narrow/tall windows designed to spill natural light behind the front door and up the stairs, transforming the original dark entry with purposeful geometry and lumens.

DSC_2374The long vertical of the window bends about 1/4 inch. Ron held a level up to the window framing to illustrate.

Here the framers test fit the three narrow windows at the redesigned front entry.
Here the framers test fit the three narrow windows at the redesigned front entry.

Steven asks that the window go back to Milgard for replacement.

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When good valves go bad

That handle is tighter than Dick Tracy’s hat brim. Barry Samsel.

Sunday. Noon. 100 degrees. No shade. Of course.

Fourteen hours after he left in the dark, Barry Samsel from Custom Plumbing is back at Sea Eagle View to cut out the Pressure Relief Valve that he suspects failed, to replace it.

Did fluctuations in pressure caused by the dying PRV trigger the water heater to blow out? Did a water heater failure cascade back to the PRV? Two systems separated by 50+ feet broke down in the same 24 hour period, connected only by water; that’s a mystery wrapped inside an enigma.

Barry at right contemplating how to lever a washer between the pipe assembly and the water meter. New shutoff valve with yellow lever handle in the middle, new Pressure Relief Valve at left.
Barry at right contemplating how to lever a washer between the pipe assembly and the water meter. New shutoff valve with yellow lever handle in the middle, new Pressure Relief Valve at left.

Dig. Wrench to remove. Send Steven to Lowe’s to get a replacement for the butterfly shutoff valve that is not loaded on Barry’s personal Ford 350. Squeeze the new assembly into place with a 2×4 lever applied to city meter, carefully. Wrench to install. Test. Test again. Test a third time.

We have water! We have water pressure! There will be hot showers. There will be a bill …

Barry holds the pressure relief valve that failed, left, and the shutoff valve with butterfly handle that froze and locked, unmovable, forcing replacement.
Barry holds the pressure relief valve that failed, left, and the shutoff valve with butterfly handle that froze and locked, unmovable, forcing replacement.
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13 years in a blink

In front, from left, Steven, Summer, Jadin, Judge Henning. In back, from right, Jacquela, Charletha, Yoshiko, Lonnie, Charlene, Myra, Karen, Cassidy.
In front, from left, Steven, Summer, Jadin, Judge Henning. In back, from right, Jacquela, Charletha, Yoshiko, Lonnie, Charlene, Myra, Karen, Cassidy.

26 July 2002. Thirteen years ago. Today is the day we adopted Jadin. There are no words profound enough.

A family. Thank you, Randi Barrow, adoption attorney.
A family. Thank you, Randi Barrow, adoption attorney.
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Exterior paint plan

We are tasked by Ranserve with selecting exterior colors. Mark and Ron want to start painting the brick and new Hardieboard siding by end of week.

Jacquela and Steven have been talking about deep, rich, cool greys for months. Jadin searched the web for photos of houses where she liked the colors.

We visited Sherwin Williams while Kenny from Custom Plumbing worked on the water heater that blew out. The color chips and brochures in the store were, politely, frustrating. We came home to prowl Houzz and photos we had archived.

Three hours later we came to this decision.

  • Cyberspace, Sherwin Williams 7076, for the brick and siding — the body of the house.
  • Snowbound, SW 7004, for the trim.
  • Positive Red, SW 6871, for the front door. Punch that entry to make a bold statement. Although Jacquela thinks it may be too pink, not red enough. She’s going to purchase samples.
  • Naval, SW 6244, a candidate for the garage doors.
  • Wall Street, SW 7665, backup/alternate candidate for the garage doors — or the body of the house if Cyberspace proves too dark.
  • With a wood stain for the cedar siding accent that we plan for the front porch, something that looks like this photo pulled from Houzz by Jacquela.
    Balodemas Architects, via Houzz.

     

Choosing the appliances was painless. Picking out colors for the house is dangerous.

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The hiss of water

We woke Saturday morning to the hiss of water.

At Sea Eagle View, one of the 11-year-old water heaters failed, one year past expected lifetime. Manufactured in December 2004 according to the label, this tank served the kitchen, laundry and powder bath on the first floor, and the master upstairs.

Steven called Barry at Custom Plumbing. He’s tasked with plumbing Emerald Hill. Barry rolled a truck. Kenny arrived about 11 a.m. after picking up a new 50-gallon electric water heater and other supplies. Kenny went to work. Steven, Jacquela and Jadin got out of the way, delivering donations to Goodwill, visiting Sherwin-Williams to begin picking out exterior paint colors for Emerald Hill. About 145 pm, Kenny reported he needed to also repair the pipes to the recirculating pump, after bumping the pump while lifting the new tank into position. About 4 pm, Kenny turned the water back on, Steven turned on power to the new pump at the breaker box, and Steven and Kenny babysat the plumbing, looking for leaks. We were dry. Kenny packed up and drove off.

Which is when this adventure swerved into a ditch.

Water pressure inside the house fluctuated between a trickle and full pressure. Steven and Jacquela bled air out of the system. Pressure came back up, then dropped, then came back up. Steven checked the valves at the tank and street. All good. Jacquela and Jadin left for dinner with friends Shannon and Rafael and Jadin’s classmate since kindergarten, Sofia. Steven stayed behind to take a shower using the new water heater.

But, first, he checked the new tank — and discovered water streaming across the garage floor, hissing out of a pinhole leak at the pipes that connect to the top of the new tank.

Barry pulled into the driveway about 10 pm, peeled back the protective insulating foam, located the pinhole, soldered it closed. Barry and Steven tested the water pressure in the house — normal. Barry drove off. Steven opened up the kitchen faucet to put water into Reboot’s bowl. Nothing. Not even a trickle. Upstairs, Jacquela opened up fixtures in the master bath. She got a couple of kicks of air bleeding from the system. Then a trickle of water. Steven called Barry. Barry walked Steven through checking and rechecking all the valves at both water heaters, the valves at the street, fixtures in the house. Past 11 p.m., Barry and Steven agreed that Kenny was coming back Sunday with Pressure Reducing Valves, the device that reduces the flow of municipal water supply from above 80psi to 65psi, which is less destructive to solder joints and fixtures inside the house. See this article from Watts. We suspect the pressure fluctuations are telling us that the PRV is failing.

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Week ending 24 July 2015

“We had a good week.” Ron Dahlke

Above, Cris, at left, and Ron from Ranserve doublecheck all the door sizes, right or left hand swings. Ron’s temporary desk is a box made of HVAC duct board.

Ron Dahlke delivers this week’s summary:

  • Passed inspection on sheathing
  • Passed plumbing rough
  • Continued on framing
  • Installed Tyveck waterproof system
  • Received and Installed windows
  • Ordered pocket doors
  • Started siding
  • Started plumbing
  • Set can lights
  • Verified all interior doors sizes
  • Started HVAC
  • Met with Aaron on site for initial measurements for kitchen cabinets
  • Met with mason on brick repair
  • Met with shower pan contractor
  • Met with roofer on roof repairs
  • Roofer replaced turn back flashing
  • Ordered and received head flashing for windows

Next week:

  • Pour cement back into holes in slab from plumbing drain excavation
  • Continue on plumbing
  • Continue researching fire-rated wall assembles in garage with Brett Grinkmeyer, architect
  • Finish framing
  • Finish siding
  • Finish HVAC
  • Start electrical
  • Meet with Wendy for wood floors
  • Meet with insulation company
  • Order interior doors
  • Order door pans
  • It would be good to select a low voltage company next week.

Additional notes from Steven:

  • With the siding going up, Ron and Mark tasked the Leons with picking out exterior paint colors.
  • Steven and Ron met with candidate contractors for low-voltage, security, network, AV wiring; Steven is reviewing quotes.
  • Steven met with Mark Rehberg from Ranserve to discuss addition of a potential third garage bay at back of existing two-bay garage — Jadin will way too soon be 16 and driving, and Steven needs a parking spot for his table saw and other power tools. Steven called Brett Grinkmeyer to request sketches. Brett will discuss parameters with Mark from Ranserve.
  • Jacquela and Jadin visited the house every day this week. Progress is dramatic. This is the week when everyone fired on 12 cylinders.
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Unboxing the HVAC system

Elite Heating & Air Conditioning delivered supplies and equipment yesterday, see photo above. More arrived today.

Furnace in biggest box closed to camera lens, coil in the top box, Aprilaire air exchanger in box at rear.
Furnace in biggest box closed to camera lens, coil in the top box, Aprilaire air exchanger in box at rear.

The framers laid out sheets of plywood to create a flat deck in the attic — the mounting platform for the air handler and furnace.

Heavy lifting of very big equipment -- this is how the new furnace made its way into the attic, through the access where the attic stairs will go.
Heavy lifting of very big equipment — this is how the new furnace made its way into the attic, through the access where the attic stairs will go.
The new coil -- clean, unboxed, ready to go up to the attic.
The new coil — clean, unboxed, ready to go up to the attic.
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