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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The long vertical of the window bends about 1/4 inch. Ron held a level up to the window framing to illustrate.
Steven asks that the window go back to Milgard for replacement.
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.
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 …
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.
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
Set can lights
Verified all interior doors sizes
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
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
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.