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Old 10-20-2011, 12:55 AM   #31
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2900 sq ft DIY house


The past few days I ran two power circuits, a light circuit, and under-cabinet lights in the garage. Since I use my garage extensively I put the outlets on the north wall on one circuit, and the south wall outlets on another. Also, I have to run two outdoor receptacles on timers to plug the vehicles into during most of the winter to keep the engine block and battery heaters on. I only had one timer so I will have to install the other one after I run to town tomorrow for another and more supplies. The north wall circuit has more outlets than the south wall since my work benches will be located there eventually. It's complete except for that timer, outdoor GFCI receptacle, and I need another 20 amp breaker to power it up. I mounted the 4" boxes to strapping on the wall because I'm going to strap the wall 16" O.C. horizontally, put EPS foam in between and sheetrock over that. I talked to my inspector/engineer and he said that's fine, just staple the romex to the edges of the studs. The box seems to have too much flex to me so I might run a piece of 2x2 under it and put one screw through it to sturdy it up. I though about metal boxes but I don't want the cold metal to attract moisture. These were vinyl boxes I bought at the local electrical supply store so I might see of they have a fiberglass version.
When I was looking at lighting options I wasn't sure if four 4' two bulb fluorescent fixtures would be enough but once I had them powered up it was no question about it, it's plenty. I didn't want the kind with diffusers because they just get all dirtied up and bugs tend to get trapped in them too. So I went with these ones that have white reflectors and a wire cage over them to protect the bulbs from getting broken. They came wired with a cord that I didn't need so I had to snip it, drill a hole for the romex and clamp on the backside because it came with two knockouts, one on either end. I wanted it centered over the ceiling box, that's why I had to drill my own. When I roughed in the wiring for the ceiling boxes two months ago I referenced the wrong wiring diagram and didn't run the right wiring between fixtures for a power-switch-light x 4-switch configuration. So today I took a couple steps back and had to run another run of 14-3 from the first switch to the second one, and ended up using the 14-3 already in place between the fixtures for parallel circuits, clipping the red wire. The insulation and vapor barrier is already in place so re-routing 14-2 up in the ceiling was out of the question. Oh well, I'll pay more attention next time.
The other to-do on my working vacation was add some under-cabinet lighting for our temporary kitchen. I didn't hard-wire them in though, I took the easy route this time. I bought 3 little 14" fluorescent lights that link together and get plugged into an outlet. Later I might put a little switch in the power cord to make it easier to turn them all off at once. I'll have a pretty nice brewing area by the time I'm done with the house and we've completed the real kitchen, leaving me with this setup in the garage.
Tomorrow I won't get hardly anything done since I'll be running to town for supplies and putting studded tires on the wife's van. The roads are slick because the temps are hovering between 20-30* in the daytime. There was two cars off the road when I went to the post office earlier today. Next up is the master bedroom lights.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:21 AM   #32
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2900 sq ft DIY house


My goodness, what a project!

2500 sq ft dosen't seem small for a family of 5 at all. I think you're going to have more than enough space.

Thank you for your service.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:54 PM   #33
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[quote=Thadius856;756905]
2500 sq ft dosen't seem small for a family of 5 at all. I think you're going to have more than enough space./quote]
We looked over countless sets of plans but couldn't find one we liked. I wished we would have searched a little bit longer. Oh well, can't change it now.
I'm taking a break for the next two weeks to rest up, and add up all the expenses for this year up til now. I have no idea how much I spent this year. I'm guessing $25K or more. I got a big stack of receipts to work on for the next few days so we'll see.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:45 PM   #34
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I know the feeling with the receipts. I prefer to digitize and shred, so with my printer/scanner busted right now, I'm drowning in a sea of paper.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:10 PM   #35
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2900 sq ft DIY house


Wow, one word, ambition!! My old man did the same thing, started building before I was born and we never had carpet in the house till I was in the third grade.
What you're doing reminds me of long ago, keep up the good work
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Old 11-11-2011, 12:21 AM   #36
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Well, it's been kind of a restful 2 weeks but I'm slowly moving again. I'm cutting back on the relentless house work and trying to spend some time with the family and pursue other leisurely activities. The past two Saturdays a friend and I brewed beer, the first since February. We're going to bottle it up tomorrow night. But I've been slowly whittling away at soldering up the radiant manifolds. This Saturday I hope to get the boiler in place with all the plumbing hooked up. I still need to get an oil lift pump since the tank is too far away for the boiler to pump it. I'll take some pics this weekend and post them.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:55 AM   #37
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So much for me taking pics "last weekend" and posting them.
For the past couple weeks I've made slow progress on getting our boiler up and running. Last spring I pre-fabricated the radiant manifolds, only to realize recently that they would be too small. So I took a few steps back and had to remake the radiant manifolds all over again in a larger size. I soldered up all the manifolds, mounted them to some uni-strut, soldered some more, set the boiler in place, and soldered some more. All my solder joints were leak-free, but a couple of the threaded joints leaked and I found those leaks using compressed air in the manifold before I mounted them so fixing them wasn't too hard.
After the boiler was all plumbed in I installed a Toyotomi lift pump to bring the heating oil up out of the in-ground tank and gravity feed to the tank. The first attempt didn't work out so well because when I tapped into one of the two lines running into the tank I tapped into the return line, which is about a foot or so above the bottom of the tank. With only 75 gallons in a 500 gallon tank, the lift pump was sucking air. So back to the hardware store again to get another fuel line splice. Once I tapped into the other line the lift pump station filled with heating oil and bled the fuel supply all the eay to the burner head.
We bought this used boiler for $400 last winter off craig's list with intentions to use it temporarily until we could afford what we really wanted. I recently found out that they don't make them anymore and parts are hard to come by, so it's good that it's only temporary. After I made a power cord using some 14/2 romex and a repair plug, I installed the exhaust flue and surrounded it with some rock wool insulation left over from the wood stove install. Amazingly, the boiler fired up right away!
I'm still toying with balancing the water flow between the two 1/2 loops coming off of one header, but we have heat in the garage slab. The inner portion of the slab is nice and toasty and the outer portion is slowly warming up.
The temps for the past 10 days or so have been -20 during the day and -35 to -40 at night so with only the wood stove to supply heat until the boiler was fired up on Sunday night, the garage has been chilly during the day and pretty cold in the AM. We had the kids move into the master suite with us for about a week while I tried to get more heat in the garage. The boiler is kind of manually controlled right now until I get more money to buy a zone valve controller. Two zone valves are installed but right now I only plumbed in the garage zone. After I take a break for a couple weeks I'll plumb in the master suite zone and that will be the only two zones to run for the rest of this winter.

Question for anybody smart with mechanical plumbing:
What purpose does the 1/2" line with ball valve serve that's installed between the supply and return pipes on the side of the boiler. See the pic with the close up off the 1/2 ball valve with the yellow handle. Just above it is an air bleeder. When I bought the boiler this was already installed. Not sure if I need to have this closed or open for normal operation. It's closed right now so hot outlet water doesn't shunt to the pump on the return side. Any guidance would be appreciated.
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Old 11-23-2011, 08:01 AM   #38
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2900 sq ft DIY house


Looks to me like pressure release valve but it strikes me as odd that it would be coming off the return line. I'm stumped!
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:02 PM   #39
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2900 sq ft DIY house


Nice job. I am keeping an eye on your progress as I am in kind of the same boat. I own 175 acres in Idaho and want to build a home on it. The days of taking 200K out of my current home are long gone and time is running out until I attempt to retire again. So we are bebating taking out a 85 K loan to build a barn style home. I have done the well, spetic, power and have a 30x40 pole barn that I hope to enclose and make use as storage and a work space this summer. But with my current cost of living am making to headway towards the new home. Plus I am 8 hours away living in Northen Nevada, so working on it means talking at least a week off to get things done. Im very impressed with your progress and would prefer to have no mortgage.

Nice job

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Old 02-20-2012, 11:46 PM   #40
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Thanks Rumblon, I've pretty much stopped all progress for a few months while I rest up and pay off a few things. I did connect the radiant in the master suite so now I have two zones of heat. Since I'm almost out of dry firewood that's a good thing. I've had some problems with the moisture escaping beyond the vapor barrier in a few places, particularly around the bath fan. I also learned that sand between 2x2 strips for radiant floor mass doesn't work so good under backer board. The same setup under the 1/2 CDX is holding up fine though. Later next month I will probably start insulating other parts of the house. Good luck on your project, it feels good to live rent/mortgage free.

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