Saturday, September 6, 2008

When you think you're about done...

... it usually means there's a ton of busy work right around the corner. Over the past week, we've done a LOT of wiring and plumbing (including cleaning up a bunch of existing wiring), had a few inspections, installed two new ground rods, got the furnace replaced, made a dump run, installed a new fan and shower light in the main bath, unloaded sheetrock and insulation, and a whole slew of other little things I can't remember right now.

I feel like I've spent half the past week crawling around in either the crawlspace or attic, and there isn't a spot on my body that isn't cut, bruised, dirty or sore. After we redo the washer box and shower drains/vents tomorrow, I shouldn't have to venture back into the tight, dark spaces until we get to the kitchen.

Here's some pics of the stuff we've been working on. First, here's our first and second attempt at the washer box. The first attempt is on the right. The inspector kindly let us know that each fixture must have its own vent, so we had to move the washer box to the left of the window to make room. We also decided to return the shock arrestors and just get a washer box with them built in. So the washer box on the left shows the p-trap (which has to be above the floor) and our new vent.

Yesterday, we replaced the two bar lights in the old movie room with three can lights in what will be the laundry room. We moved these to the 15-amp circuit for the crawlspace/attic lights and ran new 14-gauge wire for the 3-way switches.

The mornings were starting to get chilly, so we called Eric at Mountain Valley to install the new furnace and air filter. Those guys do great work, and our new furnace is super quiet, blows more air, and we added an awesome filter. I guess they just figured out that the filter is capable of killing the flu virus (see filter details here), but I'll be happy if we just don't have to dust so often.

Man, I feel like we've just about rewired the whole house. Four home runs to the addition, including the shed, and lots of cleaning up of old wiring. Here's a shot of the panel. You can see the arc-fault circuit breaker in the lower-right section. Apparently, these new breakers can detect a short in a device (e.g. a lamp, heating blanket, etc) and kill the circuit before a fire can start. That's all fine and dandy, but they cost $40 each. We had to put one on the circuit for the master closet because all bedrooms now require them, and we modified part of a bedroom. In a few years, arc-fault breakers will likely be required throughout the house.

We originally installed four 4" can lights in the TV area of the addition. We were immediately on the fence about whether they were bright enough, so when the inspector pointed out we were going to have to block 3" around the cans we quickly decided to replace them with 6" IC-rated cans. They're definitely bright enough, and now we can pack insulation all around the cans.

One little side project that ended up taking half the day was putting a new fan in the main bathroom. Our fan there has always been super noisy and pretty much ineffective. I bought a high-CFM, low-noise fan for each bathroom about a month ago, but we didn't get around to installing the one in the main bath until today. Well, the old fan had a built-in light, and the new fan doesn't, so Jen suggested we add a shower light like we did in the other bathroom. That translated to another trip to McLendons, more wiring, and lots of monkeying around in the attic.

It's all worth it, though, because now the shower is nice and bright, and the mirror wasn't fogged up at all after a nice long, hot shower tonight.

After we wrap up the plumbing tomorrow, we'll start insulating the addition. With any luck, we'll get it all insulated and start sheetrocking Monday.

I'll try to be better about posting each day again. I got a little off track over the past week because we've been working really long days.

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