Power Up

The power company replaced the transformer and pulled their line through our conduit the other day and Andy (my electrician) and I have been energizing the new circuits one-by-one, finding all sorts of horrors along the way.

The fire sprinkler tank was installed (300 gallons takes up more space than you probably think).  Today Andy replaced the panel in the shop and the HVAC guy (Alan) ran the last duct to the utility room and charged the system.  That takes longer than you’d think also.  One thermostat left to install (it was broken), but running on the new heat pump now.  Works much better, though the registers are a bit ‘breezy’.


Electric company says they will come soon to pull their cable, they’d like the trench to be back-filled when they arrive.  I promised it will be done, and tomorrow it shall.  Had 7 yards of pea gravel delivered today and began the task.  Roy has been working on the new front entry porch & roof the last two days.  Tomorrow, the fire sprinkler guy installs the reservoir tank, finally.

Kristen’s folks have been helping the last two weeks, greatly.  Watching Cassidy, firring-out & insulating windows, cooking, cleaning, laundry, Home Depot runs: I can’t even keep track of what all they’re up to.  With their help, I’ve been able to live and breathe this project. Sure miss the hot tub.

click for details

This hurt my brain

Trench Grind

Have been enjoying working with the electrician and the new circuits are nearly complete to the main circuit panel & generator sub-panel.  Trenches have been dug for new electric service and conduit’s laid.  Removed brick and siding to make a home for the new meter main and found some rot, but Roy says not to worry, repairable and he will work around the meter box. Also trenches have been dug to the shop for water, power and low-voltage as well as to the septic tank.

Let me say this about trenches: I’m done.  This is the only part of the project that I dreaded.  Knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  I stepped into one the other night and broke the wine glass I was holding (switched to beer).  Tonight the dog fell in a 3′ deep one we had dug this morning to drain the water out of two others–a stream with loose clay soil, like quick sand it was, up to his belly.  I had to lift him out and he ain’t my brother, he’s heavy.

I’ve been advised to wait until the dirt can dry a little before back-filling.  Given one of the wettest Marchs in Oregon history, it’s going to be a while.  In the mean time, there is no driving up to the house and you need to navigate tree stumps in the turn-around or back up 300′ along a muddy slippery road that wants to toss you in the pond.

HVAC & Electric

So the windows are installed, not quite to my liking & I made them tweak a few that were not lined up with each other or just plain out of level, depressing.  Still awaiting the fire sprinkler tank, but otherwise good on that front.

HVAC is mostly routed, they didn’t want to drill a 2″ hole through a brick wall and asked me to do it which I did today.  Whatever.  My electrician said I was very laid back.  If you don’t roll with it, you are going to break something.

The roofers returned to fix a leak.  Turned out to be more extensive than first thought.  The back porch roof sheathing is wet from the bottom edge up and up six feet as seen from the attic.  Since it’s the north side, snow melts more slowly and gets through the 15# felt.  That’s the theory anyway.  Never noticed it before with the old roof.  Surely a big pain in the ass for Daniel.  Probably tear-off that portion and lay down snow/ice shield then re-shingle.  But one of them, brought me some home-brewed dopple weiss.

Main thing now is electric.  Apparently, the price of a 250′ roll of 12-2 Romex (wire) was down to $50-something a few months ago.  I didn’t notice that, now is at $81.60.  I notice that since I’m buying 2 rolls every couple days.  Outlet/switch boxes are in, as are most can light fixtures.  New panel installed and doing home runs to that.  Still need to procure a large E-panel (as in ‘Emergency’ that will house the circuits we want covered by the generator.)  With 16 or 18 circuits running off the generator, you can have refrigeration, microwave, hood for the propane cook top, lights everywhere and powered outlets for a space heater in the bedrooms and may never notice when the utility power gets restored.  Perhaps I will turn the sink garbage disposal on when the power fails.  Andy, our electrician, suggested putting a spoon down there for extra notification.

Giant octopus loves boat


Roy & Gregg came today, at my beckoning, to frame in the master bedroom doorway and one closet. Wasn’t quite braced for the 7:30 am sawzall & cloud of dust, but there’ve been worse starts to the day.

Even talked the fire sprinkler company into sending their guy back out. He seemed to do well & made good progress.

Spent most of the day sweeping dust & hauling debris to the dumpster. Roy & Gregg also helped me move the Home Comfort wood cook stove down the hall and into the addition. I bought them lunch for that one.

Tomorrow, windows arrive!

WOEC is us

Spent five hours popping out nails that missed their studs through the sheathing & re-nailing. Didn’t mind, I work cheaper than anyone. And we passed nailing inspection last week, only missed a few places.

Plumbers came by and installed their venting, back tomorrow to work under the floor of the old part. Wanted me to peel back insulation for them, wasn’t too bad either, except for that sun-burned feeling your face gets from playing with fiberglass batts.

Our power company, WOEC, is the big problem on this job. It’s been three months and still no joy. House needs 210A and I want at least 100A for the shop.  They are actively resisting supplying a large enough transformer.  We pay for all hardware and installation costs and, of course, for all the electricity we use.

I was tipped off that they contacted the county inspectors office and asked if they had seen anything ‘funny’ up at our place that would suggest why we would need so much power. If that’s not over the line, it sure is dangling on the edge.

We’ve been framed!

Interior framing operations completed last Wednesday.  Wish I could say the same for the fire sprinklers.  After three days, the installer decided he couldn’t continue until all our walls in the existing part of the house had been changed to fit the plan.  That is code for ‘I don’t know how to work off a plan and need to see it in real life.’  Said to call him when we were ready, I thought a few months.  That didn’t keep the sprinkler company from invoicing us for 60% of job completed.  Maybe in the mean time, the installer can figure out that you don’t locate a 3″ hole for your head by actually drilling a 3″ hole from below, in the living space.  You might hit a joist, duh and have to move it over a bit.  Worse yet, I loaned him the drill!

Looking from kitchen through to living room.

Truss Me

All but two small walls up and the trusses installed.  Since this photo was taken ~70% of the roof has been sheathed.  Unfortunately not enough to prevent some soggy ceilings in the existing house.  Hopefully my tarp job has stemmed the flow.  (As usual, click the photo to see the photo gallery.)

Dog shown to scale


Two walls up today. Ten foot ceilings seem really tall to me at this point. We will run 6″ soffits around each of the main rooms which should help. If you’re wondering about the floor insulation, the joists were too wet (>20% moisture content). Kristen, our technical GC signed a form promising not to to insulate wood 19% or more, and mainly, I was afraid of trapping that moisture for months and producing demon mold. So, while my strings are in, I’ll do it the hard way once the crawl space dries out–that is wiggling around on my back and stuffing insulation above me. Yuck.

Pushing back the apple tree

Sticks and strings

Post & beam and rough plumbing inspection passed yesterday. Spent the last day and a half prepping for floor insulation. The trick is to hang 10-1/4″ fiberglass insulation in between floor joists that are 7-1/4″ deep. No points for squishing it. Think my method will work, tomorrow’s weather may postpone the confirmation. My skeletal system could use the day off.

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