Monday, December 19, 2011

The laundry "room"

So, after getting the dryer vent issues fixed, I figured we might as well keep making the laundry area more functional. So, I repaired the leaky hot water valve, replaced the washer hoses with these super-duper reinforced hoses that as supposedly better than stainless steel:

I also put a plastic tray under the washing machine -- just in case.

Next, I repainted the alcove in the same color as the living room, Cornerstone. We had two gallons of it left over.



Two shelves will be going up (one is actually already in place, but don't have a photo at the moment).

Here is a pic of the dryer vent routing now -- much better:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The chimney cap

Just following up on a previous post about painting the chimney it is in all it's new found glory:

A lot better than this:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The front fireplace

I've never smelled a fireplace that's as bad as ours. The flue is closed and yet it still smells from time to time. Not all the time, but sometimes. So I cleaned it, and this helped some.

In addition to kind of smelling like a smoky fireplace, it's also not totally pretty inside:

That doesn't look so bad...

... but if I use the flash: 

While the prettiness of a fireplace is trivial, we don't even use it so it might as well look decent. Right?

So, I got some black Rustoleum heat proof paint (resists up to 1,000F) and painted the inside. Not only should this block in a lot of the smell, but it looks a lot nicer now too:

The Woodland nursery, a beginning

We've begun to actually decorate the baby's nursery in the woodland or "woodsy" theme.

The painted white hutch thing, got some wood grain pattern to the backs of it.

For the wood grain, we were going to use this paper from Paper Source:

But it's not cheap, and shipping nearly doubled the price. note: both Portland and Boston had a Paper Source ----- closest one now is Berkeley.

So instead, wandering the aisles at OSH the other day, we stumbled upon wood grain contact/shelf liner paper for $8:

We were going to use foam core board, but after I saw that it was $3 a sheet and each sheet would do one section ($3 x 5 = $15) I began to rethink and remembered that Home Depot sells jumbo moving boxes. One large moving box later ($1.39) and we had the boards to mount the shelf liner paper to.

Some careful measuring and cutting was all that was left:

Room, before the hutch was finished:

Oh and I also painted the back of the door.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Solving a mystery

So we had assumed that our house originally had a 2 car garage and that they took half of that garage and made it a part of the awesomely large kitchen. Last night, I crawled into the attic above the garage and found evidence otherwise:

That's an old exterior vent ----- this was the old outside of the home (there's one on the other side of the house too). So basically, what they did was took the one car garage, converted it into part of the kitchen. Then built a whole new garage and added it to the side of the house. 

Here's a bird's eye view ---- the pink boxes show the additions to the house:

The attic space above the garage was insulated with R-11 insulation (Energy Star recommends R-38 and higher is better). Bonus is that there was mostly plywood over that ---- so tons of Rubbermaid storage boxes of holiday decor could be relocated here!

Dryer Venting part two of two

So after I realized our dryer vent was out of code, I went to work on it on Saturday. This first step involved cutting away the sheet rock to get better access to it:

One problem with this dryer vent is that there is nothing to attach the pipe from the dryer to (there is no flange). You basically just stick the dryer vent in that hole, which doesn't impress me. 

Next, I climbed into the attic. It was a bit like an Indiana Jones movie as far as the cob webs went: 

But I hacked my way to the dryer vent coming up from below. And pleasantly found that what I thought was the dryer vent in the back of the house was not. The dryer vent went up through the roof and vented above. Very cool.

However, it was still not up to code. There was about five feet of flexible 3" pipe. Code is 4 inch and should not be flexible. I climbed up onto the roof to inspect the venting and found this:

That perfectly cut hole is, I think, from the dryer snake I used a few days ago ----- about the perfect size. 

I ended up pulling out all of the dryer vent, and replacing it with 4" round solid tubing in 5 foot sections. Additionally, I cleaned out all of the lint from the roof vent and put in a standard elbow at the dryer side to make attaching the vent from the dryer easier. Not super impressive, but this is the new pipe coming up into the attic and making a slight bend to exit out the roof. 

Here it is exiting:

While I was up on the roof, I removed one of two non-functional satellite dishes, swept the leaves off, cleaned out some of the gutters and took off our above pictured "Home Saver Pro" ----- chimney cover. And gave her a good cleaning, coat of rust inhibiting primer and a final coat of rust inhibiting charcoal grey paint. 

Lastly, I made a cover out of wood to repair the square hole I cut into the wall:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beginning to look a lot like Xmas

Got a tree topper for the retro tree:

Decorated the larger Christmas tree on Sunday morning:

Then Rachel and I went craft shopping and came back and got to work: 

I made the garland for the front room's mantle (as inspired from here), and Rachel made the first of a few stockings!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dryer Vent re-routing

Not the sexiest topic on this blog, but my next project is going to be re-routing the dryer vent. Most city codes allow for 25 feet of straight dryer duct. However, each 90 degree bend counts as 5 feet. I estimate that our current vent has four 90 degree bends (20 feet) plus about 30 feet of straight pipe = 50 feet. The dryer vent goes into the wall, up into the attic, across the attic, down through the back wall of the house and then out onto the back patio.

So I bought this dryer vent snake:

And used it last night = disturbing. It's basically a 12 foot flexible plastic shaft that has an auger brush on the end that you attach to a drill. I put the snake up the dyer vent and hit a blockage about 2 feet in. I pushed through that blockage and a ton of dryer lint came falling down. Then I got the snake another 5 feet in and hit another blockage, and so on until I had used up my 12 feet of snake length. I ended up with half a paper garbage bag full of old dryer lint that was stuck in 12 feet of our dryer vent. This confirms my theory that being out of code on these sorts of things are scary.

Re-routing the Vent

My plan was to run the vent down into the crawlspace then out the front of the house. However, there is foundation under the wall where the dryer vent goes and very little crawl space, so that is out.

As a result, I'm going to go up and into the attic and then out the front.  This will mean only one bend and much less straight pipe as well. However, it's actually not even going to have a bend. How? I bought this gradual 90 joint called an "Ell" (har har) which is meant for dryer venting and is made so that code considers it a straight pipe and not actually a bend:

Additionally, I'll be using something called the dryerbox:

This gets mounted into the wall and the venting tube from the dryer attaches to this. So that the vent from the dryer doesn't get crushed. Currently, the flexible tubing from the dryer is getting crushed in order to close the laundry doors. By mounting this countersunk box, the moist air can escape much more easily. 

If you have some inkling that this is in the realm of tin foil helmet paranoia, take a look at this list of recent dryer fires across the country:

Dryer fire leaves Amherst family homeless
Tony Ellis, the father, said the dryer started smoking. Ellis said he thought he had succeeded in putting out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but smoke started coming from a wall. Cathy Ellis said her husband yelled for everyone to get out of the house. “I just thank God that all my kids got out,” she said.

Jake Ellis, 20, grabbed his 11-year-old sister Alyssa, who is paralyzed and cannot speak, and carried her out of the two-story home.

And if you have a dryer vent that doesn't immediately go outdoors, get the lint snake and see if you have major blocks of lintage in your line.