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high desert. small house.

Days 248-250: Paneling Prep & Plumbing

Friday, 3/18
Okay, so the next major project is covering the walls but we have a few smaller tasks to take care of before we get to that stage.  We need to connect the Lunos e2 HRVs so they can assist in drying the endcaps and we need to tape the holes in the underfloor insulation netting.  We also need to wipe down the arched walls’ foil insulation which is somewhat dusty.

Brian got the lunos e2 HRVs working and set them to ‘summer ventilation’ where they are just moving air rather than preserving indoor heat and humidity.  He finished taping up the holes in the floor insulation right around dinner being ready so we called it a day at that point.

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Ceramic heat recovery core of the Lunos e2 HRV.

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Louvered grill: check.

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Lunos e2 from the inside. Yes the gray tube will remain exposed in our case although you could enclose it in a box-like  wall protrusion if you wanted to.

Holes in the bottom are taped up. Sydney is on the long lead, waiting for the dog taxi to return.

Holes in the underfloor insulation netting bottom are taped up. Sydney is on the long lead, waiting for the dog taxi to return.

We caught the huge rat in the act of destruction!

We caught the huge rat in the act of destruction!

Saturday, 3/19
Not a super productive physical day.  Brian did a lot of research while I was at work – finalizing bathroom plumbing details (height of knob and shower head, mixing valve, etc) and thinking about our strategy for the paneling.  While he was at the house, he heard a lot of cracks and popping; noises related to the insulation framing taking on moisture from the damp-spray insulation.  With the house still so ‘alive’ it is clearly not the time to do the paneling.

The damp spray cellulose caused some expansion of the wall framing and we found that the door would no longer open easily.  Brian had to replace the screws in the strike plate so that they wouldn’t scratch the door anymore.

We also decided that instead of wiping down the arched walls and paneling them first, we’d install panels over the cellulose walls first to protect them from damage (dog chaos, tool accidents, etc) and to enclose the dust source.  But first we have to wait until the endcaps are completely dry.

We did vacuum up the clumps of loose insulation and wipe off the horizontal furring strips.  I went up on the scaffolds and vacuumed both of those off (view from top scaffold featured at top of post).  Brian assembled the mixing valve and fixed the water leak at the threaded transition coupling from PVC to PEX.

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Scratches from the screws that secure the strike plate.

Sunday, 3/20
We started around mid-morning by organizing the junk in the house so that the big scaffold would have a track it could move in.  Brian had already pulled one of the arched panels off to double-check whether or not any cellulose had made its way behind it.  It had.  A lot. That meant all the panels (on the arched walls) in contact with the endcaps would have to be removed and cleaned off.  At that point, we’d have access to the foil behind and could wipe it off too.  It is important for the foil faced insulation to be dust free in order to reflect radiant heat properly.

We had one panel off (on the north side) already from Brian’s investigation.  We wanted to give the north side some more time to dry so we turned our efforts to the south wall.  We removed two panels on one row to clean them off.  We took off the third panel also but there was no insulation under it.  Phew!  That means we only need to remove, wipe down and reattach a total of eight panels (4 rows, two panels into each row).

After doing our first row (of two panels plus checking the third), we decided we were hungry.  While I ran to the coffee shack to make us each an “a la mode” and stopped at the house to heat up leftovers, Brian started the bathroom fan ducting.

We had the long vertical duct in place already because the floor penetration for it had to be done prior to the underfloor insulation.  The next steps were to attach the fan to the vertical duct and to attach the vertical duct to a big horizontal piece under the floor that would direct the humid air out from under the house.

With the bathroom fan ducting complete, we decided to remain distracted from the paneling and connect the wiring for the fan.  I left at that point to take care of groceries.  By the time of my return (7pm), it was time to pick up Brian and head home for dinner prep.

With regards to the paneling, however, we did learn a lot.  We now know we can remove the cellulose with a microfiber cloth and it even when crusty it comes loose fairly easily.  We also discovered that the best method for preventing future migration of cellulose into the foil insulation’s air space is by creating a barrier with spray foam.  Additionally, we decided that an optimization strategy is to trim the tips of the horizontal furring strips that extend into the 2×6 endcap space in order to allow the endcap panels to slide behind them [and eventually the arched wall’s  panels].  This enables us to make less-than-perfect cuts on the curve-edged endcap panels and hide our imprecision behind the overlapping edge of the arch wall panels.  We will have a picture of this at some point.

Side Story – Remember Brian and I talking about dog transport?  Well, we decided to try and ‘water ski’ them this weekend.  With Brian holding their leashes and sitting on the tailgate, the dogs ran behind the car the entire way from the apartment to the house; about half a mile.  We ran them home the same way.  Trooper tolerated it; Sydney loved it.

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Cellulose getting where it doesn’t belong. Something must be done! [This is the back of a panel that had already been installed on the arched wall.]

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The foam barrier will provide much needed separation between the two rival insulation technologies.

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Just a little ducting to go and the bath fan will work…

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Improvised attachment of the bath fan duct.

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