Friday, July 11, 2008

Home Improvement and Nasty Weather

The crew from MdConcrete came by at 7:00pm Wednesday to tear-out our driveway. We were in the middle of hosting our small group from church but our guests didn't mind; especially the men as this is the sort of stuff that most males can appreciate. Tom, one of the guys from our small group commented that he was doing that same sort of work five years ago working for an asphalt company.

I spoke with the bobcat operator and asked him if they recycled the asphalt and he said, yes. They take it to a gravel mine near 160th and Pilot Knob to be disposed of.

I got up at 6:20 yesterday morning and cleared out the utility room where the furnace and air-conditioning people would be working. They were here by 7:00 and with their arrival our much appreciated air-conditioner was shut down.

An hour later the cement workers were on the scene and they got busy busting up the sidewalk in front. There wasn't enough room to use a bobcat so their work would have to be done by hand. Within a couple hours our sidewalk was a pile of rubble in the driveway and they then began setting the forms.

Our new furnace is a high efficiency model by Ruud. High efficiency means that it requires different venting and air supply lines than what our old Comfort Maker used. It's important to minimize the amount of elbows and the length of piping used to connect the furnace to the outside. With our basement having been finished a few years ago, finding a way to vent the furnace outside was made much more difficult. We considered an option of coming up into our laundry room then out through the garage but that would have required more linear footage than was desirable. The long-shot option was to drill through the foundation block next to where the air-conditioner would set on the side of our house and pipe it directly to our furnace above the ceiling in our glass shop. And that's what they did. I couldn't have been happier that they were able to go this route nor could I have been more impressed with their abilities in making it happen.

I noticed just after noon that the skies to the northwest were beginning to look a bit threatening so I went inside to check the radar. Sure enough, a large line of developing storms was moving our way. I told the furnace and concrete guys that it looked like we'd have maybe an hour before they arrived.

I went down in the basement to see how the furnace was coming along and one of the workers pointed out a bit of a problem they were having. A light above the laundry tub in the shop had to be sacrificed to allow for the furnace venting. He suggested that he could install a sconce light on the wall next to the tub if I wanted to pick one up. I jumped in my truck and made a quick trip to Menards to find one.

By the time I got back on the road and headed for home the storms were just minutes away. These weren't your garden variety afternoon thunderstorms. I sat at the light at County road 42 and Galaxie and watched a shelf cloud move into view just ahead of the gust front. Within minutes the winds were howling and I had my wipers on full. Traffic slowed to 20 mph in a 50 mph zone and 160th street was littered with limbs and leaves from the gust front a few minutes earlier. It began to hail as I turned onto Jaguar but thankfully it wasn't amounting to much. I parked in front of our house and made the dash into our garage to find the workers all camped out in there enjoying the show.

The storm set them back an hour but it's the forecast for today which may set them back a day or two. They're expecting temps in the 90's and severe weather later in the day which will make pouring concrete unlikely.

The guys from Dan Wohlers Southside finished up around 4:30 and walked us through all they had done and gave us a quick tutorial on how to use our new furnace and AC. We're very pleased with the job they did for us. Here's a before and after sequence of our utility room and some before and after shots of our AC.

Jim came by to do some touch-up painting this morning and said he's a little concerned that the out-take vent from the furnace is so close to the AC in that corrosive gasses from the furnace could damage the unit. I would think that the installation guys would have taken that into consideration if it truly is a concern but it does cause me to wonder. I suppose a call to Southside just to double-check wouldn't hurt.

Here's a couple videos from yesterday. The driveway work and the furnace and AC work.

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