25 July 2010

Mechanical Difficulties - Part 2

The gremlins that plagued the foam insulation equipment struck again today. About an hour into the job the truck disappeared. The generator that powers all their equipment and is powered of the trucks engine keeps overheating and shutting down. Its 95 degrees out there so I guess that’s not too surprising. The guys inform me they have plenty of prep work remaining. It seems we have lots of fiberglass insulation up in the attic and they need to pull all that back in order to get into the narrow eaves. They will also need to caulk in a number of place to prevent the foam from extruding through the seams in the roof.

On the plus side they re-sealed the front decorative grid with the black plastic.

black grill

Up close it looks a lot like someone covered the vent with a black plastic garbage bag (‘cause that exactly what they did!). But from a distance it looks OK.

black grill 2

They did make some progress before the generator broke down.

day one of the attic foam
First Day of Actual Foaming

One pleasant surprise is how thick they’re spraying the foam. I’m confident we’re getting our money’s worth.

foam thickness example
Example of the Foam Thickness Taken On Day One of Foaming

That beam is 8 inches wide. I’d guess we’re looking at an average of at least 12 inches. We contracted for an R-Value of 30. The foam is 3.5 R/inch so my guess is we’re actually getting something like R42!

People Difficulties

Today, the insulation company showed up with a different truck and a working machine to spray the foam. I opened up all the windows in the house in anticipation of potentially toxic fumes but the smell is only strong at the truck itself. In the house the smell is quite mild. Things seemed to go smoothly until I sat down in the dining room to eat lunch and saw white flakes on the table. Eventually it occurred to me to look up and I saw this crack in the ceiling.

ceiling crack

and later in the day, this one.

ceiling crack 2

I pointed these out to the guys doing the work and they were apologetic but seemed to accept this as a sort of standard problem. They agreed to fix it when the job is finished. We’re a little worried about this because the paint on the ceiling is not a standard white, so matching may be a challenge. Two more items for the Check List.

Later in the day, after the team had left I noticed this from outside the house.


This is a decorative grill n the front of our house. In order to seal the house they have to seal off the grill. But surely there’s a more attractive approach. I sent an email to the folks at Bonney and the insulation company. To their credit they agreed immediately to correct these items.

So far, here’s the checklist,

1. Place a “T” fitting on the outlet of the exhaust pipe
2) Insulate the new hot water lines
3) The electrical box for the tankless system is missing a wall plate.
4) The exhaust vent on the outside of the house should have a gasket or seal.
5) Rubber gaskets under the tankless water heater mounts
6) Flexible hoses connecting the tankless heater to the water lines
7) Repair crack in the ceiling

Honey-Do Day - Part 2

The second phase of today’s Honey-Do list was a new garbage disposal. Personally, I’m not keen on garbage disposals at all. I’m eager to start a composter and compost anything that might go in the disposal. But I’ve been outvoted on this for now in a close one to one vote, tie goes to the wife. Check Robert’s Rules of Order, if you don’t believe that’s the official parliamentary procedure. Robert was no fool.

Our old disposal was close to 20 years old and on its last legs. We’d taken to keeping an Allen wrench under the sink because the disposal jammed almost every time we used it. It was also ridiculously loud. It turns out that there are only two companies who make garbage disposals, Insinkerator and Waste King. All the other brands are one of these two with a different label on them. We opted for the
Insinkerator Evolution Excel because we wanted a quiet disposal and because Yolanda tends to put everything in the disposal and I’m tired of un-jamming ours.

The folks at Insinkerator claim their’s is 60% quieter than a standard disposal. After the installation I’d say it was more like 80% quieter than our old disposal. Maybe we’ve just been conditioned by our old one, but I seriously can barely hear the new one.

The folks at Insinkerator also claim you can put a ham bone through this thing. We’re vegetarian but I’m dying to kill a pig just so I can try it out. Happy

The installation was pretty much a standard disposal install. The plumber had quoted us $544 to install this with a lower grade disposal also from Insinkerator. This Install took me just an hour, total cost $320. The only challenge was that this is a big SOB. We also have a reverse osmosis water system under the sink so things are pretty cramped down there now.