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Odd jobs

January 19, 2014 1 comment

Yesterday I put the numbers on the house.

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I also finally put these door handles on. No one seemed to want to do this ! I don’t know why, it wasn’t that hard.

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I also refitted a door strike the painters took off and never replaced. And a coax and phone outlet that was not replaced.

I also fired up the heat pump hot water heater for the first time. At first I thought there was a problem as the trip switch was on but there was no power. But after getting a meter I was able to ascertain that the separate disconnect near the heater had power and then found the connector was not fully pushed home. Once pushed in hard it powered up.

By God it’s noisy! If I ‘d known it was that noisy I would have put it in the garage. Better yet, next door’s garage. It’s like having a truck engine in the pantry!

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By the way, note the Ethernet jack bottom right for the Internet of Water Heaters and other Things. This can enable smart grid variable pricing etc but with Pedernales Electric we should just be thankful for a supply, they’re not exactly pro- green.

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Dual-flush toilets get a reprieve. What a relief!

July 2, 2013 1 comment

I received a call from a very nice man at LCRA this morning, apparently they’ve been informed of my blog (fame at last!). I am pleased to say that he said the dual-flush, WaterSense certified Toto Aquia CT418FG in-wall toilets are OK. Apparently he had been wrongly informed by the installer that they’re 1.6 gpf and he was not told they’re dual flush.

So they don’t need to go to landfill in the name of green after all. That’s a huge relief then!

Yay

Yay! We’re safe!

Master bath

May 17, 2013 2 comments

The plumber did the master bath today. We had trouble finding a way to get water to the tub due to the window above, but the architects turned a problem into an opportunity with this funky ceiling filler. It isn’t supposed to splash but it does a bit.

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The shower is in, it also comes from the ceiling.

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The tilers put the backsplash tiles on but they’re not grouted yet.

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Many things happening

May 15, 2013 1 comment

Today they installed the quartz counter tops. Below they’re drilling the faucet holes.

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One of the two baths is now plumbed in. You can actually have a shower now if you want. But it’ll be cold, because the hot water heater is not plumbed in yet.

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The first of the three toilets is in and fully plumbed in. We actually have a working toilet now! Progress!

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Induction cooktop. The thing with the funny blue plastic still on it behind the cooktop is a downdraft vent, it pops up when you push a button to suck air away.

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Quartz countertops look nice. Note funny blue plastic still on the cabinets.

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Yesterday they took the wood forms off the pool and it’s still standing, which is good.

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I sent Lana to Home Dept to buy 38 LED ceiling light trims. These are 9.5W LEDs that are supposed to have the light output equivalent of a 65W incandescent bulb. They’re made by CREE. Luckily Home Depot in Bee Cave had 45 in stock, I checked online in advance!

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The plumbers started plumbing the bathroom sinks.

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This is the good phase. Stuff seems to happen every day.

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Inspections Passed

On Monday we have a 5-way inspection: Electrical, plumbing and mechanical (HVAC) rough-in, framing and stucco. There were 7 failures. These were fixed and on Tuesday it was re-inspected and there was 1 failure. The failure was with the HVAC and was down to the fact that the inspectors have never seen an HVAC system as sophisticated as ours before. They said we need to add float switches and drip trays to each of the zones. Float switches detect back-up in the condensate line and cut out the power the compressor, but these system include integral float switches and are networked to the compressor. Our project manager went to the manager of the inspectors today and had a word with them, and now today we have passed all inspections and are approved to the next stage which is insulation.

The guys are finishing off the standing seam metal roof, it should be finished tomorrow (Sat) and if not Monday, and the framers are putting on the Hardi panel soffit. The Hardi soffit looks really nice and it hasn’t even been painted yet. It will be finished next week and painted the same cream color as the stucco.

GE GeoSpring Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater

September 19, 2011 2 comments

The house uses a GE GeoSpring heat pump water heater. This is a heat pump that pumps heat energy out of the air and into the water. I put it behind the fridge since the fridge is a heat pump that pumps heat out of the fridge contents and into the room. It’s also in the pantry, because the water heater takes heat energy out of the air so it cools its surroundings, thereby cooling the pantry. Here is how I described the layout to the architects:

Pantry Water Heater Layout idea

Pantry Water Heater Layout idea

 

And here is how the architect plans ended up:

Pantry architect plans

Pantry architect plans

 

There will need to be a louvre between the pantry/water heater room and the 1/2 bath (toilet) to ensure there is enough air for the heat pump to operate, which will also help air-condition the downstairs 1/2 bath which doesn’t otherwise have an A/C outlet. I always like getting a side-benefit for free!

The heater includes a backup electric heating element if it can’t get enough energy from the air (that’s where the ‘Hybrid’ comes in, marketing name, sound like a hybrid car which we all know is green and good). This thing also includes hooks for future smart-grid support, so it would be able to schedule itself for the cheapest ‘leccy (smart-grid is like dynamic Economy 7 where the grid tells you when the ‘leccy is cheapest). Of course we will not be using that feature initially as smart-grid is not happening just yet in Lakeway, we haven’t even got gas and mains drains yet!

We went to Lowes yesterday and it was on sale, reduced from $1399 to $999! I immediately bought one even though we are not yet ready for it to ensure I got the sale price – I always like to get a bargain 🙂 This thing qualifies for a 30% tax credit too (parts and labor) so it’s eventual cost is only going to be $700 (we can claim the sales tax back from the federal tax in Texas too). And it’s claimed to save around $320/year on your electric bill. Result!

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