Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The 90 Day Challenge

Tuesday we had an mid-afternoon appointment at the house with our ever helpful and encouraging draw inspector/renovation consultant. I got the reaction I was hoping for when he came into the house and looked up at the radiant tubes and plates...pretty much a "holy cow, that's a lot of tubing and plates." Yes, yes it is.

He gave us some tips on how we might get the 3-tubed snake fed through the conduit. First, he suggested staggering the tips about 1 foot down, so that rather than a 3-tubed blunt end, you'd be leading with a single tube. He snipped a couple of the tubes and we re-tied and taped the end and got ready to help us try to push/pull this thing through. We got a little further, but not much. So he left his winch with us to use until the next time we see him.

Oh yeah, and we've got 90 days to complete the project.

The official deadline for the bank-sponsored renovation - what we call Phase 1 - is October 1. We filed for an extension and apparently the max is 90 days. "The 90 Day Challenge," Erika joked.

After our wonderful renovation consultant left, we gave his winch a shot. Secured one end to a tree and the other to the lead rope. After several cranks we had a very taut rope and had only advanced the tubes by about one foot. I was nervous about damaging the frame of the furnace, given the way the rope had to come up over it like a pully.

A winch wasn't going to do it. We weighed our options for getting this tube run. and decided that we would unwrap the insulation and tape from the 60 feet of tubing that was hanging us up and re-wrap just one of them and try to get it fed. Then, we figure we can buy a snake (the tool) and feed that through the abandoned conduit and attempt to reclaim it for use by getting a rope in there again.

We dragged the tethered tubes back out of the basement window onto the side yard and started slicing away the insulation wrap and duct tape and separated one of the 1" tubes from the bundle. Then we wrapped just that single tube. Our wrapping and taping job was way better this time. Nice and tight, and we found that you get further if you use narrower strips of wrap because you can wrap the tube on a greater angle and have less of an overlap.

While we were casing the tube, Erika noticed something on a tree near our compost pile: an apple! Hooray, we've got an apple tree! Not much fruit on it - we found one red apple which was decomposing, two red apples which were slightly scarred but definitely edible, and one that is still green. We bit into one of the red ones - crisp, tart, and early evening autumn in temperature. So exciting! We picked the other ripe one and decided it would go very well with the potato pancakes that we planned to cook later. We even picked up a couple of black walnuts off the lawn to go with.

Back to the wrappin'.

We fed the single pipe back into the basement, tied the lead on, taped it to reduce the friction, and assumed our positions - Erika in the basement pushing while I wrapped the rope around my hand to pull behind the furnace.

We got it! And it wasn't so bad.

So now we've got two more to feed. We plan to wrap them together and attempt to run them through the second conduit, as long as we can snake a rope down there tonight.

- John

(pic taken the following morning)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm scared of the bank. What do they do to you if you don't meet the 90-day challenge? I'm guessing they break your collarbone or something. I imagine them speaking in the staccato, contractionless cadence of Guys and Dolls. "My friends, this is not a bank upon which you should wish to welch."

Be careful.