Thursday, September 20, 2007

We conduit!

Step 1. Snake something through the second conduit (the one that was missing a rope, thanks to the rat, probably) so we could get a new rope in to use to pull the rest of our tubing through.

So I bought this tool called a sewer rod. It's 50 feet of 1/2" wide steel strip wrapped inside a wheel of four spokes. It's got a round metal roller on the leading end. I chose this tool instead of the common auger snake, which is basically a long tight spring with a fatter spring tip. It just seemed like the roller tip would give us less trouble feeding it through the corrugated conduit.

We added a little bit of grease to the surface of the roller, and started feeding the sewer rod into the abandoned conduit from the basement end. This went off almost without a hitch. There's this V-shaped handle on the steel strip that you can use to clamp down and grip with, in case your really trying to work out a clog. You're supposed to keep this handle with you while you feed the strip, but I forgot and the handle ended up about 6 feet into the conduit before I noticed. And we couldn't pull it back out because the handle's open V end was getting caught on the conduit's corrugated ribs. We figured we could leave it in then, and it should come out the other side. Aside from that, the sewer rod snaked through the conduit and out into the furnace with very little effort. This was good. So we tied our nice new rope onto the sewer rod (basement end, since the handle was still in there) and pulled it through. Success!

Step 2. Wrap the two remaining tubes together with insulation and duct tape.

Now there's something we've done a few times on the side lawn by now. We made relatively short work of this step. Man, can we wrap and tape! Seriously. I was pretty psyched with how tight, neat, and efficient our wrap job was. Looked like a 60' burrito. And not those Virginia burritos.

Once it was wrapped, we fed it back into the basement through the window and tied our rope on.

Step 3. Push/Pull.

Erika pushed, I pulled, and right on through she sailed. We now have all 4 water lines running from the furnace to the house. Hooray!

So on to stage whatever of the heating. Let's just call it the next stage. I don't want to keep count anymore. The next stage is another somewhat daunting one which promises to be tedious. We've got to assemble the PMP (plumbing mechanical package). Pumps, copper pipes, brass fittings, valves, gauges, mounting, soldering. We moved the boxes of parts into the dining room and started to take inventory and identify the parts. For the 50th time, I read over the assembly/installation instructions. I drew sketches, started a list of questions. With every time I read this stuff, I understand it a little better, so that's good. The tough part now is figuring out where to jump in.

We came to a couple of realizations:

1. We were probably supposed to install ball valves at the beginning and end of every circuit of pex we had run. Took a look at what this would entail, and it's really not so bad. Couple of hours or less, probably.

2. (unrelated) Hey, if we're going to be installing the beam this weekend, we need to do some demolishing and rerouting of electrical tomorrow.

And with that, we decided we'd better eat some dinner. It was almost 11 o'clock.

- John

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