Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No sweat

Still a slight bit dazed and sore from the weekend, we gathered up some tools and headed back down to the basement Monday night to continue assembling the heat system plumbing.

We finally were able to cut off the extra lengths of tubing that stretched into the basement. We corrected a couple of fittings and took our first pipe length measurement. Cut the pipe and fit it to the pump input.

All of our 1" PEX tubing, which is all on the furnace end of things, will be connected using "sharkbite" fittings. Unlike the fittings we've been using for PEX (primarily crimp ring and compression fittings), these sharkbites are just one super easy step: push the pipe in until it bottoms out. The fittings can even swivel after you've attached them.

We made a few cuts and connections that way and before too long we had the hot water line from the furnace attached to the pump, and the pump attached to the heat exchanger. Once again, we found ourselves making short straight runs using PEX that had arrived on a coil, so it's curvy. Annoying, and sort of sloppy. We decided to make the rest of the furnace-side hook ups in a day or so, after we've had a chance to buy some PEX sticks; those are straighter.

The next big event was copper pipe soldering, or "sweating," as the "pros" say. Let's agree that I'm going to call it soldering until I do a few more of them. The first task was to solder an elbow to the input end of the PMP, which is a pre-assembled run of valves and gauges. We took the PMP, elbow, and soldering supplies outside to the back porch, talked through the process and fired it up.

The first attempt ended in failure, so we reheated the joint, took it off, and cleaned up the PMP. Grabbed a new fitting, gave it some more thought, and tried again. The second time worked just as it should have. Success!

We carried the assembly back to the basement and took measurements for the the copper pipe and fitting that connects the heat exchanger to the PMP. We soldered a threaded adapter fitting onto the pipe, no problem. We attached it to the heat exchanger.

Next, we prepared and fit the PMP's elbow to the vertical pipe we had just attached to the heat exchanger. We would need to adjust the position of the mounting board we made, and Erika did this while I held the PMP in place. Then, she mounted the PMP to the board with some brass clamps and screws. I soldered the elbow to the vertical pipe.

That was a good stopping point. Next up: running pipe around the corner to the mixing valve and framing the rack for the headers and manifolds!

- John

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