Plumbing complete

Posted Wed, 11/04/2009 - 23:09 by kpbadger

Today it was the plumbers' turn, and all of our faucets, toilets, and showerheads were installed. Please read the Water Conservation page for more information on our selections (low-flow faucets and dual flush toilets).

Here are the pictures of the fixtures.

Powder room:

Master bathroom:


Laundry room:

Hallway bathroom:


One thing I found interesting (and helpful) was that Dave Jones Plumbing labeled all of the shut-off valves. In addition to having their name and number all over the place for future service, this could be very helpful for folks who don't want to trace the pipes.  Here's an example tag.

The two missing pieces of kitchen counter backsplash were put in place and also the gas cooktop, garbage disposal, and dishwasher were installed.

Kitchen countertops installed

Posted Tue, 11/03/2009 - 16:00 by kpbadger

Kitchen countertops are installed, with the exception of the backsplash in a couple places. The worker reported that the pieces were not correct, so they will return tomorrow to finish them.  We opted for quartz countertops.  Quartz and granite were the same price and for us the deciding factor was that we liked the appearance of the quartz that we chose.

The bathroom countertops are remnants which were installed some time ago. Today the backsplashes were finished.


Geothermal heat pump installed and activated

Posted Tue, 10/27/2009 - 22:29 by kpbadger

Yesterday and today, our geothermal heat pump was installed and commissioned. I took videos of much of this work which will be posted shortly. In the meantime enjoy these pictures and the narrative.

If you're new here and you want to know what geothermal is, why we chose it, and how much it costs, then check out the Geothermal page.

When reading this summary, keep in mind that our wells were drilled back in July, before the excavation for the foundation. The pipes were laid under the basement floor before the floor was poured. Then it's been a waiting game ... until yesterday.

On Monday morning, the heat pump was delivered. This is a very heavy unit. The landscapers from two doors down were kind enough to give the system a ride in their digger, down to the door of the walk-out basement. From there, the guys from Modern Heating & Cooling wrestled it into place.

Below the heat pump is the plastic "pad" and on top of this, under the heat pump, they installed rubber feet. This is to reduce vibration.  Once the heat pump was in place, they took off the service panels and were kind enough to let me grab a couple pictures of the inside:

The air return attaches to the heat pump to cover the large yellow filter shown in the middle picture above. They slid this into place and then cut a hole in the return duct above to connect everything.


They also made the connection of the desuperheater (hot water generator) to the buffer tank. That is the copper pipes -- one connection into the heat pump and one return.  The electrician was also there and he installed a disconnect box and wired up the system.


The next thing to be installed is the flow controller, which consists of two pumps. This must be within five pipe-feet of the connections to the unit, which ruled out the wall. Ultimately the best place to mount the flow controller was the side of the heat pump unit itself.


On Tuesday morning, the geothermal team from Sam's well drilling arrived to connect the loops to the flow controller, fill the loops with water and an environmentally-friendly antifreeze solution, and purge out the air. I am still processing the videos from this, so for now I post the picture of the end result.

Tuesday afternoon, Modern returned to start up the unit for the first time. This included installing the thermostat in the dining room area.

Modern will be back Wednesday to finish up, including connecting the second zone, activating the upstairs thermostat, and possibly commissioning the HRV.

The guys from Modern and Sams were all very gracious in answering all my questions during and after the install, tolerating me standing there watching and taking photos and videos, and letting me know their schedule so I could balance it with my other obligations. Video will be posted in the coming days.


Trim, countertops, appliances

Posted Tue, 10/27/2009 - 22:04 by kpbadger

Over the last two days, progress on the interior has been made.

The entry way into the great room is now nearing its final form, with the half-wall and pillar design suggested by Matt Acker.

Countertops were installed today in the bathrooms. The installation of the laminate countertop in the laundry room is scheduled for tomorrow, and the kitchen counter top will be installed next week.

The lockers and bench in the mud room are taking shape.

The wall oven, microwave, and range hood were installed in the kitchen.  The washer and dryer were delivered today, and the dryer was installed.  The washer needs to wait for the drain pan from the plumbers.

On the outside, the "plexi porch" has been installed. This was another Matt special.  We wanted a similar design to our neighbors' porch, with glass on the bottom rather than a solid opaque finish such as siding or wood. The main motivation was so our cat could also enjoy this space. However, a new code had recently been put into effect, specifying safety glass requirements that no manufacturer had a suitable product to meet. So Matt came up with the idea to sandwich plexiglass between the wood to create something cost-effective, attractive, and code-compliant. We are very pleased with the outcome, and the view is great.

House construction update

Posted Fri, 10/23/2009 - 23:14 by kpbadger

This is an update on the construction of the house. We are currently in the phase of construction where numerous projects are going on in parallel, on the home stretch toward a mid-November completion date.

The kitchen cabinets are now in. Countertops are expected next week. Here are some pictures of the cabinets at various stages of installation.

The soaking tub has been installed in the master bathroom.

All bamboo and ceramic tile flooring is installed.  (Most of the bamboo has been covered with the cardboard from the kitchen cabinet boxes for protection.)

Interior doors and trim are installed and the windows are stained to match the trim.

Construction of the handrail on the stairs has been finished.

In addition, all light fixtures are now installed in the house, except for the fixture over the bathtub which was on back-order. There has also been progress on the exterior, both for the back screened porch and the front porch, and the installation of gutters. Most of our visits during the past week have been after dark (since the sun sets before 6:00 PM this time of year), so a separate post will be forthcoming over the weekend to document the work on the exterior once we actually get to see it!

Upcoming events of note:

  • Monday, October 26 - installation of geothermal heat pump
  • Wednesday, October 28 - countertops

Finally, you may have noticed the new link on the menu: Solar. We have received approval from the developer to install solar panels, and today we received approval from Wisconsin's Focus on Energy for a rebate on solar panel installation. We have contracted with H&H Solar Energy Services and we are targeting an installation in mid-December.