Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Final Plumbing Straw

I've known for a while that the plumbing in the master bathroom was roughed in backwards. I found this out when I started installing the faucets for the tub, sinks, and shower. They are all exactly backwards in that the hot tap produces cold water and the cold produces hot. That is both easy to fix and easy to just live with. So far I have chosen to just live with it.

But, recently I noticed that the toilet was filling with hot water. That's a problem. And, I went into the bathroom this morning and the water in the toilet was so hot that the seat was soaking wet with condensation. Yuck. I've also noticed that our electric bill was unusually high for this last billing period (we have electric hot water), and I've notice that this toilet takes much longer to fill than the other (not sure if this is related or not).

So, I decided to call the builder in hopes that he will find an easy way to fix it. There are two separate pipes in the basement that feed this bathroom exclusively and it would seem relatively easy to cut, cross, and reattach these pipes to fix the problem.

I haven't talked to the builder (Dave) in about 18 months. I called the last number I had for them, but just got a generic voice mail message. I checked and they are still licensed in Oregon, so I’m sure I’ll be able to contact them. I also tried calling the sub-contract plumber listed on the permit, but also just got generic voice mail. I’ll keep trying.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Local Area Flooding

It has rained a lot in the Portland area over the past three weeks. All of the Willamette Valley and Costal Range is under a flood watch or warning. And, our basement is taking on water. The basement is leaking in at least 2 places and leaving puddles throughout. The most concerning is the puddle next to the furnace. The new furnace was installed directly on the floor. In hindsight I probably should have asked the installers to raise the furnace 2-3 inches off of the floor. The forecast calls for more heavy rain.

This is the first time in two years that our basement has flooded. The last time it flooded, we didn’t have the gutters on the house yet and water was clearly building up at the foundation. I did hope that with the new gutters keeping water away from the house, that we would not have a leaking basement again. It looked good. It did not leak all of last winter, though last winter was unusually dry. In contrast, this year has been unusually wet and here comes the flood.

The solution? French drains around the exterior of the house? Cutting grooves into the basement floor to channel the water towards the sump-pump? Having the furnace people raise the furnace off the floor? Yes, all of these may help. The reality is that this basement has always leaked, was designed to leak, and we’ll just have to live with it. That’s part of the reason why we added a second story.

Water seeps in on the south side of the basement.

Water seeps in on the north side of the basement next to the furnace.

There is a sump pump right next to the furnace, but not all of the pooling water is draining into the pump area.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Under the Stairs

New project for the new year: under the main stairs. What we have is a large space under the main stairs. The architectural plans call for the space to be enclosed in drywall. But, I just hate wasted space. We could use more storage, a place to put our shoes, packs, etc. My first plan was to put in little cabinets. But, I thought that if people had to take the time to take their shoes off, open up a cabinet door, put the shoes in there, then close the door, it might not get used very often. Well, I wouldn't use it very often. So, I thought about having an area under the stairs where we can just kick our shoes off. It wouldn't have to be very tall, but it would be nice if it is wide and close to the floor.

Here are the steps as they look today:

As you can see, there is space available under the steps, and to the right (which is currently used to store Jenn's bike). What we want to do here is have a place to store shoes, gloves, hats, packs, etc.

Here is the plan (done crappyly with MSPaint):

On the floor is a space for kicking off shoes. Above that is a shelf that we can put additional shoes or other items. Above that is a taller more narrow space that would be good for a backpack or two. We could still add a door to the backpack spot. In addition, we still have the space on the right that can be used for storing bikes or whatever. The bike storge space will definitely get a door.

Next up, actually doing some of this work...