Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kitchen Cabinets

 I began building the boxes for the kitchen cabinets this week.
 This is the Blum Soft Close w/Blumotion runner.
This drawer will hold plates. The Blumotion technology won't allow the drawer to slam. They always close very softly no matter how hard you push them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Duct Work

 There has been plenty of ongoing work at the Tucker Green house. The latest task has been to address the 67% air loss due to duct leakage, according to the energy audit.

I did inspect the ducts and other than some minor leakage here and there I was unable to find any severe leak.

The picture above is the return air duct in the stairwell to the second story. As you can see, the drywall cut out is not even close to the opening in the duct. You can barely make out the bottom of the round opening.

I cut the drywall well back to expose the entire duct and taped up the tabs to make it air tight. I will repair the drywall with the opening right over the duct this time.

The mysterious 67% duct leakage problem revealed itself on inspection of the attic. There is a chase running vertically right beside this return air duct that follows all the way to the crawlspace.

I accidentally discovered this when I shined a light down the chase and could see spray foam insulation at the bottom. At one time before the knee wall in the crawlspace was foamed, there was about a 2x4's width at the bottom of the chase that was open to the crawlspace. The foam insulation crew inadvertently sealed this gap when the foamed the knee wall. This open chasm would have shown massive airflow during the blower door test. This is where I think the 67% air loss was coming from. Besides air and moisture having a clear shot up from the crawl to the attic, anything else that could climb could have also found it's way up into the attic and in the wall. There was a rats nest in the attic behind the same wall above the kitchen.

Most of the old loose insulation in the attic was black from moisture and condensation. The dust and the dirt was awful. We have re-mediated most of the old loose insulation and vacuumed up there with a modified shopvac. The air quality is noticeably better and it's still dirty up there! It 's getting better though. We hauled out about twenty bags of old nasty insulation.

I also found a couple of gaps in the spray foam between the attic and the garage or at least my cat did. I knew if she could get into the attic space above the garage from the attic in the house we had an issue. Sure enough I found two pretty substantial holes underneath some furring strips in the attic. They were hard areas to get to. I've sealed them up with Great Stuff.

New drywall with cutout in the proper location.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


At the rain barrel making class back in May, the county official told us that the watering restrictions had been made permanent with the 

2010 Georgia Water Stewardship Act.

I wasn't aware that was the case nor was anyone else there aware of it. It isn't enforced. The synopsis of the law can be found here:

Most people forgot about the watering restrictions after Lake Lanier was topped off by the flooding in 2009. The USGS released an article that said the probability of the the magnitude of those floods was 1 in 10,000. I reprinted the article here. 

Georgia remains in drought conditions.

The epic flooding that hit the Atlanta area in September was so extremely rare that, six weeks later this event has defied attempts to describe it.  Scientists have reviewed the numbers and they are stunning.
“At some sites, the annual chance of a flood of this magnitude was so significantly less than 1 in 500  that, given the relatively short length of streamgaging records (well less than 100 years), the U.S. Geological Survey cannot accurately characterize the probability due to its extreme rarity," said Robert Holmes, USGS National Flood Program Coordinator.  “Nationwide, given that our oldest streamgaging records span about 100 years, the USGS does not cite probabilities for floods that are beyond a 0.2 percent (500-year) flood.”
“If a 0.2 percent (500-year) flood was a cup of coffee, this one brewed a full pot,” said Brian McCallum, Assistant Director for the USGS Georgia Water Science Center in Atlanta. “This flood overtopped 20 USGS streamgages – one by 12 feet. The closest numbers we have seen like these in Georgia were from Tropical Storm Alberto in 1994. This flood was off the charts.”
The rains returned water levels in the region’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Lanier and Allatoona Lake, to pre-drought levels.  Lake Lanier rose by more than three feet to 1068 feet by Sept. 25 and returned to full pool in October.  Allatoona Lake rose to 853.25 feet on Sept 23, more than 13 feet over full pool of 840 feet.
“The flooding in Atlanta is certainly near the top of the list of the worst floods in the United States during the past 100 years,” said Holmes. “For comparable drainage areas, the magnitude of this flood was worse than the 1977 Kansas City flood, which caused tremendous destruction and loss of life.  It is a testament to the diligence of county officials and emergency management teams that more lives were not lost in Georgia.”
Significant property losses, however, were a near certainty from this event. According to the National Weather Service, some locations recorded up to 20 inches of rain from 8:00 pm on Sept. 20 to 8:00 pm the following day. Culverts and sewers are not usually designed for events of this magnitude because they are so rare and it is cost prohibitive.
“Applying rainfall frequency calculations, we have determined that the chance of 10 inches or more occurring at any given point are less than one hundredth of one percent”, said Kent Frantz, Senior Service Hydrologist for the National Weather Service at Peachtree City.  “This means that the chance of an event like this occurring is 1 in 10,000.”
For this analysis, USGS reviewed high-water-mark surveys and indirect peak discharge computations throughout the flood-affected region.  Scientists gather these data from the field during floods and in their immediate aftermath to supplement or in this case, to provide data after a gage is destroyed.  Some notable results:
  • In Cobb County, Sweetwater, Noonday, Butler, and Powder Springs creeks flooded so severely that the annual chance of a worse event is far smaller than 0.2 percent (500-year) flood. On Sweetwater Creek near Austell, Ga., high-water marks showed a peak stage of 30.8 feet.  The peak flow (31,500 cubic feet per second) was more than double the previous peak flow recorded at this site during the last 73 years.  The previous peak, caused by the remnants of Hurricane Dennis in July 2005, was almost 10 feet lower at 21.87 feet.
  • In Douglas County, the Dog River near Fairplay overtopped the USGS stream gage by 12 feet. The peak stage was 33.8 feet, with a peak discharge of 59,900 cubic feet per second.  This is well beyond the 0.2 percent annual exceedence probability (500-year) flood.  
  • Gwinnett, DeKalb and Rockdale counties also had record flooding.  Suwanee Creek floods were beyond the 0.2 percent annual exceedence probability (500-year) flood.
  • On the Chattahoochee, the USGS gage at Vinings reached a peak stage of 28.12 feet with 40,900 cubic feet per second, which represents between a between a 1.0 to 0.5 percent annual exceedence probability (100- to 200-year) flood.
In Georgia the USGS maintains a network of nearly 300 streamgages that provide data in real time. Data from these streamgages are used by local, state and federal officials for numerous purposes, including public safety and flood forecasting by the National Weather Service. A map of these gages and graphs of discharge for the last seven days is available online.
The USGS works in cooperation with other Federal, state, and local agencies, throughout Georgia that measure water level (stage), streamflow (discharge), lake levels and rainfall.
Users can access current flood and high flow conditions across the country at the USGS WaterWatch Web site.
More information on USGS flood-related activities is available at the USGS Surface Water Information Web site.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Deck Progression

 Ledger board installed on Saturday.
 Beams constructed and mounted on the posts.
 Joists going in.
View from above.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Today, we began construction of the deck. The design phase has been ongoing for about the last month.

We located the piers and dug half of them today. As you can see the soil is basically 100% red clay. I don't know if this is natural or if it was hauled in years ago when the subdivision was built. I suspect it is natural though. Native species don't seem to have any trouble thriving in it. As you can see in the pic there is a basil plant that is doing fine

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Earthcents Rebate

The Georgia Power rebate check arrived for the energy audit we had done in May. The energy audit cost $400. Georgia Power's rebate was for half the amount of the energy audit.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kitchen Demo

 In the kitchen there were 5 layers of linoleum on the floor. This was the top layer.
 Here is the layer beneath the top layer.

 After the top layer was removed the other layers were all stuck together and had to be removed together. Over the top of the sub-floor was a layer of green paper-like stuff.
 It took about an hour and a half to tear up all of the old flooring. It was awful.
We put down some new indoor/outdoor carpet as a temporary measure until the new hardwood flooring arrives.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012


Over the weekend we bought a new dishwasher and I picked it up today. I had a 25% off card that I got in the mail when I moved from the post office for Sears. This is a Kenmore and was originally around $830-something. We got it for $719 including the install kit which was $11.

This is the empty dishwasher space in the kitchen. It's obviously been wet before and there is a gaping hole where the electrical comes in. The floor has been patched at some point in the past. This will have to be replaced when we renovate the kitchen.

The new appliance is Energy Star rated and is suppose to be quiet around 51 decibels. I checked it tonight and it was reading well above that, but it is still exceptionally quiet.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Platform Bed

New platform bed base constructed over the weekend. I joined the pieces using half lap joints and dowels, no screws. I still have to rout a rabbet along the inside edge and stain it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Another Day in the Attic

Here is the old attic fan from the seventies. Hot air leaks through it's louvers and heats the upstairs of the house.
Cut out in the attic deck for the fan shown. Only the louvers remain.
The next picture shows radiant barrier foil placed in over the louvers. 
This will reflect any heat from moving into the attic during the heating season.  

First layer of batt insulation in place. Kraft paper face down.

 Top layer of batt insulation.

Rigid insulation put in place. I will seal around the rigid foam with spray foam to prevent any airflow from occurring.

Eventually the louvers will be removed also and dry wall will be added to repair the ceiling. But that's later on.

Insulation results

After having spray foam installed on Friday we've had the weekend to assess the results. We have had record heat in Atlanta over the last few days, seeing triple digits every day. The insulation has kept the temperatures down substantially in the attic. They have been contained to about the same outdoor temperature versus the 130-140 degree range without the insulation. On Saturday afternoon the attic temperature peaked at 102 degrees. This is quite a dramatic reduction in the amount of heat getting into the attic, but I would like it to be even less. I am working on some ideas to further reduce the heat gain in the attic. I will post them as they are implemented.

There is a noticeable odor when they first spray the foam. By the next day it had all but dissipated.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Spray Foam Insulation

Today was a pivotal day in the continued energy efficient retrofit of the Tucker Green Home. Spray foam insulation was blown in against the roof deck in the attic. As it turned out, a record high for the day was broken in Atlanta! (105 deg)

Bird Family Insulation was the contractor.

Here you can see the foam insulation that was sprayed in the attic. It's about 5.5" of open cell insulation sprayed against the roof deck. Open cell spray foam has an R value of about 3.5 per inch. So this is about an R-19 shown here.

Insulation was also sprayed against an interior knee wall in the crawl space.

The process took about 4 hours and cost approximately $2700.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Radiant Barrier

Over the last two days I installed radiant barrier material in the attic over the garage. It's a pretty tough job being up in the attic space in the middle of the summer, I wouldn't want to do another one. However, I can now report that the radiant barrier makes a lot of difference on how hot it gets in the garage.

Since I am getting spray foam insulation put in against the roof deck over the conditioned parts of the house I needed to amend the attic over the garage too. I only punctured my head once, my back once, and gouged a hole in my shin while cutting a scuttle hole into the garage ceiling. Not too bad.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More Fencing

I completed the gate today (almost). The fence is almost finished but the boards are beginning to warp already because I used very green lumber. Dumb idea.

I will probably need to replace a bunch of pickets before it is all said and done. I should of used panels because they are already pretty dry, even though I would have needed to break them apart.
View from the other side.

The hill very steep.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fence Design

This is my fence design that I came up with for the new section of fence going in on the east side of the house.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


There is a hole in the eave and the wood is rotted. It seems to have been getting wet for sometime. They painted over it and hid it pretty well, but that section of the soffit has to be replaced. Good times.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Yesterday I set 3 fence posts for a new section of fence I am installing on the back of the house. The entire area was draped in Ivy and monkey grass. We laid down heavy paper and then covered it with pine straw. The blue tarp is covering a a stump that is covered with Ivy.

Covering the ivy with paper and straw will cut off the light and eventually it will die. This is a permaculture principle and I do not have to use chemical poisons in the yard. The paper will break down eventually and contribute to the organic material of the dead ivy's leaves and roots.