Saturday, January 1, 2011

Under Floor Insulation is Done and Skylight Shade Problems

Last week, The Lovely Wife and I had a short but relaxing vacation in southern California. Seeing as it was the week between Christmas and New Year, I had every expectation that we would get back and not a thing would have been done during the week. After all, even during normal work weeks, very little seems to be happening. But Ponzini suprised us: they completed the insulation under the house and in the shelf under the living room windows.

Here's a kind of blurry picture of what the underside of the floor assembly looks like after Ponzini finished the spray foam, taken through the crawlspace access:

The pinkish white at the top is the foam under the floor, including a wire that got foamed. On the bottom you can see the bits of foam on the dirt. The bright white dots in the background are disco lights. Our crawl space is outfitted with disco lights so anybody who is working in it doesn't need to set up lights or try to use a flashlight. These were put in when the stapleup radiant heat system was installed.

I'd like to check out the job more closely but I try to avoid going into the crawlspace because it aggravates my allergies. I'll only go in if I really have to. Paul is going to check out the job Ponzini did to make  sure they've sealed up all the cracks.

The space under the windows in the living room looked like this before Ponzini reinsulated it. Remember this picture from the Holes post:

Here you can see what passed for insulation in the shelf under the window: an inch of fiberglass batt with gaps where you can see the electrical wiring and drywall. Here's what it now looks like after Ponzini finished with it:
Because the cavity is so deep (at least a foot and a half) they didn't fill it entirely with foam. Instead, they stuffed it full with fiberglass and foamed over the outside of the fiberglass to seal it. The foam provides additional insulation as  well as vapor, moisture, and air barrier. Unfortunately, Ponzini left little bits of foam in the garden next to where they foamed the area under the living room windows, which somebody needs to clean up.

So, going into 2011, progress is slowly being made. Right now, the completion of insulation on the interior is being held up by completion of  some electrical work so the building inspector can certify the open walls. We are having a hard time finding motorized, insulating skylight shades that we will fit our skylights, so the wiring for them didn't get completed  before the inspector's first visit. There were just three wire coils where the skylight shade connections should be. These need to be put into junction boxes until the skylight shade situation is clearer. It seems difficult to find insulating skylight shades that install horizontally and achieve a good seal so air doesn't penetrate the shades when closed. Most motorized, insulating shades are designed to be installed vertically, or, at least, at an angle less than 90 degrees to vertical. Such shades would fit on  our skylights, but we would  need two  shades per skylight because the skylights are triangular. I don't think they would achieve a real  airtight seal. Anyway, I am becoming increasingly skeptical that we will find shades to meet our requirements, but I want the electrical connection  installed anyway. Appropriate shades might appear in the future, or we could ultimately end up using the connections for lights inside the skylight.

The other hold-up right now is PG&E and the 200 amp service installation. According to the Web site record they sent me, they were supposed to start on Dec. 24, naturally they didn't. So I now have no idea when they will start.

Finally, REC is supposed to come on Thurs. this week  if the weather is OK and remove the old solar panels. After that, the roofers are  supposed to come and fix the three holes in the roof that the old solar installer punched in 2004 when the first solar panels were installed. Considering that it has been  raining off and on, with wind and cold since the beginning of December, I think the probability is high that this work may also get delayed, but we'll  hope for the best. A week of sunny weather at this point would help the job along.


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