July – Week 3 – Compressors set, chimney capped, silt fence added, & driveway cleaned-up

July 23, 2016

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As I mentioned last week, the Gernatts were all on vacation this week – so not much hands-on work, but a couple of subs were there during the week.  Tom wants to get the air conditioning going, so he had the HVAC guys come by and set the compressors.  We’re re-using the unit we had before the renovation, so that compressor has been stored for all these months.  They got it out and then have a new one for the new system for the Second Floor.DSC_0001 The line sets were already in place on the left side of the house back by the new electrical meter base, so it was just a matter of placing them on new pads and then hooking them up.  There was some sort of issue with the wiring, so they won’t be doing any cooling until that is resolved and some thermostats are installed inside.DSC_0004Also during the week the fireplace sub came by and finished up their work on top of the chimney.  The flashing pan had been put in before the brick was installed, so it had to be re-done to cover the top brick course.  We also had them swap out the spark arrestor for one that looks a bit more like a real chimney would look.  Once the roofing guy finishes up the flashing at the base, everything should be done.
DSC_0017Then on Saturday we showed up focused on resolving the issue with the silt in the driveway.  You may remember from last week we had a deluge and we had to build a dam to keep the water out of the Basement (see photo below).  This was all due to the silt and debris that has accumulated and blocked the flow of water into the drain pipes at the end of the driveway.  So we needed to get area cleaned out, but before we did that we needed to eliminate the problem which allowed the muddy water to get down there to start with.DSC_0046The silt and mud is coming from the front yard area which is bare dirt and will continue to be until we get the new driveway and landscaping in place.  So we decided to add a silt fence along the edge of the driveway to keep the mud from washing down whenever we have rain.  We took some extra silt fence that was left over and created a barrier between all the dirt and the driveway.  The idea is to build a ‘dam’ of sorts that will let through the water, but filter out the mud/silt whenever there is rain.  That keeps the mud from going downstream and into the city storm drainage system.
DSC_0023We put in a few extra posts to make it stronger and think that it will be able to handle the pressure of a good rainstorm.DSC_0016Now that the source of the mud and silt is eliminated, it was time to clean up the mess that had accumulated for many months.  Most of the time that we have been working on the renovation there has been a dumpster down at the end of the driveway, so we haven’t been able to clean out that area.  Now that it is gone, all is clear to get it done.  The mud had been baked in the sun and resembled a dry lake bed with cracks all through it.DSC_0006The loader was disabled with a nail in one of the tires, so we had to revert to manual labor!  After shoveling and scraping we created a pile of dirt to remove.  On the left side of the photo below is where the pipes are which connect to the ditch.  Months ago we put some straw bales there to filter the silt, but over time they have become completely clogged with silt and disintegrated into a state of mush-ness.
DSC_0025Jonathan and Dale filled up about 7 or 8 wheelbarrow loads of silt and hauled most of it back up to the front yard where it came from.
DSC_0033While they were working in the area, they also extended the foundation drain off the back of the house and covered it up with gravel and fabric and then topped it with dirt that came from the driveway.
DSC_0026Once all the dirt scraped out and hauled off, we replaced the straw bales back at the pipes with new ones, and gave the driveway a good pressure wash.DSC_0038By the end of the day we had a clean driveway.  We were hoping for a good rain to test out the new silt fence and straw, but no rain on Saturday.  However on Sunday our next door neighbor texted Stephanye a photo saying that they had had a downpour for 30 minutes or so and everything worked like we wanted and the driveway was still clean!
DSC_0037 Another reason we wanted to get the driveway cleaned up is that soon we will be working on cutting up the concrete and hauling it off so we can pour a new driveway.  We did a test cutting with Tom’s concrete saw and figured out that it is going to take a lot of time (probably a full day of cutting) and effort to make that happen – but we’re up for it.

The Gernatt crew will be back next week and we’re looking forward to getting things moving again as we get closer to the end.  We have some selections to make – most urgently tile selections and interior paint colors, so we’ll be focusing on those this week.

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