Posts under ‘4. Components and Systems’

Ice Dams in Snow Country

February 17th, 2010 by KTU | 2 Comments | Filed in 4. Components and Systems, Park City Mountain Modern

On a recent visit to my house site, I saw huge accumulations of icicles and lots of evidence of ice damming. Many neighbors have installed heat tape on their eaves, an affront to elegant design in my opinion. I vowed to design and build a house that skirts the ice damming problem without resorting to active heating of the roof, a colossal waste of energy.

Here is a typical roof in the neighborhood. Icicles more than 10 ft. long hang from the eaves. There is probably significant ice damming at the roof edge. Dangerous, ugly, and a potential source of leaking and water damage.

Icicles (and likely ice damming) on brand new construction in Park City.

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Walls are only about 60% insulated.

February 20th, 2010 by KTU | 4 Comments | Filed in 4. Components and Systems, Notes on Approaches

Many of us have a mental model of insulation as the nice fluffy stuff sandwiched between the inner and outer layers of our walls. The (thermally) ugly reality is that most walls contain lots of doors and windows, and that the wall area that is not doors and windows is full of wood and steel.

Here is a sketch (thanks to my newly acquired skills in Google Sketchup) of a typical section of wall for my Park City house.

Typical wall system in a U.S. stick-built house.

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Traffic Jam in the Joist Bays

September 4th, 2010 by KTU | No Comments | Filed in 4. Components and Systems, Park City Mountain Modern

We mostly passed our “four way” inspection on Thursday. The four-way includes structure, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing. We were still waiting on some ducting to be finished, but the inspectors were impressed and gave us the go-ahead to insulate.

The traffic in the joist bays has been just awful the past week; a bunch of trades trying to fit conduits of various kinds into too little space between and across the floor joists. The traffic is especially bad just upstream of the mechanical room.

Here are a few pix.

Power, ground, heat, water, alarm, thermostats, ventilation...all trying to fit in the same space. Near the mechanical room they basically have no choice but to drop down below the joists, which will require some "drops" (soffits) in some little-used areas.

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Spray Foam Insulation

September 17th, 2010 by KTU | No Comments | Filed in 4. Components and Systems, Park City Mountain Modern

I’m using mostly closed-cell urethane spray foam in this house. The insulators have been on site for a few days. The crew is doing an excellent job and I’m convinced this will be a very tight house.

They show up with a box truck full of exotic mixing and pumping equipment.

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Hydronic Heating (“Radiant”)

September 25th, 2010 by KTU | No Comments | Filed in 4. Components and Systems, Park City Mountain Modern

Yesterday, Chris and Justin from CRS Mechanical started stapling down the 1/2″ diameter PEX tubing that is a key element of the hydronic heating system. The tubing will be embedded in 3″ of concrete, which in my case will form the finished floor. The tubing is stapled down first; then #2 rebar is laid over it; then the concrete is poured. The staple-down phase goes pretty quickly with the right tools (a spindle for uncoiling the tubing so it doesn’t twist, and a pneumatic stapler that has a special nose that centers the staple over the tube.

Justin and Chris stapling down the PEX tubing for the hydronic heating.

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Under-Vanity LED Lighting (courtesy of IKEA)

October 28th, 2011 by KTU | No Comments | Filed in 4. Components and Systems, Park City Mountain Modern

I used wall-mounted vanities in the Park City house because I like preserving as much floor area as possible, and because I envisioned using some kind of under-vanity lighting as a “night light” for the bathrooms. I had the electrician wire in switched outlets for each vanity. It took me a year to get around to the the lighting. Here’s what I figured out.

IKEA sells LED lighting strips with power supplies (“Ledberg”). These are roughly 24 inches long and they have a modular connector system so several can be ganged together. I simply mounted these to the bottom of the vanity about 3 inches back from the front edge with the cord fed through a hole in the bottom of the vanity.

This was easy and inexpensive. The light color is a little cooler than I’d like, but overall I’m pretty happy with the results.

Ledberg IKEA LED lighting strips. Note hole drilled in bottom of vanity with 11/16 butterfly bit.

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