Monday, January 30, 2012

c.c.c.c.c.......cold in the shackienda this morning!

......woke up a wee bit chilly this morn with the interior temps running in the high 20's low 30's!! I have not been using the propane (to see if I can do it and save a little money) and it's possible. I get warmed up chopping wood and when I go in, I can keep the house very comfortable with about a small log per hour. last night I filled the fire box up with red oak, closed the air intake and the damper and when I woke up 3 hours later my stove fan was still spinning (it only spins at 150 degrees or over). That means that the little cast iron stove held heat for quite awhile. Still not all night though....

About the fan....
My dad bought me an ECOfan for Christmas and it is really neat. It produces electricity when the stove heats up and pins a small brass fan, pushing the warm air out into the room. It works well and it is neat to look at. They are really expensive though. But very cool!


OK updates on the house.....

The lower parts of the walls are done. Some of the seams are a little janky but they will be covered with trim so that's ok. I am going to get some stain for the walls this week (samples) and see what looks best on some scrap wood. The walls went up pretty easy.....with help. My cousin Jess came over and we knocked them out in a few hours. The only problem was the fact that nothing is plumb or on center in the original construction. These were never meant to be finished on the inside when they were built so standards weren't really adhered to. it's not a big deal, we just have to measure and cut a bit more. It is starting to come together and feel like home and I am pretty happy with the outcome. I am still having trouble sealing the crack around the stove pipe where it meets the roof flashing (JB Weld did not hold!!!!!!!!!) but I will figure it out.

Anyway.......the hunt is on for a permanent spot for the house. I will have to moveit come March. I have a few options but I would really like to find some land to buy......with no money. Ahhhhhhhhhh Poverty! Well, back to work...


Monday, January 23, 2012

The Update....

So the floor went in fine. The laminate flooring was a pain to put down but I bought the cheapest stuff. I think a better quality laminate would install easier. I opted to use tar paper instead of the "foam" that they sell for underneath the flooring. The tar paper cost 1/5 of what the foam would have!! and does the exact same thing....keeps the clacky noise down. I ended up buying a tapping block and an edge puller for the install. It was a must and I recommend everyone spend the 15 bucks if you plan on trying to do a project like this. I would also recommend using a rubber or plastic mallet instead of a roofing hammer like I did.
  The install was pretty easy with the help of my cousin Jess and my buddy Chris both of whom I would not be able to do this without!!). First we laid heavy duty plastic down on the old floor as a moisture barrier. Next came 4 sheets of new sub floor (particle board). Then a layer of tar paper went in followed by the laminate flooring. This was mostly done under a tarp in front of the cabin in the rain!!
  So the floor looks great (other than a few small imperfections in the laminates) and the cabin is noticeably warmer with the floors in. There are no more drafts coming up through the floor and even though the floor is cold it is still much nicer to walk on barefoot.
  We put up a couple of wall boards too. It has been pretty awful weather up here (rainy) and on the nice days it seems that I have been going in to the office so I have stalled on the walls. Hopefully the weather will break and I can finish them this week. I doubt that it will take too long.

Roof Leaks...

Well, it is leaking where the stovepipe goes through the roof flashing. When it dries out, this is the first thing that needs to be addressed. I put some gunk in the seam but I guess I used the wrong stuff. If it stops raining at all today, that is priority number one.

  The cabin is staying nice and warm with just the propane heater. The weather has been damp but not that cold so I have been leaving the heater on low and curling up in the blankets with Sho.

So here are some pics....

Well, that's it for now.

Friday, January 6, 2012


last week we had some pretty bitter temperatures up here in the mountains, dipping to 10 degrees before the windchill, and I had a chance to test the limits of my heating system. Now this was not an accurate test as the walls and floor are still unfinished and there is still some drafts that need to be corrected but I decided to take some measurements with the unfinished house. So basically the house is a shell. It is dried in for the most part and the walls and ceilings are insulated with fiberglass insulation,R13 on the walls and R19 in the ceiling joists. There is no insulation under the floor yet. For heat I have my tiny Neptune 1-A marine wood stove and a small blue flame heater (the smallest I could get that still had a thermostat).

The stove heats the house very well, almost to the point of discomfort. I am slightly warm blooded and at times with a roaring fire it was a little too warm. I am getting good draft in the stovepipe and the fire is burning near 400 degrees when it is roaring. The stove works great but the small firebox and the fact that it is not airtight means that the fires do not last very long, about two hours. The idea was to find a propane heater that will kick on when the stove cools and that is what I have....kind of.

I bought a little blue flame heater from Lowe's. It was on sale for 122$ so I snatched it up. I was going to get a plaque heater of the same size but they were 80 bucks more and I am trying to stay under budget. The heater is mounted on the wall at the far end of the building. The first really cold night I set it to low and it did what it was supposed to do.....turn on when the fire in the wood stove went out. The lowest setting, however, was too low and I woke in the morning to a crisp 43 degrees. The next night (even colder!) I set the heater to about 3 and added a small fan in front of it to blow the heat into the room. That morning the temp (at the bed) was about 56 degrees. Much more comfortable. The heater cycles on and off as it should and I hop that it will not use too much propane. My space is so small that a larger wood stove would not be practical so I am going to have to rely on expensive propane more than I would like. I know that when the walls are finished and the floor is in the building will be much more efficient. The large sliding door really lets a lot of sun in during the day so even on super cold days, as long as it's sunny, the building should be bearable with the minimum of heat.

And now a quick word about safety. 2 People died up this way from carbon monoxide the other day. They had both a kerosene heater and a generator in the living space. It is unclear which appliance did them in but is was a stark reminder about safety. Always......always keep a window cracked when using an un-vented heater. Always.....always have a smoke and carbon monoxide detector installed with fresh batteries and always have a fire extinguisher at hand. These things can save your life.

I promise to post pics soon. Tomorrow I will put my new flooring in and Sunday I plan to put the wall boards up.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 update. I have been staying in the "house" for the last few nights. I have the wood stove plumbed and with a roaring fire the building stays reasonably warm. Keep in mind that the walls and floors are unfinished and the building is still pretty drafty. Last night I filled the fire box up at midnight and when I woke up at 6 A.M. the inside temp was hovering around 32 degrees. Yes it was cold but it was 16 degrees outside (without the windchill)! I turned the big buddy on high for about 15 minutes and then it was warm enough to get up and moving....which I promptly did not do, opting instead to crawl back under the covers with my worthless excuse for a Husky and snuggle until 10 AM.

Today ended up being pretty productive. The propane heater is working, running off of a small tank and cycles on when the wood stove cools down. I have it on the lowest setting and it will be interesting to see what the mean temp in the house will be when the heater is cycling on and off. I am hoping that it will be in the low 40's and only cycle occasionally. I would love my 100lb propane to last all winter..

I also ran the power through the wall instead of through the sliding glass door as I had been. I had to stuff a wool blanket in the crack to keep the drafts and being able to close the door all the way will be nice.

Tonight I am going to do some cleaning...making it livable until I put the interior walls and new floors in (this weekend). I will post some pics soon.... I promise.