Thursday, March 16, 2017

Enclosing the Stove Pipe

A couple of times this year we have caught the distinct smell of smoke after closing up the stove airtight.  It's been very distressing to me, already having a bit of a lung condition to deal with.  I also generally don't like when important things aren't performing as they should.  I have been trying to study some Stoic philosophy though, so perhaps I need to be more pragmatic about things.

In any case, I tried consulting with Thunder Bay Fireplaces again about the situation, and together we fleshed out the notion that the cabin is perhaps still SO draughty that it is sucking smoke out of the stove before it has a chance to go up the chimney, at least when the stove is fairly closed up and not producing huge draught of its own.

I happened to describe one spot in the cabin I already knew to be subject to air leakage issues - that leaky chimney boot.  That's when together we brainstormed up the notion of enclosing the insulated chimney pipe up in the attic.  I had stuffed some Roxul into the chimney boot, but this is a theoretical no-no.  So to maintain proper installation, the next best thing will be to put the chimney in that area into its own air-tight room.

I've been sick for the past five weeks or so - I caught a terrible cold and/or sinus infection that made me fear for my ability to take on even the simplest of tasks - I was wheezing and coughing and it was all I could do to catch my breath at times.  So this process is only about half finished so far, but I wanted to get an update onto the blog.

As of this writing, I have managed to put up the two walls perpendicular to the existing outside wall.  The final wall will be a bit more of a challenge - it isn't any sort of regular shape really - it will have to match the contour of the roof.

Once the walls are finished, I will line them with closed cell foam, and then spray foam around the edges of that to seal it up air tight.  I'll also spray foam around the edges of the walls themselves as they will butt up against the existing spray foam, which isn't a flat surface either.

You can barely make out the tall wall to the left of the stove pipe.

You can see the studs of the tall wall, and a view of the short wall from here.

I've learned to always try to wear lung protection nowadays.

A better view of the short wall?

This is my non-kosher seal to try to slow down heat loss.  Not so effective.  I'll remove all this once I box in the pipe.

I'll lay pieces of closed cell foam here and seal it with spray foam.  Then I think I may actually lay more Roxul on top of the closed cell foam for even better insulation from below.  I can put a number of inches of insulation up that boot.

Good view of the short wall.  You can see I'm just using 2x3 studs.

And you can see the rough connection at the top of the large wall, I'll just seal that with spray foam.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Addendum to Acrylic Storm Windows

I am generally pleased with the performance of the acrylic as storm windows.  One issue that arose shortly afterwards was that the inward air pressure caused the tape on them to pull free down the centre and they began to bulge into the room.

After a short while it became apparent that I wouldn't be able to push the tape back against the door panels and I started to puzzle out a way to return the acrylic to a more vertical orientation for both aesthetic as well as long term structural reasons.
You can see how much they are sagging out from the door.
I decided that likely a nice piece of wide aluminum flat stock would be able to be wedged into the door frame top to bottom, holding the edges of the acrylic in place, and covering the gap between them.
And without the tape it's even more pronounced.
Kenny and I hit up Lowes a few days ago and eventually found our way to the flat stock supplies.

Unfortunately, as soon as I lifted a 7' section, I realized that it had no more integrity than the acrylic sheet did.

A square cross-section was much, much stiffer, but would have been hard to incorporate into any sort of "smooth" finish to the project.

Just as I was about to give up on that avenue, I saw that there was a fine "channel" designed to edge plywood - but it could just as easily edge my acrylic!  I bought two pieces and headed for home.

Today I cut it down to 74 1/2" so that it would fit perfectly between the top and bottom of my door frames.

I managed to get it on one piece, and hoped that taping over it to the other piece of acrylic would provide enough support, but was quickly dissuaded of that notion.
The near side has channel, but it's not enough to support both panels.
I installed the second piece on the second piece of acrylic and then put two runs of tape over top to hold them in place and create an air seal.

Straight as an arrow now!
So far, they look much neater and hopefully this will prevent the acrylic from taking on any long-term sag.

Much more neat and tidy looking!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Scrambled Eggs in the Rice Cooker

Just another quick post/tip for interested parties...

I really enjoy cooking slowly with things like the rice cooker or slow cooker - you don't have to give much supervision, and they turn out nearly perfect every time.

One super easy meal that is even Kenny approved is scrambled eggs - and they are dead easy to make in the rice cooker.  Myself, I like to wrap them in a tortilla to eat them, but Kenny is happy to use a regular old fork.

Just combine all the ingredients that you like in your scrambled eggs, pour them into the cooker and click it onto "cook".

Lots of sun = easy living.
It will click back to "warm" after a bit, when the outer layer of eggs have curdled.  You then lift the lid, stir it all up again, and then click on "cook" again.

A few more goes like this, and then they are done - never burned - and at any point you can just let them coast on "warm" until you either serve them, or need to stir them again.

One other tip I have learned through much trial and error - one tablespoon of milk for each egg gives them the perfect fluffiness!

A little parmesan, some leftover bell peppers, my home-grown alfalfa sprouts and diced ham.