I was up at 8 AM, got dressed to work, gathered up the laundry, and started a load in the washer. I was getting ready to grind the beans for our morning coffee when Linda got up. She did not look at all well, having come down with what appeared to be a bad cold late last night. But she’s a trooper and washed our breakfast berries, as she does most mornings, and got our granola ready.
Bus work notwithstanding my first task this morning was to figure out what had gone wrong with the thermostat in the main floor hallway of the house. This is our “main” thermostat; it controls the heat to the living room, entry foyer, hallway, and kitchen/dining room. It also controls the air-conditioning for the entire main floor of the house. There is no air supply or return from the basement and the library has its own HVAC system.
I used my VOM to check the voltage at the secondary of the transformer on the furnace, at the input to each of the five motorized valves, and the voltage coming out and going to the five thermostats (four for space heating zones and one for domestic hot water). Everything looked OK. I pulled the main thermostat off of the base to check the wiring there. I also got out the installation manual to make sure I knew what I was checking.
The wiring of the base plate matched the diagram for a 1H/1C-2T system, i.e., one heating system, one cooling system, and TWO transformers. The manual was also very clear that the common wire had to come from the cooling system transformer. The voltage from Rc to C was just under 15 volts when I expected it to be ~26V. All of this pointed towards the air-handler. I shut off the circuit breaker for the air-handler and reset it but that did not fix anything. The evidence was confirming my suspicion that something happened while Rebecca was in the attic on Friday. That meant I was going to have to go in the attic to figure out what it was.
Getting into the attic meant I had to empty the hall coat closet of all of its hanging contents and most of the stuff sitting on the floor and remove the wooden hanging rod, which fortunately lifts up and out easily. I then had to lean a 6-foot step ladder against the back wall, climb up, and unscrew the 1/2″ piece of foam insulation that we use as a temporary cover until I can fabricate something more permanent (hopefully something that involves a self-storing ladder and hinged, spring-loaded door).
With the cover removed I was able to get my waist to about ceiling height, set my flashlight where I could reach it, and hoist myself up into the attic. I do not have any permanent/switched lighting in the attic, but I plan to install some at some point. What I should do is install a hatch in the hallway so I do not have to empty the closet to get into the attic, but that probably won’t happen. I did this in our previous house and it made working in the attic much more convenient. Flashlight in hand I crawled the 15+ feet over to the air-handler on plywood set across the roof trusses on a slope. I was reminded than another attic project will be to rig up a walkway (crawlway) that is level and does not compress the insulation. The insulation in this attic is a mess and needs to be straightened out, so that is another project for our “to do” list. But I digress.
When I got to the air-handler I saw a surface mounted switch box on top of the unit partially obscured by one of the flexible ducts. The switch was in the “Off” position so I flipped it to the “On” position. I did not see a transformer so I presumed it was inside the enclosure. I also presumed that Rebecca had either accidental moved the switch while checking/measuring the unit or had turned it off as a safety precaution and forgot to turn it back on. It did not really matter as the result was the same either way.
I worked my way back to the hatch in the closet ceiling, lowered myself down onto the top of the step ladder, and climbed down. The thermostat, which is on the wall across from the closet, now had information showing on the display. The upside to all if this was that I now knew something about our HVAC system and Wi-Fi thermostat that I did not previously know, so at least I learned something in the process.
This thermostat is 7-day programmable model so I set the day and time and then went through the programmed values but could only access the settings for the cooling mode. I activated the setup menu and walked through all of the settings, changing only one that had nothing to do with the programming. I finally got out the user manual and saw that I had to select a mode in order to program its schedule. I manually set temperatures for heating and cooling that would not cause those systems to come on and then programmed the times and temperature set points, four per day for each mode, for all seven days.
Keith showed up late morning while I was working. We agreed to let the grass go for another week. It has been dry and a little warm during the day for the last week and the grass has not grown much. There is, however, a real possibility of rain latter today and into tomorrow. Also, Phil is supposed to start tomorrow on the French drain and driveway work and with a little luck in the weather department may be done by next Monday.
With the thermostat issue resolved I turned my attention to the bus. I thought about priming the walls but decided against it. I would need to move the desk pedestals and bases, unscrew the sofa seat platform and move it on top of the pedestals, and then mask everything with painter’s plastic. All of that was work that was much more easily and quickly accomplished with two people and Linda was sound asleep taking a nap that she obviously needed.
The other reason for not getting into the priming was that I have to take the bus to Chuck’s shop in Novi tomorrow morning to have the two lower windshields replaced. That meant the bus had to be ready to move before the end of today and there were two things I had to do in that regard. One was to reattach the desk pedestals to their bases and to the wall. The other was to connect the loose ends of the two Aqua-Hot heater hoses together. It had only just occurred to me that once I start the main engine the Aqua-Hot will heat up and the coolant will expand. If these hoses are not connected the supply line will have coolant coming out of it and the return line will suck air into the system, neither of which would be good things.
I took care of the desk first. I reattached each pedestal to its corresponding base using the existing screw holes. I set the two assemblies in place with the connecting cover and then reattached each pedestal to the wall using the existing screw hole. I thought about trimming down the temporary plywood top and reinstalling it but decided there was no point in doing that. I cleaned up the rest of the interior making sure there were no loose items on counters or elsewhere that could fly around while the coach was moving.
The two bleeder valves were still clamped inside an old piece of heater hose that originally connected the two front heat-exchangers together with short stubs of hose on the other ends. Working in the garage on our temporary workbench I unclamped and removed the hoses. One of the valves was very badly corroded on one end and was not reusable. The other one needed to be cleaned up but appeared to otherwise be serviceable. Some of the inside of the hose was stuck to the metal of one of the pipe ends and was surprisingly difficult to remove.
I washed my hands, which were filthy, checked my e-mail, sent a message to Bill Gerrie, replied to an e-mail from Butch, took the dried laundry upstairs, folded it, and put it away. Linda woke up while I was finishing the laundry and heated up some Amy’s mock chicken noodle soup for our lunch, which we had with sourdough pretzel nibblers and roasted red pepper hummus. It was 2:30 PM by the time we finished lunch. I called Josh Leach at Coach Supply Direct to see if he had followed up with Ferman Miller at Countertops Plus regarding our Corian tabletop. I got his voice mail and left a message. It felt like the day was slipping away and I had not done much but I had, in fact, accomplished quite a bit and all of it was stuff that needed doing.
I worked on this post for an hour and then completed the task of connecting the two heater hoses together. I cut the ends of the old hoses off so I had clean material and square ends. I slipped two band clamps over each hose and pushed them over the pipe ends of the bleeder valve. They were very difficult to get on but I got them on far enough to put two clamps on each connection. I did not turn the Aqua-Hot on as I would rather not refill these hoses with antifreeze at this time but I did start the main engine to air up the chassis and then let it run for 30 minutes to get it up to temperature. It did not have any noticeable effect on the coolant in the Aqua-Hot in that short amount of time.
While the engine was running I closed the roof vents and made one last check that the interior was secure. Once I shut the engine off I closed the various air valves, disconnected the batteries, locked up the coach, and was done working on/with the bus for the day. I changed out of my work clothes and went to my office to edit blog posts from early August and get them ready to upload.
Linda called me up to dinner at 7 PM. We had vegan cheeseburgers with leftover vegan potato salad and collard greens Cole slaw (inherently vegan). It was yummy. I went back to my office to edit more posts but got involved in e-mails from/to Bill Gerrie and Gary Hatt. Gary sent me the BCM logo he is using for business cards and I spent over an hour trying to use Microsoft Publisher, and then Word, to layout a BCM business card that says “Freelance Author/Photographer.” I did not care for the result and really want a card with the cover of the February 2013 issue as a full card photo. The cover of that issue is our bus.
I came upstairs a little after 10 PM and watched the end of NCIS Los Angeles with Linda. She did some online research and concluded that she did not have a cold but is suffering from an allergic reaction to something. She went straight to sleep while I played a few games on my iPad before turning out the lights.