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Month: May 2019

House

House

Windows are getting installed, and the upper roof is getting sheeted! Progress!

The windows are Marvin Ultrex dual pane Low E3 Argon, which have less than 5% UV passthrough, U Factor of around 0.25-0.27, and SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) is around 0.30-0.35.

A .25 U factor is pretty good given the large number of windows and the climate in Portland, which isn’t particularly cold. It is possible to get down into the 0.17 range, but at almost double the cost.

It is also tradeoff using a windows with low SHGC, as they are better at blocking solar heating in the summer, but also block some solar heating in the winter. Fortunately it is never sunny here in the winter!

https://youtu.be/HcTQm7y2PwA

House

House

Progress continues on the roof as the trusses get placed. The upper garage is fully sheeted as are the other lower roof surfaces. Once the roof is fully sheeted we can start on the windows and external doors. The rain and sun have started to really green up the surrounding forest.

I also filmed a short walkthrough of the house.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVbSXdeuT1k

Light Switches

Light Switches

On a related to house topic – I purchased a few Homeseer Z-Wave light switches and installed them in my current house. I wanted to test out the install process, as well as see how well they integrate. I also purchased a Homeseer HS3 automation controller so they had something to connect to. If these work, I’ll get them for the new house. They are about $50 each, so I want to make sure they will work well.

I previously had HAI UPB Switches in this location, and you can see the HAI switch on the far left in the 4-gang, and the right in the 2-gang. The HAI switches have a single two color LED for status.

The new Z-Wave switches have 7 RGB LEDs that you can control over Z-Wave for any use. Right now they are just set to the light level, but in the new house I’ll do things like have the switches in our master be red if the doors are unlocked, so you will know when you go to bed to lock them (perhaps with a double click of the light switch).

One of the downsides of a software switch is how fast they turn on. These switches have a programmable ramp, and at the zero ramp they are pretty instant. Not perfect zero latency, but better than the UPB ones.

Connecting to the Homeseer app was trivial, and in just a few minutes I had a few scenes configured so that if you double tap any of the switches all of the lights in that room go on or off, and if you triple tap it goes to low light night mode.

It would be easy to make that functionality time dependent so at night a single click is always a slightly dimmed setting, etc. I also did a quick Alexa integration, and the switch names worked directly from Alexa.

The left switch in the 2-gang is a ‘companion’ z-wave switch designed to go where normal ‘traveller’ switches would go (in a 3-way or 4-way configuration). It does not control any actual load, but just uses a single traveler wire to communicate to the master switch. It does not have the status LEDs, so I’m not sure my OCD can handle that.

Routing

Routing

I got some spools of Cat6 UTP, Cat6A UTP, and Cat6/FTP just to get an idea of the difference in thickness and routability. I did some test routes in a wall and around some bends as well.

Most Cat6 today is branded Cat6e (enhanced) and listed at 550MHz capable. Cat6A is often listed at 650-750MHz depending on the manufacturer, and the particular spool I have is listed at 750MHz.

The Cat6A is thicker than the Cat6, but the Cat6 FTP (foil shield over the entire pair group) is even thicker. In terms of bendability the 6 and 6A are not much different, while the 6/FTP is noticeably stiffer.

It is typically claimed that Cat6 can do 10Gig to about 60m although that depends a great deal on the environment. The newer 2.5G and 5G can both do 100m in Cat6.

Cost wise – The Cat6 is around $120-$130 per 1000ft, and the Cat6A is around $200 per 1000ft. I’m running 2 wires to every drop, and I have around 250 drops. I would guess the average drop is ~100ft, but that could be way off. In total I am thinking around 25000 ft of wire (about 5 miles), but to make it reasonable to pull I would probably need 30-40 1000-ft spools.

I am considering doing Cat6 to all of the cameras, motion sensors, and other IOT devices, and doing 6A to all of the access points, wall data drops, etc. That seems like a good mix of what is reasonable given the potential use cases.

I’ll do 12 bundle 9/125 singlemode fiber to some key places as well, especially the offices, A/V area, shop, etc. Given the really low cost of 2 or 4 bundle 9/125 fiber it is tempting to just run it everywhere along with the Cat6A.

Planning

Planning

Since wiring is coming up soon, I need to finish design of the shop layout. I am considering putting the two lifts indexed on one side, which give the most flexibility in terms of total available free space for project work. There is a bathroom (in the corner) that only goes up 8 feet, so storage above that. I don’t have so many tires to store to need 3 full racks, but the racks represent some kind of storage up high (given the 15 foot ceilings).

Appreciate any comments.. and also I would like some comments of lift preference. I currently have a Challenger CL10V3 Veri-symmetric lift which I like a lot.

House

House

Slow but steady progress on the roof. I am working on sizing the natural gas lines given the appliance load.

Main room fireplace – 50,000 BTU (starter)
Master Bedroom fireplace – 30,000 BTU
Cooktop 60,000 BTU
Firepit – 65,000 BTU
BBQ Grill – 92,000 BTU
Dryer 20,000 BTU
Water heater ~ 85,000 BTUs
Furnaces 2x @ 110,000 BTUs each
Razor heater in lower garage 120,000 BTUs
Pool heater ~400,000 BTUs
36kw generator 730 cubic feet/hr natural gas ~730,000 BTUs.

For a total of 1,762,000 BTUs, ~ 1762 cubic feet/hr.

I suspect this will end up being a 2psi gas system.