Exterous' Small Theater Build - now with soda fountain construction! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 84 Old 06-20-2010, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I've had the equipment for over a year and a half without a proper place for it courtesy of the demise of my previous electronics retailer employer. Thanks to this wonderful forum many grand ideas have been stuffed in my head about what I could build to house it. Sadly the CFO declined most of those

To be fair it makes sense. I have very little 'handyman' experience. I have built a workbench, hung some ceiling fans/light fixtures....yep - that's about it. We are also fairly young and my wifes job status seems to be perpetually endangered. Add in planned trips abroad and the budget shrinks to around $2500 for the room (minus electronics).

Since I will be learning along the way I figured a more straight-forward room would be the best way to learn - that way when we do have the budget for a better room I will be less likely to screw things up

So here we are.





The room will be 11'6"x19'6" with a new room to the side to house the electronics:
Epson Home Cinema 1080
Onkyo TS-XR 706
Panasonic BD60
Custom HTPC
PSB T65 towers with the C-60 center
BA CR67B surrounds (might be replaced with PSB surrounds if $ permits)



You can see the door to what will be a closed off storage area on the left. (Between the 1st and 2nd columns on the left)There will be another door leading off to the equipment room in the storage area. The equipment room will butt up against the home theater where the front left column is. Due to my foundation there really isn't a great location for the equipment farther back so I hope to be able to construct a swing out portion of that first column to reveal the electronics when need be

Also at the from there will be a soffit constructed to hide the top of the projector screen. When my last company went out of business I got the 101" Elite Screen for $40 but it has a motorized top I want to conceal. This will also let me hang AT curtains across the rest of the front to hide my L+R speakers

In the future I figure I could easily modify this design to allow for a larger screen should I so desire and/or an AT transparent screen allowing for better LCR placement

As a final note: A huge thanks to all the other people here who have taken the time to post their builds and to answer questions. Without you all there would be no way my current build would be possible
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post #2 of 84 Old 06-20-2010, 08:25 PM
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I'd move that couch more towards the middle of the room. Obviously you can't do that with the rear seats, but the couch could be shifted over a bit more.

Also, with a room that small, I'd definitely get rid of the columns. They don't appear to be necessary, so I'd eliminate them and save some space. You can always add some nice decorative trim in fancy patterns surrounding your wall sconces if you want it to look nice. But the protrusion of the columns will cut into your 11 foot width unnecessarily.

If you're going to go through the trouble to make a stage, you could possibly add some curvature to it to dress it up a bit. Lots of people have nice ones that are contoured along the front.

Good luck with your build.

--Drew


My basement theater build thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1243820

Started: 2/20/10
Completed: 10/10/10
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post #3 of 84 Old 06-20-2010, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exterous View Post

I have built a workbench


If this is your work bench I think your in trouble.

In all seriousness It sounds like you have a solid plan. I'm sure other more experienced members will have some suggestions for you. Ditto with Drew on removing the columns. Some times you have to sacrifice some features to make the room on budget and doing a straight across room with some of the features you which is a common thing for some peoples first time home theater. Remember there is always HT 2.0 . Keep us posted

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post #4 of 84 Old 06-21-2010, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exterous View Post

Add in planned trips abroad and the budget shrinks to around $2500 for the room (minus electronics).

Welcome to the Mad House! Always room for another inmate!

Can you clarify exactly what your $2,500 budget for the room will cover? Because as I think you know, it won't go far when you're talking about finishing an unfinished room of that size. I spent that much just on the floor materials.

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post #5 of 84 Old 06-21-2010, 06:26 AM
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You should have made the riser the full width of the room at the height of the last step down. You would be able to center your seating for better viewing and listening position for eveyone in the room.
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post #6 of 84 Old 06-21-2010, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew_V View Post

I'd move that couch more towards the middle of the room. Obviously you can't do that with the rear seats, but the couch could be shifted over a bit more.

Also, with a room that small, I'd definitely get rid of the columns. They don't appear to be necessary, so I'd eliminate them and save some space. You can always add some nice decorative trim in fancy patterns surrounding your wall sconces if you want it to look nice. But the protrusion of the columns will cut into your 11 foot width unnecessarily.

If you're going to go through the trouble to make a stage, you could possibly add some curvature to it to dress it up a bit. Lots of people have nice ones that are contoured along the front.

Good luck with your build.

I will be sure to move the couch! What you say about the stage makes sense so I guess I will try my hand at wood bending and curve cutting (although I forsee many 4 letter words used during my attempt to follow a curved line )



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Originally Posted by TheCableMan View Post

If this is your work bench I think your in trouble.

In all seriousness It sounds like you have a solid plan. I'm sure other more experienced members will have some suggestions for you. Ditto with Drew on removing the columns. Some times you have to sacrifice some features to make the room on budget and doing a straight across room with some of the features you which is a common thing for some peoples first time home theater. Remember there is always HT 2.0 . Keep us posted

Haha. Whats wrong with my workbench?!

I had originally planned on using a hinged cover on the column so the lights of the equipment wouldn't shine into the room. Since there is a limited area to potentiall place the rack is there something else I could cover them with. Tinted glass maybe? Would IR go through that? (forgive my insane ignorance)

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Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

Welcome to the Mad House! Always room for another inmate!

Can you clarify exactly what your $2,500 budget for the room will cover? Because as I think you know, it won't go far when you're talking about finishing an unfinished room of that size. I spent that much just on the floor materials.

So true! It's just so damn addictive!

Yeah - it will be a bit tight with $2500 and yeah flooring was a unfortunately high percentage of it ($700 or so for Delta FL, OSB and carpet). It covers pretty much all the required materials; Wood, Drywall, Romex, sconces, etc. I will be doing all of my own labor although I may employ the licensed HVAC guy at work to help me make sure the airflow is ok

It does prevent my ability from doing pretty much anything related to sound proofing/isolation but it can't be any worse than my setup now. (concrete basement about 10 feet from the waterheater/furnace which can be a tad loud)

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Originally Posted by DJWikiera View Post

You should have made the riser the full width of the room at the height of the last step down. You would be able to center your seating for better viewing and listening position for eveyone in the room.

I will take a look at that again. IIRC it will be a bit tough height wise. The basement foundation steps down those three steps with the joist right above so the thinking was I might bump my head when going down the stairs but I will measure again as it would make things easier
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post #7 of 84 Old 06-22-2010, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright, so here is the updated plan sans columns and extended riser and showing the proposed rack location:



(Thats really the only wall it can go on because everything else is foundation wall (even the rear wall with the exception of the doorway))


The celing height is more than high enough to allow for the riser to stretch all the way across so good call there!
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post #8 of 84 Old 06-22-2010, 10:54 AM
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I think it's a nice feature to enter the room at riser level, especially with your recliners there which I imagine will be the preferred spots.

Now that you will have the riser full room width, perhaps the aisle can be squeezed a bit to move the chairs from the right hand wall.

Although $ 2,500 is not alot, it can go a ways if you're willing to do as much as you can yourself. I find it's kind of fun to learn some of that stuff. It may surprise you (and friends) how much you can do!

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post #9 of 84 Old 06-22-2010, 08:13 PM
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Good to see you had the head room to make the full width riser. Some nice wall treatments and it should look good.
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post #10 of 84 Old 06-26-2010, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I have been making some progress on the framing. It is slowed down a little bit as it seems the floor near the foundation is very uneven.

I did run into an issue with the full width riser idea. In my noobness I measured in the wrong location (The joist where the door will be is 1" lower than where I measured). This means there is 7' 9 7/8" clearance between the floor and the joist. I had planned on making my riser out of 2x10s with a layer or 3/4" and 1/2" T&G plywood. Obviously this would be too high for the door as my riser height cannot exceed 9 7/8"

Would just a single 1/2" sheet of plywood be enough on my riser? I'm thinking not. Could I push the rough opening of the door another 1/8" and use 3/4" plywood?

With the issues I seem to be running into I am leaning towards going back to the partial width riser....
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post #11 of 84 Old 06-26-2010, 03:55 PM
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Wow, you went from Sketchup to framing in 4 days?

When I started my room, it took me longer than that just to calculate how much lumber I needed for the job!

Before I spent a dime on the lumber, I planned *EVERYTHING* out: from the low voltage wiring and electrical to the dimmer switches, to the ceiling style, to the screen mounting, to the riser design, seating dimensions,.... etc.

You should look into the Excel spreadsheet that's floating around this forum for doing HT calculations. It calculates seating distance relative to screen size and projector power, riser height, max. number of seats and dimensions surrounding screen and seating, etc.


Regarding your questions: I would use one layer of 3/4" plywood (which should be plenty thick unless you've got a huge riser and wide joist spacing) and encroach into the door rough opening by 1/8". You should have plenty of space around your door frame for shims anyways. That 1/8" is nothing.

My riser will have one layer of 3/4" OSB. I'm filling the riser with insulation and I've got 4 recliners on top of it. So my guess is that vibration or sealed cavity resonance won't be an issue. I think you'll be fine as well. Unless people are running 5000 watts in their rooms with huge dual subs, I can't see the real value in 2 layers of plywood anyways.

--Drew


My basement theater build thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1243820

Started: 2/20/10
Completed: 10/10/10
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post #12 of 84 Old 07-07-2010, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew_V View Post

Wow, you went from Sketchup to framing in 4 days?

When I started my room, it took me longer than that just to calculate how much lumber I needed for the job!

Haha - yeah I guess it does seem that way. I have actually spend a couple of months planning things out. I have calculated lumber, dryway, osb, flooring etc and its all in a spreadsheet. I have a couple of Autocad drawings for the framing, stage, riser (although that now needs to be updated) and custom equipment cabinet.

I did the distance and screen size calcualations and riser size. I ran into some issues there as I can't place the riser as high as I want and the screen is a tad smaller than I want but it's what I have to work with. My front design should allow for a larger AT screen alter should I have the money/desire

Quote:


Regarding your questions: I would use one layer of 3/4" plywood (which should be plenty thick unless you've got a huge riser and wide joist spacing) and encroach into the door rough opening by 1/8". You should have plenty of space around your door frame for shims anyways. That 1/8" is nothing.

My riser will have one layer of 3/4" OSB. I'm filling the riser with insulation and I've got 4 recliners on top of it. So my guess is that vibration or sealed cavity resonance won't be an issue. I think you'll be fine as well. Unless people are running 5000 watts in their rooms with huge dual subs, I can't see the real value in 2 layers of plywood anyways.

Thanks!

Unfortunately I have encountered a fairly large issue with my planning:
Air flow

Being new to all of this I had no idea what would be needed for heating/cooling. Fortunately we have a couple of licensed HVAC guys here that I talked to about it.

Basically what we came up with is that I have a fairly decent dilema. I have an 88,000 BTU furnace with (19) 8" runs throughout my 1800 sqft house. Basically this is far far too many runs and is resulting in a very low CFM rating for my registers. (Which ties in with the cooling issue we've had that I also asked them about - there is a slight breeze from the upstairs registers when the air is on but no where near the 200 cfm which I guess is recommended)

I am going home to get some more information for them (Total CFM, If the 88,000 is input or output, register locations, etc) but as things stand now any runs into the room will only make our current abysmally low CFMs worse.

There are some potential fixes like a larger blower (with all sorts of caveats there) or maybe being able to close/damper some registers (as I have been informed that 19 runs is excessive for an 1800 sqft house) but most of them have a decent sized cost attached.

So, everything is on hold but hopefully everything can be worked out

I guess I should have checked out the possibility sooner of running more vents but it didn't cross my mind that a 7 year old house couldn't handle 1-2 more runs until we noticed the cooling issue this summer
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post #13 of 84 Old 07-22-2010, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Rejoice ye ones of readers! So after some unexpected HVAC work I think I have the air flow issue resolved. The builders were register happy with the system but neglected to put in more than a few dampers to guide the airflow

I installed some dampers on the lines that I didn't intend to use anymore (4 total) and that has improved the air flow quite a bit. I can now run the additional runs to the home theater room without making things worse than they were



That took more time than I had expected - mainly because some of the runs I installed them on had very small clearances

I had some extra days off this week and had hoped to get the framing completely done but my power comapny had other ideas. I lost power twice this weekend/my days off so I did not get a chance to finish. Hopefully I can this weekend but with In-laws coming to visit on Sunday I am not sure.



Side note: Never assume the main structural beam and the foundation wall are parallel. I made that mistake and found out that there was almost a 2" difference in the distance between them at the front of my room than at the back. Fortunately I hadn't secured the baseplate to the concrete yet and had enough room so my walls will (hopefully) be square
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post #14 of 84 Old 08-15-2010, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Nothing too exciting going on recently. I do now understand why some of the other build threads take a bit to progress. A lot of stuff can get in the way and, for me, I have been spending a lot of time learning.

I had to learn some plumbing because my sump pump pipe ran ran horizontally to the wall a bit high for my tastes. I plan to create a hatch in my stage to allow access to the sump pump while hiding the pipe. To keep the height of the stage the same across the entire length I needed to lower the pipe.

I wanted to get this done before the framing went across so I would have room to maneuver if need be.

Here is the final result 4" lower than original:


While I waited to see if my work was bad enough that it would flood the basement I decided to learn electrical.

Fortunately my work seems to be good enough to avoid that. It leaked a bit at the start so I traded in my flat head screwdriver for a hex screw driver to get the valve/pvc pipe connection tighter. So far it's been 3 days and no more leaks!

I also got some of the electrical run. I was suprised to find out how annoying it is to run wire through my open joist floors. The builders have pipes/ducts/wires running ever which way so the Romex was constantly getting snagged on this or that.

Anyway I have 2 of the 3 lines run to the breaker and started the actual wiring


Looks a bit sloppy so yet but I want to get everything run and tested before I go tightening everything up
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post #15 of 84 Old 08-16-2010, 06:15 AM
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Just out of curiosity, what is that grey finish on the original walls & studs ? Is it some kind of spray coat ? For what purpose ?

Brent
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post #16 of 84 Old 08-16-2010, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew_V View Post

Wow, you went from Sketchup to framing in 4 days?

It took me about 3 1/2 years!
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post #17 of 84 Old 08-16-2010, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Just out of curiosity, what is that grey finish on the original walls & studs ? Is it some kind of spray coat ? For what purpose ?

Brent

The basement is pre-cast concrete so the darker gray stripes are where they sealed the joints between the foundation segments (along with some substantial bolts)
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post #18 of 84 Old 08-16-2010, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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It took me about 3 1/2 years!

At this rate that's when mine will be complete. I think I need to step up the progress during the week since there seems to be so much that needs to be done on the weekends
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post #19 of 84 Old 08-22-2010, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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It's been a long week. I had hoped to do some more electrical wiring but it seems my house had other ideas. I went down to caulk the gaps in my HVAC system (some of the joints had up to 1/8" gap!) and noticed a damp area of the floor to one side of the new theatre wall.

After investigating the cause I noticed that the floorboard around the washer drain was soaked

After moving everything around in the laundry room and finding out how flexible I really am (it's a small room) it looked like the drain was fine and it was the washing machine that was leaking.

I spent a good part of the rest of the evening taking it apart to re-tighten a hose on the water pump. So far no more leaks.

I finished that evening caulking the vents. What was supposed to be a 30min-1hr project turned into a 5 hour mess

So I went down the following evening to do some electrical. While I was down there my sump pump turned on and lo and behold another leak! A rather small one but on of the new fittings I had installed had a small leak in it. Nothing to flood the basement (yet) but something I definitely need to address before enclosing the pipe....

While waiting to see if my new work will develop a leak (the last one took 3+ days to start leaking) I decided to move on to my surround speaker enclosures. Unfortunately (again) I noticed something that had escaped my earlier planning.

I have rear ported surrounds. Not the best to put in a wall enclosure.

So...my question to you guys is this:

I am planning to replace my surrounds as soon as $ provides. I was looking at a nice matching pair of B15 front ported monitors to go with my fronts and center. Will these be ok in the walls? If so I might just put my rear ported ones in the enclosures for now

Other suggestions? My speaker budget isn't too big if I want to replace them soon. I would be open to in-walls but PSB in-walls are outside my budget range. Does matching surrounds and fronts matter that much?
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post #20 of 84 Old 08-26-2010, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I have decided to completely skip the in wall speaker issue. Towards the end of the project I will get some di-pole/bi-pole speakers and wall mount them. I am thinking the ERD-1s since they have a relatively low profile

Had some more construction progress during the week. I had hoped to post this update yesterday but for some reason while I was at Home Depot I though a 2x8x96 would be tall enough enough for a 10" riser.

Sadly I did not realize 8" was not, in fact, 10" until after I agreed to let the wife take the SUV. As I did not think exchanging a 2x8x96 for a 2"x10"x10' would work so well in a Civic. I was stuck until today.

I did move a vent out of the way yesterday though


Not the final assembly - I just needed it out of the way. While I was moving it this a tiny ball of death did hit me in the head


I have no idea where it came from. One second I was moving the duct the next I was cringing as I saw something plummet towards my head. I was thankful it wasn't anything heavier but still not the normal building material one would expect

Of much greater joy was the near completion of the sump pump cover framing. I was finally satisfied that I would not encounter another leak in my plumbing. For reason unknown to me the sump pump was placed closer than 3.5" to the foundation wall. This meant I could not place the bottom plate along the foundation without covering the lip of the sump pump.



Sadly that vertical piece of wood is staying. It's where the plug for the sump pump is. I tried to get them out but my drill was having nothing of it. No movement whatsoever. It seems when the screwed it into the foundation they bent the screws at angles into the wall. I'll notch the wood around the bottom plate when I put that in, move the sump pump outlet to the side of the stud and install an access panel for it.

The water sensor still has to go in too

I plan to take the bottom plate up the sides of the frame and across the top. Hopefully I won't ever need to but this will make it much much easier to access the pump if anything goes wrong.



It is well braced to prevent (I hope) audio vibrations as well as sitting on roofing felt to prevent rubbing between the wood and the foundation. After I got everything screwed in place (Not an easy task with some of the clearances) I tried to shift it around a bit and nothing! No movement. Even the pipe is snug in the notch I cut for it. I do plan to add some foam insulation around the pipe and the outlet opening.

Eventually the felt will be stapled in place as well. This corner has been the bane of my existence for weeks now. I couldn't finish framing till I was done with the cover. I couldn't finish electrical till I was done framing. I couldn't run speaker wire till I was done with electrical.
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post #21 of 84 Old 08-29-2010, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Framing is done! Which means the sump pump cover is done!

Notching out the 1x4 they put on the wall was not fun. It seems that in addition to the eleventy billion screws they decided to glue the whole thing down as well.



I also managed to relocate the sump pump outlet without electrocuting myself which is always good.

The top took a bit longer than I had through. I also had a hard time finding clips to hold the cover down without too much slack (which might rattle). I tried some magnetic clips but they just weren't strong enough. I finally settled on generic cabinet door clips. It opens and closes well enough. There is some give so I also picked up a window latch which I may secure to the top if need be. (I'll test out the vibrations when the rest of the stage is completed)



Small update for hours of measuring and cutting
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post #22 of 84 Old 08-29-2010, 04:00 PM
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How are you going to get the sump pump wire out when (Notice I said "WHEN", not "if") the pump fails? And remember, you have to be able to feed the wire with its plug from the sump to the electrical outlet.

When that pump does fail, you will probably want to be able to change it out quickly and with a minimum of hassle!
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post #23 of 84 Old 08-29-2010, 05:17 PM
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Power cords aren't rated to be behind walls or allowed by building codes. Your going to have to come up with a different plan. Insurance would never payoff a claim if a fire ever started in that area.
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post #24 of 84 Old 08-30-2010, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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How are you going to get the sump pump wire out when (Notice I said "WHEN", not "if") the pump fails? And remember, you have to be able to feed the wire with its plug from the sump to the electrical outlet.

When that pump does fail, you will probably want to be able to change it out quickly and with a minimum of hassle!

I am not sure I follow you. The wire already has an opening in the cover. The excess opening will be filled with spray foam so if this is your question I can easily knock that out - run the wire and re-fill

Or are you asking about enclosing it in the wall? If so see the answer below

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Power cords aren't rated to be behind walls or allowed by building codes. Your going to have to come up with a different plan. Insurance would never payoff a claim if a fire ever started in that area.

Hmmmm...I thought I read that as long as it was accessible it was fine. I guess I forgot to mention that I will be installing an access panel there. I will be ordering a water alarm since I won't be able to see rising water. I am going to put in the frame for the access panel after I mount the alarm

I will be sure call my insurance company to make sure I am compliant. Thanks!
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post #25 of 84 Old 08-30-2010, 02:24 PM
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Framing is done! Which means the sump pump cover is done!






Small update for hours of measuring and cutting

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I am not sure I follow you. The wire already has an opening in the cover. The excess opening will be filled with spray foam so if this is your question I can easily knock that out - run the wire and re-fill

Or are you asking about enclosing it in the wall? If so see the answer below



As I look at the picture above, it appears that there is not sufficient clearance after the power cord is unplugged to be able pull it back into the box you built that encloses the sump without cutting the plug off.

Additionally, how do you plan to get the power cord and plug for the replacement pump fed back through to the outlet?
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post #26 of 84 Old 09-02-2010, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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As I look at the picture above, it appears that there is not sufficient clearance after the power cord is unplugged to be able pull it back into the box you built that encloses the sump without cutting the plug off.

Additionally, how do you plan to get the power cord and plug for the replacement pump fed back through to the outlet?


Ah - yes the pictures do make it look like that. I think these pictures show the access a bit better. Sorry for the bad lighting - it was tough to get it to turn out right in these cramped, dark areas.




You still can't see it all that well in the last picture but there is a gap between the side of the enclosure and the 2x4. I fed the cord in and out of that when I placed the latch there and I was able to feed the cord easily enough so as long as the new pump has roughly the same sized cord I think it will be fine
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post #27 of 84 Old 09-02-2010, 09:41 AM
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Just rerun the outlet lower, it will cost only a couple bucks in materials and a hour or 2.
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post #28 of 84 Old 09-02-2010, 10:26 AM
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Don't know if this is of any interest to you, since your set up is different than mine, but I left a small access panel to get at my sump pump outlet & plug. In the photos below, it is the green colored small door near the floor.





Works fine for me, although this is obviously in my bathroom/entry to the sauna, not my HT, which avoids other issues you're facing.

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post #29 of 84 Old 09-02-2010, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Just rerun the outlet lower, it will cost only a couple bucks in materials and a hour or 2.

Do you mean place the outlet so that it faces out into the room and is plugged in that way?
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post #30 of 84 Old 09-02-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Don't know if this is of any interest to you, since your set up is different than mine, but I left a small access panel to get at my sump pump outlet & plug. In the photos below, it is the green colored small door near the floor.

Works fine for me, although this is obviously in my bathroom/entry to the sauna, not my HT, which avoids other issues you're facing.

Very interesting! Did you retain the electrical cord behind the wall? If so did you get electrical permits for the work?
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