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Build log: DIY rotary sub for contemporary HT in 100 year old house? - Page 3

post #61 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Time for an update. I've spent a few days off from the project. Yesterday I cleaned half of the basement and today I'm hoping to tackle the other half. I need the stuff out of the way so I won't get it wet when I start opening up pipes. I have started to put up some shelving in my storage area. I also put in an extra window AC down in the basement since it was getting warm with the dehumidifier running. I don't think the basement is quite dried out from all the concrete I put in. Plus it has been humid and warm for the last two weeks.

I know it's not much, but it will be exciting to see most of the floor. It's the simple things, right?
post #62 of 1242
Thread Starter 
So I cleared 80% of the floor and was able to start work on plumbing. I decided I would start disassembling the threaded galvanized pipes from the hot water heating system. The pipes are 100 years old or at least older than me. I can't just cut them out as I need a threaded end to link copper to. I knew this was going to be one of the hardest parts of the whole project.

I cut out a section of pipe to allow me to unscrew a 90 degree fitting off the section of pipe I was interested. A couple hours previously, I treated all the pipes with penetrating oil. I used a 12" and 24" pipe wrench. If you've seen a 24" pipe wrench, it's quite beefy. The pipe didn't move. I put on a cheater pipe to extend the 24" to about 5 feet and it still didn't budge. Then I hit the pipe with a MAPP torch for several minute, which didn't do a darn thing.

I went to Home Depot to pick up wiring and a 60 amp breaker for my sub panel...and to get some advice/more tools for the the threaded pipe situation. The guy told me I needed to support the second wrench well and that he never had a threaded pipe he couldn't remove. I took this as a challenge.

I heated that pipe up for a long time, used the huge cheater pipe and pulled like my life depended on it. Holy crap, it moved....or did the wrench slip....or am I turning the pipe two floors above? No, it definitely moved! That was a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life. ha ha

I was able to get the next fitting off in less than an hour now that I knew what I was doing. I have 2 of the 6 junctions done! I think I am going to be sore, but I'm moving along nicely.
post #63 of 1242
Thread Starter 
The tools required for the threaded pipe dismantling. Mini-sledge is just for when frustration/desperation sets in.


The result. Ahhh, that feels good.


The result on the other end. I have all this left to do, which is only a few cuts with the reciprocating saw and 4 more threaded fittings. You can see how much head room I'll gain here (~1 foot). You can also see the newer copper pipe in the foreground which I will extend along the left wall so that the house can have heat in the winter!
post #64 of 1242
Gotta love hard core DIY!
post #65 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Thanks Ted! You should be doing some HT work yourself over the next couple of weeks too.

I can't believe that less than 24 hours have passed and I have the pipes all out! My arms feel like Jello now!!


Here's all that came out/down.
post #66 of 1242
Thread Starter 
I put in a electric sub-panel in this morning. I needed more space for breakers. I checked how many amps I was pulling with everything on and it is less than what I can pull with my current 100 amp service, so a sub-panel was the way to go unless I do something crazy like put in a steam room or something.

The sub-panel is 100 amp too, but I have a 60 amp breaker feeding it from the main panel. I'm going to remove some of the old wiring and add some new circuits for window ACs, radiant heat pumps, etc.. I traced all the existing wiring this am also. There is some "interesting" wiring going on with a couple of the circuits. For example a cable with 2 conductors plus ground is feeding a 220V electric baseboard heater. The 2 conductors are on separate 20 amp breakers and the ground is acting as the neutral. I'm pretty sure this is not the right way to do it.

Combine that with old cloth insulated BX cable and you have wiring fun!

I went to Home Depot and they do not have any 1.25" copper or adapters from 1.25 copper to 2" and 1.5" galvanized. I'll have to go to the plumbing distributor for those on Thursday.
post #67 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasMergner View Post

Thanks Ted! You should be doing some HT work yourself over the next couple of weeks too.

I can't believe that less than 24 hours have passed and I have the pipes all out! My arms feel like Jello now!!

Here's all that came out/down.

I feel your pain! My house was built in 1875 and at some point was fitted with boiler system. Eventually that system fell into disrepair and someone installed forced air, but left all the radiators and their interconnected plumbing, which I "had" to remove. That stuff is heavy and NOT fun to cut through lol. I hate to think how many blades i went through. The absolute worst was cutting through some of the old cast iron waste pipe to retro fit newer PVC. I have a pile about three times that big sitting out back waiting for me to take it to the scrap yard.

It funny too reading through your post, many familiar problems. I had to laugh about trying to break that pipe loose. I've been there and done that as well. I think standard tools for that job include torches, wrenches, penetrating oil, more wrenches, and as many four letters words as you can muster.
post #68 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Matthew, that sounds like a good workout! I'm glad you are laughing at my pain. Remind me never to trip when you are around. Doesn't if feel like an absolute pleasure to work with PVC after the cast iron? Oh man, I love PVC.

Yes, four letter words are pretty common when I'm working! Actually, this job went pretty easy compared to my previous project's (attic) plumbing/electrical. Taking out old pipes that run through 4 floors and then pulling lines and wires up using a wire snake (or whatever it is called) was QUITE fun. I had to make about 6 holes in the wall to remove the 4" cast iron waste pipe....and that pipe is HEAVY. Two feet is probably 50 lbs. I used a "come along" and did it all myself. It was easy to break with the chain pipe breaker rented at the Depot. The only problem is that I had to make a hole in the wall on each side of the pipe! Oh, and the walls are build after the pipe, so you couldn't just slip them out. I did a lot of drywall repair afterwards!

...but yes, some of the other attic pipe was impossible to cut without out an angle grinder fit with an *unsafe* 10" cutting wheel. Sparks were flying everywhere and I had a death grip on the grinder since my hand was directly under the cutting wheel. I had to remove the guard to get the wheel to fit.

The basement pipe cut pretty easily (easy for 2" pipe) with a single blade.

I woke up an hour early today and pulled some "excess" water supply lines out. I'll have to wait until Thursday before I can do anything major since I'll have a bigger block of time to work on it. Until then I'll try to replace and move electrical circuits one by one.
post #69 of 1242
Good times...good times. I had a large section of pipe to remove coming down from the upstairs bathroom, but nothing like several floors of stuff!! Im sure that was awful. Luckily mine was built into a chase that i ripped apart so i had easy access...however, that still doesnt make it any lighter, lol.

These old houses are a pain to work with (old plumbin, bad electrical, non standard timber sizes, lath and plaster etc) but when the project is done, its a real sense of accomplishment knowing you've saved a bit of history. I dont know about your house, but i think mine was at a critical stage where either someone like me was going to buy it for cheap and fix it up and save it, or it would have gone to yet another person who was just going to live there for a few years and trash it even more and move on. Its taken me 2 years (and counting) but i think its worth it.
post #70 of 1242
Thread Starter 
In some ways, the older houses are better. They usually are more "robust". In any case, if there is something wrong at least you can say that this was before they knew better. When you see the mistakes that are done in newer houses it is because of incompetence or in the name of making a buck. There just isn't any reason for that.

The real reason we bought an older house is that we have all hardwood floors and very nice trim work and built ins. That would cost a fortune in a newer house. I also don't like the newer neighborhoods where every house looks so similar. It is all a tradeoff depending on what you want. I'm sure there are lots of you out there with newer houses that are laughing at me right now, and that is ok. I envy the builds that start out with a beautiful, new, clean basement.

Our house was in very good shape when we bought it. The floors had been redone just before. Right now I'm building new spaces, but I will be updating the kitchen after the basement.

Believe it or not, my previous house was built in 1752! A bunch had been updated, but it was an extremely cool house. It was just too big and the yard needed too much upkeep. I still wish I could have kept it, but it was about twice the size of our current house.
post #71 of 1242
That is VERY cool! I would love to get my hands on something that far back into american history.
post #72 of 1242
Thread Starter 
It was BEFORE America! It was really so neat. Plus it was on 4 acres overlooking the Hudson with a barn, a workshop and 4 car garage. It really had everything. I think I went through 500 gallons of oil to heat it in ONE MONTH (must have been really cold that month). Luckily oil was ONLY about $1/gallon at the time. What is it now??

I just checked: $2.70 That would be a hell of a heating bill. The house was 3500 sq ft and brick. I imagine there wasn't much/any insulation.
post #73 of 1242
Thread Starter 
I received my LED light in the mail. LED light


It was $2.33 shipped. It has a warm (light yellow) hue. It puts out a good amount of light at 10V. It is rated for 12V, which would give ~44% more power/light. I think you could get away with one light per seated person if you just wanted to see what you were eating. Reading you might want to double up, but at 12V you might be fine too. I'll have to find a 12V wall wart to test with.

In any case, it is a good option. Just use a 2" forster bit to make a 3/8" deep hole into your ceiling drywall and you are in business! You could run your wiring behind your drywall or maybe even in the seams. Since it is 12V wiring at low amps it is pretty darn safe, but don't do it unless you take all responsibility...blah, blah, blah. I'll be getting the RGB LED strips too for behind the white fabric frames. I'll see how they compare in light intensity before buying more of these.
post #74 of 1242
Thread Starter 
I tried the LED above at 12V. It put out a lot more light. It is pretty impressive. One per seating position would be plenty and then you might want to dim it....or you could have every other one on a separate circuit and just switch only one circuit on for lower light.

You could use flat wire, but it is a little pricey. flat wire sold here

Parts express has it cheap: HERE
post #75 of 1242
So are you just tryin to get away from drilling holes through all of your floor joists to run high voltage lights? Or do you just prefer the low voltage option?
post #76 of 1242
Thread Starter 
It would only take me 5 minutes to drill through the floor joists. That is not the issue. I don't want to make boxes for can lights. Since I'll be doing DD/GG/clips in the ceiling, it would be a waste to make 10 holes in the ceiling and not make backing boxes. I also need a light that can be flush or near flush with the ceiling since I'll have a low ceiling at 6'9".

The LEDs are low voltage (safer for non-code wire installations), run cooler (no need for large mounting fixtures) and thin (less than half a sheet of 5/8" drywall).

I would just go with cans if I didn't have to worry about sound isolation or if I had height to put them in a soffit. Make sense?
post #77 of 1242
Yup. I wasn't even thinking about sound isolation. I haven't had the opportunity to really delve into that research yet. (because i dont have the space for such a theater...the next house for sure.) I know about DD+GG, stagger stud framing etc. But never even thought about can lights. It makes sense you would have to box them in otherwise sonically it would be like have 6" holes all over the place.
post #78 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by premiertrussman View Post

. But never even thought about can lights. It makes sense you would have to box them in otherwise sonically it would be like have 6" holes all over the place.

BIG holes
post #79 of 1242
Thread Starter 
10 x 6" can would be appox .6% of my ceiling. If my ceiling reduced sound by 55 db and a hole reduces sound by uh, 0 db there is a chart somewhere that will tell you what the average sound reduction of the wall is. I'm thinking it will be about 7 db, which is pretty terrible and pretty much a wild guess.

Seriously, have you ever seen a cone of silence with a hole in it?? Um, whoops....
post #80 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasMergner View Post

Seriously, have you ever seen a cone of silence with a hole in it?? Um, whoops....

Hahahaha!!!

It's not just the number of holes. It's the size of the hole. Bigger holes are bigger problems. Bigger holes = more low frequency = harder to attenuate with the insulation in the ceiling cavity.

6" holes require backer boxes: http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/...llation_guide/
post #81 of 1242
Ted

I just spent a couple hours pouring through the soundproofing articles on your website after I embarrassed myself earlier not thinking about the sound isolation problems associated with can lights...I just wanted to say Kudos(im sure youve heard that many times), everything there is really well put together and about as clear as i think you can make sound isolation for the lamen.


Andreas

Do you have any moisture issues with your basement? I know a lot of older homes arent well addressed in that area. Is your foundation field stone?
post #82 of 1242
Thank you. Very kind of you.
post #83 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Ted: You make a good point as to the size of the holes. I guess it is just like a tuned port on a speaker enclosure.


Matthew: the biggest problem I have is that the sewer lines back up when there is about 2 hours of REALLY heavy rain. This occurs about twice a year. I have fixed this by plugging all of the open drain pipes in the basement. I also have a small amount of weeping from the floor in several places where there are cracks. There is no standing water, only a dark spot of moisture. We have clay soil here and I think it probably helps seal the foundation! I just put in a new french trench. I originally started it before I realized that the water problems were all from the sewer lines! The good part is that I don't think I will have any issues with water.

I'll likely put some 6 mil plastic down over the moist spots on the floor for a while to see what happens. I have a monster dehumidifier down there right now that keeps the basement from smelling musty. You need some sort of dehumidifier in the basement. I have thishttp://www.allergybuyersclubshopping...tml?itemId=336)

....and I have poured concrete basement walls. I think the floor was poured later though. My old house had stone though.
post #84 of 1242
Thread Starter 
I agree, Ted has a wealth of info on his website. It was very helpful to me. I plan on ordering GG and clips from him when I am ready to frame.
post #85 of 1242
Sorry I somehow skipped over the part where you were working on the floor. That was a lot of work! I just asked because every old house ive been in has water in the basement to one degree or another, if you had stone walls i was going to ask how you were going to address that, but i suppose its not a problem for you either way.
post #86 of 1242
Thread Starter 
No problem, I'm glad just to have someone commenting on my thread!

I do have the pink rigid foam "tucked into" the french drain, which would help with any wall leakage if I had a stone wall. It would end up in the drain. Fortunately, I haven't ever had any wall leakage. (Leakage. There, I said it again. )
post #87 of 1242
I just cant wait to see it finished! Its going to be epic. You'll be sick of me before your build is done...im sure everyone else is. I dont have the space or money to do a theater the way i'd like to yet...so i just live through everyone elses builds lol.
post #88 of 1242
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by premiertrussman View Post

I just cant wait to see it finished! Its going to be epic. You'll be sick of me before your build is done...im sure everyone else is. I dont have the space or money to do a theater the way i'd like to yet...so i just live through everyone elses builds lol.

Thanks for the vote of support! I think it is going to be pretty cool too. I think just about all of the builds here are great. I'd be happy with any of them. It is fun to be able to do your own project though. Hope you get a chance to make your own HT sometime soon!
post #89 of 1242
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasMergner View Post

Thanks for the vote of support! I think it is going to be pretty cool too. I think just about all of the builds here are great. I'd be happy with any of them. It is fun to be able to do your own project though. Hope you get a chance to make your own HT sometime soon!

Meh someday. Ill be happy for now if i can at least get my projector in the next year or so. We probably wont move out of this house until we can afford to build some where. We both like single story homes with walkout basements, so thats probably what well do, and have all the living space on ground level and leave the basement unfinished so that i can finish it out myself. A lot of things have to happen between now and then though.


So whats the next project in the basement then?
post #90 of 1242
Thread Starter 
It took a while to convince my wife to buy a PJ. ("Why do we *need* a PJ?") I think she likes it now. She is letting me do the HT, as long as I don't "go overboard". I think that is reasonable, but she has her awesome space and I will have mine. I have to be respectful of costs since she was on her space. She is not sold on the rotary woofer, but I keep telling her I need the room built first anyway....then deco, furniture...then house shaking woofer. I want to be able to sit down comfortably before having more LFE than a THT will supply.

Tonight I will create a plumbing shopping list and do some electrical work. I need to find my headlamp. I want to be able to shut off the main breaker before messing around with the web of old house wiring....and I need to see! Tomorrow I will go to the plumbing distributor and get 1.25" copper pipe and the couplers to 1.5" and 2" galvanized threaded pipe. I also need some fittings for the 1.25" copper.

Anyone have tips on lighting the basement after I take down all the existing ceiling lights? I want to leave them in as long as possible, but I'm conflicted because I also want to pull them out and clean up the space. I have one very bright shop light, but it will only light up one corner of the basement well.
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