Settled at 90 Fahrenheit 62 Celsius

Settled at 90 Fahrenheit 62 Celsius

With great disappointment and immediate call to action I arrived home to a dysfunctional HVAC unit. The system was blowing but the house remained hot. I turned off the energy-star-programmable-thermostat as the house reached 90 degrees. I noted temperature outside was cooler and so raising my low-E windows. Boiling with sweat and frustration, I exited the steam box to visit Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sears and Craigslist with a plan for the summer. It was a single room plan involving a window A/C plus several portable fans. I could make it through the summer then replace the failing HVAC with an environmentally friendly unit in the winter.

As I shopped the plan seemed foolish. I had planned to save then pay cash but I needed comfort now! Using credit with suffering on a bean burrito budget for the summer made sense. I returned home without the window unit remaining hot and sticky as I browsed the net developing a new plan.

My existing unit was inefficient. It had a 10 seer 2.5 ton system with R22 refrigerant. The condenser outside was fairly new while evaporator coil inside was fairly old. The furnace and blower were in great shape. Therefore the evaporator needed a coil replacement. Great, I’ll make some calls and have it replaced! The cost for a replacement was 40% less than the cost of a complete 13 seer HVAC replacement. This was the crossroads. I could follow a 16 seer energy-star-trend thus eating bean burritos for six more months or replace with a less efficient system while adjusting my diet for an extended summer.

I decided to go with a complete replacement. I purchases a Payne 3.0 ton HVAC system with an ADP evaporator coil and Payne furnace. I spoke with an entourage of service men as well as the folks at Sears. Sears proposed a Carrier unit while the service folks recommended the Payne units. I chose licensed service men to install the units. They vacuumed the lines installed a drier on the high line. They also used ductboard for the flute. I was able to snap this pic during the install while they answered 100 questions.

Payne Condenser 3.0 ton

The Payne units are simpler Carrier makes without the bells, whistles and cost. Everyone recommended quality install and service for sustained life span. My existing furnace was Payne so was confident in the brand.

The new unit professionally installed and working like a champ!

Payne Furnace 3.0 ton



Roofing Worker

The roofing crew is here today to replace the roof. The house is being re-birthed as the work continues I'm surpassed with peace on this Easter weekend.

Finished Roofing

The roof has been replaced in less than a day. Imagine a team of ten working graceful in tune like a Singer sowing machine. They removed the old composite shingles and cedar within an hour. Next they hammered the old nails and decked the roof with OCB. While taking a break for lunch the remaining materials and second dumpster arrived. I sent an email when the felt paper was rolled out. When I returned the edging shingles were going down. I watched the work in progress as if I were Antonio from HGTV. Walking around giving orders I gabbed the phone to call my bro' and headed to the bank. I picked up some grub, returned with my life savings. The roof was done! The crew was picking up. The time just after 1 o'clock. I guess that's how it's goes on television. The cameras were on my plan was working and all that was left was the presentation.



Almost by coffeechaser

An American House Warming Burger Bash
Time: 5:45 to 8PM Saturday, April 10th
Location: La Hacienda De Chihuahua

I’ve scheduled a grand house warming mixer and burger challenge to celebrate the kitchen remodel. I will paint and clear the dust until then. For those who have already visited it's a gourmet burger competition with The IT Guys. The guests will include people who inspire me and some strange co-workers I can't shake. ..see ya there!


Functional Kitchen

Functional by coffeechaser

Finally running water in the kitchen! I've taken some extra steps to prevent the butcher block from moisture. I've oiled the counters deeply with mineral oil and sealed the tough spots with polyurethane. The sink base was and rim where protected with foil HVAC tape. I'm using plumbers putty to seal under the faucet and sink.

Sink Putty
Sink Putty by coffeechaser

Sink Rim Wood Sealer
Sink Rim Wood Sealer by coffeechaser


Dishwasher Install

If your place has a dishwasher currently the installation is simple. It's taken me two days to install my new Bosch. I needed to run electrical and install the sink & disposal. The electrical should install on a GFCI circuit within 4" of the base. The power and water lines can not touch so they run along left. I cut pass through holes with 2" of the back. The water & drain line should be higher then 20" to create a drip loop. In the event of the drip loop allows the line to hang so it's not resting in a puddle.

Bosch Dishwasher Installation

Applied some polyurethane to underside of the butcher block and some HAVC foil tape to protect from moisture. The foil strip should go above the door opening. I'm running the hot water line and drain throught the sink cabinet. The dishwasher electrical outlet is GFCI protected.

Bosch Dishwasher Installation
Bosch Dishwasher Installation

Installing the dishwasher electrical plug.

Bosch Dishwasher Installation
Bosch Dishwasher Installation
Bosch Dishwasher Installation

Installing the hot water line.

Bosch Dishwasher Installation
Bosch Dishwasher Installation
Bosch Dishwasher Installation

Installing the drain.

Bosch Dishwasher Installation

Level the dishwasher, connect the lines, power on (test for leaks) and attach to counter!

Bosch Dishwasher Installation
Bosch Dishwasher Installation
Bosch Dishwasher Installation


Spits Balls!

Not Good
Not Good by coffeechaser

The leaky window you see here is actually a roof leak. What this means for the kitchen remodel is I'm taking the cash for the refrigerator to replace the roof. Sh# as they say in English.


Lightly Dusted

Lightly Dusted
Lightly Dusted by coffeechaser

Rehung the cabinet doors and installed the stove. The cabinets need a second coat of stain and some under cabinet lighting. The kick plates will be stained to match the floor and the counters get a deep soaking with mineral oil. I'll install the dishwasher, paint the ceiling, trim and paint before it's completely functional.

Early Morning
Early Morning by coffeechaser


Earn Your Beer Weekend

Old Rasputin
Old Rasputin by coffeechaser

Running out of time for the kitchen remodel I've made a push to the counters in this weekend. I set the counters, trimmed the base and installed the backer. I spent most of the weekend gluing and filling since my craftsmanship leaves to be desired. The Lagan butcherblock surface wraps the counter but some bad cuts left me to fill 3/16ths of an inch at the corner. I added it smooth before then kicked back with a beer to watch the HGTV's Antonio Treatment.

Wrapped Counters
Wrapped Counters by coffeechaser


Friday Night Chisel

The kitchen project is all consuming at this point. I've spent more hours in the kitchen than I've with friends and family. The preoccupation is really an anxious effort to complete the project. Tonight I'll mortise the cabinet sides and sand the broken joint. The glue has set and the wood filler is dry. I'll sand in down to see how things look.

Not So Perfect Joint
Not So Perfect Joint by coffeechaser


Talking Loud, Saying Nothing

Skipped out on the kitchen remodel last night to have drinks & dinner with co-workers. The conversation was intensely technical as I'm charged up about networks, servers, backups and the mundane tasks of IT people. I did purchase a dishwasher for the remodel before damning the replacement of under utilized servers. In typical geek fashion I pull reviews and checked Consumer Reports when making purchases. The Bosch dishwashers were found to be the best performers. Having made a strong case for the Maytag dishwasher; I must recant to say I've purchased Bosch. The SGV43E43EU dishwasher is rated second to the Whirlpool 2300 series as best of the budget class. I got mine for a fair price also it's 6 decibels quieter than the Maytag. I'm losing some credibility with the IT consultants but the functions of my basic dishwasher will be fully utilized until it's replaced!

Bosch SHE43P06UC Review

SHE43P06UC Bottom-Line Ratings:

This Bosch dishwasher has very good overall performance. It earns high marks for cleaning, drying, loading, capacity, noise, style, efficiency, and there are no performance areas rated below average. The style is considered to be premium, and it's MSRP is about $30 higher than the price of an average dishwasher. The SHE43P06UC is a good value for your money. The suggested retail price is about what we would expect to pay for this level of performance and style.

Dishwasher Shopping

2nd Interior Coat
2nd Interior Coat by coffeechaser

Applied the second coat of paint to the cabinet interiors and stopped by Sears last night. I wanted to check out some standard issue dishwashers priced $400-600. I'm looking for a great value for the money. The Maytag MDB7609AWW0 and Kenmore 13243 stainless steel units are the best buys in my opinion. They offer the basic functionality and stainless tub without the double the price kick in the head you get from the higher end models. In fact the nice units are only 3-6db quieter than these two models. I'll do a little more research for now I am thinking Maytag (Sears Item 17313).

Dishwasher Kenmore 13243 Review

Kenmore 13243 Bottom-Line Ratings:

This Kenmore dishwasher has very good overall performance. It earns high marks for drying, capacity, noise, style, efficiency, and there are no performance areas rated below average. The style is considered to be premium, and it's MSRP is about $40 less than the price of an average dishwasher. The 13243 is a good value for your money. The suggested retail price is about what we would expect to pay for this level of performance and style.

Dishwasher Maytag MDB7609 Review

Maytag MDB7609AWS:

This Maytag dishwasher has very good overall performance. It earns high marks for cleaning, drying, loading, capacity, style, efficiency, and there are no performance areas rated below average. The style is considered to be premium, and it's MSRP is about $70 less than the price of an average dishwasher. The MDB7609AWS is a good value for your money. The suggested retail price is about what we would expect to pay for this level of performance and style.


Daily Progress

The kitchen reveal and party is three weeks away. Last night I applied a coat of paint for the cabinet interiors. The to-do list is now a daily effort until complete. After work I'll be knock out the little things and wrapping up some big tasks. I'll install the appliances, cover the outlets, trim, paint and clean-up. The last week I'll organize and restock in preparation for visitors. I'm looking forward to having my kitchen back. Check back to see how things are progressing.


Final Cabinet Color!

Decided to go with dark cabinetry for the kitchen. The dark color works in contrast to with the flooring and stainless steel appliances. This choice is against my hard push for off-white cabinetry. While polling I found the off-white color to be predictable. I stained the some sample boards to find the right color. The popular wood has a greenish hue with dark variation. The process for staining the wood is two stepped. The first pass to even out the color variation and the next as a final staining. I used a Golden Oak stain followed with an ebony stain. The results are a nice espresso brown hand rubbed to perfection.

Step 2
Step 2 by coffeechaser


Tough Day

Broken Lagan Countertop
Broken Lagan Countertop by coffeechaser

I was all set to install the counters and paint when the sink counter snapped. It happened while I was resting on the edge to reach a screw. My guess is the glue joint was weak since it was a clean split down the seam. I'm wondering why the joints are not tongue and groove but that's asking too much. Completely frustrated I reached for a pencil and pondered. The moment was obsessive as I returned from a compulsive notion to replace the tops with granite. The disorder caused me to ditch perfecting the corner joints to salvage what I could using glue.

Repaired Lagan Countertop
Repaired Lagan Countertop by coffeechaser


Behind the Stove

Gas Line
Gas Line by coffeechaser

Changed the gas line connection to an elbow with shut off valve. The new setup allows more clearance behind the stove. The old kitchen had a separate units (oven & cooktop) with the gas line hiding in the cabinetry.

Clearance Behind the Gas Range
Clearance Behind the Gas Range by coffeechaser

Pantry Shelving

Favorite Pantry Shelf
Favorite Pantry Shelf by coffeechaser

Installed some adjustable shelves in pantry. The bottom shelf is my favorite it holds great finds like my oversize coffee grider, $15 thrifty Kitchen Aid mixer and some vintage Bunt pans and pots from estate sales. I'm making slow process at the Kitchen Cure. This is the week to stock, organize, and beautify. As I restock the pantry I'll add some storage bins for bags flavorings and a nice spice rack. The bare shelves will do until they are painted.


Check, Check, Check

Set the sink base, make sink cutouts, test fit the sink & faucet. Three things off the list but not quite installed. They are in place for looks or to give a sense of satisfaction after a late night.

Perfect Fit
Perfect Fit by coffeechaser


Hand Planer

Hand Planer
Hand Planer by coffeechaser

Power tools have their way in the new school but this classic hand planer set the bar long ago for craftsmanship. Since my sander bit the dust I'm relying on this old man to finish the job.

Busted Random Orbital Sander
Busted Random Orbital Sander by coffeechaser


Kitchen Countertops

Weekend project: Set the Counter-tops

Decided to forge ahead by installing the butcherblock counters. The rough cutting went well I literally burned through the first cuts (dull blade). I made the cuts slowly using C-Clamps and scrape flooring as a guide. I am most concerned with the corner joints. I wish for them to be seamless. I've setup and jig to pull the joints together. The 1/16th gap you see below will become invisible. The counters will be finished with natural oil when the project is complete. By this time next week I hope to have the counters installed.

First Cut
First Cut by coffeechaser

Joint Clamp
Joint Clamp by coffeechaser

Joint Gap
Joint Gap by coffeechaser


Kitchen Venting

Microhood Electrical
Microhood Electrical by coffeechaser

This is a tough spot for power tools. I should have cut thees holes before hanging the wall cabinet. Three jigsaw blades later the vent hole is cut and in a snap the electrical. The mircohood vents to the outside via a 10" x 3.25" straight boot, a connection ring, and some semi-ridge flexible ducting. It's running through the existing ceiling hole out the roof.

Range Hood Vent
Range Hood Vent by coffeechaser


Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets Installed
Cabinets Installed by coffeechaser

Mr. Fuller -badass with power tools- visited to install the kitchen cabinets. He is a friend who knows more than I about carpentry and so I played second fiddle most of the day keeping the beer cold! The process was simple yet time consuming. We started by marking the studs and finding the floor's high point. Working from there the cabinets were shimmed, squared, and leveled. We added some filler pieces to the corners for hardware clearance and moved on to the next cabinet. Each unit was secured to the wall and the adjoining cabinet. If your are installing cabinets make your own shims as we did. Set the saw to 1.5 degrees cut a 6" block with the grain, flip the board and cut again.

Final Layout
Final Layout by coffeechaser