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November 25, 2016

Propane Changes

Since the day I moved into this house I have hated my propane tank placement and propane provider. The 500 gallon tank was placed in pretty much the only place it could go - smack dab in the middle of my yard. The worst part was that I can see it from anywhere on my property except the opposite side of the house. It is old and rusty and has peeling paint. And on top of that, I could smell propane almost everytime I got near it. And I'm sure that is one of the reasons my vegetable beds don't do very well and the plants always had stunted growth.

Old propane tank from back door
Old propane tank from back door

On top of that, the propane provider (which owns the tank so no one else can fill it) charges about $1 more per gallon than anyone else. The first winter here I was paying over $1,000 a month to heat this place to 64*! Okay, that was a brutal winter with extremely high propane prices anyway, but it was still $200-$300 more than I would have paid other providers.

The high prices of propane were the impetus for me to get the pellet stoves, but I still need propane for DHW, the cook stove and to use the boiler for back-up heat. I have been using 100-150 gallons per year since then, taking a delivery in the fall. This year I found that my provider was still at $3370/gallon. I figured I would look around for a new supplier (I talked some about that in this post).

Wednesday was the day! Irving brought in two 125 gallon bottles. The tank guys got here first and upon seeing the 500 gallon beheamoth, thought they had brought the wrong tanks. I assured them that they had the correct goods and showed them where I hoped they could place them, beside the garage and under the drip line of the roof (I have a 3' overhang). They were unsure if that was legal since they would be beside a garage window. Perhaps if the window was boarded up they could do so, but they would need to wait for the tech.

The tech arrived and agreed that if I boarded up the window it would be good. They were busy making plans on how the tank guys would place the bottles and lock them out. And the tech would run the line around the corner of the house, but not hook up. And one of the tank guys finally turned to me and told me that if I called when I had the window boarded up, they and the tech would come back out and do the final hookup. How long did I think it would take me to get someone to close up the window?

Then I threw them what was apparently a bombshell - "I can get it done in 10 minutes - I have plywood and a saw, and I'm not afraid to use them."

So I took measurements and went to work cutting the plywood and had it screwed in before they had completed the paperwork (bottles were in place). The tank guys were appreciative that they didn't have to come back out just to unlock the tanks and congratulated me on my handiness. Yeah, I know, cutting a rectangular piece of plywood isn't that tough, nor is screwing it into place, but apparently they weren't used to a woman doing that.

The only hiccup was that I didn't have caulk that would set up in the 30* temps. I assured the tech that I could get some at the local hardware store so he set up the line - which gave him fits since he had to thread it between the siding and the fence post in 30* and very windy weather. He then leak checked it (had to replace a fitting on one of the bottles that had cracked and finished up the paperwork. Since they could only transport the bottles 20% filled, the company will make a fuel delivery next week. The tech cautioned me that they wouldn't fill it if they saw the plywood wasn't caulked up.

No worries - as soon as he left I went into town and got some RTV (high temp caulk that also has a set up temp down to single digit temps) and I caulked it up. I am extremely happy with the guys, the bottles and the placement.

New Propane bottles

Yeah, and I called my previous propane provider and told them to come pick up their tank. I can't wait to drive up my driveway, or look out from my back door a NOT see the ugly beheamoth in my yard!

Posted by Bogie on November 25, 2016 at 08:52 AM in At Home | Permalink | Comments (2)

Almost Free

My H-D dealer of choice gives points for purchases. Normall those purchases are for merchandise/parts - services are no included. I also get points for attending HOG meetings (as a courtesy from our sponsoring dealer). A couple of months ago, my Extended Service Plan (ESP) for the bike came up for renewal. I was debating not only if to renew, but also if I renewed, for how long. The decision became easier when the dealer had a special that included earning points for buying/renewing an ESP (limited time offer).

So I had a whole bunch of points to spend. The catch? The points expired on 11/23/16. Upon realizing this a couple of weeks ago, I mulled over what to get (I had nearly $200 to spend). Oh, I could get things for the bike, but then I would have to have them installed. And really, the bike pretty much has everything I could want - except more lighting is always good. Then I thought of what I could use for myself - and I realized I have been lusting after a helmet that has a clear face shield with an integrated sun shield that is retractable. Fortunately, Harley has just come out with the women's version (men's are too big for my small head).

So I went into Heritage H-D and they only had sizes M & L - way too big for me. The sales associate offered to order one for me. I told the gal that I needed to use my points and if the helmet wouldn't be in by 11/23, then I wouldn't buy it. She assured me that since they knew it was my plan, they could extend the points if needed.

I was getting antsy about that, so Wednesday after my day job, I headed to Concord to renew that promise (and see how that would work). I walked in the door and Kristie said, "I see you got my message!". Um, no, did you call? Turns out she had left me a message as I was driving to the dealership. The helmets had come in (they got both S & XS since I was unsure of the size I needed). XS was perfect. And since the helmet did not take up all my points, I got a long sleeved shirt with a customized NH scene and the dealer logo.

For both of these items I shelled out a mere $10.

Helmet and shirt from Heritage Harley davidson
Helmet and shirt from Heritage Harley davidson

Yep, I'm a happy camper - I know I'll love the retractable sun-shield when I get to use the hemet!

Posted by Bogie on November 25, 2016 at 08:19 AM in Motorcycles | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 12, 2016

In the Closet

Last weekend I started tearing apart the bedroom closet. The closet is on an outside wall, abuts the bathroom, and has the bathroom pipes running thru it. It gets very cold in the winter. That is easy to forget in the warmth of summer, but with cold weather arriving, I found a lot of cold air coming into the bathroom. Since I had pretty much everything I need for a small project like a 2' x 3' closet, I got started.

At the start of the demolition, I took off the crown molding and found a huge air gap between the ceiling and wall sheet rock.

Gap in sheetrock

On tearing out the outside wall, I couldn't believe I had forgotten how the builder had never put plywood in the upper 8-9" of the outside wall, so it directly lets in cold air and wind from the eaves. ARRGGHH - it was in the low 40's and I had to hurry and scab in some plywood!

Hole in plywood


I caulked in around all the studs to stop air filtration and let it cure until Sunday early afternoon (I had a HOG meeting in the morning). I did roll on two layer of paint on the door wall and the back wall since I wasn't tearing those out. That took quite a while as the closet it so small that I ended up using a small 3-4" roller in order to have room for me, it and the step stool.

Hole in plywood

When I got home Sunday, I installed 1" rigid foam insulation along the outside wall and caulked all around it.

Foam insulation in closet - no caulk turned
Foam insulation in closet - no caulk turned

Since it was in fairly good shape, instead of tearing out the ceiling sheet rock I added rigid foam insulation to the inside. It shortens the ceiling, but since it's not like I can crawl up there thru the 18" door, I don't care.

Ceiling foam

 The caulk had to cure, so I was pretty much done until today. This morning I went down into the basement to cut a piece of fiberglass insulation for the wall, and found that the only roll I had left was R19. Great, no, not really, I have to have R13. So I gathered up the trash and did a dump run, then stopped at the local hardware store and found they only had R11 - at $36+ per roll. AMG - that is about twice as much as I can get at HD. Alright then, they just made it worth the drive to Concord (30 miles). On my way, I decided to stop at the next town over and see if their hardware store had anything.

Ahh, lifesavers - they had R13 insulation and for $17/roll. Although a couple $$ more than HD, the drive time and gas would eat up that, so I happily gave them money and was back home shortly. I installed the fiberglass insulation.

Wall fiberglass insulation turned

Then I sheet rocked over the rigid foam on the ceiling.

Ceiling sheet rock

Then I started on the floor, which is over the garage at lets in at least as much cold air as the wall did. I put down a layer of rigid foam insulation, then used that as a template for the plywood to go on top.

Floor foam
Floor foam

Then I pulled the plywood back up and used it as a template for cutting a scrap piece of linoleum. I used double-sided tape to secure the edges, then put the construction down on the floor.

Floor plywood linoleum
Floor plywood linoleum

Lastly, I sheet rocked the outside wall.Yes, that is two different colors of sheet rock. I was making the most efficient use of the drops from other projects and the only difference is the purple is for damp areas (like bathrooms) and the white is for living areas.

Wall sheetrock turned

I still have to tape and mud, then paint and put up the clothing rod and shelving, but I'm happy with the progress I made today.

Posted by Bogie on November 12, 2016 at 07:23 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (5)