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Outdoor wall bracket for mini split system.

We chose the optional wall mount bracket to keep our Mini split off the ground.

It is solid with heavy duty rubber feet and holes to attach them.

The reviews show how it's not designed for the normal 16 inch stud spacing.

We worked around this by mounting some treated 2x4's to correct that flaw.

Posted Fri Nov 24 07:00:10 2017 Tags:
Anna City parks
Rocky forest

I tried out two new trails this week, both closer to the city center than the ones I'd been on previously. The first of these was Sells Nature Preserve, a city-side add-on to Strouds Sells park rock formationRun State Park. I'm afraid this is the first Athens-area trail I can't wholeheartedly recommend. The views of intricate rock formations were beautiful...but the road noise of nearby East State Street was captured by the rocks so badly that I felt I was walking through traffic.

Biking along the river

On the other hand, biking down the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway was quite a treat! Our local library is located on the path and lets you check out bikes and helmets for free with your library card. Mark and I took advantage of the opportunity and expect to do it again soon!

Posted Thu Nov 23 07:00:14 2017 Tags:
Torque wrench close up.

One of the obstacles to installing the new mini-split system is torquing down the flare nuts to meet the torque requirements.

It's important to have it tight but not overtightened due to temperature extremes.

We decided to go with a Tekton drive click torque wrench that allows you to dial in the torque you need and listen for the click that lets you know you've reached the target torque value.

Posted Wed Nov 22 07:00:31 2017 Tags:

Voip boxSince we had to set up all of our utilities from scratch on our new property, Mark decided to enter the twenty-first century in the process. Why pay for both internet and a home phone when you can use VOIP technology to get both for the same price?

To that end, we spent fifty bucks on a phone adapter that lets us plug an ordinary home phone into our router. Then Mark set up a free Google Voice account that provided a local phone number and simulates having a home phone. We did opt to pay $25 per year for optional 911 service, but otherwise calls are totally free within the U.S. and Canada.

What's the catch? There are only a few. First, you can only set up a Google Voice account if you already possess another phone number --- we used our emergency, pay-as-you-go cell phone for that purpose. Also, there's no caller ID on the phone (although you can see the number on the internet) and voice messages are emailed instead of showing up on your home answering machine.

On the plus side, phone quality seems to be quite a bit better than on a cell phone. And the transcribed voice messages that come to your email inbox are a major time saver if your callers have a tendency to ramble on. Overall, this is a cheap and easy solution for home phone service if you already pay for internet service, and I suspect it'll be plenty for our low-phone-use household.

Posted Tue Nov 21 07:00:13 2017 Tags:
Loading up oversized chair at Goodwill Athens Ohio.

Anna was a little dubious when I told her I could fit this oversized chair in the car.

The Goodwill people are very nice and let us determine if it could fit in the trunk before we bought it.

Posted Mon Nov 20 07:00:14 2017 Tags:
Hanging up pots

It's amazing how hanging up pots makes a new kitchen feel like my own. Mark added some thin boards to give his screws something to bite into between studs, providing space to hang up the most-used items. (Thanks for yard saling such great sauce pans, Rose Nell!)

Drilling out a pot handle

Back in Virginia, we hung our pots on mug hooks. But screws are easier to use high up on the wall in our new location. A little bit of drilling ensured that each handle would slide easily over the screw heads.

Posted Sun Nov 19 07:00:14 2017 Tags:
Estimating wire length

6-3 wire for an electric range costs $2.79 per foot.

At that price, it's essential to guess your distances correctly.

Running a string from the fuse box to the stove is a good start. Then add 15% for wiggle room.
Posted Sat Nov 18 07:00:12 2017 Tags:
Dow Lake

This past weekend, I discovered that I'd been driving the long way around to get to the nearby Strouds Run State Park. Taking the shortcut means I hit park property only 2.1 miles from our house, and in double that distance we achieve the scenic (if man-made) Dow Lake. Inspired by the close proximity, I tried out not one new trail this week but two.

Drained beaver pond

In addition to ambling along the Lakeview Trail, I also enjoyed Beaver Pond Trail...which ends in this flat, open area where a pond probably stood only a couple of years before. The walk was a lesson in impermanence --- how human to name a trail after something that can disappear based on a whim of the weather combined with a critter's unpredictable brain. Is this a bit like giving directions based on "that old store that used to be owned by the Joneses back in 1977"?

Ice droplets

Despite the minor disappointment of finding no beaver or pond on Beaver Pond Trail, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. Because the setting was a broad floodplain with clay-lined streams exactly like the one we moved away from. Now I know where to go if I ever get homesick!

Posted Fri Nov 17 07:00:14 2017 Tags:
Plumbing a pressure tank

We added a pressure reducing valve and a pressure tank before installing our heat pump water heater.

Total elapsed time for the entire project was three hours hands-on plus two hours at Lowes.
Posted Thu Nov 16 07:00:13 2017 Tags:
Heat pump water heater location

Research suggests that heat-pump water heaters are by far the most energy-efficient option for most households. They're approximately three times as efficient as ordinary electric water heaters since they don't create warmth...they merely move heat out of the air and into the water.

Installed water heater(A gas, point-of-use device at each hot-water faucet approaches the same efficiency. But we're not on a natural gas line and didn't have to make that choice. Electric point-of-use hot-water heaters can't come close to heat-pump technology.)

Downsides of a heat-pump water heater include the high initial price tag (but look for rebates!) and the hum of a fan. Heat-pump water heaters also cool the air around them (great in summer, not so great in the winter). And they need a large, open area with a temperature that doesn't drop below 45 Fahrenheit for optimal performance.

I decided to give up a bit of square footage in my writing space for optimal, energy-efficient hot water. More on what we think of our high-class heater in a later post!

Posted Wed Nov 15 07:52:21 2017 Tags:

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