The world of interior trim

One of my favorite parts of doing this project is the opportunity to share with you a variety of information on a range of subjects that fall under the umbrella of home construction. As we get closer to the finish line of building my new home, I wanted to take the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite sources of knowledge - Ring’s End Lumber. If you’re like me, hardware stores and lumberyards are places you enjoy visiting. If you hang around these places long enough, you’re bound to learn something or meet someone willing to share their knowledge.

If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that we first visited Ring’s End Lumber when it was time to select windows and doors. In that episode, I spoke with David Lee, a 30-year company veteran who has made his mark on countless home construction projects. He possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and I would highly recommend him as a source of knowledge to anyone who is installing windows, doors or interior trim in the eastern/central Connecticut area.

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Finishing up the interior

A lot of changes have happened since our last episode! Now that the walls of my new home are all painted up, I’ve been working on four key areas of the home’s interior: the flooring system, the kitchens, the bathroom, and the master bedroom.

The hardwood flooring system that I’ve selected is perfect for this project. The floor panels have a very thick true hardwood top layer on a plywood substrate. This has the effect of making the floor dimensionally stable, which is important for underfloor heating applications. I like the look of hardwood, but I don’t want it to shrink, dry out or bow. Engineered hardwood is an ideal choice for this project, because my plan is to heat from underneath the floor by attaching heat transfer plates to the subfloor.

Many people purchase a pre-finished hardwood floor, but for this project I purchased the panels unfinished. My plan is to sand it down and stain it in a gray tone to match other elements of the house.

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Interior paint done the right way

I’ve found over my 30 or so years of homebuilding that finishing a home usually takes more thought and preparation than you think. It’s easy to get excited during the final stages and want to powerhouse through it, but I am taking special care to not rush through important details and make sure each step is done the right way, so that I don’t have to go back and do it again.

Putting a good finish on the interior walls of a home is more than just slapping paint on a wall and calling it a day. Generally when it comes to working out the details of an interior paint job, I like to consult with someone who is knowledgeable about interior paint and make sure that I am doing it the right way. Every home is different, and so is every paint job.

When it came time to start thinking about my paint job for this project, I began by asking myself some simple questions: do I want bright colors, or something a bit more conservative? Do I want the rooms to be contrasty or flat? Shiny or opaque? In other words, how do I want the rooms in my new home to appear once everything is painted and decorated?

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Dave's Tips - Exercises in homebuilding readiness

Unforeseen items can come up during the course of any homebuilding project. Any number of plot twists can come up during the course of construction - from weather-related to logistics to unexpected costs. Some are relatively minor, and others can significantly affect your project timeline.

As my home nears completion, I find myself thinking back to some of the times during my project when I had to make adjustments to my plan or find a different way to do things. During the framing stage of my project, I discovered that I couldn't determine the elevation needed to complete framing between the main part of the house and the garage. Luckily, I was able to find a workaround relatively quickly thanks to my friends over at Point One Architects - having a network of experts to fall back on is a crucial piece to the puzzle and can help you make the best of a situation.

If you are dealing with an unexpected roadblock in your project or a cost that you didn't anticipate, my advice is to remain calm and take some time to assess the situation. Homebuilding is a system, and so is problem-solving. Being able to think on your feet is important, but being methodical about your plan and the associated problem solving that's sometimes needed can turn a good project into a great one.

What are some unexpected items that have come up for you during your project? Join the conversation and let us know!

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AHR2018 - Industry change and new regulations

Now is a critical time for the HVAC-R industry as education about energy usage and efficiency spreads and the U.S. government moves to regulate commercial and residential pumps.

This became especially apparent to me at this year’s AHR Expo, where I noticed that many companies had products on display that had a new addition to them - an efficiency label produced by the Hydraulic Institute.

The Institute’s new labels are sort of like the efficiency labels that you sometimes see on consumer products, except they’re for commercial products that aren’t sold in stores. This is a big deal for the industry, because the new efficiency labels offer an apples-to-apples comparison of different pumps and enable the downstream partners of pump manufacturers to identify energy efficient pumps and make the choice that’s right for their system.

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Turning up the heat

There’s always a trade-off to doing drywall during the wintertime. I want to be able to finish off the taping process quickly, but it needs to be warm enough inside my house for the installation to go smoothly.

As part of my commitment to keeping this project eco-friendly, I’m trying not to use kerosene or fossil-fuel powered heaters inside while we tape. While my multi-zone primary heating system is under construction, I’ve devised a stop-gap solution to keep the temperatures inside my new home reasonable.

Behind my garage, I’ve installed a SANDEN CO2 heat pump water heater. I’m a big fan of these units because instead of using regular hydrocarbons or refrigerants, it uses CO2 as a refrigerant, which is much better for the environment. The unit is highly efficient, with a COP of 4.5 - phenomenal for an air to water heat pump device. This unit will silently purr away and keep us from freezing as we cement the drywall into place. I plan to keep the SANDEN unit as a backup for my domestic hot water, just in case.

My primary heating system is about 50 percent complete, but once it’s done it’s going to be fantastic. For the primary system, I’’m incorporating Taco’s VR1816 00e® Series for air handler and underfloor heating functions. The 00e® is the right choice for this project, since I want to be able to dial in the exact flow that I need.

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Catching up with Harris-Dudley at AHR

What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been. For us, preparing for the AHR show is a lot of hard work for everyone involved. The weeks leading up to the show always go by so fast, then before you know it you're there on the show floor, trading stories with other folks from all around the world. If you work in the HVAC-R industry, then you know that AHR is a great place to catch up with old friends and business associates. That's how you know our industry is doing well - this year's AHR in Chicago was packed full of exhibits and people eager to see the very latest and learn from each other about industry developments.

That's the other thing I like the most about AHR, is that it provides a snapshot in time of what HVAC-R companies, big and small, are working on and what technologies are coming to the forefront. At the Taco booth this year, connectivity was the dominant theme for this year's show. Most of us are constantly connected to the internet through our mobile devices, and more people want to cash in on the benefits that their device has to offer. So, Taco has developed new products that make life easier and interact more seamlessly with smartphones, tablets and computers.

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Linking up with AHR 2018

I can't believe it's that time of year again. In just a couple of days, I'll be flying out to Chicago for the HVACR industry's biggest show of the year, the AHR Expo. This three-day event enables industry professionals to view more than 2,000 exhibitors and link up with tens of thousands of professionals, and it's one of my favorite places to visit during the course of a busy year.

I won't just be visiting for kicks though - I'll be on booth duty for Taco Comfort Solutions, helping folks get connected with the right solutions for their applications. Connectivity is the theme at our booth this year, and Taco is leading the way in pioneering new ways to make our signature products even easier to use and create new ones that enhance indoor comfort and bring peace of mind to building occupants.

If you're at the show, make sure to stop by and say hi! If you won't be at AHR, we will have some new interviews for you in the weeks to come, along with a Taco booth walkthrough so you can see the latest and greatest. Stay tuned!

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A brand new look for a brand new year

There's no better way for me to kick off this new year than with a home that's getting to be almost ready to move into. We've finished installing the interior insulation, and now we've moved into installing the drywall system. It's a lot of trowel swinging, but it's a step towards making the interior as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside.

One cool thing about this episode is that you have a chance to see what different drywall configurations can end up looking like - for example, it might be hard to imagine what the drywall for a cathedral ceiling might look like. I've incorporated several features like that into my new home, so I hope that you take a look and that the new views are of some benefit to you.

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Happy Holidays from the Green Comfort Blog

As we wind down the calendar year, I just wanted to thank you all for following me through this project so far. Over the course of my home building project, I've met a lot of quality people who helped the project along. I am especially thankful to our subscribers - your contributions are part of what make this blog a unique, fun place to visit and learn from. I enjoy reading and replying to your comments and learn something new each time.

We have some quality material coming up over the next few months. Our next episode is a departure from the previous episodes in the sense that my new home is going to look a bit different than you remember it. Over these upcoming episodes, you'll really get to see the whole project take shape.

One thing to look forward to for January is that we'll be attending AHR 2017 in Chicago, where we'll meet with cutting-edge professionals and industry vanguards to have some lively conversation about what's new in the HVAC industry.

I think it's a fitting way to start off the new year - I can't wait to show you where the project takes us and what the finished product looks like. If you haven't already, sign up for the biweekly eBlast by registering on the page.

I wish you all a happy holiday. We will see you in January!

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