Sunday, January 9th, 2011

My claim to fame today is that I figured out how to get some heat to my basement lair. The password is ‘ducts.’ Remember that. There’s going to be a test.

I’m so tired of freezing my ass off when I’m in my basement lair. I’ve tried wrapping myself up in blankets, wearing long underwear, et cetera and et cetera. I even bought myself a pair of those hobo gloves with the fingertips cut off. B says they make me look like a Dickens character, which is pretty cool and I love her for saying that, but I would have settled for being warm. Since that wasn’t happening, I had pretty much resigned myself to finally breaking down and installing some kind of electric heat, and in order to do that, I would have to figure out how to wire a 15-amp circuit for it so I didn’t overload the already-maxed-out circuit that supplies most of the basement and some of the rooms upstairs.

And while I was staring at a junction box on the ceiling at the bottom of the basement stairs, trying to figure that out, I noticed there was a little flap door in the hot-air trunk that comes off the furnace and thought to myself, Y’know, that looks like that could have once been a hot-air feed. When I gave it a poke, it opened right up. Hmmmm…

A quick trip to Menard’s and I came back with something called a plenum take-off duct that had a square base pretty close to the same size as the duct with the flap door, and after a little work with a pliers I got the two to fit together so well it was almost as if they’d been made for each other. How this happens, I don’t know. Sometimes the universe is good to me.

All I had to do from there was find a way to make them stay together. I could solder them, which could be fun inasmuch as it involves fire and lava-like molten metal, but it would never come apart again and I couldn’t help thinking that technology should have evolved beyond that by this time. And, as it turned out, it had. We have tape made from aluminum foil now. The stuff you buy at Walgreen’s called “duct tape” isn’t really duct tape; this stuff is. Wrap a bunch of it around the joints of your ductwork and it’ll never come apart. Also, it’s real pretty.

With a roll of that and fifteen feet of five-inch duct, I drove home and spent the afternoon trying to figure out how to snake the assembled pipes between the floor trusses to get some hot air from the furnace into my basement lair, and damned if it didn’t come off. The hardest part was probably cutting the hole in the ceiling, and that was hard only because I had to wear one of those face shields so I wouldn’t be eating drywall dust. Oh, and because I spent the better part of an hour holding a saw up over my head, trying to get the size of the hole big enough for the vent. You wouldn’t know to look at it now, but I did quite a hatchet job on the ceiling. The vent covers it all up, though. Looks great. And I’m almost feeling warm down here now.

Duct Duct Goose | 9:49 pm CST
Category: Our Humble O'Bode
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