Air Flow vs. Water Flow

Well as you may (or may not) know, we have spent the last year – at least – trying to improve airflow to our upstairs.  We have 5 vents upstairs – 2 in each bedroom and 1 in the playroom – and the amount of air that came from those vents was extremely poor.  On average, there would be a 10 degree difference from the downstairs to the upstairs which meant it was very cold in the Winter and very hot in the Summer.  This wouldn’t be such a high priority if it wasn’t for our kid’s rooms being up there.  We didn’t really want to install a window AC unit up there and were sick of paying for space heaters in the Winter.  Something had to be done.

fan ductworkWe tried dampers but with no avail.  We tried installing a fan in the duct in the basement to help push that air up – nope, that didn’t make an ounce of change.  I found myself praying that there was something stuck in the ductwork causing a blockage.  Seemed to be reasonable enough.  But nope – clear as a whistle.  Matt and his Dad had the idea to get a bigger fan and move it upstairs into the main trunk that ran thru our closet, placing it in the duct just below where it splits off for the upstairs.  He built a box with the fan inside to ensure air flow would not be leaking out.  Cutting a section out of the main trunk, he replaced it with this box and tested it out.  What seemed like a fool-proof plan failed yet again.  If a difference was made, it wasn’t much to brag about.

old ductworkSo Matt went back to the drawing board.  Then he had another idea.  After work, he ran up to Menards and came back with new ductwork.  Turns out the vents upstairs had the accordion style ductwork.  Looking into it, Matt discovered that this type of ductwork is used for short distances – 2 feet max – and could potentially lose up to 70% of airflow.  We had this stuff spanning in some spots over 10 feet!  So Matt ripped it out and replaced it with new ductwork.  And you know what?  It worked!  Thank you God, it worked!  I can’t even describe to you how excited and giddy Matt and I were.  We had airflow upstairs!  Our kids now had heat upstairs!  With only 3 out of the 5 vents done, the temperature difference has decreased to about a 5-6 degree difference.  With the problem plainly in sight, we plan to head back to Menards this evening and pick up the remaining ductwork needed to finish the other two vents.  Can’t wait to see how much this will lower our electric bill next Winter, haha!  But I’m in NO hurry to find that out.  Spring can stay as long as she likes.

Spring has been starting to show here in our small town – it was 60 degrees yesterday and said to be in the 70s today!  Matt and I are still not convinced Winter is over yet though.  We expect to see snow when we wake up each morning.  Not quite ready to put that guard down yet.  But for time being, we are enjoying the upwards change in the weather.  Last night after dinner, we all headed outside to blow the stink off of us.  The boys had a ball running around, getting muddy, playing tball and on their slide.  I cleaned the chicken coop and Matt was going to let his hunting dog, Blaze, out to run around when it happened.  Ah yes, there always seems to be an ‘it’ that is happening around here.  But as Matt ran to the coop to get me, he said “you need to come here, this isn’t good”.

spigotSo at this time I’m thinking some animal is mauled in our barn, our tractor is stolen, his dogs were hurt, and anything else bad I can think of.  But no – none of those things.  In our barn is an old broken spigot.  In the two years we lived here, it’s never worked – not once.  Like I said, it was broken.  And for whatever reason, now it was on full blast flooding our barn.  Matt walked over to the spigot and moved the handle up and down and nothing happened.  It didn’t even change the water pressure.  It was going full force.  I laugh about it now but it was so bizarre at the time.  “How did it turn on?” I asked Matt, and he replied, “How do we turn it off?!”  He ran to the well house and turned the pump off and it did nothing.  He went and flipped the breaker and it did nothing.  Finally he got a hammer and beat the pin down on the handle and got the water to shut off.  Crisis adverted, but our barn is a mess.  I guess it’s nice to know that spigot works but how it turned on is a mystery to us.

flooded barnAfter we got the water off, we loaded up and headed to town to get ice cream to celebrate the nice weather (or to settle our nerves).  Never a dull moment here on the homestead 🙂

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3 comments

    • Well oddly enough it snowed the next day so we haven’t been out to look at it further. A neighbor’s well is out of the question since our ‘neighbors’ are soooo far away. Definitely something we’re going to look into this summer.

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