Summer Breeze Lot 27 Gallery 41

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DCP03179.JPG (109712 bytes)    April 6, 2005 - Wednesday - Installation of the drains and vents for our rough plumbing was completed this week.  This picture shows the drain and overflow connections to the tub/shower in the guest bath, and also shows the vent for the tub drain going up toward the attic.

DCP03181.JPG (103747 bytes)    April 6, 2005 - Wednesday - Since our floor is a "slab on grade", we ordered the "AF" version of our Kohler tub/shower unit.  The AF designation stands for "Above Floor".  This means the unit is made to go on a slab and the front apron is longer to accommodate this.  We ordered the AF version since our drain has to go on the top of the slab, i.e. the tub must have room underneath so we can install the drain pieces.  In a stick built home the tub would sit directly on the sub floor and the drain is brought up from the crawl space.  This picture shows that we must build a platform for our AF version tub to sit on.  If you look closely you can see the shims between the top of the platform and the bottom of the tub.  These shims make absolutely sure the bottom of the tub is supported properly.

DCP03173.JPG (90274 bytes)    April 6, 2005 - Wednesday - This picture shows our Vanguard "Manablock"" installed in the laundry room.  It is mounted to a piece of plywood which is then mounted to the wall between the laundry room and the garage.  We call the laundry room the "machine room" since this is the place where many of the systems (water, electrical, radiant heat, video, telephone, computer network, etc.) for the home are based.  The manablock is very much like an electrical breaker panel, except for water.  The manablock is the heart of what is known as "home run plumbing".  Home run plumbing is a plumbing system where EVERY fixture in a home is fed from a central point.  There are many benefits to home run plumbing of which we will only mention a few here.  First, since all fixtures are fed off the same manifold, there are little or no water pressure changes to one fixture if other fixture are being used.  Next, the installation is very fast.  Last, the tubing to each fixture is a single continuous piece, eliminating the chance for leaks in the middle of the run.

DCP03177.JPG (123918 bytes)    April 6, 2005 - Wednesday - This shot shows two spools of Vanguard 3/8" PEX "pipe" or "tubing".  The colors are of course blue for cold water runs and red for hot water runs.  This color coding comes in VERY handy when running pipe!  It is also very neat to have this pipe on spools that we can suspend between studs to make the installation that much easier.  This 3/8" pipe can be used for all fixtures with a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less.  This is good because 3/8" pipe is less expensive than 1/2"...but more importantly it saves water and the energy to heat hot water.  The reason for these savings is when you turn on a hot water faucet, it takes a moment (hopefully not much longer) for the water to get hot.  As you wait for the water to get hot, perfectly good water is going down the drain.  Since 3/8" pipe contains 50% less water than a 1/2" line we have to heat 50% less water.  This means less water goes down the drain while you wait, and less energy is used to heat the water since you are actually heating 50% less water!  The only fixtures in our home that require 1/2" lines are hose bibs and lines for the guest bathroom tub and the whirlpool tub in the master bath.  With the rest being 3/8" lines we saved money on the purchase price and hopefully will save lots more in water and energy costs.  With our upcoming summer here in Washington State looking to be one of the driest on record, the water savings is a great thing!

DCP03184.JPG (112013 bytes)    April 8, 2005 - Friday - Another shot of the manablock installation.  You can see that a number of tubing runs are complete and connected to the manablock.  The tubing is run through the attic space either on top of trusses or attached to the side of a truss.

DCP03188.JPG (122878 bytes)    April 8, 2005 - Friday - This is a close up of the manablock.  Roughly 90% of the tubing runs are complete.  This shot shows very clearly that the tubing is run through the attic.  PEX pipe is much less prone to damage from freezing conditions since the tubing can expand a bit if the water inside it freezes.  Also these PEX runs in the attic will be covered with insulation for added protection.

DCP03190.JPG (122353 bytes)    April 8, 2005 - Friday - Care must be taken to protect the PEX tubing when it runs through an opening in the steel studs or next to the edge of a track.  Here you can see the tubing is held away from the edge of a track by plastic insulators.  This particular picture shows the hot and cold runs for the kitchen sink and the hot run for the dishwasher.

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