Claustrophobia, Plumbing, and Plastic

Guess what I’m doing tomorrow? I get to go down to my crawl space and run new plumbing and lay down plastic sheeting in prep work for getting my basement insulated in a few weeks.

In theory, this should be a fairly straightforward job. I mean, crawlspaces are supposed to be well laid out, and there should be a fair bit of room, right?

Not in an 1841 farmhouse, my friend.

Tuesday I spent the day moving a whole bunch of trash out of the crawlspace. I found a shovel, an ammo box, scissors, sweatpants, gloves, a ton of ratty insulation, and more rusty metal than you can shake a fist at. But even with all of that gone, my crawlspace is far from level. It’s got this huge mound of dirt down the middle of it. Part of it is downright cramped.

I am *not* a fan of cramped. I wouldn’t call myself a full-blown claustrophobe, but . . . I’ve been dreading going back since I was down there Tuesday. Like in an “Is there any way I can get out of this?” sort of a dread.

There isn’t.

Why am I doing all of this?

The new plumbing is just an effort to update the house. The old plumbing is a mutt of different types. Copper, plastic–you name it. Different sizes, different layouts. We only have a bathroom and a kitchen. The hot water to the kitchen now takes about 8 years to come on, mainly because we re-routed where the hot water source is back when we got our tankless water heater. So this is an effort to update and to make it easier to get that hot water.

The plasticking is prep work for the insulation, like I said. We’re getting spray foam put in all along the basement walls, which should act as a water barrier, air barrier, and insulator. We have cold floors in the winter, and this is an effort to correct that.  The thing is, when they spray it all in, it makes the basement a lot more air-tight. When you’ve got a lot of dirt floor, that can make moisture a real problem. (All that dirt somehow lets moisture into your house in a way I don’t quite understand.) So you put the plastic sheeting down to act as a vapor barrier, keeping the nasty moisture away from your moisture-hating house.

It will all be done by Saturday afternoon. I just have to keep telling myself that.

You all have a lovely weekend, though.

4 thoughts on “Claustrophobia, Plumbing, and Plastic”

  1. I remember working as an electrician years ago, running power from a panel to a hot tub. Of course, this had to be done from UNDER the house, and old one in Magna (if you never got to see that area, it’s pretty crap). I got the pleasant job of running it while my boss sipped a Pepsi with the homeowner. There was max 2 feet of clearance, dirt so covered by spiderwebs that it might as well have been a blanket under me, and solid steel supports that needed to be drilled into for screws and conduit brackets. I was under there for a few hours straight, and thought I would die. I have never hated life or a job more than I did that day. I’ll never again work in a crawl space.

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