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DayCreek Journal

September 13 , 2002


"Prep" Work

The weather has finally cooled off this week after a 94 degree day on Monday. Since this is September, I would hope that the trend in cooler temperatures continues. Working in the attic space is not a lot of fun in hot weather to be sure and Monday ended up being "mowing-day" instead of "work-in-the hot-attic-space- day". (Yes...I stayed clear of any ravines.)

If you look closely at the trees though, there are signs. The walnut trees are already dropping their leaves and it won't be long before the cold weather arrives. I guess I better get my act in gear and get the house sealed up soon!

The last few weeks have found me doing "prep" work for the ceiling. I haven't done any more cedar paneling work, because of electrical inspection. In order to do any more cedar paneling, I have to have all my in-ceiling electrical receptacles installed and inspected. And in order to do that, all of the ceiling joists need to be constructed. And in order to do that, bracing must be installed between the truss work. And in order to do that...well, I think you get the idea. There's a lot of "stuff" that is dependent on other "stuff". So, it has been pretty boring work, but the good news is that I'm ready for electrical inspection on Monday.

Sleeping is a Breeze
In addition to the ceiling fans that will be installed to help keep us comfortable, I would be remiss if I didn't elaborate on why there's a cupola in the center of the house. Granted, it does provide natural ventilation for the attic space, but more importantly it was designed for a whole house fan.

At our house here in Illinois, I had installed one many moons ago, but only ended taking it out because of house remodeling that wouldn't allow for it in our kitchen. And due to our house truss design, there was no place to put it in our hallway. So, I never reinstalled it. We both really do miss that whole house fan and when we were designing our cordwood house we made sure that there would be room for the fan.

...Well...sort of. The intent was to use that 30" fan, but the cowling was a wee bit too big to fit in between the 32 trusses that converge on the center of the house. So I decided to buy a 24" fan. When I took it out of the box, I looked at it and put it back. It just looked really cheap compared to the 30" fan.

Back to the drawing board.
I decided after much self-deliberation to decapitate the 30" fan housing and make one myself. It was all welded together, but eventually I got the cowling off and the 30" fan fit just fine in the center area without the housing. (The 30" fan had a 48" diameter cowling on the sucker!)

Sheet metal was securely fastened to all 32 trusses making a rather interesting multi-sided cowling. There's 20" of space below the fan for insulation during the winter months. (It was rather difficult to fully photograph the fan, cowling, trusses and cupola. This was the best I could do. If you look closely you can see the top (underside) of the cupola.)

Now trying to build a sturdy brace between 32 trusses is quite a challenge I discovered. There's some really strange angles to a 32 sided "hole". To make a long story short, I was able to finally mount the fan below the cupola and still leave me plenty of space to install insulation between the fan and luvours during the winter months when it is not in use.

I'm happy to report that it worked beautifully on its maiden test run. Standing directly below the fan on a ladder, my hair stood up straight! Cool. REALLY COOL.

So what's the big deal about having a whole house fan?
They really suck —that's the key. Attic fans are good at cooling off the attic space, but whole house fans sit directly above the ceiling space and pull all the hot air out of the living space. (Of course, the windows in the house better be open when you do this or you will draw air in from any chimney or other undesirable openings in your house.)

The whole house fan really comes in handy on those summer nights when there's no breeze. You'd be surprised how many times you can use a whole house fan in place of an air conditioner during the night when temperatures cool down outside. Having one, makes sleeping a "breeze".

Yellow sulpher butterflies have taken over Day Creek in the past few weeks. There are hundreds of them everywhere. Quite a site!