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THE REATTA LOUNGE


Ronnie
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Most houses built here just rely on a lot of foundation waterproofing and french drains made of plastic pipe with holes, covered with gravel, below the footers to carry water away from the house before it gets into the basement or crawlspace.  I'm sure there are people in this area that need sump pumps but I don't know anyone that has one.

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1 hour ago, Ronnie said:

Most houses built here just rely on a lot of foundation waterproofing and french drains made of plastic pipe with holes, covered with gravel, below the footers to carry water away from the house before it gets into the basement or crawlspace.  I'm sure there are people in this area that need sump pumps but I don't know anyone that has one.

Ronnie, You are sort of in that midway point in the US where your foundation doesn't have to go super deep because of the frost line. Most people who have basements have them because their foundations go 10'+ below the ground surface. If you are going to excavate ten feet down to lay a foundation, why not go ahead and make it a basement? It seems like all houses in Southern Illinois either have basements or raised foundations. The only structures I can think of that are slab on grade are restrooms at state parks and natural areas. That, Dollar general and Walmart, and other commercial buildings like gas stations. Basements are both the coolest place to be in the summer and warmest place to be in the winter. But gosh there is something that is just creepy about being down in my basement. I don't particularly like to hang out down there. My great grandparents dug out their own basement I believe after their house was built.

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34 minutes ago, BlakesReatta said:

You are sort of in that midway point in the US where your foundation doesn't have to go super deep because of the frost line. Most people who have basements have them because their foundations go 10'+ below the ground surface. If you are going to excavate ten feet down to lay a foundation, why not go ahead and make it a basement?

That makes sense. I think Daves89 told me the same thing about where in lives in WI.  I agree. If you are going to have to go deep with the footers anyway dig a basement.  I had my house built and was here most of the time during construction. My footers were poured about 14-18" below ground. We don't have much of a frost line so that is all that is needed if the ground is solid.

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My Cape Cod style house was built in 1947 as part of the "WWII returning GI's" era.  No thought was given back then to waterproof the outside of the 10' foundation or of building in french drains.  I only have a 75' frontage, so excavation for a french drain or exterior waterproofing would be cost prohibitive....we're looking at $60k to $70k for a 32'X24' house and a whole lot of mess.

 

Also, in MA we call them cellars (pronounced "cellahs").    

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Like a rut cellah? Illinoisans say ruf as in roof. So Maybe rut instead of root.

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58 minutes ago, ship said:

Also, in MA we call them cellars (pronounced "cellahs").

Being from TN, and as someone who talks (tawks) with a thick southern drawl, I'm not going to say anything about how someone pronounces a word. Down here we like to add the "w" sound to words and draw them out as long as possible. When Dave (Daves89) came down from Wisconsin to visit with me we almost needed a translator to communicate with each other. 🙂

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8 hours ago, Ronnie said:

That makes sense. I think Daves89 told me the same thing about where in lives in WI.  I agree. If you are going to have to go deep with the footers anyway dig a basement.  I had my house built and was here most of the time during construction. My footers were poured about 14-18" below ground. We don't have much of a frost line so that is all that is needed if the ground is solid.

We are 15 miles from daves89 in WI, 48" (4 foot) frost footers are needed here if you do not have a basement.  We have an 8' basement so we have 9' footings.  Lager cellar we call it.

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Missed this thread. In Florida we do not have basements, water table is so high would be indoor swimming pools. My house is on the top of a "sand dome" and about 20 feet higher so does not normally flood. Hot air over Florida is still working, hurri/himmi/greekicanes don't come here, they go to Louisiana or Carolina. Vaccine: only reason I can think of for so many people refusing the shot is nature's way of thinning the herd. Plain stupidity is not enough. Had first two in Jan-Feb so ready for third in October. Hospitals are full and are being asked to conserve water. Governor must be taking something interesting because he does not want to allow masks in schools.

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I couldn't imagine not having a basement. All the infrastructure needed to operate the house, water, hvac, electricity and such takes up living space otherwise. Even a 100 year old house like mine can have the basement as viable annex for living or special use space. Not only storage but a workspace, special do not disturb area and so much more. Even my cottage has a full basement, accessed from outside at this point, but things can change. It takes up less real estate to stack rather than spread🙄

 

The mask and vaccine debate just goes to show that we will argue about anything, no matter how visible the evidence. One of the news talking heads called it 'cultivated ignorance', which I think sums it up nicely. I have friends and relatives on both sides of the issue so it gets added to the taboo subjects of politics and religion at any friendly get together. As I sit here at the cottage, watching the cloud of hummingbirds fight over the three feeders right outside the window, I think maybe we aren't so different. I am also so lucky to have acres on a river away from the crowds and not be constantly confronted with weighty issues.

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On 8/25/2021 at 9:51 AM, Ronnie said:

... Gary has pneumonia. The ICU nurse allowed her to talk to him just for a few minutes since he might have to go on a ventilator if he doesn't improve. The nurse told Debbie she should be prepared for Gary to be in the hospital for an extended period of time. ...

Things are looking much better for Gary. His wife said he is responding well to the antibiotics and breathing treatments (inhaling something from a machine) for the pneumonia and he is feeling much better to. Hospital stay may not be as long as originally thought. That's good news.

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When you build on sand with a 4 foot water table, everything is different. A broad footprint is good. Guess 100 million lemmings heading over a cliff can't be wrong.

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1 hour ago, 2seater said:

I couldn't imagine not having a basement. All the infrastructure needed to operate the house, water, hvac, electricity and such takes up living space otherwise. Even a 100 year old house like mine can have the basement as viable annex for living or special use space. Not only storage but a workspace, special do not disturb area and so much more. Even my cottage has a full basement, accessed from outside at this point, but things can change. It takes up less real estate to stack rather than spread

A lot of houses here do have basements if they are built on a hillside. Back wall of the basement is usually exposed and have a garage door. My one acre lot is too flat for a basement like that but I have plenty of room in the yard for another two car detached garage if I decided to build one. Probably never will. Down here basements fully surrounded with dirt are usually called cellars even if they have a walk-in door.

 

Water heaters and breaker boxes normally are in an attached garage here and gas packs and heat pump units are outside at the end of the house to free up interior space if there is no basement. Water pipes and HVAC duct-work goes under the house. Most wiring is in the attic. I have a lot of storage over the 24x36 garage but have to be careful what is stored there because of the heat up there. Water heaters in unheated garages aren't a problem here but I can see how it would be a problem up north in the land of ice and snow due to freezing. I've always wondered if heat pumps would be very efficient up north. Heat pumps are popular here but I like gas heat better. Cost of heating in winter is about the same for both but gas just feels warmer to me.

 

 

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I have a heat pump and trust me, gas is best up north. I run space heaters in the rooms I occupy and usually leave the heat pump on 60 degrees to run it at the bare minimum. I kind of live like a cave man I guess, especially in the winter but it's what I do to keep my electricity bill as low as possible. My great grandparents had a coal furnace and my mom swears that was the warmest source of heat she ever experienced. I have always liked gas heat. It's a pretty instantaneous source of heat and is reliable.

Edited by BlakesReatta
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Last year around Christmas my heat pump kept freezing up. The issue was a bad circuit board and I had a difficult time getting the HVAC people I hired to repair it properly. They came out like four times. The first guy kept trying to sell me a new system, and I said heck no. I paid $500 and they installed a new circuit board. Then, the system started tripping a breaker and the guy tried to tell me I needed to call an electrician to check my relays and breaker box. I thought that is the most malarkey thing I have ever heard so I called the company and gave them a piece of my mind and they sent another gentleman out who adjusted some things and it has worked perfectly since.

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I know a couple different coworkers that had heat pumps installed, but it was several decades ago. One had a fair sized and deep pond that was used as the source and the other had a large piping grid installed several feet down in the earth. Both systems required more space than available on a normal urban lot. They seemed satisfied with the performance at the time but I have no idea how they faired long term. 

 

I liked my old fuel oil furnace, primarily for the very high vent temperatures so it never felt like a cool draft like a modern high efficiency furnace. No doubt it was wasteful but it sure did warm you up. As a matter of fact, I had an oil fired water heater, an industrial A.O. Smith model, which had a 120 gallon per hour heat rise, I forget the exact details, but a shower would actually get hotter as it was used. I couldn't outrun that thing but it sure loved fuel. My favorite heating based on the warmth, aroma and deep heating is a good wood fire in a freestanding wood burner. 

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We had a heat pump in our first house and even thought the thermostat said is was warm, my wife stayed cold the whole time we lived there. When we had our last two houses built we had gas pack units installed. It made my wife happy and i agree that it feels a lot warmer due to hotter air coming out of the vents. I've heard of the heat pumps that pull heat out of the ground and water but don't know anyone that owned one. Initial cost to install might be too high to make economic sense in my area. My father had a fuel oil furnace in one of his houses. It kept the house plenty warm but the furnace was a contrary thing to keep going with that bi-metal controlled carburetor that metered the fuel going into it.

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My wife and I built our house just shy of 50 years ago. We live in southwestern PA, so winters are reasonably cold. Our frost line is approx. 3 feet. We have a basement, as do most others in the area. Ours is primarily used for storage and utility, including mechanics that run the house such as hot water heater, water and iron conditioners, electric panel, 'phone and internet hook ups, sump pump, laundry, etc. Most of our electrical wiring runs through the floor joists and then up the inside of the wall studs for outlets, light switches, and heat and thermostats to each room. 

 

When we built, our rural electric company was pushing "all electric" new home construction, which we did. We have "ceiling cable heat" embedded in the plaster of each room. Its a resistance type heat that radiates to warm the rooms. Think "toaster." Because of the embedded wiring, we have no duct work. There is no natural gas in the area, so the main other option was oil fired furnace. Coal fired furnace was already on its way out for new construction. And, geothermal was not popular for new home construction at that time.

 

Over the years the summers seemed to be getting hotter and more humid, so we had two mini-split Fujitsu heat pumps installed which both heats and cools. We have 4 inside air handlers - two on each floor due to our split level design. Its not as ideal as central air via duct work, but the cooling mode is especially quite welcome. The heat pump mode is not real efficient with outside temperatures below 40 degrees F. The mini-split was a good option since retrofitting duct work was out of the question considering mess and expense.

To keep our winter heating energy cost low, we also use a free standing wood-burner also installed in the basement. I feed the wood-burner at least 5 months of the year. The fireplace in our Family Room was converted to liquid propane - its nice to have heat and ambiance at the touch of a switch. 

 

So, our primary heat source is ceiling cable heat, augmented by the wood-burner in the winter months. The Fujitsu heats for a short duration in the transitions between fall and winter, and again between spring and summer. And, the gas fireplace is mostly for a temporary heating boost in the Family Room when ambiance beckons. The wood-burner and liquid propane also provide a safety net when the electric power is interrupted by storms or other reasons. I suppose a LP fired generator may be next.

 

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44 minutes ago, Ron Walker said:

So, our primary heat source is ceiling cable heat, augmented by the wood-burner in the winter months. The Fujitsu heats for a short duration in the transitions between fall and winter, and again between spring and summer. And, the gas fireplace is mostly for a temporary heating boost in the Family Room when ambiance beckons. The wood-burner and liquid propane also provide a safety net when the electric power is interrupted by storms or other reasons. I suppose a LP fired generator may be next.

It sounds like you have all the bases covered when it comes to heating sources. I have a gas fireplace in the living room but rarely use it. The ceiling heat must be a northern thing. There probably is some houses with it around here but I've never known a house to have it.  Before I was married I lived in Dayton, OH for a while installing carpet. I remember them saying some of them having heated concrete slab floors but didn't know how they worked. I guess they were cable heating as you describe.

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After the experience of a slow burn and "last all night" in the free standing wood-burner, I hated to see the wood in the fireplace burn up so rapidly, so until I had the conversion, I bet I didn't use the fireplace for quite a number of years. I use the fireplace more now that its been converted to LP, but like you, I still use it somewhat infrequently. 

 

The ceiling cable heat must have been a temporary trend back in the 70's. A year or so ago, I had a young technician from our rural electric cooperative stop in for a check of our circuit breakers, and a discussion of one thing leading to the next, and the ceiling cable heat came up - he didn't know that it existed!

 

Whole house In-floor radiant heat is usually 1/2" to 3/4" tubing filled with a water based material and heated and circulated with a pump. The heat source is still either oil or electric.

 

I didn't mention above that I also had installed electric radiant floor heating under the ceramic tile in our kitchen. That is also via electric cable or wires.    

 

 

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I have a large heat pump that runs as needed. Automatic thermostat set to 79 for cool and 70 for heat. Also have ceiling fans with heaters in bedrooms. Separate circuit panels for house, back garage, and AC. Final piece is a portable AC for bedroom if lose power and have to use the generators.

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