This weekend, Tara’s family are all coming back to town for Spamalot. Should be a lot of fun, but there will once again be about 9 people in the house (including Tara and I). So, that’s a lot. In preparation for that, I installed a new shower head in the guest bathroom that’s only 1.5GPM (a handheld Waterpik EcoFlow: here). It’s not a bad shower head, though I’m not sure about the usefulness of the “mist” setting. Either way, it’s better than the 5GPM of the old head. The funny thing is, the old head was marked as low flow… obviously that was before 1992 (when the Feds said showerheads had to be a max of 2.5GPM at 80PSI). Funny thing is, my current main shower head that we use daily seems to flow at about 4GPM instead of the stated 2.5GPM… Which comes to my next item…
We have high water pressure at the house. About 96psi static (no flow), which is the same pressure in the mains in my area (due to gravity because of the water tower/tank on the top of Kelly Butte above my house). The UPC (Uniform Plumbing Code) says the max is 80psi (minimum of 25psi). I thought we didn’t have a pressure regulator valve (PRV), but in fact we do, it’s just seemingly bad (it was installed with the house, and was buried under sod, and a few inches of dirt when I found it). So, I’m looking to replace that here soon. The pressure has been at it’s current level for at least the time we’ve been in the house, but I really worry about the wear and tear on our appliances and fixtures because of the high pressure. Currently, we get about 7.5-8GPM at the hose bibs, so I’m hoping that won’t be impacted too much by the drop in pressure. Some things I’ve seen indicate the flow might not change that much due to flow restriction caused by the “friction” of the water pressure and pipe walls. We’ll see. I’m hoping it’ll be an easy change out… I just need to finish unearthing the valve, and get it out. Biggest PITA is going to be “draining” the house (when I shut off the water at the street, and remove the valve, all the water in the house pipes is going to come running out). Here’s hoping a shopvac will take care of that.
On the water side, I’m also going to put a water expansion tank on the water heater after the PRV goes in. The valve will allow for pressure relief back to the city water mains if it climbs enough, but I’d rather not get those spikes (I believe it’ll keep the pressure from climbing above 10PSI greater than the supply pressure, so basically, it’ll keep it at or below 106PSI). A thermal expansion tank should prevent that completely. While I’m putting that in, I think I’m also going to wrap the water heater. It’s currently about R-16 (2″ foam), but adding a blanket would make that about R-26, which is about as good as you can do. Biggest pain is going to be moving the water heater, but, it shouldn’t be too bad once it’s drained. I also need to replace the front sillcock, but that’ll come later in the summer if I can’t figure out how to rebuild the stem (it’s a frost-free, so it’s got a long stem instead of a “normal” valve).
My other project I’m really looking forward to working on is more of my power graphing/monitoring. A site called energycircle.com (http://www.energycircle.com/) built their own “Google Powermeter” using the Visualizations API. I’m hoping to get ahold of their code to do the same. At the least, I think I’m going to switch my data collection to a mysql backend, as that will really allow for better report generation. We’ll see. I’d really also love to build one of these so that I can have a computer monitor my TED, and put the actual receiving unit I got with the TED in another room, more easily viewable. Bitch is, I don’t know a whole lot about building circuitry from diagrams, or programming MCs. Maybe I’ll pick up that Make microcontroller set at some point… =/
Also, I found this just now off that site above, which looks awesome. Wireless, web configurable, and will look at RSS feeds. I’d love to pick one of these up… I have a couple places it’d work great. Maybe in the hall where there is a giant hole at this point, or in the living room, or bedroom, etc. They have an 8″ version too, but it’s only like $20 cheaper… it’s certainly worth that for 2″ more! I’ll post some about work crap later, but at this point, there’s not a lot to discuss.
More in a couple days!