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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/25/2020

Well it's all kinda "gelled" together but I do indeed believe I've got a solid plan for at least the first of the 2020 work here around Tanglewood.

There are two main goals to accomplish the first half of the year (I've learned the hard way that having six or seven balls in the air at once doesn't work well):

  •  I have been wanting to widen out the driveway a few feet, and to me I can "see" a double retaining wall with places to plant smaller/medium sized trees and lots of hardier flowers for the bees.  I've long wanted to get both sassafras and Meader persimmon trees up and going here in Colorado, so I've ordered a few that should arrive later this spring.  That means I have to get off my butt and get that retaining wall and planter stuff all built--so that's what I'm doing. 

    The trees have been ordered and so today I started picking out the retaining wall block.  By my estimate I'll need around six palettes, which coincidently is right at around six tons of block.  I can't possibly carry all of that up in one go, but I figure I can swing by Lowes every two or three days to load up about 20 blocks at a time (which is just under 1000 pounds).  That means a lot of hand loading and unloading but it's perfectly doable.  

  • Having worked with my new solar batteries for a couple of years now I can very much see that they don't perform nearly as well in cold weather.  That's why I built a whole new shed with ICFs (like Tanglewood itself is) to keep them as warm as possible.  My hope was that the heat from the equipment inside the shed would generate enough warmth that the batteries would stay warm--or at least cold.  That has not happened however, and as a result their overall system performance declines when it's cold.

    Here's where Solar LeRoy comes in.  As it happens Solar LeRoy had a bunch of old solar heating panels, and he happened to mention he was wanting to get some PEx for radiant heat for his new house.  I have leftover PEx from the build, and so a trade was arranged....I went down and got the panel over the weekend.  It's sitting in my garage right now; it'll need a bit of cleaning but it should work great.

    My loose plan at the moment (yet to be firmed up) is to install the panel on the sunny side of the shed I built, set up a pressure tank and some pumps/thermostats/etc, and fill it all up with glycol.  The system will hopefully keep things warm and toasty during our frosty-but-sunny winter days.  The tubing is already in place in the floor (I had planned for this when I built it) and there's a nice corner for the tank to occupy.  The heat from both the radiant heat in the floor and the big pressure tank full of hot fluid should (I hope) do the trick.  We'll see of course....
I've got a couple of pics of the solar panel resting in the garage where it'll stay for now.  I need to check a couple more stores yet to make the final selection of the block.

Still it's all progress!


Steven in Colorado

Photos

Here's a shot of the "front side" of the panel.....
.….and here's a shot of the back side (as much as can be easily seen anyway).


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