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Posted to South-Dakota-Lake-House by Ben in Sioux Falls, SD on 5/23/2007

    Well, it has been two weeks since my last entry.  The roof trusses are suppose to be done by the end of the week.  We did take advantage of the down time to get a few other things rolling.  The geothermal loops have all been drilled and stubbed into the basement.  We ended up with a total of 10 loops rather than five.  This was due the the large amount of gravel the driller ran into at about 100 feet.  We were suppose to have 5 loops at 180' each.  But, the extra loops are not as deep and are needed to effeciently handle the heat pump.  Also the plumber roughed in the basement floor plumbing and the electrician is install electric radiant heat panels in the garage floor today.  The basement and garage floors will be poured tomorrow.  So, come Monday,  the carpenters can go to town and finish drying this house in.
All of our subs have been great to work with so far!  The only problem we have had was with the excavator.  The weather ended up making his job very difficult. And with the travel time to get to our house he ended up burning up alot of fuel and more gravel on our driveway than he intended.  I believe we have our differences ironed out.
We did get more rain(like we need that!) last night. But, hopefully it wasn't enough to slow us down anymore.  I've included some pictures from yesterday below. Not much new but slow progress is better than no progress.

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Posted to South-Dakota-Lake-House by Ben in Sioux Falls, SD on 5/10/2007

    Well, we are trying to keep a positive outlook.  Mother nature struck again.  We had severe weather last weekend which included about 3 inches of rain and high winds.  Luckily, the carpenters did not install the wall sheathing.  We do not have a roof either.  Knowing we had some bad weather coming, Chad made sure our walls were well braced.  A tornado hit over the weekend 5 miles from our house.  The tornado hit a farm right by Spencer, SD.  10 years ago Spencer was wiped out by a Tornado.  We luckily had no damage!  I am so glad we didn't sheath the house or we would have lost our walls.
    That said, no one has been working on our house this week.  The rain made things to muddy for heavy equipment and as I wrote previously, our roof trusses are on back order.  The plumber is supposed to start on our basement rough in and septic system today.  If he can get this done quickly, we can pour the basement and garage floors next week and continue framing while we wait for our roof trusses.  I figure we are about a month behind now with weather amd material delays.  However, we gave ourselves enough time on our schedule that we should be able to make some time up once the house is dried in.
    We have decided not to sheath the house until we know what day the roof trusses will be delivered. Then we will sheath the day before.  No knowing what the weather will do in the next two weeks. 


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Posted to South-Dakota-Lake-House by Ben in Sioux Falls, SD on 5/3/2007

    Okay,  nothing every goes perfectly.  We do have our exterior walls all framed. Yeah!  However,  some of the rough openings for the windows had to be redone.  It is so important to be on the jobsite daily. It has been tough for us being 45 miles from the site.  Chad, our builder called me yesterday and asked if I was sitting down.  Not what I wanted to hear.  Apparently, the roof trusses have not been ordered.  We ordered the floor trusses and the engineer decided he needed to wait and discuss the trusses with Chad before ordering.  He failed to inform us of this.  Now he is saying it would be three weeks before they would be ready!  We will be ready to start the roof on Monday.  Needless to say we had a pow wow this morning.  Some other minor issues had come up with footings and the location of LVL's.  Once solved, the engineer assured me we would have the trusses sooner than three weeks.  I'm crossing my fingers.  Therefore, we are rounding up the troops and will try to pour the basement floor sooner, so we don't get behind schedule. 
    I have to say, with all the management challenges that seemed to occur daily,  I am loving this process. And finally the house is really taking shape!  Hopefully by tomorrow the foundation will be backfilled (another delayed necessity) and the concrete contractor can finish the piers for the deck and neglected footings.  I do have to say that every sub we have so far has been very easy to work with and all want this project to go as smoothly as we do.

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Posted to South-Dakota-Lake-House by Ben in Sioux Falls, SD on 4/29/2007

    Well, we have hit our first minor problem. The carpenters have started framing and completed the floor trusses and basement wall this week. The staircase leading to the basement was to have been an open tread staircase with only one wall framed. The other wall was to be open with a beam and posts supporting the upper floor. Unfortunately, the builder forgot this and when ordering the floor trusses, planned a stud wall. We will be able to change this, but now unless we want to throw out the 6 trusses they have set and wait several weeks for new trusses, we will have to improvise. The trusses should have been designed for a beam and were designed for a stud wall. Therefore installing a beam now means it will hang below the ceiling. We decided that isn't a big deal and may actually look better by framing the stairway space better. Improvising and continuing is better at this point that a couple of thousand dollars more in expense. We should have caught this earlier so it is really our fault. Planning is so important. The little details are easy to forget. The good news is that all of our floor trusses are set and the main floor framing will start on Monday!

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Posted to South-Dakota-Lake-House by Ben in Sioux Falls, SD on 4/19/2007

Wow! We finally have a finished foundation! It is three weeks late, due to Mother Nature. The drilling contractor is starting today, drilling our well and geothermal loops. Framing is starting on Monday, and the power company is finally pulling underground cable to our site so we can have power! Lots of activity and excitement as things really heat up. 

I had a request to talk more about our heating and cooling. We are installing a geothermal heat pump system with radiant in-floor heat in our basement and garage. A geothermal system is extremely efficient.  The premise is that the system uses loops deep underground (our system has five loops drilled 180' deep) to utilize the natural heat of the earth. The earth stays a fairly constant 55 degrees below 10'. In the winter, the heat pump circulates an antifreeze through the loops, drawing on this heat.

Since most people prefer heat above 55 degrees, the system has a secondary heat source to assist achieving the desired temperature. In the summer, the heat is drawn out of your home and into the earth (reversed). In our case we are also installing a Superdeheater. This allows us to direct some of the heat in the cooling cycle to our water heater. This essentially gives us free hot water! The energy savings with this system is huge. The only drawback to a geothermal system is the cost. However, the cost recovery should be less than 10 years.

We also plan to install a residential wind-power system. This will not come until next year, but this will provide an additional savings on energy and put us one step closer to being self sufficient for all our energy needs.

That's all for now. I will update our progress soon.

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Posted to South-Dakota-Lake-House by Ben in Sioux Falls, SD on 4/16/2007

I am getting a late start on this journal. Our journey began over a year ago. We made a deal on 160 acres of land in the country with a good friend. The planning began, and it has not stopped. We are three weeks into our build and there have been delays. Mother Nature decided that we needed moisture. This came after our basement footings were poured and the gravel had been placed on the basement floor. Then we received four inches of rain. Stepping into the basement area was like stepping into quicksand. We are about two weeks behind because of the weather. However, we are still confident we can meet our deadline. The basement foundation is done, and we are ready for the next phase. 

   Later this week, we will have our geothermal loops drilled and a well installed. We are putting a geothermal heat pump in our house, which is exciting. This is an extremely efficient way to heat and cool. The carpenters should start framing later this week as well. I've included some photos of the process so far and of the view of the lake. I should have started this journal a year ago, but better late than never, right?

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