Of HRV’s and Salamanders……Hey!!! I went to the Island of Spice Too!

Aragorn:  I do not know what strength is in my blood, but I swear to you I will not let the great City fall. Nor our people fail.

Boromir: Our people….. I would have followed you my brother…my captain…my king.

Boromir’s last words as he lays dying defending the Hobbits against a raiding band of Urukai and Aragorn’s promise to him.


One of the best scenes from the movie “The Fellowship of the Ring”


Welcome people to the saga we call the Hobbit Hollow construction Blog! Ta Da!!!

Yeah well okay Jim take it easy  with the hats and horns stuff. You ain’t nearly done yet. True. But I feel like we’re heading into that final tunnel and once we’re in we are going to see that far off light.

Heading for the tunnel now.

So smart phones are smart. Right? Okay, let’s not get too wordy now. But they are. I think I’m probably the worst guy on the planet with a smart phone. I really don’t know how to use this thing. The sad part about it is I really am not interested in the smartness of my smart phone anyway. Okay the thing is great. Especially the weather stuff. The Doppler radar stuff is incredible. But then something happened that the Ring did not intend. I mean the smartphone did not intend. Well as I was saying these things do stuff that I had no idea that they did.

So we got home from Grenada and of course you go on vacation and you take a bunch of pictures that you think are cool that nobody else really wants to see. But these pictures are in your phone somehow somewhere just sitting there. So the other day the Editor has her phone out and somehow she hits something and the phone starts playing music and begins to show a slide show of all the pictures my wife took on our vacation in Grenada. Kind of creepy but it was really cool. (I guess everybody knows this already but it was news to me) So the Editor tells me about this and sends me the slideshow. Turns out I was never in Grenada. My wife went there all by herself. Looks like she had a great time as well sipping drinks by the pool at sunset and taking in the sun on the beautiful beaches of Grenada. I think I was in one picture paying a cab driver at JFK airport. Amazing. Smartphones.

Oh yeah back to the tunnel.

So a lot of interesting things this week over at the house. Little stuff. The main thing that took up most of my week was setting up and connecting the HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator). So that took a lot longer than anticipated. Which I was kinda thinking it would. Almost 4 days. It was one of those things that you’ve never done before so you make sure you’re doing everything the way it’s supposed to be done.

So the directions for this thing weren’t the greatest. Not the worst either but there was one thing at the start that I had to call for technical support. So I hang this thing on the wall and start connecting the tubes to it and I realize that I can’t make the electrical connections if I continue. They kinda left that step out somehow. I did find that step in the directions later on but it wasn’t in the right order. Strange. Anyway I call the guy and he’s says I can get access to the control panel later after it’s installed but it’s just a little more difficult to get at the connections. Okay so this guy doesn’t know that I’m legally blind but that’s okay. Put it to you this way there’s know way on God’s green earth that i would be able to make these connections once I put this thing together. So I had to take everything I put together apart and make the electrical connections. Annoying and frustrating. Let me show you what’s going on.

The smallbox on top is where the electrical connections have to be made.

So the silencer box over that little box is in the way of making that connection. You can see from this picture that I haven’t made the electrical connection yet. The wires are hanging out of the wall on the left.

So this machine brings fresh air into the house distributes it to the bedrooms, living room and dining room and exhausts stale air from the kitchen, bathrooms, and mechanical room. Pretty simple. Couple more pictures.

Putting it together.

So after attaching the box to the wall and making the electrical connections I connected the main supply and return ducts to the unit. Very time consuming putting this together and making sure the ducts are connected properly.

Once the main ducts are in place you have to run the 3 inch lines to the unit one at a time securing them as you go.

Duct connections complete
exhaust connection going through the roof of the Hobbit House.

So we’re going to build a chimney around all this stuff so it looks good. That’ll be in the spring. All Hobbit houses have chimneys.

So I had Ethan remove the styrofoam where the shower drains have to go. Look what he uncovered in the darkness of Khazad-dum.

A salamander 5-6 inches long.

I let him go Sunday. The lady at the pet store said to let him go by the water and he should be okay. I hope so. He must have come in through one of the electrical pipes I had exposed in the Fall. Pretty cool. Biggest one I’ve ever seen.

Drain connection where we found the salamander.

So this connection took a good  day to figure out. I’m putting a linear drain here and finding the right location away from the wall took a little bit of doing. Hopefully I have it in the right place. Very little wiggle room for this drain location. I had to go to a tile store to get the info I needed. The drain waterproofing system that I’m going to use is from a company called Schluter. Pretty cool detailing of the shower assembly. It will be fun to put it all together. It should come this week.

I also had the floors of the house leveled with a Sika product. I was able to get it delivered this week from the city. The hardest thing about installing this is the prep work Clearing out the floor and priming the floor with the adhesive. The installation only took 2 hours from start to finish.

Had two skids of level set delivered. Only used one.

The operation is a guy mixing another guy opening the bags for the mixer and a third guy spreading it out. You could probably do it with 2 guys if you had to.

ethan’s friend Mike preping the floors.

The floor has to be completely dust free before you prime it.

Ethan’s the bag man. Tom is mixing.
Antonio is spreading it out.

So why are we doing this? We need as flat a floor as possible to put the tiles down. We are more than likely going to put large format tiles in that look like plank flooring. The floor has to be within an 1/8 of an inch over 10 feet for these to be installed properly. This is what we’ll get by using this product.

Pete the taper is going to get going again this week. He’s moving along.

The taper started skim coating the hallway.

Have a great week!


3 thoughts on “Of HRV’s and Salamanders……Hey!!! I went to the Island of Spice Too!”

  1. Hey Jim, glad to see all the progress. I knew you would be able to get the hang of moistening the wallboard just the right amount to get it to conform to the curves in the hallway, without getting it too wet and turning it into mush. So to anyone who doubted you…….oh ye of little faith. In terms of the ductwork….why all the ducks?…why not chickens?…..or was that before your time? Seriously, it really does look great, now as long as that light at the end of the tunnel is not the headlight of an oncoming train…….just kidding, as usual. As always, best wishes, and it really is inspirational……………john


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