Thorondor, on 04 March 2020 - 09:56 AM, said:
That HVAC unit sure is ready for retirement though, so a replacement is well in order.
It's an old unit that was used (far in the past) to heat/cool/ventilate the backroom and area by the back cooler. The ventilation aspect was the only thing that actually worked on it for a while (I remember turning it on in summer when it was blazing hot to at least give the guys in the back some respite from the heat). But that part died a while back and never got fixed. So it sat there quietly rusting in place for the last 20 years or so and just began to leak water inside. When we replaced the HVAC for the store this past fall we had to rent a crane to lift the old one off and raise the new one up. Before that happened I told the boss that since we would have the crane there we should take down that old unit and cap off the hole so it doesn't leak anymore. So the HVAC guys took it down and capped the hole but didn't get around to removing the old unit yet. So that's the story.
Thorondor, on 04 March 2020 - 09:56 AM, said:
Hope you get a suitable break in the weather soonish then, as I can imagine how much of a relief that would provide from constant shoveling duties.
The bigger relief would be to get the new top installed. But yeah, constantly shoveling it out becomes tiring. Luckily, March has brought slightly warmer temps so any snow that falls should melt pretty fast.
Well, it was warmer on Wednesday but the wind was still blowing strong so I decided to do a little work on the greenhouse. One thing led to another and I figured what the heck, let's start! Taking down the plastic is just like putting it up except in the reverse order. Bottom first, then the middle and the top for last (it's easier to remove the screws and the slats when you are standing up).
The plastic is loose in this shot already. Since the ground was still icy and cold I used my low cart as a rolling workbench of sorts. I sat on a carpet remnant/sample to keep my bum a little warmer
, then started removing the screws from the lowest slats with my trusty old electric Skil drill (wish we would have a cordless drill/driver but this works fine). Chucked all the screws into a bucket sitting on the cart and when I couldn't reach any more screws I rolled myself to where I could. When I removed all the screws from a slat, I took it off and leaned them up against a wall to dry so I could inspect them later. Here's the setup:
As I was rolling along I also removed whatever screws I could reach from the vertical slats. After I got to the end, I ditched the cart and stood up which makes removing the rest of screws and slats from the upper part a snap. When the plastic was loose I cut it into sections and hauled it into the greenhouse for the time being. I left one section of plastic in place as it was frozen to the ground and I figured I could use that to wrap up the park bench.
If you have good eyes, you might notice that something is happening at the far end of the greenhouse as there is a green ladder under the door and an extension cord running along the ground. I was inspecting the plastic-less part of the greenhouse and remembered that there was a spot where the ridge pole connects to the end hoop where the previous plastic ripped a little. So I took a look and this is what I saw:
To set the stage: the top metal tube is the end hoop. the lower tube is the ridge pole. The two are connected together by a figure 8 piece of metal with the loops offset by 90 degrees. That connecting piece has threaded holes so you can tighten in a set screw (in this case it's a machine bolt). Well, the ridge pole is sticking way too far out of the connecting piece and when it gets windy the plastic flaps against that sharp pole and ripped. Fixing this was fairly easy: I just cut about an inch (so 2.54 cm) off the end with a hacksaw which made it nearly flush with the connecting piece. The cut was crude and left some sharp bits so I used a rotary metal file in the drill to round off the end and remove the sharp edges.
The other issue is the set screw for the end hoop was improperly installed facing the outside of the greenhouse. That poky bit can can cause a stress tear to form with the wind and how tight I have to make the plastic. The screw should go on the inside where it can't touch the plastic. I thought about taking apart the end hoop and joints to turn the connecting piece around but that would take a lot of time and I might not get it back together properly so my fix for this was to drill a hole into the connecting piece from the inside to the proper size, then on Thursday I borrowed a tap from my dad to put threads into the hole. Found an unused bolt of the same size in my drawer of greenhouse parts/hardware, tightened that up then rewrapped the whole connection together with a sheet of fiberfill and kept that in place with sisal binder twine. No poky bits there anymore! I still have to check the opposite side of the greenhouse to see if that needs the same attention.
So with that bucket of screws I dumped the whole thing on the countertop in the backroom and sorted them into three piles: good, so-so and bad. The good ones I'll reuse. The bad ones were either rusty, chowdered (this means that the threads are messed up or the Phillips head is stripped out) or bent and those screws were tossed out. The so-so screws were looked over a little more carefully and I cherry picked the best ones out of that to keep. I luckily purchased a bunch of extra screws the last time I installed the top/side of the greenhouse so I can replace the bad ones with brand new. (Always purchase extra hardware, you never know if/when/where you'll need them)!
I looked over the slats when I removed them and some appeared pretty bad at that time. After I let them dry for a few days I can see that not all of the bad ones are garbage. I might be able to clean those off like I did to the other slats last year and reuse them. I'm going to wait a little more and check on them again. If they aren't worth the effort of cleaning then I'll just get some new ones. Besides, there is at least two bad ones I'll need to replace anyway and if I'm there buying slats maybe it's easier to get new.
Today the temps were nice and warm. But the wind was just terrible so there would be no way to install a new top with the plastic flopping around in the wind like a sail. Hopefully as we get later in March the temps will warm slightly and the wind will die down for one day. At this point I don't really care if the temps stay around the freezing mark, as long as the wind is quiet I'll tackle installing the new top no problem.