Category Archives: Home Improvement

New Gas Fireplace

The unused, unlit, unloved wood burning fireplace in our house needed some attention. I started by teeing off of the line I previous installed to run the garage heater.

Unfortunately the pipe had to be moved away from the wall to account for this, but now the main house gas line couldn’t reach the tee! I ended up wrapping around the pipe and using a union to get it connected.

I ran the gas line through into the crawlspace along the joists to the fireplace. I added some temporary support while drilling the hole in the subfloor for the gas valve key. Once it was lined up and drilled I affixed the gas pipe to the joist for a secure connection. After going through the key valve I ran the gas line outside and along the side of the chimney, supported with Unistrut channel and brackets along the way.

I used a rotary hammer and a long bit to drill through the brick to the outside of the house. I ran the gas line in through the hole from outside.

I originally underestimated how thick the fireplace was!

Had to go back to the store for a larger bit

Since the fireplace has a working chimney with flue I decided to use a normal gas fireplace instead of an insert or something that doesn’t require an actual chimney. Flexible gas line connected to the fireplace, all that was left was wood!

In the video you can still see the gas line, afterwards I purchased 15lbs of lava rock and poured it around the outside of the fireplace to hide the grate and the gas line.

Yard Drainage

My entire yard turns into a bit of a moat whenever it rains even a small amount.

The side of the yard had many ups and downs causing the water to get pooled in areas instead of flowing to the drainage creek in the property adjacent to mine.

Once the side of the yard started backing up the front yard was soon to follow.

Here is a short clip of the problems I experienced with the precipitation collecting all around my house along with the first leg of progress made:

I started by digging a trench 12″ wide and 12″ deep. It rained the entire day, it was not fun.

I got some help digging a portion of the trench.

5.5 tons of rock delivered, check. Make sure your SO is aware of the driveway blockage beforehand 🙂

Make sure to call before you dig near utilities! For me it didn’t do much good, AT&T lines were marked over 4 feet away from where they were actually in the ground. My neighbors line was almost cut on several occasions while digging alongside it. Luckily nothing was severed. My Metronet line marks were very exact much to my relief.

I laid out where the drain would traverse with some twine and spray paint.

Does that look like 6″ to you mr. utility marker?

Once the trench was dug I laid landscaping fabric, 4″ perforated solid drain pipe (not black corrugated which will clog up over time and be hard to clean out), and lots of rock to cover everything. I got lucky that the majority of the yard is already graded in the direction the water should be flowing, so as long as where I was digging was always 12″ deep the water would flow.

At the 90 degree bend where the pipe goes to the backyard I added in a cleanout for when the pipe gets clogged with debris. This is where the added cost of using solid drain pipe will shine. Instead of digging out a corrugated pipe because it’s difficult to clean without damaging a simple clean out is all that will be required. I’ve seen it happen first hand with a drain pipe that is already in the ground at this location. At several places along the new pipe’s path it intersects with the old one, which is clogged with mud which doesn’t allow any water through.

I back-filled some pulverized top soil back on top of the trench and planted grass.

After a few weekends of digging, help from Tractor Time with Tim, and my dear wife, I was able to get the first half of the drain completed.

A closer shot of the drainage exit during pretty heavy raining.

After the first heavy rain came through with the drainage in place I uncovered a few other low spots I wanted to drain as well. I dug two more trenches to connect to the main trench.

We then received even MORE rain in another downpour:

Even the new drainage couldn’t keep up with 1.25″ falling from the sky in a short 15 minutes. Within 20 minutes of the rain stopping however the yard had no visible standing water. This would have taken almost 2 weeks to dry out before the drainge!