Monday, November 16, 2009

The Insulation Circus

When I worked construction, I noticed that insulation crews were often... nontraditional. A panel van would pull up to the jobsite and out would spill 15 old women, 3 dogs, and a goat. So when I went to insulate my yurt, I thought: where am I going to get a goat? As it turned out, we had to insulate sans bovids. Luckily, I do have several friends with acute memory loss, so I'm able to convince them to help me out more than once.

First up was the cotton. I had tired fairly quickly of the black backside of the billboards that were my cover material, and decided that my yurt would look much prettier with a white background. That went pretty fast.

Oh hai!
Then came the actual insulation. If you remember from previous posts, I had decided to use concrete blankets as insulation. They are used by contractors to keep freshly poured concrete from freezing. They are essentially multiple layers of bubble wrap and tarpaulin quilted together. The ones I got were in horrible condition, and needed a lot of work to get them usable. But at ten bucks a piece, they were still worth it. And as a plus, they had a reflective coating on one side!

Fuzzy wore tie-dye, in keeping with the carny/gypsy aesthetic.

It was a relatively painless process, taking up a full day at a more than leisurely pace. I then replaced the cover, this time turning it inside out to make it a little less... commercial. After all, black is the new, um, black. Good thing we got it on when we did, because this happened fairly soon afterward:

But that's a story for another day...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Graywater System

The next step to habitation after I built the yurt was the graywater system. I needed drainage from my shower, the bathroom sink, and the kitchen sink. The toilet is a dry system, so no drainage necessary there. Looking around at the different options for graywater, I realized that most are designed for the typical four person household output of 50-75 gallons(190-280 L) a day. My output is drastically lower: somewhere around 15 gallons(57 L) a day. So I'm yet again stuck designing a system from scratch. Here's what I came up with:

First, you dig a hole.

Cut a 50 gallon drum in half and drill holes in the bottom.

Put the barrel in the hole, layer with large rocks, small rocks, pebbles, and sand to create a filter. Put the top back on the barrel.

Dig your trenches. In order to drain properly, the slope needs to be 1/4 inch to the foot. Yes, that's a microwave in the picture; and no, I have no idea why.

Here's the barrel buried and ready to be plumbed.

That's 2" ABS pipe.

I put a p-trap outside in case I lose anything important down the drain. Don't want to be digging that barrel back up if I don't have to. Insulated the access box with hay so it doesn't freeze.

Here's the pipe inside buried. From left to right, we have bathroom sink, kitchen sink, and the bottom is the shower flange.

This system should be able to handle all my drainage needs. I'll take care not to wash too many food particles down the kitchen drain so as not to clog up the system. I will also be using biodegradable soaps whenever possible.