Mats Bengtsson Home Improvement and Do It Yourself

Jobs first autumn after moving in

Mats Bengtsson mib over the years

Improving the cellar Window Frames

The wood in all the Windows were good, but the last paint jobs had been a while ago, and the groundwork had not been very good. Thus, instead of splashing on more paint on the top, we decided to do a more thorough paintjob on the Windows we worked on.

Painting Frame in Cellar Window

This was done by:

  • Taking out the openable Window part from it hinges
  • Sawing a clipboard into a size about the Window framework plus 20 centimeters in all directions
  • Fastening handles for ratchet straps using carriage bolts
  • At evenings placing a chipboard in place where the Window had been and fastening it with a rail and some ratchet straps (to prevent burglars from entering during the time there is no Window)
  • Grinding the remaining wood frame until paint free
  • Impregnate all wood parts
  • Prime all wood parts
  • Fill all holes and cracks with a wood filler
  • Sand all parts until a good surface
  • Paint the Wood frame
  • Do the same steps as described above on the removed Window part as well
  • Let it dry
  • Reinsert the Window in its original place

Basic learning:

Improving the walls in the cellar

The cellar looked very much "cellar". A big reason was due to the walls. The stones making up the walls was clearly visible behind the mortar and the painting. There were many cracks in the mortar, and it was many times sitting quite lose. The part of the cellar that had recently been a sauna had a nice white to it, actually looking better than the other parts of the cellar, being painted in some kind of green.

Walls in old sauna

The first thing we did was a small scale improvement, by taking of lose mortar and by replacing it with new mortar. The walls were then painted with a special cellar wall paint, suitable for letting the walls breathe.

This was our first job using mortar, so we found a good opportunity for buying a mixer to be fastened on the drill, in order not to have to mix the mortar by hand.

In the end, we decided continuing on this job would not get us to where we wanted, the cellar renovation would have to be a much bigger job in order to achieve the desired effects.

This was done by:

  • Knocking on the walls with a masonry hammer to look for sounds of loose mortar
  • Knocking of loose mortar with the masonry hammer
  • Brushing of loose mortar using a steel brush
  • Mixing our own mortar from sand, cement and water
  • Putting on mortar using a brick trowel
  • Leveling off the mortar using a drywall trowel or a wooden trowel
  • Letting it dry
  • Painting the wealls with cellar wall paint

Basic learning:

  • This felt good to do, but did not do very much to the look. The stone still visible through the mortar ment a lot more than the cracks, even after painting.
  • Mixing mortar is a hard job if not done through a tool. If it is done through a mixer placed on your ordinary drill, there is a lot of side forces on the drill, endangering the precision of the drill
  • Using hand mixed mortar with sand in on top of the walls gives a good concistence, making the fixes look natural. However, it is hard to make only small patches of mortar since the sand is rougher than expected when used like this.

Exchanging the Thermostat for the heat pump

The heat pump in the house was controlled by an old mechanical thermostat. This and more about the heating system is covered in more detailed in another section, here I just mention it.

OldThermostatWithoutMarkingsWe had difficulty to get the temperature right, and there was no markings on the thermostat indicating what temperature it was aiming at.

NewThermostatWithMarkingsTo get both markings, and a known precision, we tried by exchanging the old thermostat to a new one.

It was a simple thing to exchange. Since it was mechanical, it only acted as an on/off switch to the heat pump. Thus any on/off switch depending on the inside temperature would work. There was a choice to make regarding the hysteresis, and in the end we opted for a hysteresis on 0.6 degrees Celcius, to avoid to many start/stops which would be the danger with a much lower hysteresis.

This was done by:

  • Finding a suitable thermostat
  • Replacing the old thermostat with the new

Basic learning:

  • An inside thermostat works quite well with a heat pump, but in order to get it to cooperate with an electric heater, a lot more is needed.

Forcing cooperation between electric heater and heat pump

Even though the thermostat for the heat pump was not perfect, the biggest problem was the competing heat systems, where the heat pump and the electric heater did not cooperate. Thus, I built a little device whose task is to monitor the outside temperature.

When outside temeprature is so high that the heat pump is enough, it refuses the electric heater to start. In the same way, when the heat pump is no longer enough, it allows the electric heater to operate, but refuses the heat pump to stop.

Temperature Control Unit

In that way, the cooperation between the heating systems is assured (more detailed description is in thew section on heating cooperation).

This was done by:

  • Designing and etching a circuit board
  • Creating a program for the AVR chip used in the device
  • Connecting the device to the electric heaters outside temperature sensor
  • Connecting the device to the heat pump inside temperature sensor

Basic learning:

  • This solved a lot of the unneccessary costs. Heat pump was still causing fluctuating temperatures, but no longer was the heater running instead of the heat pump



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