Square Roots & Solatubes

Mom, Casey and Dad travel to the construction site to figure out, and ultimately place the proposed Solatubes.  You know, tubular daylighting devices (TDDs).  This is in lieu of putting in sky lights.  For our house, conventional skylights present a challenge somewhat, as the combined roof pitch and skylight location causes the “tunnel” portion between the roof and room ceiling to be 10+ feet tall.  It could be done, but is a bit extreme in our opinion.  Therefore, we are going the TDD route instead.

The manufacturer claims that the Solatube will lighten an area approximately 300 sq. ft.  So, exactly how big is the 300 sq. ft.?  Kinda need to know this to help determine tube spacing and locations.  Is it 10 ft. x 10 ft.?,  20 ft. x 20 ft.? 

Dad says, “Hey, Casey, what’s the square root of 300?”  

There’s a three second pause, and out comes, “17.3 ft.” 

“Shit, really?…How did you do that?” 

“Daaad, it’s easy, the square root of 3 is 1.73.”  Dad,  “of course.”

Fireplaces and TVs, Oh My!

Russ and I agreed that I would be in charge of the fireplace. It didn’t take long and this rabbit hole went deep fast. Now we have a file about 3 inches thick of information, drawings, pictures, etc. Plus we are watching TV at our current home with our TV on top of a stool on top of the TV cabinet.  Craziness.

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It all started with a visit to the Fireplace store, the local one our builder likes to use. After viewing several natural gas fireplaces in the store, I casually mentioned we plan to put a TV above the fireplace as low to the ground as possible, so the fireplace would start at the floor. Then, he said, “you will be surprised how high the TV will end up.”   I wasn’t completely paying attention but I asked why.  He talked real fast about fireplace heat, codes, and TV installation rules and I glazed over.

We walked out and I wondered, HOW HIGH and what defines that height?  Then I started obsessing about it. I printed installation manuals from the fireplace companies websites and read stuff.  The funny thing – I had no idea what they were saying. Then I found mantel height information, 13 – 19 inches above fireplace top, depending on the brand.  I got distracted by questions and answers and chats online about the trend of TV over fireplace.

Russ finally engaged, for his own sanity sake, in the conversation with me; maybe I was a little consumed. The wall we plan to put TV and Fireplace in some combination (stacked or next to each other) is 20 ft, but 4 ft is window – that leaves 16 ft.

The next weekend, we visited 2 more stores, talked with sales people and put our TV up on a stool. I learned the mantel height info was for “combustible” mantels and we will put up a NON-combustible mantel. We made the assumption that the NON-combustible mantel could go a few inches above the framing height for the fireplace. Of course, most installation manuals don’t really address non-combustible mantels related to framing height, we have more work to do.

I’m calmer now because I made a chart:) That always helps me, and now I’m free to concentrate on other important details for building the house. My current favorite is the Regency P36 with louvers (the P33CE is a few inches shorter but the fireplace is pretty small). That decision happens a little later, thank goodness.

Fireplace Framing Heights