This weekend was supposed to be simple, no strenuous projects. Cut the grass, paint, and hang the 1st floor bathroom door. Well I got the grass cut and after that was 7 hours of what has to be the most physically taxing work I’ve done in months. I moved into the house with just the heat installed. It was November, so AC wasn’t a necessity at that time. My entire yard needs to be graded, but the area were the AC unit is going to be placed was particularly bad. With every rain water would puddle in that area. With hot weather approaching, instead of tackling the door, I tackled this area.
First priority was getting the drain pipe for the gutter deeper in the ground. Last March my cousin Cameron and I ran PVC to connect the relocated downspout from the gutter to the original drain in the ground. He dug down to the top of the clay pipe and we ran the PVC to it. Unfortunately as the ground settled that pipe became exposed because we didn’t go deep enough. We should have dug deep enough to remove the first clay pipe link. That’s what I did Saturday.
This was one of the days I wish the weather forecast had been wrong. I got to the original connection and was able to dig down to remove the next section of clay pipe (another 18″) before the rains came. Digging the trench deeper, adding additional PVC to adjust for the deeper trench, and refilling the hole all occurred during a steady rain.
I was a muddy mess, so I don’t have a lot of pictures. Before refilling the hole I dumped 4 bags of pea gravel in to help with elevating the dirt line. I finished the project about 10p. I was whipped and hungry. I worked through dinner, but I was bound and determined to not have to deal with mud again the next day. That tyvek suite has been deposited in the trash.
With the pipe fully covered now I could build the pad for the AC unit. I have never poured concrete, so another new skill has been added repertoire. After watching a few YouTube videos and talking with my go to handyman, Tom Milfeld, I decided to take this project on. LADIES, we can do this. I don’t know how many times I’ve prepared something in the kitchen that just needed you to add water and stir with no trepidation. Well concrete is no different. Just add water and stir.
First step was building a box. My HVAC company had marked the spot with an orange box, so I’d know the location and size. I had to go on memory because the rain and my digging project eliminated his markings. Next step was making sure the box was level. I made a 4″ thick frame, but in order for the box to be level the side closer to the house had to be elevated with stakes making it almost to 6″ deep. That just confirmed how bad the pitch towards the house is and why I always got a pool of water in that area.
Quikrete’s website has a concrete calculator, so I would know how many bags to buy. My box was roughly 40″ x 40″ and at a uniform 4″ depth that would need 7, 80 lb bags. I bought 9 due to the deeper house side. I got my wheel barrel out of storage, which became my giant mixing bowl and started mixing one bag at a time. I ended up using 8.
Even though it was Sunday I asked Tom if I could get just one hour of his time. He arrived on bag 7 and brought the tool needed to smooth out the top. For future reference I now know not to mix too loose. He told me the water will evaporate and seep into the ground eventually, but he had to spend more time smoothing it out. In a couple of days I’ll remove the wood frame. I’m still sore and stiff, but my house is now ready to receive the AC unit. Of course I had to leave a mark in the concrete, so in block letters I placed SGw/S – Sista Girl w/ Skills was here.
Tom putting on the finishing touches