Crawl Space

Furnace, Control for Tankless Water Heater, Sump Pump

SEE THE MOVIE made down under


2023 Big Rebuild


Late 2022 Three utility/appliances broke down. Is it really true that bad things happen in threes?


The sump stopped, then the furnace was flooded, and finally the kitchen range went poof. Sounds like a line out of a John Wayne movie. This made me angry, then challenged, and finally I found it comic. 

The sump was replaced, the furnace was replaced, and the range was replaced. I could not acquire a Zoller sump pump so I got a different brand. The old gas furnace was installed by me in 1981. I purchased it used and did all the work myself. I was cash poor. I found it in the Nickel want adds. It cost me $200 and worked well for 42 years. It was very inefficient compared to the new one based on my gas consumption of the first winter. The 40" Sears Electric range was replaced with a 36"dual fuel Thermador range. 

When I replaced the furnace in 1981 I had to excavate the Crawl Space entrance area to be able to get the furnace in. I re-used the corrugated galvanized metal entrance that was original to this 1957 home. By 2023 the metal was severely rusted and the fifty plus pound cover had become a nuisance to my well being.  

So the high priority project the spring of 2023, in part, was to replace the crawlspace entry. The original corrugated galvanized foundation well had rusted out after 66 years. The homemade wood and shingle lid weighed over 50 lbs. making me resistant to accessing the furnace to replace filters often. I need access to the crawl space that is ergonomic and light-in-weight so I can do this when Iím 80. I could not purchase the corrugated galvanized parts locally.  I had to order from Menards in Gillett Wyo. and have them ship it to me. The foundation wall and lid cost about $250. The shipping another $250. What I got all the way from St Paul Minnesota was dented and twisted.  I was very unhappy. It was very difficult to install but I got it done. I had to take the lid to a local metal fab shop to make it fit. Now itís easy to get on and off. The vertical flap is made out of ACM (aluminum composite material). It is two thin sheets of aluminum with plastic between. I used an aluminum angle to flatten the ACM, act as a handle, and a mini-eve to keep blowing rain from getting behind the lid. I used snap rivets to assemble it. The flap slides in and out from the left side. Aluminum and galvanized metal donít get along. It all goes together with nearly no contact between the two metal types. The bricks are to protect the galvanized metal from the line trimmer I use to trim the grass. I built a small six sided pine box to act as a stair step. Now its vary easy to pull off the lid, slide out the flap, step in and out of the crawl space entrance.  The $500 for the CGS, paint, elastomeric tape, bricks, treated lumber, fab shop labor, disposable cutoff tool and blades, dump fees, polymeric sand and galv. bolts all totaled about $750. I canít imagine how much it would have cost to get someone to do this. 

This is wild. Over 35 tools were required. I think this indicates I could expect a very high cost for labor and difficulty in getting a good product if I have had someone else do the job. 

Flat Shovel
Trench Shovel
Digging Bar
2í Level
4í Level
Laser Level
Electric Drill
Battery Drill
Impact Drill
Drill Bits
Screw Bits
Nut Drivers
Cutoff Wheels
48 Tooth Saw Blade.
84 Tooth Saw Blade
Quick Square
Tape Measure
Skill Saw
Jig Saw
Paint Brush
Framing Hammer
Pneumatic Framing Nailer
Clamps Compressive
Pipe Clamps Compressive Rotary
Brick Chisel
Table Saw
Kreg Jig
Electric Extension Cord
Large Rivet Tool

General note on tape measures. I have several. For small projects like this I prefer a 100% SAE tape measure. That way I can read the measurement off both edges of the ruler. It never fails;  when I use an SAE and Metric rule the edge I need to read from is the Metric edge and I'm using SAE (inches and feet) for the project. Drives me crazy. 


What it looked like early 2023

Ain't cute



The trash can is full of the old lid parts mostly.


I have dug out and removed the old entrance and re-framed the sill and sides with treated lumber. I also treated the cut edges. Next to the drill with the cutoff tool the buried iron pipe gets cut out and removed in addition to the two copper pipes shown sticking up. The copper fed the oil fuel burner that was in the fireplace and the iron was the vent from the tank. You can see the new gas furnace in there.


This is the new crawl space entrance still on the pallet at the time of receiving. Look at the amount of twist. To un-spring this and make it straight at the time of install took a lot of work. I had to bend it in the x, y, and z axis under torque. If they used pictures of these like this on their web site no one would ever purchase them. I emailed the manufacturer and told them about this. They replied this was normal and to have the lid on it when I installed it. That would have been impossible to any degree.

St. Paul Corrugating


Dents on the lid. This is transportation and handling damage. These dents got pounded out flat. Easier than filing a claim with FedEx.


I had to do this part twice to get it untwisted and then mounted it with galvanized lag bolts and washers. I had to use braces and high strength cranking pipe compression pipe lamps to get it square to allow for the top to fit. A row of bricks were used on the bottom as a base. This base also supports the treated lumber false floor. The galvanized metal was painted with a zinc based rattle can paint. Look at the gas line along the trench edge going up into the meter. Its 4" below the surface. In 1957 was that the specification? New line would have to be 18" below the surface. Call-B4-you-dig would not be able to tell me this if I had called them. I'll post this info in the Autocad Site Drawing/


Basically this is it. The ACM flap along the wall slides in and out from the left It fits in a groove under the siding and in the galvanized corrugated metal crawl space entrance. On re-evaluation I should have used 1.5" x 1" angle instead of the 1"x1". It would have projected out farther from the face of the flap. After getting the lid back from the metal fab shop it slides in and out easily. The bricks protect the galvanized metal from the line trimmer when the lawn is trimmed. That's sand not concrete. I'm trying to fill voids to keep grass from growing there.  I will trim the odd brick to fit. It may take more that one brick as two cuts along the long edge are required. Another thing I have never done before. Split a brick in half. Yes. long ways. No.


There is the white pine step box. I can step in and out of the entrance with ease now. First time I used it I got a big smile. Making this box was by far the funnest part of the project. I really like building boxes. It will hold up. Its built strong and stout. A six sided box with no place for spiders to hide in.  I would rate it at 1/2 ton. So that would be safe for a 400 lb man with twisting torque. I calculate the box would hold up to a point beyond where a user would get a spiral fracture of the leg. Did I say I like building boxes? /;-)






OLD Data

Zoeller M53 Sump Pump

The new check valve installed on new Zoeller M53 sump 11/29/2014 by Day & Nite Plumbing "Jason".  The check valve was said to be brass.


Zoeller Repair Seattle

Utilities Service Co.

12608 East Marginal Way South 98168





Furnace Filter

20x25x1. Installs best with 10"x20"x1" + 15"x20"x1".

Home Depot: 10": 64100.011020, 15" 64100.011520



Home Inspection & Information

Furnace Date of Manufacture




Amor Vincit Omnia