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ReefHaus 75 Gallon Resurrection

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As I was reading this I kept thinking "is this my future he's talking about?" I've been renting for the past several years and decided it's time to buy my own place again. I think my best option is a townhouse where there's no outside maintenance. I've been browsing the options out there and one thing I keep looking for is a floorplan with that open area under the stairs to hide all the equipment! 

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4 hours ago, Jimbo662 said:

As I was reading this I kept thinking "is this my future he's talking about?" I've been renting for the past several years and decided it's time to buy my own place again. I think my best option is a townhouse where there's no outside maintenance. I've been browsing the options out there and one thing I keep looking for is a floorplan with that open area under the stairs to hide all the equipment! 

here ya go. ;     Gardens at Teravista - Round Rock, TX

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Looks like an exciting build. I know you're thinking this, but if this is going to be a long term tank (even 2-3 years) you might be better served with a 90 than a 75. The extra depth is going to make aquascaping a lot easier and you have no equipment tax (bigger lights, etc.)

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58 minutes ago, Dogfish said:

here ya go. ;     Gardens at Teravista - Round Rock, TX

Oh yeah...seen those...a bit out of my budget.

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31 minutes ago, victoly said:

Looks like an exciting build. I know you're thinking this, but if this is going to be a long term tank (even 2-3 years) you might be better served with a 90 than a 75. The extra depth is going to make aquascaping a lot easier and you have no equipment tax (bigger lights, etc.)

Here's the initial draft of the fish room with the 75 gallon display I already own.

75 Gallon Display

75 Gallon Display.jpg

 

Upgrade Path

My focus has been on building the fish room, which represents a significant capital outlay to do it right.

Current thoughts regarding the display (subject to change) is to use my old system's display and lighting which includes a 75-gallon 48x18x21, Metal Halides/LED Hood, and a 1/4hp chiller, all of which I already have.

The cost to purchase a 60" tank (I like the 125 (60x 18 x 17)) with T5/LED lighting is a 3k-4k upgrade.  I just don't have that outlay right now.

Having said that, I'm definitely weighing lots of cost/benefit options for the display of my current build.  My biggest concern is incorporating the lighting I already own, which is where the upgrade path gets crazy (in the thousands of $$$$) when I go to 60" footprint.  If I keep my current lighting, it means staying to a 48" wide tank and running my chiller (adding complexity and another potential fail-point to the build).  

The alternative consideration I think you're pointing to is an interesting possibility. Sell the 75 and buy a tank which accommodates the lighting I already have.  There's a possibility of plumbing a new tank with the overflow to the side (peninsula-style), which opens up my options to accommodate even a  24" wide tank.  Keeping to a 48x24  footprint, and playing with height options I could keep my current lighting and go up to a 150 gallon at 31" deep.  I don't like tanks deeper than 25" because I find them too difficult to reach the bottom, and I'm open to any consideration.  The tank I really like is the 17" tall 125 (60" x 18" x 17").  I think the more streamlined profile looks nicer, but I'm years away from that decision.

Many options to be weighed right now.  I love the possibilities your pointing to! They substantially open up the gallon potential of the current build.

Keep those ideas flowing!  Thank you!

150 Gallon Display.jpg

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following along

 

I had the same idea, with my redsea 115 under the stairs closet is a good room. right in the middle of the house so it stays cool. and have access to lots of power on both sides of the walls. Ive pulled power through both sides ran the dosers and ATO through the wall as you can see the ATO container and containment.

 

IMG_20190703_041848.jpgIMG_20190703_041934.jpg

Peace.exe

Edited by mhart032
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16 hours ago, mhart032 said:

 had the same idea, with my redsea 115 under the stairs closet is a good room. right in the middle of the house so it stays cool. and have access to lots of power on both sides of the walls. Ive pulled power through both sides ran the dosers and ATO through the wall as you can see the ATO container and containment.

Thanks for your image- what a great use of space! That ATO design (with the catch basin) really helps me visualize the implementation of a “flood basin” in my build.

My goals for water management include:

-Flood Basin:  a way to contain water in the event of a critical-fail (ATO’s are classic fail-points).  Go to the 7minute mark of this video to see how Melevsreef new sump install had an ATO fail last week – it happens to even the best reefers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBWPqxzDVxA

I’m contemplating installing a small basin under the water mixing station and possibly another larger basin directly under the stairs.

-Mixing Station/Water Changes: The first step is to determine how best to tap the plumbing from the adjacent guest bathroom.  I want to connect

-RODI in and out water lines

-Drain: Plumb a discharge-line from the sump to under the sink for water changes.

Once I get the essential plumbing design sorted out, I can move on to the next step - design plans for the mixing station area.

ELECTRICAL:  The guest bathroom also has a dedicated 20amp circuit that’s GFCI (shared with the master bath GFCI circuit).  It’s probably going to be my best bet for adding a second circuit under the stairs, without running a separate dedicated circuit.  A dedicated circuit under the stairs is not very practical/economical based on the homes current wiring.

TEMPERATURE CONTROL:  also impacts the electrical circuit design.  Thinking how to connect a ventilation fan to ceiling above and possibly a second fan to expel air from under the stairs out into the living room and provide a cross-current of air-flow through the fish room.  This design element will include electrical considerations to power the fan(s), so I’m noodling through various ways of doing this.  Goal is to provide some form of air-flow through the fish room. 

fishroom with bathroom.jpg

 

I haven’t found many threads with images of under-stair fish room designs, here’s a few I did come across:

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/andrews-240-gallon-with-fish-room-under-stairs-build.292509/

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/120g-standard-ulm-reef-tank-build.344519/

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/180g-build.290155/

 

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Look at uline for the containment you can get any size really, and it true containment. That really will hold 55gals and so on. 

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 11:02 AM, mhart032 said:

Look at uline for the containment you can get any size really, and it true containment. That really will hold 55gals and so on. 

Here’s the initial draft of the water/mixing station:

Water Mix Station.jpg

 

Containment Basin:  The basin I'm considering is marketed as an “oil leak drip pan”.  It’s intended catch any fluids that might leak out from under a car during oil changes. 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F4PBCHP/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B07F4PBCHP&pd_rd_w=LDngT&pf_rd_p=8a8f3917-7900-4ce8-ad90-adf0d53c0985&pd_rd_wg=HOhKb&pf_rd_r=8ZE3325MKNFZSX7QTF42&pd_rd_r=0ada1e61-9ea5-11e9-acd2-e9c7b410e391

Its smaller footprint (40” x 28” x 5”) accommodates the small coat closet I have to work within.  The more common 55-gallon drum basins are too large for the build.  This basin holds 24 Gallons.  

A concern is that it has ribbing along the bottom. I’d like to place the shelving directly on top of this basin to provide full containment for any leaks from the mixing tanks/plumbing.  The shelves will be holding a 15gal salt mixing tank and a 20gal ATO, at a minimum.  The combined weight of just these two tanks will exert nearly 300lbs of force onto the basin floor that the shelving will rest upon.  The design of the shelving I’ve selected evenly distributes the weight, so in theory, that load would be under 2.5 lbs/square inch across those ribs, and I imagine they’d support that weight?  Difficult to tell without having the basin in front of me to assess its rigidity.

I could scrap this pre-formed plastic-molded basin idea altogether and just build my own containment out of plywood and seal it watertight, but my preference right now is for this one.

Sump Pump:  This auto-sensing pump triggers at low depth (1/3 inch).

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MWG69RN/ref=psdc_554568_t2_B0009X8O2E

 I’d plumb it to the guest bathroom drain-line.  When the basin fills, this kicks on, pumping water from the containment basin to the drain, preventing the 24gal basin from overflowing.  My plan is to cut-out a 10” x 12” rectangle from the bottom-center of the shelving to accommodate placement of the pump underneath the first shelf.

Shelving: I like this unit because it’s plastic, it fits inside the footprint of the containment basin, it’s ventilated, and it’s rated at 150lbs/shelf which should accommodate the tank weights.

https://www.grainger.com/product/PLANO-MOLDING-Freestanding-Open-Plastic-54VJ03

It’s also one of the few designs that rests completely flat to the floor, evenly distributing weight.  And, I should be able to cut out a 10" x 12" rectangle from the bottom of it to accommodate the sump-pump.

Mix Tanks

Salt Tank:  I already have a 15gal (26”x11”x15”) rectangular tank from my last build with a recirculating external pump for salt mixing.  It works well as a mixing/storage tank for small batches of salt water.  I generally only mix 10gal at a time for periodic water changes.  I also have a 32-gallon brute trash can in the garage when larger salt production is required.

Discharge Tank:  I’m contemplating adding a second 15gal tank to accommodate the discharge of a continuous-water-change system but I’ve not yet decided on that yet.  It's another fail-point and I'm a big fan of eliminating every possible fail-point in the system, wherever I can.  If I'm able to learn the arcane secrets of the hobby from Farmer Ty, I won't need to change water!  Kidding aside, I'd love to limit water changes as much as possible.  And, I have much to learn from Farmer Ty. 

RODI Tank:  Something like this 20gal (14”x28”x12”) tank is what I'm considering for the RODI.

https://www.tank-depot.com/productdetails.aspx?part=A-SP0020-LC

Its small footprint and rectangular-design accommodates the space-restrictions I’m working within for this build.

ATO:  I have small 15gal ATO that I had custom-built by melevsreef for my last tank.  It's a perfect size for placement over my sump, which is an interesting Idea I'm considering.  The concept is to periodically pump water from the primary RODI tank to this satellite ATO tank, then gravity feed the ATO into the sump.  This design would provide a fail-safe ATO solution as there’s no way to ever flood the system with more than the capacity of the small ATO over the sump.  The gravity feed eliminates switch failure, as there is no switch to fail in this setup.

Just my thoughts for today...  I'm still working through the plumbing/electrical design elements of the build.  I realized that I needed at least a rough outline of my intentions for the water changing station to do that.

Thanks for any insights!

 

 

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Water Mixing Station 2.0

Upon further reflection, the dimensions of the original design will not work.

It doesn’t capitalize on the vertical dimensions of the closet and ends up being too wide.

This design works better, given the space limitations of the coat closet.

 

 

Water Mix Station 2.jpg

I’m considering these tanks instead:

https://www.tank-depot.com/productdetails.aspx?part=9513-A-SP0020-OM

I’d build the stand and containment basin myself. 

I initially thought it’d be nice to purchase the shelving and containment basin with readily available ‘off-the-shelf’ products.   The tolerances of the space I must work within are too limited for that.

I ‘m researching recirculating plumbing-designs with vertically-stacked tanks.

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Today I finished an important part of the build.  I had to determine how to open up the stairwell by safely removing the stud supports under the stairs.  This was needed if I were to have unobstructed access to the newly opened space under the stairs, from the adjacent coat closet.

This video shows the dilemma I was facing, namely, how to safely remove the stud supports under the stairs.

I had a friend come over this evening and we were able to knock it out (literally) in a couple of hours.  We ended up being “safe rather than sorry” and chose to reinforce the opening with a new framed header.  This allowed us to remove the old support studs, while retaining structural stability.  I think it was probably over-kill, but the new frame and header does provide some peace of mind.

This video shows the result.

Next step:  Plumbing and electric!

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Next steps of the build are plumbing and electric.

Containment Basin

Water containment and drainage is something I'm viewing as an essential element of a fish room.  It's a bit tricky, being that there's obviously no drain under the stairs.  Being on the ground floor, the fish room sits on the foundation of the house, so there's no where to go down.  I have to figure out a way to seal the room and pump water into the home's plumbing.

Now that the area below the stairs is opened, I have a better sense of what’s possible for constructing a containment basin for the fish room.  While researching ideas, I came across this product:

Does anyone have any experience with this or similar type products?

My initial thought is to construct a frame of 2x6 planks around the edge of the under stairs area and coat closet.  There’s already 2x4’s surrounding the perimeter of the room that the wall interior wall studs are attached to.  Then, paint the interior of the basin with the "blue max" sealant product.

Once the water is contained in the basin area, the idea is to use an automated sump pump to 'drain' the basin.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MWG69RN/ref=psdc_554568_t2_B0009X8O2E

I’m thinking of drilling a hole through the wall about 12” up from the foundation, then running a ½” PVC pipe through to the other side, where the master bedroom shower is.  Exposed PVC pipe  in the bathroom shower may not look great, but I’m the only one who uses the shower.  I’m hesitant to plumb directly into the guest bathroom sink drain, as the plumbing run is complex, and it would require replacing the pedestal sink with an enclosed sink.  The shower solution is very simple, but would involve dumping saltwater from the sump down into the shower basin during water changes.  It's also where the RODI discharge would go.

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I have worked with EPDM sheets. The main issue is bonding to the substrate. Surfaces need to be clean and smooth before the glue is applied

 

I have also done epoxy. Thats what I did on my fish room floor. I used a products that did not require acid etching. I do have a floor drain but found the spills and accidents I have had were easy to clean up with a shop vac rather than pushing it all down the drain. This is what I used. Since it was new concrete I just damp mopped my floor. My wall edges were concrete, very rough and you could see pebbles. I coated the .... out of the sides.

I have never used rubber paint. I assume its a bit like doing epoxy. You want the surface to be dry (ESP NEW CONCRETE) and clean. Sometimes products require a primer so they will stick to the substrate. To prevent moist air from getting underneath and moisture from coming up thru the ground and lifting the coating. You can do a strip test if you think moisture is coming up form the ground. You dont want bubbles to form that can be punctured or cause it come come off vertical surfaces. Any cracks, seams and places where you have wood frame meet floor will need to be filled with crack sealer or seam tape. When applying, if its like epoxy, dont be shy about putting down the proper amount per sq foot. I think with rubber, you come back and add more layers to build up the thickness. If this is the case be sure not to apply too much in 1 coat. It can cause it not to dry properly.

Be sure to youtube for more info on your application

Hope this helps a bit

Tank_Room.jpg

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I'd use the epoxy as well if it were me. For something that small you can use the garage floor paint, it repels water and simmiler  materials, it's fairly inexpensive and has grip to it so your not sliding all over the place,  if you go with epoxy there is a material called sharkgrip that's great for traction that can be mixed with the epoxy. In my opinion there's too much that can go wrong with a silicone or butyl rubber based roll on material, it normally requires a ton of prep work primers and cleaners to maximize adhesion, and even then if you scratch it nick it or liquid is able to get underneath it somehow you will have to rip it out and redo it. There is another material you can buy made by Derakane it's a polyester vinyl epoxy resin it's the toughest stuff you can get it's used in bulk chemical tank trailers it can resist anything up to 98% sulfuric acid there is no solvent that can break it down. It's not all that cheap, but it's the best. 

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On ‎7‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 7:00 AM, Dogfish said:

 My wall edges were concrete, very rough and you could see pebbles. I coated the .... out of the sides.

Any cracks, seams and places where you have wood frame meet floor will need to be filled with crack sealer or seam tape. 

Be sure to youtube for more info on your application

Wow- your fishroom floor looks fantastic!  I definitely would love to get that result.  Did you use the Hillyard concrete defense product in the (above) video?

There's a unique aspect to my build.  I don't have a drain, so I'm proposing to build a containment basin around the edge of the room.  Is it a good Idea to use a wood frame for the side walls of the basin?  I can easily nail in 2x6 planks as a border around the room to form a side-wall of the basin. I can see how I would need to fill the seams with seam tape, but in all the epoxy videos I 'm watching only deal with garage floor/flat surfaces.  There's no mention of filling in the joining (where the 2x6 basin wall meets the concrete floor), and then running the epoxy up the sidewall to create a 'basin'. 

Does what I'm proposing make sense? 

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I did use the Hillyard product. I think other companies make epoxy coatings for floors, that use a primer that will adhere to concrete or wood. You can prob go to a paint store and ask them. They would know what you need for sure. With the Hillyard stuff you have to put down the primer/ base coat and then put down the epoxy within 24hrs. Im not sure how flexible it is once dry. You coat over it with a third coat that protects the epoxy. I put down 2 of these coats to be sure. Adds the shine. I think I got the flakes online (amazon).

You can make the basin out of anything stationary. You dont want it to move and crack the epoxy. People use rubber,  EPDM, flexable epoxy, or what they call shower pan liner (avail at the home depot).

For a seam tape ask the paint store about fiberglass mesh tape for tile work.

You could even be fancy and use tile board and tile the basin like a shower.

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I spoke with the local paint store.  I think a more effective solution might be to construct a wooden plywood box with a 6" sidewall.  Then seal the box.  There are many sealants available for waterproofing the interior of a plywood box.  Creating a waterproof seam along the interior of the box can be accomplished more easily than finding a watertight solution for the wood/concrete join. 

Laying down an epoxy coating to waterproof the concrete floor, then adding a wooden plank sidewall, sealed to the concrete, is proving to be more complex and less assured of a water tight seal.  The box would simply rest on the flat concrete surface.  It won't have the professional look of an epoxy floor, but the cosmetic appearance of the fishroom isn't a priority.

I now looked into your showerpan liner idea, and that looks even better.  Its a much simpler solution than building a plywood box, and definitely creates a waterproof basin result!

 

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If it were me, id just get some containment and call it a day. its concrete and vaced up easy, you could always put the commercial water mats on the floors like a few of us have in front of our tanks to catch the water from our hands from maintiance and fragging and so on. the space isnt that big. the cheaper route would be the containment i think. for instance you can get something like this that will hold 110 gals and they can be plumbed together if you need any more. they make them all different sizes and heights. My wife said this to me... "what do we do if the tank floods"... i said "call the insurance company.." 

image.png

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I got the initial plumbing started today. 

II installed a dish-washer style drain-line above the P-trap at the guest bathroom sink:

20190713_180240.jpg

I ran the drain line over to the wall

pumb1b.jpg

Punched through the wall leading to the adjacent coat closet:

plumb2.jpg

And, ran It through to the other side to access the fish room:

plumb3.jpg

 

 

This drain-line will eventually be attached to a manifold in the fish room to allow for waste-water to discharge into the house plumbing.  I’m imagining three waste lines:

 

1: RODI: waste water line

2: A second line from the return area of the sump for water changes

3: A third line connected to a sump-pump in the water-containment basin as a contingency in the event of an unexpected overflow/flood (hope for the best, plan for the worst)

I also installed a T-fitting with an 1/8" push-connect to tap the under-sink water source for the RODI input.  The 1/8" tube will also go through the wall in the same cutout as the drain line. 

 

 

plum4.jpg

 

I’m also considering using that same wall cutout to connect an extension cord to the GFCI outlet in the guest bathroom, through the wall to second power strip.  This would provide access in the fishroom to a second 20-amp circuit, with GFCI protection.

plum 5.jpg

Next step:  I'm still mulling over the best way to implement the containment basin.  I had a friend over today who has some interesting ideas for installing a shower pan liner to create a single basin that extends the length of the closet/understairs area.  At first glance, this might seem a bit complicated.  Looking further, I’m seeing how it could be done, relatively simply.

Pausing for now for meditation, contemplation, and inspiration!

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I have not used that model fan.

I do use the USB fans from them for my entertainment system cabinet and for the 2 power brick boxes for my tank lights. The USB fans work great.

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As I've examined various ways of venting the fishroom, I began to monitor humidity levels in the house.

The home is new construction and is built to modern specifications and an effective/efficient HVAC system.

Having said that, the humidity is frequently registering over 70% (according to the digital HVAC thermostat control).

When I look online, everything says hat this is waaayyyy too high for even maintaining a comfortable, regular living environment.

It's strange because, until I started paying attention to it, I never noticed any discomfort in the home.  It always feels cool and comfortable to me, and there's never been any condensation on the windows, except in the master bath after a hot shower.

I purchased independent humidity monitors at Lowes today, and they confirm that the HVAC measurements are correct (68% right now).

Now I'm concerned that I need to retrofit a whole house dehumidifier to a brand new HVAC system.  I haven't called a contractor yet, but online estimates range from 2k-10k depending on what's required...

Help!!!!  Has anyone had experience with this?  What's the humidity in your house?  Am I missing something?

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The humidity in my house today is 57%. It has been less humid outside so inside has been lower. Normally spring and early summer is humid. I live at the bottom of a hill on a creek with flowing water. My yard is more humid than up the hill where they get a good breeze. My house runs about 65%  in those times.  When my house gets humid, my tank does not lose much water to evaporation. It will run about 1degree hotter than normal. I have a fan blowing across the sump that is used during those humid times so it does not get too hot.

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16 hours ago, Dogfish said:

When my house gets humid, my tank does not lose much water to evaporation. It will run about 1degree hotter than normal. I have a fan blowing across the sump that is used during those humid times so it does not get too hot.

Is the primary concern:

1-The tank?  Humidity increases heat in the aquarium making it more difficult to keep it cool during spring/summer. 

2-The house?  Tank evaporation (estimated 2gallons/day?) might lead to excessive levels of humidity in the house (>70%) which could contribute to bigger issues, down-the road.

The temperature in the house is comfortable to me, even when humidity measures in the 70% range.  The "higher-than-ideal" humidity levels (50%+/-10%) don’t seem to bother me. 

The articles I've found cite that excessive humidity might lead to the presence of higher-than-normal allergens, and can also bring mold/mildew, which is a potential health concern.  The primary indicators that point to excessive humidity are:

1-Condensation:  The presence of condensation on the interior windows - this isn't present in the home. 

2-Allergens:  Higher than normal reactions to allergens.  I do have seasonal allergies (specifically, I have reactions to mold spores and grasses).  Having said that, my allergies have not acted up, and are significantly less inside the house than outside during peak allergy times.

3-Mold/Mildew:  This seems to be the greatest concern.   I’ve not yet experienced the presence of mold/mildew forming in the home.  The house is still new, so I suppose it’s possible that mild/mildew could develop into a problem if humidity is left uncontrolled over time?

I spoke with my General Contractor this morning and they suggest starting out by ventilating the fish room, then monitor the actual impact on humidity before considering a whole-house solution.

Air/flow design:

Ventilation Air Flow.jpg

Air would enter from the living room, through a grate in the wall:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/SPEEDI-GRILLE-14-in-x-10-in-Return-Air-Vent-Grille-White-with-Fixed-Blades-SG-1410-RAG/202542247

The air would then be pulled through a ventilation fan mounted through the wall adjacent the guest bathroom. 

https://www.acinfinity.com/crawl-space-basement-fans/

The idea is to turn the bathroom fan on when it gets too humid.  The guest bathroom fan ducts directly to the exterior of the home.

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