Monday, November 5, 2012

The honeymoon is over... The rose colored glasses are off!

So, you've moved in.

There'll be a week which I called the "honeymoon" period in which everything is amazing.

Then, you'll notice a few things... blemishes in walls, Shelves mounted in drywall instead of studs (that happened to hold pool chemicals right over my head when I work in the garage.)

Eventually, these will build up, and you'll find a spree of these at once, because you've noticed one, and now you're looking for them.  (Kind of like when you buy a mazda3 or civic... All of a sudden, every other car on the road is one)

There will come a time, when you are walking somewhere, and you'll notice one of these things, and just shake your head, thinking "Double-you-tee-eff..."

as in: WTF were they thinking?!?!

We had SEVERAL "WTF" moments...

Why doesn't the fridge water/icemaker work?

The water must be shut off to it. Typically water to a fridge is done via thin white/clearish plastic tubing, which is attached to a special valve that clamps and pierces a normal copper line (like this one --->)

So... the Hunt is on.
My fridge... is in my kitchen (duh) The only source of water in the kitchen is the Tap for the sink. (duh... right?)
Naturally, the Logical thing I would think is to run this little tube through the bottom of the cabinets (like the dishwasher hoses...) and tap into those pipes.  Well, I look at the kitchen sink pipes... No Saddle valve. 

I then think to pull out the fridge and follow the line. There's a hole drilled in the hardwood floor of the kitchen, with the white plastic waterline. This makes a bit of sense...The laundry sink is JUST below the fridge in the basement. The water is fed from the ceiling, its probably tapped right there. I go down to the basement, and sure enough, I find the waterline. But it doesn't tap into those pipes. It routes OVER them, using them for support, and goes across the ceiling joists (and under a few) To where the waterheater is.

OK, I think to myself - They tapped the hose going into the water heater  I guess that could make sense. So I get the flashlight out, and start looking around. No saddle valve ANYWHERE. I can't see the plastic hose now because there's duct work all above me. I think to the only other water source, is on the main floor, which is the small bathroom behind the stove on the oppisite side of the main floor. I look at the toilet feed - Nope. Look under the bathroom sink... FINALLY!

So, instead of using 3 feet, or even 6 feet of tubing... Or even 12 feet to get to the water heater... They've routed this thin plastic line through the floor twice, across most of the width of the house and back up into the bathroom.

I was flabbergasted.

Why is the Central Air / Furnace Blower on all the time?

The first thing I will do now, next time I buy a house, is check the Air filter on the furnace.

I swear to you, Our filter looked like a cat had died in the ductwork, turned to dust, and all that dust and hair was stopped by the air filter. It was disgusting. I turned off the Blower, and removed the filter, but the matt of fur was too thick to fit out of the filter slot. It all rolled off like lint from a dryer screen. I had to get the vacuum out and clean inside there for fear of a dark cloud of dead cat and doom blowing throughout my house.

So, Of course the furnace/AC was on all the time - No air was circulating. Hard to cool a house with AIR if there's no Air to start with!!!  The A/C went from being on 50% of the time, to 10% of the time, in one day. 

Why did I use 70 dollars of electricity in the first week of owning my house?!?

I started looking around at culprits.

Having the A/C on 90% of the time because a clogged filter was a good start...
I started looking at the light fixtures.  Many of them had 3, 100 watt Old-school incandescent bulbs!
Some of these light fixtures had 3 or 5 50 watt halogen bulbs. These suckers put out so much heat, the A/C was fighting them to cool the room!

WHY did they need to have 500 watts of lighting for a foyer?

I replaced the light with a fixture that has 2, 14 watt bulbs in it. Yay for a 472 watts savings!

Moral of these stories:

These moments usually result in an evenings work to fix. They're usually not urgent... They're just things that will bug you, every time you see them.

I've had at least a dozen of these moments. Probably more. As I encounter more I'll be chronicling it on here, with photo's, Both on discovery and how I fixed it.

I've had:
  1. Dimmer Switch Failure, (Light stuck on...)
  2. Multiple Light fixtures burn, smoke and melt
  3. Lights hanging from electrical wires in garage
  4. Shelving units pull out from walls
  5. Recessed Plugs you can't use
  6. Massive gap under bathroom doors... (awkward...)
  7. No bathroom fan upstairs 
  8. Clogged bathroom fan
  9. Broken/tapes up Vents
  10. Fridge Leak water/blow up
  11. Furnace starting issues
  12. Pool issues (aka figuring it out how a pool works on my own...)
  13. Light fixture replacement
  14. Electrical sockets underneath Tap of laundry room sink
  15. No electrical sockets in hallways
  16. Birds-nests of cable TV wires
  17. Fuse Panel replacement
  18. The Extension cord(s) of doom, powering my backyard pool from a plug inside the garage. 

I honestly didn't know how many things had gone wrong in 3 months until I counted all this. Its kind of fun (for me) to work on our house. Its something to do that is constructive, rather than wasting away in front of a computer/PS3 like I'd do with apartment living.

So, if your house isn't new, and someone else has meddled with it in the past, you will most likely have a few of these "What the hell?!...." moments where you're scratching your head in confusion and frustration.

Keep in mind, My house was built in 1978. If you thinking of buying a century home and either:
  • Aren't handy
  • Don't have some extra income to spend

Don't do it!. Stick with a newer home.

The GOOD news is, Most of these things can be figured out and fixed in an evening, with relatively inexpensive trips to Home Depot. They're challenges, But we'll get through them.

So all this being said... time for another disclaimer.

I am not an Electrician, a Plumber, a Contractor, or certified in any way.
If you take any advice I have on this blog, You are 100% responsible for the outcome. Do your research before tackling any project. I'm just here to say, "It has been done, and here's how I did it." Moral support, I suppose.

Before I tackle a project, I:

  1. Research
  2. Inspect
  3. Research again,
  4. Call around for quotes to get it fixed
  5. Realize I can't afford to pay someone to fix it
  6. Research YET AGAIN
  7. Make sure I have the tools to fix it
  8. Call my dad for advice (Research)
  9. Go to home depot, Ask them for advice/tips (sometimes taken with a grain of salt, if its some 16 year old kid who's piped up)
  10. Warn my Fiancee'
  11. Start the project.
So, Consider this Blog Point 1. (or maybe point 3) 

Next post, is about how to Move a fishtank (the right way)

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