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Home-owners...What are your current projects?


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20 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Ok, I think my hot water heater is a goner. Any suggestions? I have a fairly flexible - but not unlimited - budget. How are the tankless units?

Tankless aren't the most economic solution (but they are nice).  I would just get another tank

 

How you know it is a goner?  Have you been replacing the anode?  How does anode look right now?  Should only take 15 mins to inspect it once tank is cool

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20 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Ok, I think my hot water heater is a goner. Any suggestions? I have a fairly flexible - but not unlimited - budget. How are the tankless units?

First thing to do is make sure it's actually a goner.  Turn off power at the breaker (then make sure no power is entering unit with one of those voltage detectors if you have one).  Turn off water entering the tank, then connect a hose to the spigot at the bottom and drain tank.  After a bit you'll need to turn on a nearby sink or open the pressure relief value to break the vacuum you've created and allow the tank to fully drain.  Once drained, you can check your heating elements and anode (assuming you have an anode - the tank in the house I bought initially didn't, but I put one in).  You can also test your thermostats with an electrical test kit (videos on youtube).  As long as the tank itself is fine and isn't leaking - pretty much everything else is easily (and fairly cheaply) replaceable.  I just installed new heating elements myself in the past month or two after my wife was sure the tank was a "goner".

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20 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Ok, I think my hot water heater is a goner. Any suggestions? I have a fairly flexible - but not unlimited - budget. How are the tankless units?

Close to being in the same boat.  What I've learned about tankless is, go Rhinnai or Navien and you should be fine.  I'll have to step up in size because I have a dedicated hot water circulation run that needs a water recirculater running to it and those only exist in the larger models.  

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So I discovered a wet spot in my basement carpet. It was directly under a vent in my bulkhead. There is no plumbing above and this is the last vent in the line. It was 99 outside most of that week and the ac was constantly running. So condensation buildup dripping. 

My hvac guy agreed and thinks that whoever finished the basement and cut into the ductwork did a poor job installing and insulating (if any was done). He also stated that it is possible that there is hot air from the outside getting into the bulkhead. 

That comment set off a lightbulb. I have had a mouse problem in that same bulkhead and believe they are somehow getting into the house from that area. 

Ive had exterminators here every few months and we have bait stations in the bulkhead (and other areas inside and ourside of the house).  The most outside activity is on one side of the house where i typically first hear a mouse in the bulkhead. We have plugged certain areas with copper mesh and thought the problem was solved until last night when i heard a mouse up there again. 

Can i use an infrared camera to identify a penetration to the ouside of the house that may be in that bulkhead or behind a finished wall in the basement?  Where can i get one and how do i use it?

any other suggestions?

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On ‎8‎/‎7‎/‎2016 at 1:44 PM, Uruk-Hai said:

Ok, I think my hot water heater is a goner. Any suggestions? I have a fairly flexible - but not unlimited - budget. How are the tankless units?

I went tankless when we built this........love it to death.  if I don't need to have 75 gallons of water stuck in my attic, ready to flood me, I am fine with that. 

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On 8/10/2016 at 4:26 PM, Chemical X said:

I went tankless when we built this........love it to death.  if I don't need to have 75 gallons of water stuck in my attic, ready to flood me, I am fine with that. 

Can you tell a difference in efficiency? By the way, my "goner" HWH started working again the day after I posted. I dunno what's going on, but I'm gonna figure on replacing it by fall anyway.

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Let's talk kitchen counter tops. Mine are builder-grade laminate, light-colored, and about 13 years old. They're showing their age and wear.

I've only got about 27 sq ft to cover (that includes the sink, so actually less), so I'd like something fairly nice but, above all, durable and that won't stain. There are approximately eleventy billion options out there and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. A friend recommended silestone.

Thoughts?

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3 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Can you tell a difference in efficiency? By the way, my "goner" HWH started working again the day after I posted. I dunno what's going on, but I'm gonna figure on replacing it by fall anyway.

I am no expert, but from a cost perspective, the tankless is on demand and uses gas, WH is likely electric coiled, constantly running to keep heated water available.  it takes me about 10 seconds to get hot water, not instant like WH, but I don't notice.  takes up less space and the thermostat is easily adjustable.

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4 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Let's talk kitchen counter tops. Mine are builder-grade laminate, light-colored, and about 13 years old. They're showing their age and wear.

I've only got about 27 sq ft to cover (that includes the sink, so actually less), so I'd like something fairly nice but, above all, durable and that won't stain. There are approximately eleventy billion options out there and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. A friend recommended silestone.

Thoughts?

that is a small space, go to a granite yard, they should have a leftover they are looking to dump.  win win and wala!

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4 minutes ago, Binky The Doormat said:

 

UH - Dan is right.  Just do it.  With that amount, it isn't going to cost an arm and a leg either.  

Any idea what granite goes for installed per sq ft? I tried checking some on-line sites, but they want more info than I want to give right now just to get a price.

eta: I'm just trying to get an order of magnitude. I know there are variables. 

Edited by Uruk-Hai
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41 minutes ago, Chemical X said:

I am no expert, but from a cost perspective, the tankless is on demand and uses gas, WH is likely electric coiled, constantly running to keep heated water available.  it takes me about 10 seconds to get hot water, not instant like WH, but I don't notice.  takes up less space and the thermostat is easily adjustable.

I live alone and am gone 12 hours a day, so I'm thinking on-demand is tailor-made for me. Plus, my morning routine makes the 10 second wait for heating a non-issue.

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8 minutes ago, Binky The Doormat said:

I just looked up the Baltimore area and got this.

It looks like you could get away with $1200 or maybe less.  

Perfect. So, sell me on granite. Just anecdotal, but I've heard from friends over the last couple of years that they don't like it. I'm fully aware that it may just a contrarian view (knowing said friends makes me want to double down on this), but is there some kind of care of trap door I should watch out for?

I'm also gonna get a new sink. Right now, I have a stainless steel 50/50 double, which absolutely sucks. You can't put a big stock pot or pan in either side. I'm going to go with a 75/25, but what material?

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2 minutes ago, Senor Schmutzig said:

Not a homeowner yet but hopefully within a year. We are in the process of building. My current project is getting the final plans through the city permit process. Ugh. What a pain in the ###. 

Not sure where you are, but there are pros who will run your permits through. I have a friend who does it in MD. It'll cost a couple grand, but that would be worth it for me.

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23 minutes ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Not sure where you are, but there are pros who will run your permits through. I have a friend who does it in MD. It'll cost a couple grand, but that would be worth it for me.

We have a business partner that has built in the area before as well as a GC that is managing the project for us and is also familiar with the process. It's Miami so it's a special kind of governmental control that has to be navigated. Being a gringo in a spanish-dominated bureaucracy doesn't help so a lot of it is being left to our GC. 

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Just now, Senor Schmutzig said:

We have a business partner that has built in the area before as well as a GC that is managing the project for us and is also familiar with the process. It's Miami so it's a special kind of governmental control that has to be navigated. Being a gringo in a spanish-dominated bureaucracy doesn't help so a lot of it is being left to our GC. 

I have a sister company in Miami and it's not just the government or you being a gringo that controls who gets what, and when. NYC ain't got nothing on South Florida when it comes to the mob.

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1 hour ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Perfect. So, sell me on granite. Just anecdotal, but I've heard from friends over the last couple of years that they don't like it. I'm fully aware that it may just a contrarian view (knowing said friends makes me want to double down on this), but is there some kind of care of trap door I should watch out for?

I'm also gonna get a new sink. Right now, I have a stainless steel 50/50 double, which absolutely sucks. You can't put a big stock pot or pan in either side. I'm going to go with a 75/25, but what material?

 
 

Sink - we have always had stainless, don't love it, but it's pretty easy to maintain.  A lot of people like the big farmhouse 1 basin sinks - they look awesome, but I want someplace to rinse stuff off without getting the soapy water diluted.  

Granite - Ours has been easy to maintain.  It's dark with lots of "stuff" in it, so it hides stuff (probably too well).  Breeze to maintain.  Got to seal it once a year ...and we haven't been great about that.  It is a porous material so you do have to be a little careful if you get a really light color I guess.  

ETA:  sealing it is no big deal, its just a spray that you wipe on, leave and wipe off.  

Edited by Binky The Doormat
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1 hour ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Any idea what granite goes for installed per sq ft? I tried checking some on-line sites, but they want more info than I want to give right now just to get a price.

eta: I'm just trying to get an order of magnitude. I know there are variables. 

I'd guess $30-$50 Sq ft depending on style you pick and what kind of edges.  We got the standard edge and had a few chips so I'd recommend at least a rounded/beveled edge.  Sink install was done by then too. Big stainless Basin style 

 

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8 minutes ago, Binky The Doormat said:

Sink - we have always had stainless, don't love it, but it's pretty easy to maintain.  A lot of people like the big farmhouse 1 basin sinks - they look awesome, but I want someplace to rinse stuff off without getting the soapy water diluted.  

Granite - Ours has been easy to maintain.  It's dark with lots of "stuff" in it, so it hides stuff (probably too well).  Breeze to maintain.  Got to seal it once a year ...and we haven't been great about that.  It is a porous material so you do have to be a little careful if you get a really light color I guess.  

ETA:  sealing it is no big deal, its just a spray that you wipe on, leave and wipe off.  

Wait I need to seal it :oldunsure:

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9 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

Let's talk kitchen counter tops. Mine are builder-grade laminate, light-colored, and about 13 years old. They're showing their age and wear.

I've only got about 27 sq ft to cover (that includes the sink, so actually less), so I'd like something fairly nice but, above all, durable and that won't stain. There are approximately eleventy billion options out there and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. A friend recommended silestone.

Thoughts?

I agree with your friend. Any Quartz product is best imo. Silestone, caesarstone, etc. no maintenance and more durable than granite. 

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On August 9, 2016 at 6:55 AM, Leeroy Jenkins said:

So I discovered a wet spot in my basement carpet. It was directly under a vent in my bulkhead. There is no plumbing above and this is the last vent in the line. It was 99 outside most of that week and the ac was constantly running. So condensation buildup dripping. 

My hvac guy agreed and thinks that whoever finished the basement and cut into the ductwork did a poor job installing and insulating (if any was done). He also stated that it is possible that there is hot air from the outside getting into the bulkhead. 

That comment set off a lightbulb. I have had a mouse problem in that same bulkhead and believe they are somehow getting into the house from that area. 

Ive had exterminators here every few months and we have bait stations in the bulkhead (and other areas inside and ourside of the house).  The most outside activity is on one side of the house where i typically first hear a mouse in the bulkhead. We have plugged certain areas with copper mesh and thought the problem was solved until last night when i heard a mouse up there again. 

Can i use an infrared camera to identify a penetration to the ouside of the house that may be in that bulkhead or behind a finished wall in the basement?  Where can i get one and how do i use it?

any other suggestions?

Can you sprayfoam around any penetrations?

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@Uruk-Hai, where do you live? MD, right? I have a granite guy I can PM to you. Lowest price around (by far), OG edges included as well as a sink. I did my fairly large kitchen with a big island for something like $3300 and my bar in the basement for $2700. I referred him to a few people and they have been super appreciative. Let me know if you're interested. 

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Just now, avoiding injuries said:

@Uruk-Hai, where do you live? MD, right? I have a granite guy I can PM to you. Lowest price around (by far), OG edges included as well as a sink. I did my fairly large kitchen with a big island for something like $3300 and my bar in the basement for $2700. I referred him to a few people and they have been super appreciative. Let me know if you're interested. 

I'm from Maryland, av, but live over in western VA nowadays. Besides being a couple hours away from my family, the thing I miss most about living here is the dearth of options for stuff like this (it's REALLY rural where I live). But, if your guy is hungry, I'm more than happy to talk to him. Honestly, it's probably a half-day job at most.

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2 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

I'm from Maryland, av, but live over in western VA nowadays. Besides being a couple hours away from my family, the thing I miss most about living here is the dearth of options for stuff like this (it's REALLY rural where I live). But, if your guy is hungry, I'm more than happy to talk to him. Honestly, it's probably a half-day job at most.

Don't think it would work. He's the cheapest because he does SO much volume. 

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I grabbed a stool sample, but my weather far exceeds chemistry here.  fescue doesn't regenerate, creating more issues.  the heat and humidity are a lethal combo for fescue, you water and the humidity creates a fungus, guaranteed.  no water, no lawn.

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On August 13, 2016 at 4:20 PM, johnnyrock62000 said:

I agree with your friend. Any Quartz product is best imo. Silestone, caesarstone, etc. no maintenance and more durable than granite. 

I have Cambria Quartz for my office desktop and love it.  Granite is cheaper, but requires a little maintenance for a kitchen.  I am sold on manufactured stone.  Hth.

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So in the process of getting our basement finished.  I contracted out for most of it.  I'm handling all the techie stuff (Home Theater, networking, etc).  Since we're doing it, we were going to have a water filtration system installed too.  When the plumber looked at our well pressure tank, he noted some rust spots on it and recommended we replace it.  I tend to agree with him, BUT, I feel like the price he quoted is bananas high.  $2,500 to remove the old 47 gallon pressure tank and replace it.  How can it cost that much?  The tanks are only like $300...can't cost more than $700 to put that it.  Call it an even $1,000.  Has anyone had this done recent?

 

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So I know this is something I can do myself but just don't have the time right now

What would you think a reasonable quote would be for the following including materials.

Replace 2 transom windows.  One windo is a basic 36 inch window over my front door.

The back window is a specialty it's over french doors, I thin i's 6 feet long.  I know prior a price on that window was ~ $400

Remove and replace my brick molding around the front and back doors.  This includes replacing the door bell button and around the storm door and 

Repainting the trims.  Getting Nylon over wood.

I know what to do and pretty sure I'm capable but a "friend" is going to do it for me.

Just want and idea

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13 minutes ago, VA703 said:

had hoa install a couple new trees. should I just be watering these a few times a week when there's a drought or should I bust out some miracle grow

Good time of year to plant trees - I planted mine in the spring and it was rough going through the mid-summer drought.  Yours will have only a few weeks before cooler temps set in, but a while before winter.

Re. watering - No need for miracle grow.  Just do a DEEP watering 1x week if you don't get rain.  Set a drip hose around the base of the root ball and run it for 45 minutes or so.

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37 minutes ago, Fat Nick said:

Good time of year to plant trees - I planted mine in the spring and it was rough going through the mid-summer drought.  Yours will have only a few weeks before cooler temps set in, but a while before winter.

Re. watering - No need for miracle grow.  Just do a DEEP watering 1x week if you don't get rain.  Set a drip hose around the base of the root ball and run it for 45 minutes or so.

our previous tree died from some type of sickness. hoping this one survives

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7 hours ago, Binky The Doormat said:

Who did the testing for you?

I had the local university do it for me.  Like $15 a shot (I did 3 samples).  I then had this forum analyze the results and make specific recommendations.

 

This site (fbg.com) is a bunch of people way too interested in fantasy football.  This other site is the equivalent, but for lawns

http://aroundtheyard.com/forum.html

They want you to use their lab so they can interpret it easily, so you should do that.  They are a little more expensive, but at $25 a sample very reasonable if it makes your lawn maintenance-free

http://www.loganlabs.com/get-started.html

 

Nice people over there

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1 hour ago, Fat Nick said:
1 hour ago, VA703 said:

had hoa install a couple new trees. should I just be watering these a few times a week when there's a drought or should I bust out some miracle grow

Good time of year to plant trees - I planted mine in the spring and it was rough going through the mid-summer drought.  Yours will have only a few weeks before cooler temps set in, but a while before winter.

Re. watering - No need for miracle grow.  Just do a DEEP watering 1x week if you don't get rain.  Set a drip hose around the base of the root ball and run it for 45 minutes or so.

I'd use one of those "watering doughnuts" or whatever they're called....fill it up and it waters for a couple hours, nice and deep....something like this (though this is one that sits up around the trunk)

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1 hour ago, The Commish said:

I'd use one of those "watering doughnuts" or whatever they're called....fill it up and it waters for a couple hours, nice and deep....something like this (though this is one that sits up around the trunk)

I've used one of those too - I think mine is called a "Gator Bag."  They work fine too.  I guess I just found it easier to leave the hose run across my lawn and just turn it on as needed vs. dragging the hose out and filling it up all the time.  My trees were 200'+ from the nearest faucet though. 

 

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2 hours ago, VA703 said:

our previous tree died from some type of sickness. hoping this one survives

What type of tree if you don't mind me asking?  I'm just starting to try and figure out what kind of trees seem to have issues and why, so I'm curious.

I have a purple plum that's getting destroyed by Japanese Beetles, and a flowering cherry that consistently has some kind of leaf fungus.  I started treating both this year - The plum looks as bad as it did last year - 2/3 of leaves are full of holes.  The cherry still has its leaves, but they're full of yellow spots - it's an improvement as last year by this time, the leaves would be mostly gone.

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12 minutes ago, Fat Nick said:

I've used one of those too - I think mine is called a "Gator Bag."  They work fine too.  I guess I just found it easier to leave the hose run across my lawn and just turn it on as needed vs. dragging the hose out and filling it up all the time.  My trees were 200'+ from the nearest faucet though. 

 

We just moved into our home in January that we built.  I was cleaning out a drawer (the "junk" drawer that the builder left all of the appliance manuals, etc in) and came across the instructions from the landscaping company that did our house.  In the watering details, they said to NOT leave a hose on the tree or "trickle water" it at all.  They said that newly planted trees MUST be given direct stream watering (meaning hard stream).  Not sure why, but that's what it said.  These aren't juvenile trees (our river birch is 14 ft) so maybe there is a difference in care for that reason.  I dunno.

ETA:  This was the first I'd ever heard of where trickle watering was discouraged.  Anyone know why that may be?

Edited by doowain
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On 8/13/2016 at 10:49 AM, Senor Schmutzig said:

Not a homeowner yet but hopefully within a year. We are in the process of building. My current project is getting the final plans through the city permit process. Ugh. What a pain in the ###. 

how has it been working with your architect? any negatives so far? positives? TIA.

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27 minutes ago, doowain said:

We just moved into our home in January that we built.  I was cleaning out a drawer (the "junk" drawer that the builder left all of the appliance manuals, etc in) and came across the instructions from the landscaping company that did our house.  In the watering details, they said to NOT leave a hose on the tree or "trickle water" it at all.  They said that newly planted trees MUST be given direct stream watering (meaning hard stream).  Not sure why, but that's what it said.  These aren't juvenile trees (our river birch is 14 ft) so maybe there is a difference in care for that reason.  I dunno.

ETA:  This was the first I'd ever heard of where trickle watering was discouraged.  Anyone know why that may be?

Could it have to do with mold, maybe? Not letting things dry out?

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On 8/13/2016 at 10:24 AM, Binky The Doormat said:

 

On 8/13/2016 at 9:07 AM, Dan Lambskin said:

Just get granite like everyone else

 

UH - Dan is right.  Just do it.  With that amount, it isn't going to cost an arm and a leg either.  

 

or marble, like all of my richie-rich clients.

and then be prepared to see very water drop for the rest of your life... even after sealing twice a year. (but that's what the housekeeper is for, right?)

 

I like granite- prefer the natural feel and look of it to caesarstone/etc... but the latter is really hassle-free. I haven't seen any long-term maintenance issues with granite either- but it's a little bit more work.

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40 minutes ago, Fat Nick said:

What type of tree if you don't mind me asking?  I'm just starting to try and figure out what kind of trees seem to have issues and why, so I'm curious.

I have a purple plum that's getting destroyed by Japanese Beetles, and a flowering cherry that consistently has some kind of leaf fungus.  I started treating both this year - The plum looks as bad as it did last year - 2/3 of leaves are full of holes.  The cherry still has its leaves, but they're full of yellow spots - it's an improvement as last year by this time, the leaves would be mostly gone.

emerald ash tree

Emerald ash borer bug killed them
Edited by VA703
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