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Thread: So I woke up on Saturday and bought a house.

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2019-11-20 15:55:35
We had a 1,000-year flood resulting in all sorts of damage to the city's water infrastructure and buildings by the creeks.

Our house seemed to come away unscathed, with just a few weeks of brown water to deal with. However, our foundation has a broken joist that is held up by a jack near the center of the house. The center of the crawlspace dropped a few inches, pulling an HVAC vent away from the bathroom, and lowering the jack which caused the bathroom support to sag a little.

I eventually figured out the HVAC problem after a few days/weeks and got under the house to assess the damage. We made a call to have the HVAC repaired and then got working on quotes and saving for some type of foundation repair.

While we were in the middle of the flood, our 1st wedding anniversary passed and we ate our left-over cake. It was nearly as good as it was a year ago, and we'd wished we'd saved more. It was so damn good. Almond cake with almond frosting, if I remember correctly.

Last edited by BenFenner on 2020-07-27 at 08-29-39.
2019-11-20 15:59:34
After The Great Flood of 2015, we decided having a dehumidifier would be a good idea.
We have 1,100 ft² and have been very happy with this Danby unit designed for a 4,500 ft² space (riiiiiiight).
As usual, I did a good bit of research before purchasing.

2019-11-22 17:43:26
It had been a little over 6 years since we bought our first home, and I finally got a garage (glorified carport with no doors) to help continue to work on my project cars.
It's been very nice, but while it used to have some semblance of lighting, it hasn't worked since we moved in. There are remnants of 1950s knob-in-tube wiring in the garage, but the current stuff looks to maybe be from the 1980s or a bit later.
Your classic motion sensors behind incandescent bulbs.

Someone somewhere along the way spliced into a 15-amp flood light off of the back of the house and ran wire to the garage from it. This made the garage electricals controlled by a switch in the house, assuming it worked.
Everything about this non-working setup annoyed me, and I have had plans to improve the situation for a long time. In the meantime I'd made due with an extension cord from the house (that I could not run my compressor off of) and flashlights! I was limited on budget at the time, so this won't be up to the standards of most I'm sure. It is the best I could justify at the time, and having any lights and outlets in the garage would be a HUGE improvement over the previous situation.

I ended up re-installing the original floodlights on the back of the house and adding a dedicated 20-amp circuit for the garage. I'm still running it over-head (not to code I don't think) but such is life. The wire running over-head is 20-amp capable and UV-ready so I'm good there. This is my first AC home wiring job (endless experience with DC stuff), and once I figured out everything should be in parallel, I was off to the races.
I have three strategic outlets now in the garage (only the first one has 20-amp wiring running to it to save money) which are always powered. I also have a total of 7 cheap, Chinese, LED floodlights (4 inside and 3 weather-resistant outside) that run through a 15-amp switch in the garage.

I know this is a completely janky setup for some, but it is miles better than what I had and is safe enough for the girls I go out with. As long as someone doesn't try to draw 20-amps from the rear two outlets everything will be fine. I forget the amp calculations for the LEDs, but I think all told they consume ~4 amps or so when on, giving me plenty of headroom for typical 15-amp stuff.

This setup has been going for 4 years now, trouble free. I'm currently planning/saving for the next stage in my life, so I'm not sure what other changes I'll make before moving or building from scratch.

This is the first round of pictures from this home improvement job. I'll try to get the next round hosted soon.

Pics (many more in album linked above):

Last edited by BenFenner on 2019-11-30 at 08-31-37.
2019-11-23 17:32:59
Originally Posted by BenFenner
We had a 1,000-year flood...
Originally Posted by BenFenner
I eventually figured out the HVAC problem after a few days/weeks and got under the house to assess the damage

Here are the pics from checking out under the house. Including pics from underneath of the cardboard/foam insulation repair job I did recently.
The HVAC vent to the bathroom pulled away, and you'll see the jack holding up the failed joist, which also dropped some.

We've scheduled the simple HVAC repair and are figuring out what we want to do about the foundation issue.


2019-11-24 08:32:37
Since I've been under the house, I got the bug to insulate the hot water pipes.
Back at my old apartment this worked wonders for energy savings and such. Those were copper pipes though, and these galvanized steel pipes (or whatever they are) did not benefit as much.

2019-11-25 08:55:26
Originally Posted by BenFenner
Since I've been under the house, I got the bug to insulate the hot water pipes

One of the first things I did after we bought our place was insulate the pipes for both the heating system and domestic hot water. Every little bit helps.
2019-12-10 14:07:16
The city replaced our utility pole for some reason. I had them disconnect the AT&T phone hardline at the pole, so we no longer have that running over our back yard, nor their box on the side of our house. feelsgoodman.jpg

2019-12-13 06:54:00
There were some large tree limbs threatening the driveway and a smaller one threatening our power line so I got to work on that.

As usual, I'm trying to save money during this stage in my life so I can live much better later on. With that in mind I wanted to figure out an inexpensive way to take care of these limbs myself with safely as a top priority.
I came up with an idea to use a hand chain saw ($12) and a 500' length of para-cord ($7) to get the job done.
I would tie one end of the cord to to chain, pack the chain into its carrying pouch, and toss it up over the limb in question. This usually took many tries, but eventually I would get it and feed cord out until the saw came back to me. I'd then tie the cord to the other end of the hand saw creating a loop with the saw in the mix. I'd then slide the loop until the saw got up to the branch. Now this is where things got a little annoying.
The saw only has blades on one side. If anyone knows of a dual-sided hand chain saw, please let me know! If the correct side did not contact the branch, I'd have to fiddle with things for a while to eventually get it flipped over and sawing properly. Once that happened though the saw made quick work of the branch and I was well clear when it fell.

We burn wood in our fireplace, so I chopped up the branches with the larger stuff going in the wood carrier under the tarp to dry and the smaller kindling going into a storage bench we keep in our Florida room.

The clean-up sequence of pictures it oddly satisfying in that oddly satisfying YouTube video way.

I'm particularly proud of the inexpensive and safe technique I came up with myself (although no doubt I'm not the first to do this) and also catching a picture of one of the branches falling since I was the only one doing the work and operating the camera.

Going through the pictures it seemed like a bit of a stop-motion animation at some points, so I put together a video of the sequence to save everyone the hassle of looking through dozens of nearly-identical images. Don't get used to that, I'll be back to my normal album-only posts next, and for quite a while.

Last edited by BenFenner on 2019-12-13 at 06-57-10.
2020-05-05 11:18:26
We had a little leak in the roof that needed fixing. Turns out is was one of the vent boots, so we had them all replaced and the crew found some holes to seal up as well.

2020-05-09 21:24:50
Soon after the family left for the winter holidays the hot water heater stopped working.
At least it waited until they were gone.

After a couple days I got to diagnosing the problem and was able to determine the thermocouple was faulty using some research and a multimeter.
~$8.00 at Lowe's and we were back in business.

I shudder to think what it would cost a normal family (no one handy around) to repair in this situation. I bet with the age of our unit we'd have been upsold to something new.

Last edited by BenFenner on 2020-05-09 at 21-58-01.
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