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Thread: Home Improvements

  1. #126
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol View post
    Anyone have experience owning a tankless water heater? Around here a standard gas 40 gal/ 12 yr guarantee is $500 plus ~$220 for installation. According to what I've read it will save you aboue 7% on your utility bill.

    A tankless water heater runs about $1000 plus $200 for the venting. I'm not sure about the installation costs (probably a bit more because of the addtional venting). According to what I've read it will save you about 30% on your utility bills.

    We are sans water heater at the moment so I need one sooner rather than later but I want to make sure I make a smart investment and a "green" one if possible.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Experiences?

    oh, also there is a $300 tax credit for the tankless, none for the storage.
    We looked at tankless heaters but ended up going with solar. Florida, duh. No cost after the heater is installed, unless we're really cloudy for 2-3 days, then the electric will kick in. The heater is twice the size of the old one, so no chance of running out of hot water on a normal morning. I think we ended up with $2000 in tax credits between the feds and the state of FL.

  2. #127
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    I need to look into replacement windows this spring or fall. Mine are original and drafty as all get out. I have a typical early 1970's ranch house, double-hung wood windows with storms...

    In trying to figure out replacements, what should I look for? Is there a difference (in quality, etc.) between vinyl or wood? Should I stick with double hung, or go with casement? It's just me and the kiddo, so I'm looking for something low maintenance and easy to take care of. Any thoughts would be appreciates

  3. #128
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Thanks, wahday, for your advice. Here's a pic of some more detail. See how the coating is pulling off the particle board? Urgh!!!

    Hmm, I don't quite know what to make of that...

    From the pic, it almost looks like heat damage (as in the vinyl coating heated and started to shrink up and pull away from the particle board). Is that possible? This cabinet doesn't sit near the stove, does it?

    Otherwise, you might also employ the old Gorilla Glue or similar adhesive. To get it well adhered, I would use a clamp (a "parallel" clamp). Apply the adhesive along the edge of the cabinet, place a block of wood (2X4 or smaller) over top of the strip to be adhered and then put the clamp on the whole deal. The clamp will extend across the face of the cabinet so it is holding the block (and vinyl edging) in place on the one side and is secured to the side of the door on the other.

    That's so much harder to explain in words than to illustrate...Does that make any sense?

    Personally, I might be hesitant about heating up the coating. I would be afraid it would change shape or shrink...

    Also, I would fix this peeling before trying to do any of the painting (and surface prep that goes with it). Certainly DON'T try and remove all the coating like this. Most of it is probably impossible to remove and you'll get halfway done, curse me, and then come to make me pay for my bad advice...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  4. #129
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    .... This cabinet doesn't sit near the stove, does it?
    It's immediately adjacent to the stove.

    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    ....Otherwise, you might also employ the old Gorilla Glue or similar adhesive. To get it well adhered, I would use a clamp (a "parallel" clamp). Apply the adhesive along the edge of the cabinet, place a block of wood (2X4 or smaller) over top of the strip to be adhered and then put the clamp on the whole deal. The clamp will extend across the face of the cabinet so it is holding the block (and vinyl edging) in place on the one side and is secured to the side of the door on the other....
    Brilliant!!! That's the solution!!! I'm off to Lowe's during my lunch hour tomorrow for the clamp!! Thanks a lot.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  5. #130
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    One clamp will never do, best to get a bucket full, think of alternate uses

  6. #131
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    .... employ the old Gorilla Glue...(and) use a clamp....
    Just here to report complete success using G-Glue and a clamp. The vinyl coating the cabinets did shrink but I can cover that small edge with paint. Thanks again.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  7. #132
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Here's another view.


    It's a long cable with a power plug at one end. I installed it myself using plastic gutter clips (Xmas light hangers) which slipped under the shingles during the chilly weather chosen for the first install. The cable came with metal clips, and they require that the shingles flex a bit. In a couple months...

    When things thawed again (Christmas week) I got back up and did the zig-zag. The cable dead end hangs out the bottom of the down spout; it runs up, across in the gutter, does the Vs, and ends on the left side of the porch. Not shown is the extension cords running to the outdoor plug. I have an electrician supposed to come install its own plug later this week.)

    The cable stays at about 50-60 degrees when plugged in (at least going by my hand temperature). Just warm enough to keep a dam and icicles from forming.

    My father in the "D" area has a flat roof. Such a good idea...not.
    Thank you, Veloise! I'm going to have my handyman install this stuff on the front roof and gutters and on the back gutters (I won't put holes in my rubber roof!) this summer. I'm going to have an electrician in to put in an auxiliary circuit box and put electric heaters in the sun room, so he can do a plug out front, too!

    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    I need to look into replacement windows this spring or fall. Mine are original and drafty as all get out. I have a typical early 1970's ranch house, double-hung wood windows with storms...

    In trying to figure out replacements, what should I look for? Is there a difference (in quality, etc.) between vinyl or wood? Should I stick with double hung, or go with casement? It's just me and the kiddo, so I'm looking for something low maintenance and easy to take care of. Any thoughts would be appreciates
    I would go with wood windows with the exteriors clad in aluminum or vinyl. The interiors are stainable/paintable, and there's much less chance of air leakage because wood windows don't require thermal breaks to prevent the transfer of cold air through the window frame into the house. Installing wood windows correctly is much easier than it is for most vinyl windows; it's a DIY project for somebody who's competent. If a wood window gets broken, you remove it from the sash and take it to the local hardware store or glass shop.

    I have all vinyl windows in my current house (installed by the previous owner). Two of the double hungs leak -- one because of the insulation between the sashes and one because of installation (I sort of fixed it with caulk but I need to do a better job so it looks nicer). One of the casements has broken hardware that I have no idea how to fix -- or even who I would call to fix it: the fasteners that hold the crank to the sash have come loose, so I generally only open it when it's very warm. My vinyl double hung windows seem to be very sensitive to cold and will slip open in cold weather if I don't lock them. The flip open to clean feature is nice, but you can get wood windows like that, too. My vinyl windows are white inside and out, which would be okay if my interior trim was white (it's mostly not). Luckily, they look okay on the exterior of the house because the white sort of "fits".

    Here's advice on windows over sinks: don't get double-hungs because it's virtually impossible for a woman who's not like 6' tall to open and close them easily. If almost 5'4 and I have to stand on a step stool to get them closed tight enough to lock.

  8. #133
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    We found the oddest thing last weekend when RJ was putting in his new plants in the bed outside the pool enclosure. A television cable connection about a foot long, extending from an outside wall which would be behind the master bedroom shower. (It had been hidden behind some vines which we had cleared out).

    Can anyone come up with any reason why the builder/first owner would install a cable connection from an outside wall with no protection from the weather? I'm perplexed.

  9. #134
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    We found the oddest thing last weekend when RJ was putting in his new plants in the bed outside the pool enclosure. A television cable connection about a foot long, extending from an outside wall which would be behind the master bedroom shower. (It had been hidden behind some vines which we had cleared out).

    Can anyone come up with any reason why the builder/first owner would install a cable connection from an outside wall with no protection from the weather? I'm perplexed.
    Is it connected to the neighbor's cable? Maybe he tied in illegally.

  10. #135
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    It has been raining about 7 hours now. I cleared a path from the leaky basement corner to the drain. I am *not* happy but with an 1885 house you deal.

  11. #136
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    Can anyone come up with any reason why the builder/first owner would install a cable connection from an outside wall with no protection from the weather? I'm perplexed.
    There may have been a man cave or hot tub with TV in the back yard at one time. There also may have been a satellite dish in the backyard.

  12. #137
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Has anyone installed a radio fence for their dog? We just purchased an “Invisible Fence” as a DIY Kit. We already had the collar and our dog is trained because my in-laws have this system.

    From what I have read about the system, it appears to be very simple to install and I think that we can install it within a weekend. I see it going as follows:

    • burry the wire
    • cut the driveway
    • lay the wire
    • patch the driveway
    • drill hole into foundation of house
    • run wires
    • wire to transmitter
    • plug in transmitter
    • test system
    • seal hole in foundation
    • dare drunk friends to hold onto collar and walk down driveway
    • Spend two to three weeks training dog to know where the lines are

    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to best install this system?
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  13. #138
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    We found the oddest thing last weekend when RJ was putting in his new plants in the bed outside the pool enclosure.
    That is quite odd. Why would you have a bed outside, and why would RJ put the plants in a bed? I for one would not want to sleep in a soggy poolside bed, nor in a bed full of dirt/leaves.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  14. #139
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Has anyone installed a radio fence for their dog? We just purchased an “Invisible Fence” as a DIY Kit. We already had the collar and our dog is trained because my in-laws have this system.

    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to best install this system?
    Sorry, no clue on that!

    The joys of homeownership.....last month my garage door opener died, last week my sump died and had that replaced....

    I need new gutters but also have a couple layer of shingles on the roof, so basically I'll need that done in the next few years. Same with the windows. Just seems it's neverending!

  15. #140
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I have a small pond in my backyard. For the last couple of years, I've just used an extension cord along the edge of the brick patio to bring electricity to it to run the pump. However, since I'm going to have an electrician in to do other work, I thought that I might put in an underground cable and an outlet near the pond. To save some $$$, I thought I'd bury the cable myself. It will be in going through a garden bed along the side of the house and then the patio. I thought I'd put it fairly close to the the foundation and the patio so it will be easy to find in the future.

    How deep does the cable have to be buried? I haven't been able to find the buried cable between the house and the garage (not that I looked, but I haven't hit anything in my numerous gardening projects!) so it's either underneath the driveway or buried pretty deep!

    I've thought about running the cable through PVC pipe as additional protection from inadvertent gardener faux pas. Any thoughts on this idea?

  16. #141
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I've done this in my backyard. I tried to put the wiring 18"-24" inches under ground although I'm not sure what the suggested standard is. I ran NM wiring through a PVC conduit to the pond. To protect against accidental death, I installed an outdoor GFCI outlet at the house with the NM coming out of it into the conduit. At the pond end of the conduit, I installed a weather resistant electrical box with another GFCI box in a sheltered wood box that blended with the shrubbery. The pond filter was plugged in there. If you're having an electrician do the hook-ups, make sure that he/she approves the way that you bury the wiring in advance, that you use the gauge of wiring that he/she suggests, and that you leave him/her lots of excess wire on either end for his hook-ups.
    Last edited by ofos; 06 Mar 2009 at 12:16 PM. Reason: gender neutrality for electricians
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  17. #142
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Has anyone installed a radio fence for their dog? We just purchased an “Invisible Fence” as a DIY Kit. We already had the collar and our dog is trained because my in-laws have this system.

    From what I have read about the system, it appears to be very simple to install and I think that we can install it within a weekend. I see it going as follows:

    • burry the wire
    • cut the driveway
    • lay the wire
    • patch the driveway
    • drill hole into foundation of house
    • run wires
    • wire to transmitter
    • plug in transmitter
    • test system
    • seal hole in foundation
    • dare drunk friends to hold onto collar and walk down driveway
    • Spend two to three weeks training dog to know where the lines are

    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to best install this system?
    You basically got it. I used a gas power edger to cut the ground to place the wire in. I used an expansion joint/crack and clear sealant in the driveway so I wouldn't have to cut the driveway. If your wire gets too close to itself (like at the corner) it might cause interference, so make wide turns. PM me if you have any other questions. Not hard to do, it took me a total of 3 hours.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  18. #143
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Has anyone installed a radio fence for their dog? We just purchased an “Invisible Fence” as a DIY Kit. We already had the collar and our dog is trained because my in-laws have this system.

    From what I have read about the system, it appears to be very simple to install and I think that we can install it within a weekend. I see it going as follows:

    • burry the wire
    • cut the driveway
    • lay the wire
    • patch the driveway
    • drill hole into foundation of house
    • run wires
    • wire to transmitter
    • plug in transmitter
    • test system
    • seal hole in foundation
    • dare drunk friends to hold onto collar and walk down driveway
    • Spend two to three weeks training dog to know where the lines are

    Does anyone have any tips or suggestions on how to best install this system?
    My father had one of these. The control unit was in the garage, just inside the door, so they ran the wire to the control box through a small hole in the garage wall down near the cement pad the garage rested on (ala cable wire). It then ran up the wall inside of the garage o the unit. That sounds easier than drilling a hole in your foundation...

    I think you should make the drunk friend WEAR the collar personally. Its a lot harder to get off that way...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  19. #144
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I have a small pond in my backyard. For the last couple of years, I've just used an extension cord along the edge of the brick patio to bring electricity to it to run the pump. However, since I'm going to have an electrician in to do other work, I thought that I might put in an underground cable and an outlet near the pond. To save some $$$, I thought I'd bury the cable myself. It will be in going through a garden bed along the side of the house and then the patio. I thought I'd put it fairly close to the the foundation and the patio so it will be easy to find in the future.

    How deep does the cable have to be buried? I haven't been able to find the buried cable between the house and the garage (not that I looked, but I haven't hit anything in my numerous gardening projects!) so it's either underneath the driveway or buried pretty deep!

    I've thought about running the cable through PVC pipe as additional protection from inadvertent gardener faux pas. Any thoughts on this idea?
    Don't run standard electric cable (romex) without a conduit! It's a code violation and the rubber sheath on the outside will degrade over time exposing the copper wire to the elements. Pull the wire first, then insert your conduit piece by piece (it's easier than fishing the wire through the already-joined conduit.

    Funny story: when we bought our house we noticed the circuit was tripping for our bedroom night after night. It was happening about 5.30 in the morning and I couldn't think of anything that could be causing it. When the weekend rolled around, I traced the circuit from our bedroom down to the circuit panel. The house had the old knob and tube wiring. In the middle of the line there was a flying splice where the previous owner had simply cut the knob and tube and spliced 12-2 romex (no box, cover, or grounding screw). That line ran outside. I followed it and it served the pump on the ragged old pond in the backyard. Turns out he had merely scratched the surface of the yard, laid the romex, and covered it up. By the time we bought the house the sheath had failed and the copper wires were exposed. When the sun came up and a little dew developed on the grass, it caused the circuit breaker to trip. I fixed that right quick!

  20. #145
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    ... radio fence...
    • dare drunk friends to hold onto collar and walk down driveway
    ...
    I would like to witness this part once it starts happening.

  21. #146
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    I would like to witness this part once it starts happening.
    My brother attached it to his leg and walked over the line. We about died laughing when starting screaming and hopping on one leg. The best part was that he didn't move past the shock zone. He just kept hoping on one leg trying to get the collar off.

    We still laugh about that one. He was sober, but he was a teenager so hence the idiocy.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  22. #147
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Radio Fence Update

    I put in a request on Thursday for Miss Dig to come out and mark lines as it would suck to cut something that should not get cut. They have yet to come out.

    I installed everything else in our basement. I wanted to put the control box right on this large wood panel which houses the security system panel, breaker panels, and a few other things, however there was no outlet to pug it in. So I put it in another temporary basement location and I will have a couple of outlets installed when I redo the kitchen. I did run the wire from the desired location to the exit point in anticipation of moving it with minimal effort.

    The interior installation was a snap. I even found a place to run the wire out side through what was a phone trunk line when the house was used as a lawyer’s office! It is amazing how much air has been getting in! No more though.

    The DIY kit includes a concrete blade for my circular saw and I am just going to open up a joint a bit more and run the line. It will get a bit more complicated by the front door as I will need to make an arc in the concrete to prevent the wire from interfering with its self as it needs to turn the corner from the driveway to the front yard.

    I think that the dog will catch on very quickly one we get the system up and running. She is use to the system at my in-laws house and it will be the same collar. The trouble will come from the homeless people who sleep under the porch as they use to cut right along the fence and the dog will now have access there!

    I have also been looking at landscaping possibilities for the front yard and have been toying with the idea of buying them and planting them in the back yard in anticipation of having to paint the house early this summer. That way I can transplant them in the fall, get the early season discount, and will not have to clean paint chips out of the hydrangeas!
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  23. #148
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Before - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - After

    (the window with the shutters, on the far right, is no longer blocked up)


    Before - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - After

    The shutters happened tonight. $5 down to the Habitat ReStore. They match the roof.

    Inside, in process - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - and the buried treasure after the tub unit was moved


    Why'd I have this done now? Because if unemployment happens and I'll be spending more time here, I will have an enjoyable bathroom!

    (NOT moving back to the Land of the Ugliest Strip Malls)
    Last edited by Veloise; 11 Apr 2009 at 11:41 PM.

  24. #149
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Why'd I have this done now? Because if unemployment happens and I'll be spending more time here, I will have an enjoyable bathroom!

    And your neighbor the pervert will have a free show!
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  25. #150
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    And your neighbor the pervert will have a free show!
    Um, there are these things called window treatments... and blocking the view of what's happening in the repositioned tub is a shower curtain.

    (gonna take more pics)

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