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The Home Owner Thread

Old 07-02-17, 09:39 PM
  #376  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Yup. If you have to beat on doors for business, you either suck or are a scammer. Reputable businesses will have business come to them.
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Old 07-03-17, 12:27 AM
  #377  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

^That and ^^that.

A repairman who is "pretty sure" he can "make this happen" sounds like a con man to me. A good one would be more focused on assuring you his work is good than trying to get paperwork to go through.
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Old 07-03-17, 08:20 AM
  #378  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

I've heard it both ways on online forums. Some roofing companies who follow storms do good work. They save money by buying materials in bulk. They try to get a contract with five or six houses on a block. They have a crew for stripping, who goes to the next house down the street as soon as one roof is cleared, another crew for prep, another crew for laying shingles, and so forth. They can complete several houses a day.

Some companies who follow storms are literally fly by night organizations.

See if you can get an opinion from Sdallnct. He used to be follow storms as an insurance guy.
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Old 07-03-17, 08:37 AM
  #379  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by Deftones View Post
Yup. If you have to beat on doors for business, you either suck or are a scammer. Reputable businesses will have business come to them.
Roofing companies aren't exactly on the forefront of everyone's mind until that emergency hits. Then it's "who do I call?" Sales people can canvas areas that were hit the hardest. Then you have business card in hand and somewhere to start googling for reviews.

Now if we're talking about someone showing up out of the blue when you can't even recall the last hail storm, then yeah, run the other way.
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Old 07-03-17, 11:22 AM
  #380  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

If they work with insurance companies, call your insurance company and see if they have any idea on the quality of work they do.
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Old 07-06-17, 08:30 PM
  #381  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

My AC unit went out today. Got home from work and warm air was blowing inside and the fan wasn't turning outside. My guess is the fan motor or the capacitor. Someone is coming to look at it on Saturday morning. Luckily it's only the low 80s here this weekend.

I really need to get a new unit... this one is 12 years old and so is my furnace. Both units suck and were here when I moved in. I was saving to take the plunge next year, but I might do it now unless it's a really cheap fix.

Any recommendations on good units? Carrier? Trane? I don't know a lot about HVAC since I've only been a homeowner for less than a year. I don't need a high end setup but I don't want the cheapest piece of shit either.
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Old 07-06-17, 08:39 PM
  #382  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by Living Dead View Post
My AC unit went out today. Got home from work and warm air was blowing inside and the fan wasn't turning outside. My guess is the fan motor or the capacitor. Someone is coming to look at it on Saturday morning. Luckily it's only the low 80s here this weekend.

I really need to get a new unit... this one is 12 years old and so is my furnace. Both units suck and were here when I moved in. I was saving to take the plunge next year, but I might do it now unless it's a really cheap fix.

Any recommendations on good units? Carrier? Trane? I don't know a lot about HVAC since I've only been a homeowner for less than a year. I don't need a high end setup but I don't want the cheapest piece of shit either.
It's probably the capacitor. We just had the same problem. The part is only 20 bucks and takes 10 minutes to install. They'll try to rob you blind.
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Old 07-06-17, 08:40 PM
  #383  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Most major name brand units are good now and come with 10 year or longer warranties. We got 2 new Goodman's installed last summer. We got a smokin deal from a website that basically sells them at wholesale and subcontracts the install. For 2 16 seer units (3 ton and 3.5 ton units), we paid about $9200.
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Old 07-06-17, 09:22 PM
  #384  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Yeah, I'm in the same boat. My units are original to the house built in 2004 trying to survive the Texas heat. I have two, one for downstairs and one for up. I started having issues about 2012. It's always been the same issue, either the capacitor or low on refrigerant (which can mean a leak, but not a big one if you're only adding some every few years). It's probably one of those two. If water is draining out of your AC condenser inside it's probably freezing up because it's low on refrigerant. You can take the cover off and see if ice is forming.

They'll probably try to tell you a new system is more cost effective but for some reason I like spending a couple hundred dollars every few years than the 8000 they want to replace a unit.
I usually shut them down by saying we're thinking of moving soon and that gets them off my back. They will give you the yada yada about the refrigerant for your system is only going to be available for so long due to destroying the ozone layer and the part you need is going to be discontinued soon. It's your call but I've probably only spent about 600 bucks in the last 5 years to keep my 13 year old systems going in Texas summers.

Last edited by Barth; 07-06-17 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 07-06-17, 09:36 PM
  #385  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by Living Dead View Post
My AC unit went out today. Got home from work and warm air was blowing inside and the fan wasn't turning outside. My guess is the fan motor or the capacitor. Someone is coming to look at it on Saturday morning. Luckily it's only the low 80s here this weekend.

I really need to get a new unit... this one is 12 years old and so is my furnace. Both units suck and were here when I moved in. I was saving to take the plunge next year, but I might do it now unless it's a really cheap fix.

Any recommendations on good units? Carrier? Trane? I don't know a lot about HVAC since I've only been a homeowner for less than a year. I don't need a high end setup but I don't want the cheapest piece of shit either.
So it became a hot air heater?
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Old 07-06-17, 11:23 PM
  #386  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by Living Dead View Post
My AC unit went out today. Got home from work and warm air was blowing inside and the fan wasn't turning outside. My guess is the fan motor or the capacitor. Someone is coming to look at it on Saturday morning. Luckily it's only the low 80s here this weekend.
If the Freon is too low, the external blower won't turn on even if there is nothing wrong with it. Your capacitor could be bad as others have mentioned, or you could have a Freon leak somewhere.

My home has two AC units. The upstairs unit was low on Freon last year, and after extensive leak checking, the repair company couldn't find any leak, so they re-tightened all the fittings and refilled Freon to the max. They checked again this year and the level was the same after 8 months. The downstairs unit went out this year, and there was a real leak in the evaporator coil, so that had to be replaced.

The point is that there is a big range of possibilities, and you can't know which you have until you troubleshoot. i wouldn't assume that the AC has to be replaced. Find a company that will credit you for the cost of troubleshooting in their charge for replacement, if it comes to that.
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Old 07-07-17, 11:30 AM
  #387  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

I had this problem last year and it turned out to be the Fan motor in the outside AC unit. Quick fix but not really cheap.
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Old 07-07-17, 02:13 PM
  #388  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by DaveWadding View Post
It's probably the capacitor. We just had the same problem. The part is only 20 bucks and takes 10 minutes to install. They'll try to rob you blind.
Yeah, the same thing happened to ours at the start of a holiday weekend a few years ago. Rather than wait a few days for Grainger to be open again, I found a guy on craigslist selling off old capacitor inventory for $10 each. It took longer to go pick it up than it did to replace it.

I have also had to replace the external fuses and the fuse on the blower's circuit panel (which burned out when our lawn guy nicked a wire with a trimmer) in order to keep that A/C unit running, both of which are cheap and easy fixes. It's over 15 years old now, so it's getting replaced once a more costly fix becomes necessary.
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Old 07-07-17, 03:36 PM
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

About 7 years ago we had to replace our roof mounted, nearly 40 year old heat pump when the one original to the house (built in the '70s) finally reached a point where it wan't repairable because parts were no longer being made. With the help one or two HVAC businesses, but mostly handyman types who knew AC, we had spent the last 20-some years jerry-rigging it to keep it going.

Regardless of the cause of problems, a 12 year old AC unit is going to be less energy efficient than a new one, so you have to figure lower utility bills into a repair vs. replace equation. I'm sure for that reason alone we'll have to replace our current unit sooner or later. When we do I'm going to replace it with a split unit that places the condenser part at ground level.

Another thing is the old things-get-more-expensive-over-time factor. How does a cost of a $200-$600 repair (to keep it going a couple more years) stack up with a probable $10,000+ replace in two years vs. a $8000 replace now plus two years of reduced utility bills. A new unit in two years isn't likely to be substantially more energy efficient than a new unit now.
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Old 07-07-17, 04:47 PM
  #390  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Just curious what your electric bills are like? Even in the summer months, my electric bill peak in the last two years was less than $80/month. The next highest was less than$60/mo. And this was on a 15 plus year old ac unit.
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Old 07-07-17, 04:54 PM
  #391  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

I just got an estimate to replace my furnance/AC. $6500. AC is 3 ton, 13 SEER. Furnace is 80,000 btu. Carrier. Plus a $200 rebate from gas company.

Current system is 30 years old. Still works great except the drain pan under condenser coils keeps overflowing because drains it won't stay unclogged. Plus even though I have it checked out every fall, don't trust it not to gas me in my sleep.

Some kind of regulation went into effect in 2012 and since then parts for older units have skyrocketed. A $30 fan switch will now cost you $150-200.

Changes that have taken place:
Old flues are no longer considered safe, a PVC liner must be installed in flue chimney.
Furnace must be on it's own circuit. There are so many electronic doodads in them now that talk to each other that electrical interference other things on same circuit may cause furnace to shut off immediately after clicking on.
Even if heat exchanger goes bad and leaks CO, a rubber seal prevents the CO from leaking into house.

High efficiency operation, not energy consumption relies on the furnace's ability to draw in air. A PVC line is usually run outside the house so air can be drawn in from outside. If a furnace has several feet of open space around it, it is operating at high efficiency without the outside air source.

I had a fan motor go out on the AC some years ago. There was a loud bang, the fan quit spinning, and the unit would make a humming noise like it was trying to spin. I don't remember if the inside blower continued to blow, I turned everything off immediately. The repair guy was concerned the fan blade might be rusted to the motor and I may have to replace it also at the extra cost of a few hundred dollars. Luckily he was able to separate them.
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Old 11-22-17, 12:45 PM
  #392  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

So, I have a finished basement, where the perimeter walls are painted cinderblock. It's not a terrible look, but I don't think it's a great look, either (the cinderblock look, not the paint). What options do I have for covering or smoothing out the walls, so they don't look like cinderblocks? Besides drywall, which I know would look nice but the mess would be a PITA, the only other alternatives I found were wall panel systems, but those look expensive and have to be installed on a track. My basement has an existing drop ceiling and baseboard heat, so those systems sound like they would be a bigger hassle than drywall.
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Old 11-22-17, 04:55 PM
  #393  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

You could attach furring strips to the cinderblock walls, and then nail panels or drywall to the sticks. I'd take the opportunity to put Styrofoam sheets between the sticks.

You could stucco the cinderblocks.

ETA: If it's painted, you probably can't stucco the wall.

Last edited by Nick Danger; 11-22-17 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 11-22-17, 05:23 PM
  #394  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
You could attach furring strips to the cinderblock walls, and then nail panels or drywall to the sticks. I'd take the opportunity to put Styrofoam sheets between the sticks.
I've got a concrete block basement that has had furring strips and wood paneling placed on top. Thin styrofoam insulation behind the paneling. There's also a single row of red bricks along the base to keep water off the paneling. Any flooding I've had has just been puddles, but at least the paneling isn't rotting out along the bottom.

I'd love something less 70's looking, but the drop ceiling would be a nightmare to take down to replace or cover the paneling. At least it would be a one time thing.

What I'd really like is something to put over the tile floor. Not sure about carpet squares. but since this will eventually house a home theater I need something better than a hard floor.
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Old 11-22-17, 08:20 PM
  #395  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by rw2516 View Post
Some kind of regulation went into effect in 2012 and since then parts for older units have skyrocketed. A $30 fan switch will now cost you $150-200.
Not sure about the electrical components (that part seems odd). But freon types change up sometimes. One type gets phased out (usually an environmental standards thing) and cannot be replaced with a new type. So you need to change out the whole compressor or AC unit.

AC unit at my shop is really old (wouldn't be surprised if it's from the 80's). And it still keeps running. Good thing about old units is there are less proprietary parts (ie circuit boards). So it's just tubing, compressor, relay, etc.
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Old 12-14-17, 12:18 PM
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
You could attach furring strips to the cinderblock walls, and then nail panels or drywall to the sticks. I'd take the opportunity to put Styrofoam sheets between the sticks.

You could stucco the cinderblocks.

ETA: If it's painted, you probably can't stucco the wall.
Using furring strips for paneling is something I've thought of, but I keep wondering if it will overlap my drop ceiling. Of course, I could have the contractor take down the ceiling, then reattach it once the wall is put up, but that's a mess I would rather not deal with. Would there be any moisture issues with wood paneling being in a (mostly) below-grade basement? I don't have any water issues in the basement, but I've read on other forums that wood paneling could absorb moisture over time and gradually warp/rot or cause other issues. Supposedly, there is paneling designed for basements, but I haven't been able to find it, if it exists.
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Old 03-09-18, 12:31 PM
  #397  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Giving this a bump. The nasty weather we have had over the last couple weeks has lead to some basement leaks. It looks like the culprit is a thin crack along the side of our brick front steps where they meet the house. At first look it seems like there is a small gap between the steps and house that was sealed over with a type of caulk/silicone that was painted over. I really don't want to have to rip bricks off to get into it, but I may not have a choice.

What kind of sealer would you recommend? I've been looking at various types of construction sealant/polyurethane/etc.
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Old 08-15-18, 08:38 PM
  #398  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Another bump. One of the springs on my very old garage door snapped, making it a chore to open now. It's the old style, wooden door that tilts up. Last time this happened (20 years ago, maybe??) I got a replacement spring from Home Depot, muscled it in and have been happy ever since. But I guess this style door is no long being supported because the spring I need is no longer available. Anywhere! Were I a more handy individual, I might try to rig up a fix for it. But I'm not. And I'm getting too old to even want to do that kinda crap.

It's time for one o' them new-fangled electric doors! So, I'm going through online sites that do installation to get ideas, but am curious about what material would be best. They offer steel, aluminum, vinyl, wood, etc - and I have no idea what would be best. How does one decide? The door faces west and gets full sun in the afternoon - heating the garage - so I kinda want something that doesn't make that worse. Are these doors insulated? Sadly, I'm not finding these answers on the sites I've hit so far and would prefer to have an idea of what I want before contacting one of them.

Anyone have any experience with this?
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Old 08-15-18, 08:54 PM
  #399  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

You mean like these?

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Doors-Wi...vZbnqtZ1z0vab8

Looks like they're even color-coded. My springs are green.

And I didn't have to muscle them in when I did it fifteen years ago. I turned the nut at the bottom until the springs were loose.
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Old 08-15-18, 09:15 PM
  #400  
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Re: The Home Owner Thread

Mine are a double spring. I've got the part number, which is what I looked for. Found single spring, but not double. But I really need a new door anyway, so this has become the impetus for that. Thanks for the input though!
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