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Old 04-23-2015, 08:12 AM   #21
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Re: "Shoddy Workmanship"

One of the 'joys' I get out of doing work on my 35 year old house is finding original shoddy workmanship that was hidden. Here are a few gems:
- Cigarette butts and Lance Nekot (R) cracker packages jammed under baseboard
- 6 inch hole in drywall behind electric range.
- 6" by 12" hole in floor under vanity

The vanity issue was HUGE. This vanity had a toe kick air vent. Heated and cooled air was supposed to come out from this vent. Instead, the heat duct was blowing into the cavity under the vanity, and most of it was going down the hole into the crawlspace. What a waste. When I fixed that, my heating and cooling bill showed immediate improvement. Especially the cooling. This hole was essentially a "drain" of the cool air for the entire house!

I just shake my head every time I get into a project. The Lance (R) cracker packages are awesome. I've seen them everywhere - attic, wall cavities, buried in the front yard. I'm convinced the original construction guys lived on Lance (R) and Marlboro.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:46 AM   #22
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Since my first house in 1975 I have done all the remodeling, additions and repairs myself. This was mainly because I didn't have the funds to hire someone. I had no training or education in this but eventually got pretty good at it - enough to build a house by myself.

Now I'm too tired and sore to bother although I do miss making plans, swinging a hammer, cutting lumber and experiencing the satisfaction of doing it myself. Fortunately most everything in my present home has been done. Eventually something will need repair but I will hire someone and have the knowledge if it is being done properly and professionally. Other than that I know that when I finally do sell in a decade or more the house will be torn down to make way for another (probably the last holdout) McMansion for the neighborhood.

As much as it is time consuming and disruptive to the household I envy those of you who have these projects to look forward to. Have fun with it.

Cheers!
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:02 AM   #23
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As stated in a previous post, we had an electrician come out yesterday. DW found him on Angie's List, highly rated. We've got a circuit breaker that keeps randomly tripping that controls the garage door and lights, the outside outlets, and the bathrooms (GFI). He went around to all the outlets, reattached the wires using a loop as opposed to the old poke method. On the bathroom GFI the hot wire connection was all melted and nasty looking, so he replaced that. I don't understand how it could be that bad without popping the GFI. My immediate assumption was that that was the problem, and if we hadn't gotten it fixed the house might have burned down. It was all done very professionally and politely, as I've come to expect from Angie's List pros. And since I followed him around watching, now I can do what he did by myself next time.

On the way out he mentioned that there was a wire running from the outside outlet under the ground to our lamp post. He said that if the circuit keeps tripping I should disconnect that, as it might have a short. Well, the circuit's been tripping like mad since then, and I just disconnected the underground wire. We'll see if he is right.

I appreciated the fact that he gave me the information to do something that was in my skill set instead of just "call me and I'll come back". I'm pretty handy, but electricity is my worst subject. Especially once it goes into the wall/ceiling. But I've gotten a lot better, mostly from reading/watching stuff on the web. Youtube is the homeowner handyman's best friend.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:04 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badger View Post

Now I'm too tired and sore to bother although I do miss making plans, swinging a hammer, cutting lumber and experiencing the satisfaction of doing it myself. Fortunately most everything in my present home has been done.
We're coming to the end of our big project list - the master bath in progress - and the hall bath next year. At that point it's all little stuff... and maintenance.

DH has noticed that what used to come quickly and naturally now takes some thought... especially on the plumbing runs. (We're moving things around in the redone master bath.) He says he used to be able to handle it all on the fly and get it right... Now he has to pause, think about it, draw it out, then implement. He attributes it to getting older and not being as quick, mentally. (He was noticing that at work before he retired - could only hold 5-6 project details in his head at a time - where he used to be able to hold the entire project details in his head.... so he'd started to make cheat sheets for himself.)
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:20 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by rodi View Post

DH has noticed that what used to come quickly and naturally now takes some thought... especially on the plumbing runs. (We're moving things around in the redone master bath.) He says he used to be able to handle it all on the fly and get it right... Now he has to pause, think about it, draw it out, then implement. He attributes it to getting older and not being as quick, mentally. (He was noticing that at work before he retired - could only hold 5-6 project details in his head at a time - where he used to be able to hold the entire project details in his head.... so he'd started to make cheat sheets for himself.)
I find this happening to me also on new projects. I added a 220 volt circuit to the garage for my old air compressor and a few new shop lights and found I had to think out the circuits and parts needed and draw them on paper. Years ago, I could go the the Box store and just mentally visualize the job and just pick the parts in a matter of minutes. Not anymore. I am becoming a "list person"!
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:38 AM   #26
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I've always been a list person. At one point I had a list of lists for work.

I've noticed a bit of the decrease in mental acuity myself. I've always been good at basic math, and did sums and such in my head, almost without effort. By the time I got to the checkout line in a grocery store I knew what the total would be, including the tax. Assuming there weren't "by weight" items in the cart.

But now I have to actively think about it before I can do the math in my head. I'm not sure whether it's age or lack of practice. With computers and calculators everywhere I just sort of quit doing it all the time, and now have to put a little effort in. I'm hoping it's the "use it or lose it" theory, as opposed to the "lose it no matter what" option. Time will tell.
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