Monthly Archives: June 2017

Summer Heat and Home Warranties

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The guy who flipped our house was an HVAC guy by trade. I may have mentioned that in an earlier post. He did some of the major things to the house that allowed us to buy it and do our own renovations, like adding a master bathroom and washroom. He did the roof, installed a basement bathroom, and installed a new furnace, all big ticket items. He also installed an air conditioner. The house has never had an AC. We’ve talked to the previous owners and they put a swamp cooler in the window and convinced themselves the cement block walls kept the house cool.

Last week was the first taste of summer heat and let me tell you, the walls keep the heat in! Excited that we had a brand new AC, I flipped the switch. A fan came one and air started blowing from the vents. I checked the filter. It was nasty with construction dust. Of course he chose a furnace with a non standard filter size, so after failed attempts at multiple stores we bought a replacement online. Then we noticed. The air blowing from the vents was not cold. It wasn’t hot, but it certainly was not cold.

I went outside and found the compressor to be silent and the fan still. I checked that everything was plugged in and everything had power. No dice. Luckily we asked for a home warranty when we bought the house. I submitted a claim. This was Friday evening, so of course I would not hear back from the assigned contractor until Monday. We endured the heat with fans in the window, not falling asleep until after midnight when it finally cooled enough. Monday I called the contractor when I hadn’t heard from them by early afternoon. Lo and behold, the were slammed. Everyone waits to get their unit serviced until it gets hot.

Well my unit is brand spankin’ new! I didn’t see any reason for it to get serviced. It should work perfectly! We can fit you in next Monday! Yikes! Well, if that’s the earliest you’ve got, then we will wait. We looked at the forecast. It was going to be hot all week and then cool off significantly next Monday. Of course!

Thursday rolls around and I am texting with my mom. We have a portable AC in our basement. You should just grab that. Wait, what??? How did I not know this? I’ve seen it sitting there in the closet multiple times, but it never registered. You mean I had been suffering all week for nothing? Of course we went and grabbed it.

Monday came and the AC guy showed up an hour and a half late. That’s not a big deal other than I didn’t have to leave work so early. He looks everything over and determined the wire leading out to the condenser was old and brittle. The flipper installed a brand new AC and used old wire. Figures. He replaced the wire, which was covered under the warranty and we were good to go. Just in time for summer.

The Endless Bathroom Project

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Yes, we are still working on the master bathroom. I know I know, it has been months. You don’t have to tell me about six people sharing one shower. But life happens. Despite life, progress is being made, visible progress. I was very concerned about doing the shower correctly. The last thing I want after this major project is to have a leak in the shower.

I met with delay after delay trying to complete the shower. First off, we bought the shower head/faucet kit online. We really liked the style and it was a good price. Once it arrived and I tried the pieces I realized I had not really read the description carefully. The threads were all European. To be honest, even if I had, I would not have understood the implications since this is my first time buy European fixtures. I found an adapter online, but it did not fit quite right and leaked. So I went to all of my local plumbing stores to include the big box stores and found no one carries the adapter. In one store, the guy said he gets the question quite a bit, and mostly from people who bought fixtures at Ikea. Doesn’t Ikea sell the adapters since they know everyone will have to get them? Surprisingly no. He said to try online, so I went back online and found a different brand. Thankfully these worked.

Off to the races I thought naively. I started to put everything together and the piece I bought the adapter for had a hole in it. Really??!! I contacted the seller, a little wary because I knew it was a Chinese company. But they were great. They responded right away and sent me a new pair at no charge. Of course, this caused yet another delay.

During the waiting period I completed the pre-slope, liner, and poured the pan. I used a quick slope guide to help make sure I got it right and then it was just about taking the time to get the mix right and the slope smooth. I installed the bottom row of cement board walls. I kept them about an inche off of the floor and then the pan essentially cemented the bottom edge of the boards in so there is no give. You can’t screw them in lower than about 8 inches from the bottom so the pan serves as the bottom screws if you will.

Once I got the parts in I could complete the remaining rows of cement board and install the faucet. The ceiling board was a pain but with my dad’s help we got it up. There just wasn’t much room for two people with ladders to be in the shower. It’s big, but not that big. Then it was time to tape and mud all of the seams with thinset and cement board tape.

Now remember, while this is happening, we are working on the yard, installing wainscoting, and living life. Some days we are too tired to do anything. The next step was to waterproof the shower from the outside. For this I used Red Guard a paint on membrane. Make sure you have good ventilation if you are going to use this product! It rolls on super easy and you know it is dry when it changes color. We did find we needed another bucket. The cement board really sucked it up. But the end result is a waterproof shower and peace of mind.

Time to tile the shower you ask? Why no. The shower is already to be tiled, but that will not happen yet. I wanted to prep it first however, because I ran the Red Guard out onto the floor. The next step was wiring the in floor heating and setting it out. This did not take to long, but I faced another delay. I blew a fuse in my multi-meter doing something else, so I had to get that fixed or replaced. I found I could buy 100 replacement fuses, or for a few dollars more just buy a replacement. Why did Radio Shack have to go out of business. It would have made life so much easier. But this added another delay of a few days. Once that was received, I could check the voltage and proceed with encasing the element in thin-set.

And finally it was time to dust off the boxes of tile we purchased way back when we started this project. I spent last night dry fitting the entire floor. The are sheets of small hex tiles, so I didn’t need to cut the actual tiles, but had to cut around plumbing and vents. This took the entire evening, but will make installation tonight much easier. What will we do with an actual floor? It has been plywood for so long!

I’ll update you on the floor and shower as they are finished. Whenever people ask how our project is coming along, I always answer, “slowly but surely.” The shower and floor are great evidence of that!