Sunday, April 27, 2008

House project updates

Old house has been on the market for about three weeks now- a couple of offers and lots of positive feedback, but nothing we want to jump on yet (contingent or low offers, meh).

We've had all our crap at the new place for a few weeks- it's starting to feel like home, though nothing's in it's final place yet. We only moved into the upstairs so we could completely tear the bottom floor apart without worrying about messing up furniture with the carnage.

Picked up a new dishwasher and microwave within the first week- the old ones were ancient and nearly useless. Dishwasher install should've been a slam dunk, but, as has been the case with 100% of the multi-turn valves that I've dealt with in this house and the last, the gasket had failed. OK, fine- I'm used to replacing those valves (with 1/4 turn ball valves, thank you very much), and should be even easier with galvanized pipe, since it's just a threaded connection, right? Riiiight. First, we weren't able to locate the house water shutoff (previous homeowner had pointed me at a hose-bib valve). OK, fine, we'll shut it off at the meter. Nope- can't get any leverage, and the concrete meter cover is impeding the valve action. Hmm... OK, it's hot water- I'll just shut off the hot water at the tank. Nope- another partially failed gate valve gasket. ARGH! I ended up using that anyway, and just opening up a hot water tap downstairs to keep the water out of the dishwasher valve area upstairs. Next fun, the pipe nipple just crumbled when I tried to remove the valve. Luckily, the upstream coupling was OK, so I just replaced the nipple. All was well after that- new fancy stainless dishwasher looks a bit out of place int the old kitchen, but we'll build around it once we get the old place sold. :)

All the old 70's paneling and popcorn ceiling have been taken down on the bottom floor. Major Swiss cheese going on in the ceiling for running wiring and replacing the old-style square recessed lighting fixtures with normal 6" cans. Found all sorts of interesting issues in the process, which we're going to fix while the ceilings are open. First, while replacing lighting fixtures, I noticed warm, moist air coming from one of the holes. Turns out the dryer vent runs about 35' along the depth of the house in an ABS pipe. The pipe was broken, and was venting air and lint into the joist cavity. Not good. I'm working on a way to vent more directly through the front wall of the house, but have to figure out a way to get the vent through the main floor and the stone facade on the front of the house. Also found a gigantic (thankfully abandoned) wasp nest in the wall where the A/C compressor pipe was punched through. Haven't removed it yet, but got the hole all sealed up. Last, after seeing the condition of the galvanized plumbing first-hand and dealing with the rust and nasty for a few weeks, we've decided to ditch it all and replumb with PEX. I got a taste of working with PEX on the bathroom at the last place, and I'll never go copper again. After seeing and working with a few different styles, I'm personally a fan of the Wirsbo/Uponor ProPEX style (expander/ring based instead of crimp-rings).

Dude's coming to retexture the ceilings on May 9, so I don't have a lot of time to get the wiring, light fixture replacement, and plumbing done. Further hampering my efforts was the nasty bug I picked up last week- laid me out flat for a couple of days. Today's the first day I haven't been dizzy or lightheaded. Managed to get the lawn mowed (quite a production here, compared to the ~5min job it was at the old place). Also got a couple of light fixtures replaced tonight- not nearly the progress I'd hoped for, but any progress is good at this point.

Anyway, lots going on at work and on the home front. Still loving it, just gotta keep everything moving and not let my own health fail in the process.