Thursday, December 1, 2011

Privacy Policy For

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Got New Furnace Installed, $3500 Later

So as I mentioned in the previous post, our furnace went kaput. The heat exchanger was broken and it was leaking carbon monoxide. We checked with several reputable companies and eventually went with a 97% efficient Lennox model by Genz-Ryan in Burnsville, MN. They did a great job and were real professionals!

There were many rebates including a tax rebate that should be around $350. The grand total came to about $3500 but we put it on credit and are able to pay it off in easy $100 payments. (just like the infomercials right?)

The new furnace looks and sounds fantastic. It's so quiet you can hear a pin drop in the utility room. Also, they replaced the old steel exhaust pipe with PVC. Because the furnace is so efficient the exhaust that exits is at a low enough heat to use plastic pipe, and that's safer too. Also, they recommended running the circulation fan all the time because it costs only about the energy of a 60W light bulb to run it and it would cost more to start and stop. Plus it has the added benefit of circulating the air in the house. It uses a 2" pleated filter which can be spendy and hard to find but that's really the only downside.

We also got a cool new Touchscreen Honeywell thermostat and a remote control! It's top of the line and it's so easy to program a child could do it. It looks like a smart phone on the wall and is push button. The remote control allows you to turn it into the thermostat so you control the heat in any room of the house. That was the biggest selling point for my wife, now that she's pregnant she can relax and stay in bed and adjust the temperature. (speaking of my wife she's 18 weeks pregnant now! read more on my pregnancy blog - Baby in my Baby)

So the furnace is done.

Next Project: Finishing Window Trim

Saturday, October 22, 2011


So we bought our first home this last April of 2011. It's the lovely fixer upper starter home seen above. It is a nice home, 4 bed, 2 bath, and about 2000 finished square feet. We saw what was out there. We had the opportunity to by more move in ready units. But we fell in love with this gem built in 1987. We knew it was a little rough around the edges, but heck, so are we!

We saw the potential of what it could be, into our dream house. However, saying you're going to buy a fixer upper and do the work, and ACTUALLY DOING IT art two entirely different things. This is the story of what we went through. Since I'm starting this blog 6 months later let me get you up to speed.

It was one of the many foreclosures on the market. We purchased it for $124,000. We got a great deal, we knew that much. We first bid the asking price, but before it was finalized we actually increased the bid much higher (135,000) but our Realtor actually entered the incorrect bid into the system and entered the lower bid of 124. Luckily, there was no one else even close and the bank took the offer! We got lucky, or, so we thought! ;)

We were jubilant when we moved into our very first home, just to be met with the start realization that a lot, and I mean A LOT of work had to be done. First and foremost there was significant mold in the closet by the front door and in the basement. I put my handyman skills to work as my wife cleaned, I demolished, and re-insulated and sheet rocked where the mold once was. We got mold detection kits and the spores were finally starting to dissipate. Before they did, we did notice a marked increase in breathing problems so it's good we took care of that. We also purchased a good hepa filter and ran it in the master bedroom.

We also had another problem right away, no hot water! The water heater was completely shot, and when I say shot I mean it had holes in it, and had rusted a hole in the bottom where debris was collecting. Luckily, our Realtor gave us as a $300 gift card from Home Depot which mostly paid for it.

Next we needed new windows. The old ones were the original windows with wooden frames, they were moldy, and leaking. Luckily again I pulled out more of my handyman skills and also enlisted my father which has extensive experience in home remodeling. Between us we replaced 11 windows and 2 patio doors. $2,500 later we had brand new vinyl replacement windows. They look and work fantastic!

So after this summer I was finally feeling like I was getting to a point where I could stop working on the house for awhile. I knew the roof is reaching the end of it's life and it needs to be done (yet another project and $2000-3000 depending on how much I can do myself). Did I mention roofing runs in the family and I got lots of practice helping my dad as a teenager. Thanks again Dad!

So just as my wife and I were starting to feel like our workload and finances were getting a break from the house. Except for a broken garage door for $200 that I did myself there was nothing else for awhile, or so I thought. Guess what? The first rule of being a new homeowner and especially for a starter house is to expect the unexpected and plan financially for it. When we had the initial home inspection before we bought it we knew the furnace needed a tune up. Of course, like the good procrastinators we are, we waited until just today, Oct 22 to get it looked at.

To our demise, the furnace which could be the original has several problems including the most serious, a crack in the heating transfer unit, which apparently can cause carbon monoxide to leak into the venting systems and into the rooms of our house. Really great when my wife is pregnant!!! So after learning that we could have died from carbon monoxide poisoning, we decided to price out an entirely new furnace.

So that's where we are at so far. Very overwhelming, but we've learned to take it one step at a time. I'll update soon about the potential cost of the furnace (another 3500, again!) Also, did I mention that the reason the furnace was so bad was because it was rusting due to condensation dripping on it from the a/c condensing unit on top of it. So the furnace tech also told us it's possible the a/c unit would have to be replaced due to it being the old kind of refrigerant that is no longer used.

Whew!!! This post exhausted me just to write it. That's all for now, see you soon :)

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