Thursday, August 25, 2005


We've been getting a lot of work done around the house this Summer. (Yay for real estate appreciation and home equity loans!)

A couple of weeks ago we had the water heater replaced. Water heaters last about 10 years around here due to the incredible amount of lime in the water. Our old one's ability to heat the water had seriously degraded, to the point where we only got lukewarm water from the tap. The other risk you run with an old heater is a flood. I experienced that once when living with my folks and don't want it here. The same day, our plumber also replaced several of the old shutoff valves in the house with new ball valves that make it a lot easier to cut off the water to a faucet.

Last week, we got a new gas fireplace to replace the old, unsafe POS that came with the house. It looks one hell of a lot nicer than the old one, and gives off a lot more heat. A part was missing from the fireplace, and we're still waiting for it. We also need to have an electrician run a 110v line to power the blowers, and I'll need to finish wooden base of our marble-topped hearth. I'm leaning towards boiled linseed oil or tung oil, since we like the natural wood color.

Yesterday and today we got new Certainteed windows all around. The house still had the original, circa 1958 windows. Aside from lacking insulating value, they leaked like sieves and we couldn't open all of them due to problems with the screens. We used a local contractor who's done a ton of work in my neighborhood, including the new gutters and soffets we got last year. What an improvement.

Our living and dining rooms are a construction zone. The original owner had installed a few huge floor-to-ceiling mirrors and decorative beams. The mirrors were both obnoxious and detrimental -- the idiot who installed them blocked air vents. The beams looked OK but the three against the front wall prevented us from installing the windowscreens in the living room (now a moot issue due to the new windows). We wanted them gone anyway, for a cleaner look. The guy doing the living and dining room wanted to wait to finish until the window guys were done, so the new paint doesn't get FUBARed, which is sensible. We're hoping he'll be finished by the end of next week.

The final project and which will probably add the most value to the house is getting our master bathroom completely gutted down to the studs, and everything from the plumbing on up replaced. We're looking at September for this to get done.

It's all costing an assload of money, but we think it'll be worth it. It's greatly improving the livibility of the house, while the windows and fireplace should help to pay for themselves in reduced utility bills. With the way real estate has been going we can't afford a new home in Montgomery County, and we're tied to the area. So, it makes more sense to fluff 'n' buff the old place. We'll be here a long time.

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