Author Topic: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.  (Read 14822 times)

Frugal Firefighter

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #50 on: July 15, 2015, 02:27:34 PM »
I skipped straight to the bottom without reading all the comments, but...

Make sure your attic has enough ventilation; soffit, ridge, or box vents and an attic fan if necessary.

Also check out Quiet Cool whole house fans. We're closing on our house next week, and one or two with be among the first projects.

http://www.quietcoolfan.com/

AlanStache

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #51 on: July 15, 2015, 02:54:17 PM »
...

Since the OP's house is new, he almost certainly has double-pane windows. First of all, if his windows are decent at all, they'll already have a low-emission coating on them. Second, applying window tint to them would void the warranty. (And that warranty is important, because double-pane windows do tend to fail. Knowing what I know now, if my house had traditional single-pane windows I'd be inclined to keep i that way despite the alleged efficiency of double-pane ...)

Can you elaborate on this?  You imply there is a secondary down side to modern windows after the upfront cost.  Or would you just prefer tinted windows?  Or the failure rate was high in your case and not worth the hassle?

Jack

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #52 on: July 15, 2015, 04:00:44 PM »
...

Since the OP's house is new, he almost certainly has double-pane windows. First of all, if his windows are decent at all, they'll already have a low-emission coating on them. Second, applying window tint to them would void the warranty. (And that warranty is important, because double-pane windows do tend to fail. Knowing what I know now, if my house had traditional single-pane windows I'd be inclined to keep i that way despite the alleged efficiency of double-pane ...)

Can you elaborate on this?  You imply there is a secondary down side to modern windows after the upfront cost.  Or would you just prefer tinted windows?  Or the failure rate was high in your case and not worth the hassle?

Although it's possible that some of the newest and/or most expensive ones are better, all the anecdotal evidence I've heard is that the seal on double-pane windows will fail within a decade or so, necessitating replacement. That cost dwarfs whatever the savings were from increased efficiency. In contrast, single-pane windows (especially old ones, made with good-quality wood) are "buy it for life" items if they're maintained.

Besides, the old windows are probably nicer (architecturally speaking), and I've heard you can get most of the benefit of double-pane by adding storm windows instead.

My parents' house was built in 1993, and they were recently forced to spend thousands of dollars (maybe tens of thousands; I don't remember) replacing all their double-pane windows due to seal failure.

forummm

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2015, 07:44:20 PM »
...

Since the OP's house is new, he almost certainly has double-pane windows. First of all, if his windows are decent at all, they'll already have a low-emission coating on them. Second, applying window tint to them would void the warranty. (And that warranty is important, because double-pane windows do tend to fail. Knowing what I know now, if my house had traditional single-pane windows I'd be inclined to keep i that way despite the alleged efficiency of double-pane ...)

Can you elaborate on this?  You imply there is a secondary down side to modern windows after the upfront cost.  Or would you just prefer tinted windows?  Or the failure rate was high in your case and not worth the hassle?

Although it's possible that some of the newest and/or most expensive ones are better, all the anecdotal evidence I've heard is that the seal on double-pane windows will fail within a decade or so, necessitating replacement. That cost dwarfs whatever the savings were from increased efficiency. In contrast, single-pane windows (especially old ones, made with good-quality wood) are "buy it for life" items if they're maintained.

Besides, the old windows are probably nicer (architecturally speaking), and I've heard you can get most of the benefit of double-pane by adding storm windows instead.

My parents' house was built in 1993, and they were recently forced to spend thousands of dollars (maybe tens of thousands; I don't remember) replacing all their double-pane windows due to seal failure.

I have like 40ish double-paned windows that are 15 years old. None have failed so far. I did have one fail in an apartment once, but I didn't even bother to ask for it to be replaced because it didn't bother me. It still kept the bugs, rain, and outside air outside.

Jack

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2015, 07:25:13 AM »
I have like 40ish double-paned windows that are 15 years old. None have failed so far.

I hope for your sake that they're a good brand. Otherwise, I suggest saving up to replace them within the next 5 years or so.

Axecleaver

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2015, 07:35:46 AM »
Failed seals don't make the windows worthless, just a little less efficient. If you're getting moisture inside, and they fog up, you can drill a small hole in the bottom of the inside seal to vent it. Some creative googling suggests that double-pane windows failure rate is 1% after 10 years and 3-5% after 15. That doesn't seem so bad. We have all double paned windows on our 11 year old house and no seal failures. Maybe you had a bad experience with a particularly low grade window, or harsh climate?

Scandium

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2015, 07:49:54 AM »
I like my corded electric motor (was $200). I bought a 100ft cord ($70 for heavy duty 12 gauge). I've had it for 5 years. No problems, no gas to buy. It costs about 5 cents per hour to use. It's great.

To everyone with the electric mowers, mind sharing which brand and model? Thanks!

What are the advantages of an electric mower? Less noise? What else? There's a large chance that the electricity comes from a coal or gas power plant, so I doubt it's any more environmentally friendly. (And I seriously doubt the 1 gallon/year I use will make any difference whatsoever to the planet)
What am I missing?

I remember being told that people have run over their cord and gotten electrocuted. Is this just an urban legend?

I spent the money on a decent Honda. In the hope that it will last forever (as my parent's ones have), unlike the other crappy brands.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #57 on: July 17, 2015, 07:57:52 AM »
Gas mowers have much worse emissions per gallon than cars do - mowers don't have catalytic converters. Obviously the effect on the environment of one person using a gas mower is negligible, but you're not breathing in great stuff when you use a gas mower, and together everybody doing it definitely has a real effect.

Running an electric motor powered by grid electricity is almost everywhere more environmentally friendly than running a gasoline engine at point of use. Enter you zip code on this page to see by how much.

Jack

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #58 on: July 17, 2015, 10:49:55 AM »
Gas mowers have much worse emissions per gallon than cars do - mowers don't have catalytic converters. Obviously the effect on the environment of one person using a gas mower is negligible, but you're not breathing in great stuff when you use a gas mower, and together everybody doing it definitely has a real effect.

This was a test of leaf blowers, not lawn mowers (and they explain why in the article), but half an hour of yard work is like driving a pickup truck almost 4000 miles.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #59 on: July 20, 2015, 06:55:51 AM »
...

Since the OP's house is new, he almost certainly has double-pane windows. First of all, if his windows are decent at all, they'll already have a low-emission coating on them. Second, applying window tint to them would void the warranty. (And that warranty is important, because double-pane windows do tend to fail. Knowing what I know now, if my house had traditional single-pane windows I'd be inclined to keep i that way despite the alleged efficiency of double-pane ...)

Can you elaborate on this?  You imply there is a secondary down side to modern windows after the upfront cost.  Or would you just prefer tinted windows?  Or the failure rate was high in your case and not worth the hassle?

Although it's possible that some of the newest and/or most expensive ones are better, all the anecdotal evidence I've heard is that the seal on double-pane windows will fail within a decade or so, necessitating replacement. That cost dwarfs whatever the savings were from increased efficiency. In contrast, single-pane windows (especially old ones, made with good-quality wood) are "buy it for life" items if they're maintained.

Besides, the old windows are probably nicer (architecturally speaking), and I've heard you can get most of the benefit of double-pane by adding storm windows instead.

My parents' house was built in 1993, and they were recently forced to spend thousands of dollars (maybe tens of thousands; I don't remember) replacing all their double-pane windows due to seal failure.

I've seen plenty of 50+ year old type of windows doing just in fine. In fact I used to live in an historical apartment building that had 100+ year old windows. No issues with the glasses themselves.

When house hunting, it looked like a lot of the home's from the 90's with double panes had this gross looking condensation between the panes. Just seemed really cheap looking.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #60 on: July 20, 2015, 06:59:55 AM »
Gas mowers have much worse emissions per gallon than cars do - mowers don't have catalytic converters. Obviously the effect on the environment of one person using a gas mower is negligible, but you're not breathing in great stuff when you use a gas mower, and together everybody doing it definitely has a real effect.

Running an electric motor powered by grid electricity is almost everywhere more environmentally friendly than running a gasoline engine at point of use. Enter you zip code on this page to see by how much.

1 person won't change the world alone. But maybe some neighbors will see it and want it and get one eventually and together we will save the world... ;)

AlanStache

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #61 on: July 20, 2015, 08:14:37 AM »
Over the weekend I put my cell charger on the power meter w/o the cell attached to test the effects of leaving the charger plugged in all day.  The chargers power usage by itself was below the measurement range of the power meter, something less than 0.00 watts.  Remember an old school 60watt bulb would be using 60.00 watts.  So if the charger was using 0.0099 watts (I am not sure how the meter rounds or truncates the measurement) an old school bulb would be using 6060 times power power.  YMMV with some other type of charger, but all in all seems like most any other change would save WAY more electricity.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #62 on: July 20, 2015, 08:39:02 AM »
Over the weekend I put my cell charger on the power meter w/o the cell attached to test the effects of leaving the charger plugged in all day.  The chargers power usage by itself was below the measurement range of the power meter, something less than 0.00 watts.  Remember an old school 60watt bulb would be using 60.00 watts.  So if the charger was using 0.0099 watts (I am not sure how the meter rounds or truncates the measurement) an old school bulb would be using 6060 times power power.  YMMV with some other type of charger, but all in all seems like most any other change would save WAY more electricity.

I don't think I'm saving big money or power bills by unplugging the phone charger. It's literally just sitting there on the kitchen counter and the plug is directly behind. It's completely effortless so we do it.

We don't take the time to unplug the tv and laptop after every use because it would be more difficult due to the wires not being so easily accessible.

That's awesome to see some real life numbers though. I appreciate you taking the time to follow up on this thread with the information. :)

Nate R

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #63 on: July 20, 2015, 08:56:55 AM »
...

Since the OP's house is new, he almost certainly has double-pane windows. First of all, if his windows are decent at all, they'll already have a low-emission coating on them. Second, applying window tint to them would void the warranty. (And that warranty is important, because double-pane windows do tend to fail. Knowing what I know now, if my house had traditional single-pane windows I'd be inclined to keep i that way despite the alleged efficiency of double-pane ...)

Can you elaborate on this?  You imply there is a secondary down side to modern windows after the upfront cost.  Or would you just prefer tinted windows?  Or the failure rate was high in your case and not worth the hassle?

There is a downside from my view: You can maintain old single pane windows to last for 200+ years. Show me a modern window that will last that long. If the seals haven't failed, often some other proprietary hardware has. Vinyl parts that age and get brittle, plastic parts that snap/break after 20 years, and you can't get replacements because the company went out of business years ago, etc. Now, in a house built in 1990 with vinyl siding and failing windows, I can't just remove the window. Since there's integral mounting flanges, the siding must be removed around it, etc.

Studies have been done comparing the efficiency of replacement dual pane windows vs old single pane, and the payoff is often not worth the investment.  A well-maintained single pane window with a storm window over it isn't as energy inefficient as you'd think compared to a typical dual pane modern window.

You'll notice VERY few new window manufacturers will give you an air infiltration number. You'll get U-value / R Value, light transmittance, but not air infilt. Why? Because most of them aren't that great at it.

So, the modern windows ARE better energy-wise when put in as new. But, you have to be careful when you're looking at lifetime cost. Old-style windows will need some maintenance, but complete replacement being necessary would then be quite rare. Newer windows seem to be MUCH more hit and miss. You may save on energy, but lifetime cost goes way up when you have to replace the entire window in 10-30 years.


AlanStache

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #64 on: July 20, 2015, 05:53:04 PM »
Quote
Studies have been done comparing the efficiency of replacement dual pane windows vs old single pane, and the payoff is often not worth the investment.  A well-maintained single pane window with a storm window over it isn't as energy inefficient as you'd think compared to a typical dual pane modern window. [citation needed]


Honest questions here.  I can see this is being true but it could also be one of those "studies" that are total bs.

Do I care about air infiltration?  Would the R number not cover this?  R measures thermal transfer right?  I guess for allergies etc air flow is of interest...

Brilliantine

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #65 on: July 20, 2015, 07:00:12 PM »
I'm here to deliver serial facepunches to anyone who confessed to owning or considering lawnmowers.

What happened to "Muscle over Motor", people?

But maybe I should just go to the source. What's up with lawns?! Just kill that grass. And replace it with something that doesn't require water and mowing.

Nate R

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #66 on: July 20, 2015, 09:21:01 PM »
Quote
Studies have been done comparing the efficiency of replacement dual pane windows vs old single pane, and the payoff is often not worth the investment.  A well-maintained single pane window with a storm window over it isn't as energy inefficient as you'd think compared to a typical dual pane modern window. [citation needed]


Honest questions here.  I can see this is being true but it could also be one of those "studies" that are total bs.

Do I care about air infiltration?  Would the R number not cover this?  R measures thermal transfer right?  I guess for allergies etc air flow is of interest...

I dug into John Leeke's books for 5 minutes tonight, and didn't see it immediately there. I'll have to do some more digging and see if it was in those books, another window book, or in handouts I got from a window restoration workshop I attended. Or if it was from buildingscience.com


R Value does NOT take air infiltration into account. It's measured in a static environment, not with wind, etc.

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/qa-spotlight/air-leaks-or-thermal-loss-what-s-worse
http://www.wascowindows.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/U-factor-etc-v3.0.pdf

forummm

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #67 on: July 21, 2015, 06:24:17 AM »
I like my corded electric motor (was $200). I bought a 100ft cord ($70 for heavy duty 12 gauge). I've had it for 5 years. No problems, no gas to buy. It costs about 5 cents per hour to use. It's great.

To everyone with the electric mowers, mind sharing which brand and model? Thanks!

What are the advantages of an electric mower? Less noise? What else? There's a large chance that the electricity comes from a coal or gas power plant, so I doubt it's any more environmentally friendly. (And I seriously doubt the 1 gallon/year I use will make any difference whatsoever to the planet)
What am I missing?

I remember being told that people have run over their cord and gotten electrocuted. Is this just an urban legend?

I spent the money on a decent Honda. In the hope that it will last forever (as my parent's ones have), unlike the other crappy brands.

Less noise, less pollution, less cost, less hassle. The pollution includes the gas vaporizing (causes ozone on warm days), exhaust fumes (much worse than cars as pointed out above), and more greenhouse gases. Gas engines are very inefficient at converting the gas to motion. So there's still less CO2 for example with an electric car or electric mower than with their gas counterparts. This difference increases as the grid gets cleaner. Natural gas has overtaken coal recently, and solar is getting so cheap that it's cost competitive with traditional power sources. I predict the grid will be using majority carbon-free sources in the next 20ish years, and the rest will be primarily gas.

slugline

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #68 on: July 21, 2015, 08:32:52 AM »
I'm here to deliver serial facepunches to anyone who confessed to owning or considering lawnmowers.

What happened to "Muscle over Motor", people?

LOL -- I'll trade mine in for a good pair of shears next season. Seriously, I actually gave a reel mower a shot one season and it wasn't nearly as idyllic as I had imagined. They are actually best suited for the most pampered, level, manicured lawns.

But maybe I should just go to the source. What's up with lawns?! Just kill that grass. And replace it with something that doesn't require water and mowing.

Never forget that all real estate is local. Buying in a deed-restricted neighborhood is one of those bitter tradeoffs I made to keep my commute as non-clownish as possible and my mortgage manageable. I vividly remember losing a multiple-offer battle on a place with a smaller yard that I probably could have cut with a pair of shears, though.

Sylly

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #69 on: July 21, 2015, 08:59:55 AM »
Re: windows

The seals on double pane windows do fail, but does that mean that require total replacement? I thought there are ways to just replace the glass and renew the seals?

If you have big south/west facing windows, consider putting some sort of shades on it to keep your house cooler during warm seasons. We have two such big windows, and one of the first thing we did was put solar shades on them. In the summer, we keep the shades closed and the difference in house temperature after a hot day is noticeable. In the winter, we open it to let the sun do our house heating.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #70 on: September 14, 2015, 09:24:30 AM »
Just thought I'd add a small update.

I ended up finally picking up a lawn mower. Ended up with a Scotts reel mower. Really wasn't too difficult to cut with. Only thing that sucks is it does crappy on the weeds. My grass is cut well, but the weeds are all still there.

Basically like this one -

NotJen

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Re: Jus' bought a house - throw some D's on that.
« Reply #71 on: September 14, 2015, 12:25:33 PM »
Curious to hear the answer about termites... Is it maybe an every other year thing?  Or just do my own annual inspection?

Yes, also looking forward to more responses on this subject. Do we not have a resident Orkin man that can help us MMM folk with some insider info? lol

I do currently keep the termite bond current on my house (I live in N. AL, so similar area to OP).

I bought new construction 9+ years ago.  The wood was treated when it was built, and came with a 1-year termite bond.  I left it up to my ex to decide if we should renew it or not (I asked him to figure out from his local friends if it was worth it, which he never did).  He let it lapse.

When I was left with the house when we divorced, I renewed the bond (to the tune of $1,000), and now I keep it up to date annually ($250).  This includes twice-annual inspections (nothing found so far).  I did some research at the time and decided it was worth it, but I don't remember what exactly the research told me.  I think my main concern was that I would have to sell the house, and I assumed having a current bond would make the process easier.


FYI, when I first took over lawn care, I bought that same reel mower pictured.  It sucked; total waste of money.  I sucked it up and started using the cheap gas mower my ex had used.  We bought it at Home Depot for somewhere between $100-200, never had any service (except for an oil change I did a few years ago), and is still running after 9 years.