Saturday, July 30, 2011

Delayed...but still relevent

Sorry for the delay, but...
From: Peyton
Sent: Sunday, July 24, 2011 7:45 PM
To: Phillip.a.brown
Subject: Energy Audit Report

Mr. Brown,
Your energy audit report has been approved by the State and is attached. Also, your approval letter from the State is attached. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let me know. The next step is to get bids for the work. Once you decide on the bids you want to use, you send them to me and I will send them to the State for final approval.
*(note- I've deleted the email contacts for privacy reasons) must be interested in what the report says right?
Of course you couldn't possibly be reading this blog and not be interested in what an energy auditor would say about our d.i.y. home.
HERS Home Energy Efficiency Rating Index:
Existing: 208
Proposed: 69

Air Leakage is: 1 Air Changes Per Hour
What does this number mean?
1) 99% of the volume of air inside your home is lost to the outside every hour
2) If you added up the size of all the leaks in your home you would have a hole that is equal to a 5.0 sqft.
3) You are paying to heat and cool 2.8 times more air than is necessary

Overall, your home is considered to be extremely leaky


Yep...couldn't get much worse then that. So here are all the recommendations for us they gave and how much it would save us money yearly.

Recommendation 1: Insulate Hot Water Heater -$18
Recommendation 2: Add Insulation to Attic -$243
Recommendation 3: Insulate Foundation Walls - $391
Recommendation 4: Reduce House Air Leakage -$220
Recommendation 5: Upgrade Furnace and Air Conditioner -$569
Recommendation 6: Add Insulation to Above Grade Walls - $151
Recommendation 7: Upgrade Single and Single Pane with Storm Windows -$131

So this is how we plan on fixing this problem. We have $20,000 in interest free loan from the utility company that we can repay over a long period of time. That money will need to go to:
1. A new Furnace (we just got a new air conditioner so it'll stay) - ~$2,000
2. All new windows throughout the house~ $200/window = $3,000
3. Insulation throughout the house: basement, attic and walls -~$5,000
4. Get new sealed and insulated garage door - ~ $3,000

We pretty much expect that is about the extent of how far the 20,000 will stretch (with a bit of elbow room)... so these are the projects we can financially tackle ourselves.

1. Purchase Water Heater Blanket - ~$40
2. Replace Back door to home with a more sealed door - ~$100
3. Use sealant and foam-in-a-can to stop up air leakages not fixed by windows and insulation - ~$100

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bathroom Remodel

So we are still working on the bathroom. This is originally how we conceived the bathroom. We built this model using Google Sketchup

As you can see the bathroom is very small. Due to the rushing to complete the bathroom as much as possible. This is where we are now.

Currently the floor is almost done, we need to caulk around the base of the bathtub. We now have a functional toilet that doesn't wobble and that flushes properly. The drywall is about 30%. We decided to place tile around the bathtub instead of the bead board paneling or wainscoting. Mainly due to water concerns.  

Just  for a cost comparison so far we have spent
$0 for demolition
$85 for the new toilet
$25 for the sink
$50 for the mirror
$10 for a new light
$33 for new electrical wiring
$15 for new tamper proof GFCI plugs and light switches
$0 for new Insulation
$5 (i think I don't really remember) for a new circuit breaker
$24 for dry wall
$44 for hardie backer board for the tile
$11 for all the tile
$25 for a large bag of mortar
$15 for a bag of grout
$15 for a starter kit for tiling
$15 for tub faucet and shower head
$10 for new sink faucet
$5  for a toothbrush holder and a towel holder

total thus far $387 or a little under $10 per square foot. .... and we still are not done. Gloria is going to start shopping for mistinted paint to paint the room.

Its a great project and I'm learning a lot but I can't wait to give my son his first bath in the bath tub.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wonderful Party

So with an hour left to spare before the guests come for the baby shower, we set the toilet in the bathroom and pat ourselves on the back. We have finished the main bathroom. Most of the walls are up, the floor is completely tiled, toilet and sink are in.

But alas,
Things don't go so easily after all.

Phillip notices that the toilet is rocking a bit on the tile floor.
Solution: put some wood under the toilet to level it out.
How: Use small slates of wood and hammer.
What goes wrong: Hammer hits back of toilet, breaking the drain basin
Okay this is Phillip talking I messed up. 

Phillip notices that he broke the first toilet,but no fear we have a second toilet in the house that we can just substitute. Problem: the 2nd toilet has a broken handle, must remove handle and replace.
Solution: use drill to remove stuck handle. This is Phillip again the reason I had to use the drill to remove the handle is because a lot of my tools were at a different location so I did not have any pliers or wrenches that could remove the old broken handle. However I had a spade bit on my drill so I thought I could get it out that way. 
How: put drill directly on the toilet water reserve near handle. Okay Gloria wasn't actually there when this happened. I was about halfway through drilling out the old handle when the drill bounced around and hit the fragile toilet.
What goes wrong: Drill breaks the water reserve basin of the 2nd toilet

*****Did I tell you my husband is talented?******

Wife's solution: Go out buy a new toilet and threaten husband that if he breaks this one, no sex for the next 2 weeks
Solutions: toilet is installed correctly in 15 minutes
How: threats about sex work
What goes wrong: absolutely nothing
I have no comment about the above paragraph LOL!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A/C getting installed now

So as I type, we have Stratton Mechanical Services putting in our new air conditioner. But of course with all the financial strain the past few months have put on us, we didn't have extra money to go out and purchase a new camera or camera cord, so alas no pictures. We are still broke but we realized our camera can use an SD card we had sitting around and our laptop has a slot for the SD card instead of using Sony's Memory stick. So now we have pictures to upload.

But I can tell you we have made major progress on the main bathroom. Phillip installed the insulation, though we need a bit more then we anticipated, so we'll have to pick up more today.

 We finally grouted the floor, so the that it looks beautiful now.

 It's only been 12 hours, so I'll wait another 12 before I run around in circles (because it's so small of a bathroom I can't go anywhere) in celebration!

I do have one moral question... last night Phillip and I was debating if we should take out all the copper in the old A/C before they replace it and haul the old one away. We decided not to, but would it have been a bad idea to have?

Monday, July 11, 2011

A/C countdown

The air conditioner will be installed on Thursday.
Just 4 more days of dealing with this heat.

Just so you guys aren't terribly worried, me and the baby do leave the house and stay with family during heat advisory days. It's been a blessing having family in the city! But it's nothing like being in your own house.

On other news, we haven't done much with our house, because Phillip's been doing paid work for various family. Mostly cutting grass in the evenings and doing repair construction work at people's businesses. The money's helped with beefing up our emergency fund again and we've been putting a good chunk of it into the baby's college fund.

The bathroom has a deadline of Saturday to be 80% finished, because I scheduled to host a baby shower for a church member at my house and I will not allow people to be forced to use the death trap of the master restroom. I scheduled this baby shower months ago and just happily assumed the bathroom would all be done now.... next time I'm going to triple my estimated time table for project for this house.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All blessings

Just in:

From: Phillip Brown (pbrown@***.com)
Sent: Tue 7/05/11 3:56 PM
To: Gloria Brown (gloria.brown@***.com)

A/C approved replacement 3 ton Lennox both condenser and evaporator
inside along with the metering and labor covered under warranty

3 non covered charges:
Duct Modification $150
Reclaim of refrigerant $100
Disposal of unit $75
Electrical whip $25

Total $350

Option 2
Reimbursed up to the amount
$1267.42 labor

Furnace $1400

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Heat, Hot, Sweat

So as the title proclaims, the weather in Kansas has finally decided to be summer. The only problem is we also just found out the air conditioner is a big hunk of junk.

 We called AB May to come out to evaluate it I want to say Monday. Hoping that all it would need is some cleaning and a refill. They did their evaluation and determined that it was leaking...but they couldn't find the leak, so...They proclaimed it JUNK.

insert sad face
then insert crying face
then insert bawling face
then insert crazy face
then insert crazy face blowing up the money pit that was our house
then insert calm relaxed face
then insert crazy smiling face

Ok...I think you got the picture.

Now for those who read this blog, you should know we are NOT made out of money, in fact all of our emergency money just went to fixing the roof on the house not less than a month ago.

How in the world are we going to afford a new 4,000 a/c and furnace system?
Well we are going to try a few options.

1. Go through our home warranty company. (yes it's a pre-existing condition...but we are hoping they don't notice the 20 year old a/c and furnace) *not high hopes riding on this one.
2. Bug the heck out of the Energy Efficiency Home program to see if we qualify for their loan program through our utilities company. *not high hopes since we don't have one of the requirements.
3. Finance this thing ourselves and use some of the Government rebates to bring down the cost a bit. *we know this one's good...we just don't want more debt in our lives

Either way we have to have a solution in the next few days, because it's already "excessive heat advisor" weather and we have a baby shower planned at my home for a church member by July 16, 2011.

Any suggestions would be helpful. If nothing else...just pray for either cool weather or money raining down from heaven on us.