We bought a house, yay. It’s a small 1910’s bungalow with gas appliances and everything basically works. The foundation’s been replaced in the not-too-distant past and it’s ready for an earthquake. I've never been anything but a renter, so what kinds of regular maintenance should I be thinking about to minimize the risk of catastrophic emergency repairs? Plumbing, gas, heating, electrical, sewers: what’s a good schedule, and what kinds of things do I ask for to make clear that there’s nothing particularly wrong but I’d like to keep it that way? I looked at this old question
, but most of the interesting-sounding links are dead.
posted by migurski
on Nov 12, 2013 -
My mother's house has these recessed casement windows, and the mystery material the jamb (or maybe jamb extension?) is made of has started to crumble
. Whole chunks come out when I put the air conditioners in each spring and take them out every fall, and forget about keeping the window shade hung -- I have yet to find an anchor that won't get pulled out. I'm going to take a stab at fixing it while I'm home for Thanksgiving, so I need help devising a plan of attack that can definitely be completed over a four-day weekend, even if that means it's just a stop-gap band-aid-type repair. [more inside]
posted by patnasty
on Nov 2, 2013 -
What is it like owning a home near a *loud* highway or other noisy high-traffic roadway? How do you cope? Will I regret buying this house? [more inside]
posted by falldownpaul
on Nov 2, 2013 -
We've just moved into a new place and it's now gotten cold enough to turn on the heat. Two of the radiators are really loud with air escaping, and often have visible steam coming out of the valve on the side. I've never seen radiators do this. Is this normal? Is this safe?
posted by msbrauer
on Oct 31, 2013 -
I figure, at this point, somebody has done exhaustive operations research on pretty much all of my daily chores. Assuming I don't care about hominess or aesthetics, what does industry have to teach me about getting through all the little maintenance work of life with less time, effort, and attention? [more inside]
posted by d. z. wang
on Oct 29, 2013 -
I heard this weird buzzing sound coming from my basement today, and I eventually opened up the ceiling and traced it to this transformer or something that's up in there. I tapped it with a piece of non-conductive material and it stopped buzzing. Tapped it again, it started buzzing more quietly, and then I tapped it again and it was silent. Anyone have any idea what this is, and why it's there? The house is from 1952 and doesn't have any electrical issues that I know of. Pictures:
posted by Slinga
on Oct 23, 2013 -
What do I do with years-old equipment that belongs to my old cable service provider?
Equipment dates from 2009. Furnished by Verizon FIOS, which then switched to Frontier FIOS. A cable modem, DVR, and set-top box. We moved house in 2010, and cancelled Frontier service. Attempted to return the equipment. This involved them shipping empty boxes to us. We never got the boxes. Attempts failed. I have no documentation of those attempts. Equipment is sitting in our garage, and I need to get rid of it.
Which option is best?
The easy way: Donate the equipment to a recycler.
The hard way: Contact Frontier and try to return their equipment. This is likely to be time-consuming, and annoying. I recall their CS was incredibly awful. I couldn't find any helpful info on their web site. And what if they want to charge me a "late return fee"???
Do big cable providers care about their old equipment?
posted by valannc
on Oct 16, 2013 -
Our 2.5 year old Onkyo receiver has died. Again. At this point, I'm looking for a replacement, with some requirements, some wishes, and some thoughts, and an awful lot of confusion. I'm hoping some of you might have thoughts. [more inside]
posted by JMOZ
on Oct 16, 2013 -
What's the best way to utilize this busted up macbook (and other bits and pieces from the house) as a media hub/server? [more inside]
posted by furnace.heart
on Oct 10, 2013 -
Are there any good alternatives to the SONOS system that would let me control music across my entire house from my iPhone? [more inside]
posted by ZackTM
on Oct 10, 2013 -
I'm looking at buying a house on the bayou, but am unsure whether the flood and flood insurance issues mean I should offer less, or just run. [more inside]
posted by atchafalaya
on Oct 8, 2013 -
The good news is that my wife and I are preparing to make a big move to the Denver, CO area. The better news is that we've found a great house and they've accepted our offer. Now we just need a home inspector. Can you recommend one? [more inside]
posted by fremen
on Oct 3, 2013 -
A few weeks ago, a package was sent to my apartment from someone I didn't know in Chicago ( I live in California) They had my full name and address and I had never heard of their name. The package contained one cheap hairbrush with the tag still on. I assumed it was a mistake and forgot about it. There was no note. [more inside]
posted by tessalations999
on Sep 28, 2013 -
It seems like all the home automation device/app combos allow me to only control my lights or devices while inside my house where, you know, I can actually just walk over to them and turn them on and off already. [more inside]
posted by sandra_s
on Sep 12, 2013 -
I'm entering what I expect to be a very busy year: busy full-time job with frequent evening and weekend work, graduate classes one night a week (plus homework), and a large writing project due next year. I find that I can get really overwhelmed and stressed when my schedule gets locked in and deadlines line up. I'm trying to find ways to simplify and ease my daily life so that I don't add additional stressors. What are your best time- and stress-saving tips for getting through intensely busy times? [more inside]
posted by Miko
on Sep 12, 2013 -
I'll be staying at my mom's house for a couple of months, in my old room. My allergies have been going bat**** crazy for the past week, and as a result I am getting a horrible night's sleep. Sneezing, runny nose, scratchy throat, the works. Please help me Allergy-Proof my room so I can return to some semblance of normalcy. Picture + details inside. [more inside]
posted by Kamelot123
on Sep 12, 2013 -
While trimming the hedges in my front yard (single family home located in a suburban area within a large midwest city) this afternoon, I came upon a men's size medium denim jacket underneath one of the hedges under my (first floor) bedroom window. While I think the most obviously explanation is it was probably discarded there for a totally banal reason (e.g. teens fooling around), is it possible that something more sinister is afoot? Is there any reason I should be concerned, and if so, what should I do?
posted by anthropophagous
on Sep 11, 2013 -
I have an ATV2. It asks me to turn on home sharing. I do. ATV insists that i turn on home sharing. It worked in my previous location excepting a few times, where I just unplugged the router and ATV and replugged back in. It worked here on initial setup the first try but a few days later this whole stuff happens. It worked again only after I did a complete factory reset. I have read many of the threads online and perhaps it is a bit of daftness on my part. This previous thread on mefi
helped the gentleman with his question. I didn't actually understand it very well. I have an iMac running Snow Leopard. The ATV does connect
to Netflix and all other things. Just not my computer. [more inside]
posted by snap_dragon
on Sep 9, 2013 -
I'm looking for ideas for hiding this hideous radon fan and vent pipe
In the picture the vent pipe is currently disconnected; when assembled it sits about 2 inches above the gutter.
The best solution I have come up with so far is perhaps some sort of shallow 3 sided fence.
posted by steinwald
on Sep 7, 2013 -
I'm having a weird problem with Dropbox, and googling is failing me because lots of people can't find their Dropbox files. But I can't find them in a very special and exciting way, involving differences between Finder and the command line. What am I dealing with here? [more inside]
posted by heyforfour
on Sep 4, 2013 -
I just moved into a new apartment with an east-facing bedroom, and the blinds on the two windows (one is horizontal, one vertical) do a terrible job of blocking out light in the morning when I'm trying to sleep. Installing curtains over them would probably help a bit, but I'd imagine the gap between the window and the curtain is increased by the presence of the blinds and will thus prevent an effective seal, especially from the sides.
What's the best solution to really block out the sunlight in a way that's easily put aside when I wake up and am ready for all that sunlight?
posted by Vexir
on Sep 3, 2013 -
I'm stuck. My wife and I have been married for a little over a year, and there's a looming issue I haven't been able to shake off since the engagement: being close to my home and family conflicts with my wife's goals and what's good for our marriage. [more inside]
posted by winterroad
on Aug 28, 2013 -
We're getting our 1960's era home ready to sell for as cheaply as possible. It comes with two porcelain tubs in lovely shades of avocado and beige, and never-been-updated bathrooms... [more inside]
posted by ashtabula to opelika
on Aug 27, 2013 -
The other night I had a salesman come to my door from "The Window Store Home Improvements, Inc." He gave me a nice spiel about how they're looking for homes in my area that are willing to put advertising signs out front, and willing to be listed on their website, www.twshomesinc.com. In exchange they can give me new windows at wholesale cost instead of retail. The salesman also said that their windows are warranteed for 50 years, which he said was much more than typical warranties. [more inside]
posted by Slinga
on Aug 27, 2013 -
I owned a beautiful new home for seven years and had to sell it this year due to practical factors such as distance to work for my wife, daycare, and so on. I am struggling with a kind of grief about it. The new owners move in today and last night I had a farewell party with some friends at the house which helped, but I stayed there all night taking photos and crying and trying to memorize every inch of it. I'm talking literally crying on the front lawn and feeling like I couldn't breathe. [more inside]
posted by The Hyacinth Girl
on Aug 26, 2013 -
I have previously posted that my water appliances like hot water pot and coffee machine quickly descaled when i moved into my home. I never could figure out why.
If one were to get home water tested, is it necessary to know what I am testing for? Anyone know of any reliable testing outfits?
posted by dougiedd
on Aug 25, 2013 -
I regularly walk 6+ miles a day. I'd like to extend my exercise to increasing my strength. Ideally, I'd do bodyweight exercises, but I've tried to do some recently, and my upper body strength is not capable of more than two pushups, nor a single chair dip
. So, I need to build my upper body strength with weights, and I want to do so at home. I can get a set of dumbbells. Please tell me which ones, and how to use them. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco
on Aug 22, 2013 -
My wife and make a lot of stuff at home--from home made pasta, to scented fuel for an alcohol lamp, to guitar pedals--and we generally find that making at home is better and more fun than buying at the store. Can you recommend any other worthwhile home projects? I'm looking for enjoyable projects that are better than store bought--not necessarily for cost-saving. [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock
on Aug 19, 2013 -
Seeking advice on how to prepare for making an offer on a house that's not on the market. That our friends rent. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself
on Aug 19, 2013 -
I have a friend moving to a sketchy part of town (and living without a roommate for the first time). I want to get her some sort of security "thing" as an apartment-warming gift. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug
on Aug 10, 2013 -
I have just been diagnosed with MS and my doctor has told me the tests will document my issues, and that it will endanger my livelihood. [more inside]
posted by squirbel
on Aug 9, 2013 -
Through a paperwork SNAFU, we failed to secure homeowners insurance at closing on the house we purchased (with cash, no mortgage) in Florida 78 days ago. Now we keep getting told by multiple Florida insurers that because the house was not insured within 30days of closing, they will not write a policy for it. They do say "If you get insurance on it, we will be happy to write a policy for you" [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Aug 7, 2013 -
For the first time ever I have a space in my house just for cocktail preparation. Awesome. I have some great old glass bottles to go on top of this bar. Also Awesome. What do I put in these bottles to become the envy of cocktail-makers-and-consumers everywhere? How do I best use this space
) both in terms of keeping stuff on hand and visual appeal, base liquors, mixers, tools, garnishes, etc. Assume we'll drink anything, but the fussier and old fashioned, the better. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk
on Aug 6, 2013 -
So we have an old tiny cabin (about 8x12 ft) that is a bit in disrepair. But the real problem isn't the drafty windows or creaky door, but rather that we apparently had mink or some other musky-smelling animal nesting underneath (the cabin is raised about a foot off the ground) for quite a while, and it has pervaded the whole cabin with a musky, urine-like smell. We're really hoping not to replace all the wood, which is old, sound, and worn in the best way. What's our best bet for removing this smell permanently? [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront
on Jul 30, 2013 -
A year ago, I bought a new TV
with HDMI capability and hooked it up to my PC to work as a monitor (with a straight HDMI cable connection). IT. IS. AWESOME.
I just moved into a new place with more room and now want to connect my surround sound system (5 speakers) to this setup as well.
This is the receiver
I'm considering purchasing and from what I can tell, will do what I need.
Extra potentially pertinent info:
- PC has two HDMI ports (one on the video card)
- Nintendo Wii connected directly to TV via RCA cables
- BluRay player connected to TV via HDMI cable
I want my setup to allow me to use the surround sound at all times (when watching broadcast TV, when using the TV as the PC monitor, when using the BluRay player and when using the Wii (this is the least important)). I'm assuming the TV will connect to the receiver (via HDMI) and the PC will also connect to the receiver (via HDMI) and all other hook-ups will remain as-is.
Thanks in advance for any advice or tips on how to make this easy! This will be my dream setup so I'm excited to get it right.
posted by Twicketface
on Jul 29, 2013 -
I need some advice about making sure my house is safe from burglars especially when I'm not at home - without going overboard or getting paranoid. [more inside]
posted by Ziggy500
on Jul 25, 2013 -
I'm looking to develop a good maintenance schedule for my new old home. It was built in 1930, radiator heat, newish boiler and water heater. Beyond the standard cleaning, what kinds of monthly, yearly, semi-yearly things should I be doing to make sure it doesn't fall apart?
posted by Think_Long
on Jul 22, 2013 -
Bought this house about three years ago and then learned that the water pipes, under the concrete-terrazzo slab, had burst and flooded the place (no, incompetent inspector did not notice this). The previous owner had then laid down an inexpensive woodlike floor. That was carelessly done but looked okay overall, except that residual water had stained and darkened a few areas. I had the house re-piped and the floor seemed to have dried and healed leaving just those few dark spots. [more inside]
posted by fivesavagepalms
on Jul 21, 2013 -
Just moved into a rental house. House built circa 1920. Medicine cabinet interior was completely lined with nasty old contact paper. I pulled off most of the paper. Now I'm worried about three things:
1. The paint underneath the paper is flaking. Is there danger of lead poisoning?
2. Black mold in the corner crevices under the paper. What's the best chemical for removal? Bleach solution?
3. What's the easiest cheapest way to get new shelves that will fit?
Any advice or encouragement is appreciated. How do I make this cabinet clean and functional?
I don't like fixing old houses. Unfortunately there is much to do in this old house. The kitchen is a contact paper festival. The rental market is tight here, so landlords don't have to care.
posted by valannc
on Jul 20, 2013 -
Buying-Our-First-House-Filter: Planning Edition. I've already read some of the other great AskMe threads about first homes and renovations and all of that, but one thing I haven't really seen (here or on the oft-recommended DIY blogs) is a solid recommendation or list of reviews of planning software related to home reno/landscaping. [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature
on Jul 18, 2013 -
I just moved house... and I am sad. This is stupid. Please help me make a new home for myself. [more inside]
posted by sockandawe
on Jul 16, 2013 -
Mr. Crunchy sweats a lot when he sleeps. Help us keep the mattress and sheets from getting permanently stained. [more inside]
posted by crunchysalty
on Jul 12, 2013 -
I recently made a switch to a different company for my homeowner's insurance (details after the jump about why). I fear I may have made a big mistake, but I honestly don't understand ANYthing about insurance and the more I try to read about it and look at my policies, the more confused I get. It's like someone's speaking Mandarin to me. I feel like a colossal idiot and I have no one to ask anymore now that my dad, whom I relied on to help me with this kind of stuff, is gone. I'm wondering how much I messed up here, and what I should look for to fix it. [more inside]
posted by emcat8
on Jul 10, 2013 -
I stopped weeding the yard a few years ago because my grass allergies are pretty bad. Even when I've covered my skin with gloves, jeans, and covered shoes I've gotten so itchy that I couldn't sleep at night. Bt the weeds come fast and furious in our yard and my husband has a hard time pulling them all, even though he uses Roundup to help keep them at bay. So I'd like to help if I can, and am wondering if there are effective ways to protect my skin to minimize allergic reactions. OTC itch medicines haven't made much of a difference for me.
posted by lirael2008
on Jul 9, 2013 -