Mechanical Failures (AC, hot water heater, and heaters)

The last 45 days have been busy on the house but it’s all structural and mechanical.

For example, the 18 year old water heater failed and we ended up replacing it. Water Heaters are really heavy and while we did replace it ourselves, we ended up using a winch to get it into place.

We learned an important lesson: DO NOT ORDER ONLINE FROM LOWES! We ordered this hot water heater they stated was in stock. Once we called to arrange pick up it was NOT in stock. They agreed to do a charge back on the credit card which took FIVE DAYS to get cleared off! Meanwhile, we were rushing around moving money in order to buy this unit so we could take a damn shower!

We also didn’t qualify for any rebates from Oklahoma Natural Gas which was a bit of a bummer. Although when we do taxes it might give us something back (we shall have to see) due to the Energy savings.

OTOH, the new hot water heater has been great! It makes tons of hot water! Lots and lots! The water is softer (we have hard water) for some reason we can’t figure out and the towels and clothes smell so much fresher! The old hot water heater must have been processing the water in a musty way we weren’t even aware of.

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Before the hot water heater bailed on us, we replaced the dishwasher. The new dishwasher replaced the old and very noisy 18 year old one that had kept limping along.

After researching and reading reviews, there were many more complaints than I thought were needed for an appliance that wasn’t very sophisticated. If you get your dishwasher home and don’t like it, immediately replace it while it is under warranty! There seems to be lemons out there as well a lot of variables on what people like (for example, I consider our new dishwasher very quiet, others have complained about it being noisy).

Whatever you buy, I would recommend a 3-5 year warranty for sure as the electronic circuit boards go out, making it an expensive repair.

The only issue with this dishwasher is that it takes a long time to do its full cycle. OTOH, its much larger on the inside (with no central tower on the bottom drawer) and gets the dishes amazingly clean! I really liked the price too – as I was not going to spend $1,000 on a dishwasher! It has a stainless steel front and is the first changeover in the appliances (all will become stainless steel).

We installed the dishwasher ourselves. Be aware that generally, you need to buy a new dishwasher hook up hose and connectors when you do this so figure that into your installation. In our case the old electrical hookup also failed so new wiring was run to another electrical outlet box that was convenintly near by.

One thing I do like about reading online reviews, is many people give really good tips on how to install, handling common problems during the installation and advice that can help make the job go much easier.

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Right before Fourth of July, both AC units failed us. The upstairs AC was replaced 3 years ago and was still under warranty. The problem was they didn’t have the fan part. So that took over a week to get fixed and involved a LOT of aggravation!

We ended up replacing the entire downstairs AC and heating unit which had been our plan to prepare to sell the house all along but it just happened a bit sooner than we had expected. The fact that all the mechanicals have been replaced should be a selling point!

That leaves only the upstairs heating unit to be replaced prior to putting the house on the market in 3 years.

Hopefully, since this is a huge upgrade on energy saving, we will get some sort of tax break come next spring on installing these units. I’ll just have to see at tax time.

As you can imagine that was a lot of ka-ching to put down but it had to be done. It’s one of those not-so-great things about homeownership. It’s also not very glamourous so hence why there are no photos! 😀

Dealing with Pet Fluff and Hardwood Floors

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After installing the wooden floors downstairs, it became quickly apparent that the fluff from two dogs and three cats was way out of control. If using a broom or dustmop to gather pet fluff you will spend as much time trying to get the dustpan to the trash with all the dust bunnies as you will in sweeping!

From a blog recommendation, I bought a Sharp Navigator Freestyle vacuum from Bed Bath and Beyond with my 20% off coupon for about $86. Yes, I bought it – no freebies for this AD-FREE blog!

USING IT

So far I give this an A+ for daily housework – I’m using it almost every day and definitely every other day.  If you have pets and need something quick to clean hardwoods or ceramics on a daily basis, this is a great choice!

EASY AND QUICK FOR DAILY CLEANS! LOVE IT!

This is pretty easy to assemble with just one screw. It’s CORDLESS and it is LIGHT!

Initially, I gave it about 4 hours to get a complete charge; you will need an area where you can leave it plugged in. It looks like it shuts off the charging unit once the vac is completely charged which is good because if you overcharge these types of batteries you can damage it.

It has two settings: bare floor and carpet. I have used this only on concrete flooring, hardwoods and ceramic. I personally doubt the suction would be strong enough for a deep pile carpet but would probably be okay for low pile carpet and rugs, though I do not consider this to be a hard use vacuum (see below for more details).

What I don’t know yet is how long the filters will last. Also, how hard it’s going to be to find those replacement filters.

PROS:

This is awesome for daily and spot cleans! Just grab, go and vacuum and put away. No bending to plug in, searching for outlets, moving furniture to get to an outlet, or struggling with moving the card as you vacuum. I LOVE IT!

HUGE pluses were cordless and lightweight. Managing a cord is a huge pain in the neck as the cord never allows me to do the room without transferring plugs. Easy to take up the stairs unlike huge clunky vacuums.

Other pros include the handle height which is comfortable for me at 5’5″ and husband 6’2″. Other vacs have too low a handle and hurt hubby’s back after use. I hate short handled brooms!

Bagless so you just open the canister and shake debris out. Emptying the cartridge is a bit tricky until you figure it out. When you push the bottom button in, push down on the tabs that are at the bottom of the canister (they go opposite directions).

Suction and maneuverability is pretty good. I found the hinging of the upright handle/canister area to the floor sweeper to be a little hard until after a few uses when it limbered up. Now it works fine and is easy to maneuver.

CONS:

The biggest issue from reading reviews is that the battery doesn’t retain a charge or isn’t powerful enough to do the job. I’m keeping my receipt for 90 days but so far haven’t had an issue myself. I’m cleaning about 800 square feet of floor space.

Suction is not strong enough to pick up screws, pennies, paperclips – it’s ideal for fluff and dust. This is a daily, pick up quick vacuum not a heavy duty wet-vac.

It doesn’t have any hand tools so you can’t use it to on furniture or baseboards. Do not look at this as you would a regular full-use vacuum. I plan on buying a different vacuum for my upstairs deep pile carpet.

If you run it up to a hard edge, it doesn’t get the suction right up to the edge.

I found trying to clean out the brush of the floor sweeper area a bit difficult to get into. It would be nicer to get in there and fully remove debris like string that isn’t sucking all the way through (you can do it but it isn’t as easy as belt vacuum cleaners).

This is just one of several cleaning tools I plan on buying in the next 60 days. In the future, I’ll be buying a vacuum for the hardwood stairs, a steam mop (for hardwood and ceramic floors), and a new heavy duty, carpet vacuum for the upstairs, carpeted bedrooms.

EDITED TO ADD: My heavy duty carpet vacuum cleaner has died so I ended up trying out this cordless on carpet after all. If your carpet is lightly dirty it can work pretty well!! However, it still doesn’t like big chunks of fluff, dirt, paper bits etc… Yet, I am impressed and being a much lighter vacuum in weight, I will use it for quick clean ups in the bedrooms after all!