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by Bengineer
Sun May 17, 2015 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I Buy a House?
Replies: 33
Views: 1512

Re: Should I Buy a House?

So you've got a nice place, you just can't wail on the drums at all hours :D and the landlord is a bit of a jerk. You could stay where you are, get an electronic drum kit to practice on without annoying the neighbors, bone up on your rental agreement and tenant rights and push back when the LL is in...
by Bengineer
Sat May 16, 2015 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Blues (music)
Replies: 57
Views: 3738

Re: Blues (music)

B.B., you're the Boss! What a great bluesman. I first saw him as a teenager in the old "tin can" at UNC in the mid 70's. What a memory.

B.B., thanks so much for the great blues you played for us all these years. I know you'll be on my playlist the rest of my life.
by Bengineer
Sat May 16, 2015 11:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A/C Service Deals
Replies: 11
Views: 815

Re: A/C Service Deals

My anecdotal opinion, substantiated only by my experience with the AC systems in 5 houses over 25 years or so, is no. Once you're confident that the system is installed and operating properly, I believe the only maintenance is to change your filters regularly, keep the condenser coil outside clean a...
by Bengineer
Tue May 12, 2015 10:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What are potential drawback of pay-per-mile insurance?
Replies: 10
Views: 892

Re: What are potential drawback of pay-per-mile insurance?

It might be beneficial to inquire with your current insurer. Mine asks me to list my miles per year at each annual renewal (and automatically bumps the amount if I don't send in my mileage :annoyed ) I get a lower rate for less miles. They also ask about the commute miles vs total. The real value to...
by Bengineer
Mon May 11, 2015 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Small Business and Retirement - Ethics Question
Replies: 15
Views: 1112

Re: Small Business and Retirement - Ethics Question

You could mention something to obfuscate your retirement a bit like "pursuing other interests","spending more time with your family", "taking a sabbatical" or something like that. Whenever a company announces that someone is doing those things, the immediate assumption...
by Bengineer
Sun May 10, 2015 5:57 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Small Business and Retirement - Ethics Question
Replies: 15
Views: 1112

Re: Small Business and Retirement - Ethics Question

From your posts, you're welll known in the community. I'd think you'd want to part on the best terms, be considerate of your clients and give them plenty of notice, avoid burning bridges. You never know what might come up in the future. You could mention something to obfuscate your retirement a bit ...
by Bengineer
Sat May 09, 2015 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Selling house; what to fix, what to leave?
Replies: 26
Views: 2173

Re: Selling house; what to fix, what to leave?

Maybe back off for a sec. What are you expecting to get for the house? How long are you prepared for it to be on the market? What do houses in your price range that are in your area look like that are on the market / have sold recently? Hot market or slow selling? There is a price every house will s...
by Bengineer
Wed May 06, 2015 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Aging parent not interested in setting up POA etc
Replies: 26
Views: 2819

Re: Aging parent not interested in setting up POA etc

bayview, I feel for you. Helping my parents during their last couple of years was the hardest thing I've ever done. I was able to get POAs in place during my parent's downward spiral. I didn't need them in the end. Two things that were really helpful: ⋅ Getting on my parent's checking acco...
by Bengineer
Mon May 04, 2015 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Roof shingle selection
Replies: 20
Views: 1892

Re: Roof shingle selection

I think I'd pay more attention to the quality of the roofer than the differences among similar style/cost/warranty shingles. Proper nailing, detailing at the ridges and flashing at valleys, wall intersections and jacks is key. If you're in ice-dam country, the proper underlayment at the eaves is als...
by Bengineer
Mon May 04, 2015 1:31 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Financial reasons to get a summer job?
Replies: 36
Views: 1836

Re: Financial reasons to get a summer job?

I agree with others on the internship or work in the field as he nears graduation. Meantime maybe the time away from it and doing or learning something different will make money, add life-skills and keep him out of the den. I worked various jobs summers through college. Mowing, construction jobs and...
by Bengineer
Mon May 04, 2015 1:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to clean spring mattress?
Replies: 12
Views: 687

Re: How to clean spring mattress?

... I have a Hoover steamvac similar to this one: http://www.amazon.com/Hoover-SteamVac-Carpet-Cleaner-F5914900/dp/B00009R66F Is the suction powerful enough? I guess we should air dry overnight afterwards (?). I'm a little afraid of residue moisture leading to mold/mildew. I'd think the upholstery ...
by Bengineer
Mon May 04, 2015 9:47 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electric water heater keeps tripping
Replies: 7
Views: 324

Re: electric water heater keeps tripping

So one of the thermostats is over-temp tripping. Does the water get crazy hot before it trips or are things normal? If normal, it would seem that replacing the thermostat might be in order. Actually we did notice very hot water temperatures in the two days before it tripped for the 1st time. Not su...
by Bengineer
Mon May 04, 2015 8:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: electric water heater keeps tripping
Replies: 7
Views: 324

Re: electric water heater keeps tripping

So one of the thermostats is over-temp tripping. Does the water get crazy hot before it trips or are things normal? If normal, it would seem that replacing the thermostat might be in order. Ok. a little reality check. Electric water heater elements and thermostats are $15 parts. If you're not a DIY ...
by Bengineer
Sun May 03, 2015 10:48 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to clean spring mattress?
Replies: 12
Views: 687

Re: How to clean spring mattress?

A "steam cleaner" with an upholstery wand, e.g. a rug doctor. If you have a wet-dry vac you could use that to pull out whatever liquid you use to clean with, though it will likely not have the suction of a rug machine. I've used a cleaner & wet-vac for the car floorboards after a drink...
by Bengineer
Sun May 03, 2015 4:36 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: DIY distance moving
Replies: 37
Views: 2567

Re: DIY distance moving

If you're thinking of going with moving containers, there are many choices. PODs might be considered the kleenex of this category.

Here's one blather^tm on the subject.
by Bengineer
Sun May 03, 2015 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Another Vexing Extension Cord Question
Replies: 16
Views: 1422

Re: Another Vexing Extension Cord Question

...To get the fewest kinks and the longest life from any sort of cord, you should be utilizing the over-under technique to loop up cords. It does take a little bit longer to wrap up a 100' cord at first, but eventually I got the muscle memory for it. Here's a Youtube video demonstrating the over-un...
by Bengineer
Sun May 03, 2015 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: DIY distance moving
Replies: 37
Views: 2567

Re: DIY distance moving

...You may be surprised by how much an actual moving van company will cost vs doing it yourself. I think so too. It may be that one of the full-service moving companies in your area is low on work at the time you want to move. We moved a few hundred miles a few years ago. We got an all-in rate for ...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My new dishwasher doesn't clean
Replies: 64
Views: 7494

Re: My new dishwasher doesn't clean

A modern, reasonably good DW should clean It seems most modern DWs expect to split the cleaning evenly with the DH. :mrgreen: Owww! Pa-dump-tshh! ... some expect the DH to do most of the cleaning ... Back on the earnest channel, boosters are available for hard water (Finish, Lemi-shine, ...). Kinda...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My new dishwasher doesn't clean
Replies: 64
Views: 7494

Re: My new dishwasher doesn't clean

Okay! Jumping in on this two year old thread... A modern, reasonably good DW should clean with a simple scraping off the chunks prior to loading. Mo' money equals quieter and more conveniences. I've owned a couple Bosch, Jenn-aire and Kitchenaid DW and a few el-cheapo thrash-amatics. Loved the Bosch...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:56 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Backyard patio - should I invest?
Replies: 39
Views: 2599

Re: Backyard patio - should I invest?

Using the space for a while before building anything is a great idea. We don't know your locale. If it's the rainy, buggy south, a screened porch with a pad just off for the grill might be the choice. If you're up north, a deck or sunroom maybe. Out in the sunny, arid west, a patio is some good livi...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Freshly roasted coffee beans
Replies: 29
Views: 1917

Re: Freshly roasted coffee beans

I dunno if you have Peets in your grocery, but they label their product with the roasted date.
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:42 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Getting the stink out of running clothes
Replies: 34
Views: 2232

Re: Getting the stink out of running clothes

I agree with the drying asap. I've also had the same problem with dirty/wet dishcloths, cleaning rags and towels. A few wet items left piled up in the hamper for a some days and you've got a science project on your hands...

I'll add a natural remedy - sunshine!
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:48 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?
Replies: 33
Views: 2905

Re: Prepping a house for sale: What are the priorities?

From your post, it seems that you have a fairly modern house that could be up to buyer expectations vs a remodeler or fixer-upper. I think our wisdom was to have prospective buyers see themselves living in our house. As others noted, you might check with a realtor or stager a read on what's in deman...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 108
Views: 7185

Re: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy

". "accident avoidance" is marketing. It's all over before you have time to do more than hit the brakes and sometimes before that. Ok, you brake hard, narrowly avoiding the car in front, but Wizard is behind you and was sexting. :shock: Done. Curious why you believe accident avoidanc...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:07 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: [Who is Ameriprise? Got invitation from a financial advisor]
Replies: 32
Views: 2968

Re: [Who is Ameriprise? Got invitation from a financial advi

When you need any kind of professional service, I think it is wisest to be the one who goes looking, ... Agreed! Plus, when you seek services, you get to interview a few and learn the range of offerings, prices, etc. from the process. I never accept a pitch from someone that comes to sell me. Back ...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy?]
Replies: 108
Views: 7185

Re: [What is safest vehicle on the road today that I can buy

"Safest" is probably a fool's errand. You want some mass, modern safety features (belt tensioners, head rests, airbags, stability control, great tires & brakes, crumple zones), good rollover & various impact protection. A modern, good-size sedan fits all of those. "accident av...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Total Cost of Buying a New Home vs 30 or 80-Year Old Homes?
Replies: 16
Views: 1394

Re: Total Cost of Buying a New Home vs 30 or 80-Year Old Hom

If I could buy (or have built) a new home constructed to current best practices for the same price as a similar older home in an equivalent neighborhood, I would. If the new home was a builder spec built just to code, I'm not so sure. As noted by a number of posters and in my experience, remodeling/...
by Bengineer
Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cast Iron Skillet Cooking
Replies: 127
Views: 17679

Re: Cast Iron Skillet Cooking

I'm sure all this has been covered ad nauseum up-thread. Cast iron is a poor conductor of heat. You'll have hot spots over the burners, cooler between and at the edges. It will take a bit for the entire pan / griddle to heat up and cool down. You'll have to experiment with the correlation between bu...
by Bengineer
Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:57 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VPN killing my Internet
Replies: 31
Views: 2856

Re: VPN killing my Internet

I think my next question to answer is what % of the co's up- and down-stream internet connection capacity is being use when you have problems? More simply, what's a speed test run from a box on their lan to the net look like? If that all looks hunky-dory, what's the network use & cpu load on the...
by Bengineer
Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is 2007 Accord 60K mile service worth $300?
Replies: 54
Views: 4635

Re: Is 2007 Accord 60K mile service worth $300?

No on the dealer, yes on the DIY and if not that, finding a good independent. If you don't have good mechanical skills or good people skills, you're hosed. :happy Being informed on your service intervals and what that entails will counter the FUD and save you money. When's the timing belt due? How m...
by Bengineer
Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?
Replies: 33
Views: 2241

Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

I second giving him a shot. I'd interview, set expectations and hire him directly, rather than through his mom.
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:28 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Advice on new CC and online bank (horrible exp with Cap One)
Replies: 19
Views: 1926

Re: Advice on new CC and online bank (horrible exp with Cap

Have you thought maybe it was you? I use C1 and have had no problems recently. Ad / script / cookie blocker setup? Scam? Tried a different computer / browser? Typed in the URL by hand? I'm not trying to defend MegaCorp at all. Possibly it's something basic and you could get to success from your end.
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Magic Eraser Ruined Cabinet Doors
Replies: 11
Views: 1285

Re: Magic Eraser Ruined Cabinet Doors

I think I would consult the cabinet shop that finished them. It's possible they could be buffed.
by Bengineer
Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone have experience with water softeners?
Replies: 41
Views: 1872

Re: anyone have experience with water softeners?

I had a house that came with a system that had been bypassed. I left it that way and eventually removed it. >Changing water chemistry via sending it through magnetic fields is dubious at best. It's not dubious (sic) it's totally bogus. Everybody knows that magnetic fields are for improving gas mile...
by Bengineer
Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Earthquake coverage in CA
Replies: 20
Views: 1132

Re: Earthquake coverage in CA

We don't carry earthquake insurance. After considering the cost, coverages and deductible for our single-story, it didn't seem to pencil out. We also considered our location on solid ground a few miles from the nearest fault and what would happen to the CA earthquake fund if a major earthquake occur...
by Bengineer
Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Bamboo vs Engineered Hardwood floor?
Replies: 12
Views: 1586

Re: Bamboo vs Engineered Hardwood floor?

I woudn't necessarily write off solid hardwood, particularly in a dry climate like LA. It is possible to nail sleepers to the concrete and then solid strip or engineered plank to them. Your condo may prohibit that. If the concrete looks pretty good, I second staining & sealing it. A few nice rug...
by Bengineer
Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:17 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Can you really know your AA until you've hit a bear market?
Replies: 74
Views: 5659

Re: Can you really know your AA until you've hit a bear mark

I'm not sure you can. As Taylor's post notes, It is one thing to see a year's income evaporate and another to see 10 years income go poof. It is one thing to see it while comforably employed and another to get the opportunity to explore one's options precisely when the clouds are darkest. One to see...
by Bengineer
Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Measuring duct volume and/or temperature
Replies: 6
Views: 541

Re: Measuring duct volume and/or temperature

A Green Building Advisor article on flow measurement you might find interesting. I think I am going to build a reversible blower window for duct and general air leakage detection. In a reasonably well sealed house, the range hood and bath fans do ok for pulling air, which is good for windows, doors,...
by Bengineer
Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:03 am
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: Dilemma re: taxable account
Replies: 18
Views: 1781

Re: Dilemma re: taxable account

... Secondly, what I need from my taxable account is four years worth of income, to bridge the time between now and when I am required to take RMD's. At that point, the RMD's will cover my income needs. Over the next four years, the amount I will need to withdraw from my taxable portfolio to suppor...
by Bengineer
Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Replies: 33
Views: 3339

Re: Tankless Hot Water Heaters

...When we expanded our house two years ago the kitchen ended up farther away from the rest of the plumbing so it takes what seems like a long time to get hot water out of the sink. I know the dishwasher has its own heater so that's not a problem. But we do wash dishes by hand too and it seems wast...
by Bengineer
Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Replies: 33
Views: 3339

Re: Tankless Hit Water Heaters

It depends. Anecdotally, I've had tankless natural gas water heaters in the last two houses. No issues, but we're light users, they were/are only a few years old and I descale them. Edit: Both were in temperate areas with ~60+ degree cold water year round. We have fairly low-flow fixtures. I think t...
by Bengineer
Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:27 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: job offer, 2x salary
Replies: 53
Views: 5075

Re: job offer, 2x salary

Ok. What do you think you're "worth" on the open market? Have you been underpaid for 15 years? Is the 2x offer, um sketchy in any way? You're nervous, but if 2x is actually within the range your research tells you that your sklls & experience should bring and it's what you'd like to be...
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cleaning my back yard?
Replies: 41
Views: 5443

Re: Cleaning my back yard?

If you do end up using bleach, remember to wear your painting clothes & eye protection. Rubber gloves & boots might be a good idea. You _will_ get it on you. Where does the runoff from the area go? The area doesn't seem that large - I might be inclined to scrub it with detergent/bleach. mayb...
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wireless Internet Question
Replies: 31
Views: 2644

Re: Wireless Internet Question

I too think you want your network to look like modem->firewall->router->switch -> internal lan. The fw, router & typically 4-port 100mBs switch + wifi are your typical consumer "wireless router". Need gigabit? My wired 3MP ip cams run at a few kbits each. I'm with previous posts - 2.4G...
by Bengineer
Sun Mar 15, 2015 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gaming amazon product reviews
Replies: 16
Views: 2299

Re: Gaming amazon product reviews

As far as I can tell, Amazon has pretty much gotten to be the wild-wild west. Not only are the reviews astroturfed, but depending on the product, sellers of counterfeit products join in with the legit sellers, even to the point of "fullfillment by Amazon". You have no idea what you're gett...
by Bengineer
Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ink Cartridges dry up on seldom used printer, any ideas?
Replies: 32
Views: 1935

Re: Ink Cartridges dry up on seldom used printer, any ideas?

I've owned an HP 6210 & 6500A for (too many) years. I often go for a while between printing. If the cartridge or printhead stops putting ink on the page or is partially blocked, I've had good luck with soaking the cartridge / printhead in warm water with a drop of DW detergent just deep enough t...
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 09, 2015 9:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen appliance question
Replies: 10
Views: 1071

Re: Kitchen appliance question

I check CR's repair history when considering appliances.

Anecdotally, I had a recent JA smooth-top gas range. The center down-draft vent pulled the heat off the burners. I had to replace the keypad twice.
by Bengineer
Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: My attic air leak blocking checklist
Replies: 24
Views: 2063

Re: My attic air leak blocking checklist

I've just used the urethane foam for plumbing & wiring holes in the top plates and cracks, vs silicone some places, foam others. I don't think you need fire caulk except around flues / chimneys (along with sheet metal fill) or a firestop. Agreed, urethane foam is sticky & permanent. Wear you...
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Repair [Maintenance vs. repair costs]
Replies: 20
Views: 2343

Re: Car Repair [Maintenance vs. repair costs]

I'll add one more bit to tibbit's & LadyGeek's advice(s). Find a good independent that works mostly on your make of car. I did this for our older, german cars by finding a couple of locals that had good reviews online (yelp, cartalk. there likely won't be much for the smaller guys) and a recomme...
by Bengineer
Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommend a quality (and reasonably priced) knife set
Replies: 64
Views: 3015

Re: Recommend a quality (and reasonably priced) knife set

I concur on not buying a set. Think of it as a tool-buying opportunity! If you're thinking ~$30 for a utility grade 8" chef, Victorinox/Forschner & Dexter are reasonable quality & price and available online and at restaurant stores. Pretty good steel, thin, easy to sharpen, no-maintenan...

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