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Re: New HVAC

One factor to take into account is how you use your AC. If you work all day and turn down the temp when you get home at night, causing your unit to run at maximum output for most of its duty cycle, a high SEER system might not be much more efficient than your current system. SEER measures how effici...
by magellan
Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:25 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New HVAC
Replies: 21
Views: 1509

Re: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?

A related question. If one has $1M in Umbrella insurance and about $1M in assets, can't the courts settle for $2M and you still lose all your assets? Yes. Umbrella insurance only indirectly protects assets by providing a buffer of insurance coverage that makes it unnecessary for a plaintiff to go a...
by magellan
Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:39 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?
Replies: 52
Views: 5030

Re: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?

Not to be too preachy, but there's also a non-financial angle here. We all make mistakes and it only takes a moment of carelessness to cause unthinkable tragedy. Part of being a responsible member of society is reducing the chance that you'll cause uncompensated harm to someone else. $1M seems like ...
by magellan
Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:22 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should I purchase an Umbrella policy?
Replies: 52
Views: 5030

Re: How do you quickly cool food?

When I want to quickly make iced coffee from a pot of hot coffee, here's what I do: 1) find two large round metal cake pans that fit inside each other (thin conductive metal is best). 2) fill one pan with ice cubes and water in the bottom of the sink. 3) Set the second pan inside the first pan so it...
by magellan
Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:17 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How do you quickly cool food?
Replies: 34
Views: 2425

Re: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?

I guess I am the poster child for doing things the opposite of what you say Magellan. I have never had a problem. Running my sump on the 700W/900W surge genny does a big pull down, and true I have no other loads at all. Running all my loads the refrigerator will cause a little pull down when it kic...
by magellan
Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:18 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?
Replies: 35
Views: 2063

Re: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?

IMO, the reason things get fried on portable generators isn't 'dirty power' in a general sense, it's from unsteady voltage from the generator getting overloaded. When you overload any generator, the voltage level bounces around and that can damage appliances and electronics. Instead of focusing on w...
by magellan
Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Can anyone recommend a good low cost generator?
Replies: 35
Views: 2063

Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

I can't say for sure the price is reasonable and you might want to get another quote or two to be safe. For such a small space you really can't think in terms of cost per sq. ft. There's a fixed setup overhead with any job and that probably accounts for most of the cost of this job. Also, it's not j...
by magellan
Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?
Replies: 46
Views: 2979

Re: VRBO rental gone awry- recourse for security deposit?

IANAL, but as I understand it, an aggrieved party has a duty to mitigate costs to what's reasonable. First, most landlords would want to inspect and clean a rental after the tenant left. The tenant may be able to make the case that not having a plan to inspect the place on the departure day is a bit...
by magellan
Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: VRBO rental gone awry- recourse for security deposit?
Replies: 50
Views: 5021

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

I agree but in this case solar owners also act as special interests. It's a problem when net metering sends the wrong price signals. For example in CA peak demand is in late afternoon. Solar on west facing roofs is, objectively, more valuable to the grid than on south facing roofs. But in the curre...
by magellan
Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:08 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4247

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

A related problem is that the distribution grid was not built to take lots of power coming from distributed nodes. This is becoming an issue which will necessitate heavy investment. There's certainly engineering to work out and we're talking about changes happening over decades, not years. However,...
by magellan
Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:35 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4247

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

Selling back to the grid is the best solution for now, but given solar's continued and progressive rise, we will soon reach the tipping point where utilities will no longer permit sellback of surplus energy to the grid, or at least hugely reduce the fees paid to sell back such energy. This is a goo...
by magellan
Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:20 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4247

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

I agree with the engineering, but I believe in economies of scale. It will make economic sense for the utility, or a commercial service, at substations before it makes sense at individual homes. I'm not in this business or an expert in any sense, but I wonder if battery storage systems could actual...
by magellan
Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4247

Re: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar

IMO, positioning this with solar is exactly backwards, at least in the industrialized world. The business case for something like this is to charge the batteries overnight using cheap underutilized grid power. Overnight, spot prices for electricity can be 1/5 to 1/10th of peak prices because the gri...
by magellan
Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:06 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tesla to start making Batteries for Home Solar
Replies: 61
Views: 4247

Re: Tablet recommendations?

DW and I stay in rentals often and we look for rentals with free wifi and a TV with an HDMI input. A couple of years ago this would have limited our choices, but nowadays I rarely have to exclude a rental over this. We bring a Roku 3, which lets us: 1) watch Netflix 2) watch shows from a USB drive t...
by magellan
Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:15 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Tablet recommendations?
Replies: 17
Views: 1620

Re: Building a new house. Any recommendations?

In your contract with the builder, designate a "completion date". Offer some incentive for completing on time or a penalty for completion after that date. This is a good idea, however with a clause like this you'll want to be on the lookout for the builder or subs taking shortcuts. IMO, i...
by magellan
Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:57 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a new house. Any recommendations?
Replies: 53
Views: 5200

Re: HSA Tax Reporting

Ok, now as I re-read the statute, I wonder if HSAs could be exempted by this paragraph: 77:4-b Interest and Dividend Income of Employee Benefit Plans and Tax Deferred Investments Not Taxable. – Notwithstanding any provisions of RSA 77:4 to the contrary, interest and dividend income received by an em...
by magellan
Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:53 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Tax Reporting
Replies: 10
Views: 1097

Re: HSA Tax Reporting

Do you have an official source for this? I checked several sites which say that NH and TN do tax dividends and interest in HSAs, and others which say that they do not. I believe TN used to tax them but changed its law, and not all sites will have been updated. Here's a link to the state's interest ...
by magellan
Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Tax Reporting
Replies: 10
Views: 1097

Re: HSA: "combined" spousal account

In what month did you terminate the HDHP and start your Medicare coverage? If you terminated your HDHP coverage to start Medicare mid-year, you still get to make a contribution (for both of you), prorated for the partial year. I think the rules say that you multiply your full-year contribution limit...
by magellan
Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:56 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA: "combined" spousal account
Replies: 11
Views: 831

Re: HSA Tax Reporting

grabiner wrote:Three states: AL, CA, and NJ.

Make that 4 states: AL, CA, NJ, NH

However, NH's 5% Interest and Dividends Tax exempts the first $2400 of interest and dividends from taxation ($4800 for MFJ).
by magellan
Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:10 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA Tax Reporting
Replies: 10
Views: 1097

Re: Building a new house. Any recommendations?

It may be worthwhile to research if radon is an issue in your area. We had a passive suction system installed at construction time that included PVC under the basement floor with a PVC pipe from the basement through the roof. This passive system doesn't use electricity and is maintenance free, but a...
by magellan
Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a new house. Any recommendations?
Replies: 53
Views: 5200

Re: COBRA vs ACA

...I'd suggest, if possible, waiting for the current Supreme Court case to be decided this summer. It may change your decision or options depending on your state and if you will receive any subsidy. It sounds like the OP is in Massachusetts and the Supreme Court case won't impact subsidies there. T...
by magellan
Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA vs ACA
Replies: 35
Views: 2296

Re: COBRA vs ACA

Your employer's group is generally made of healthier people than the ACA groups, since at least the employees have to be sufficiently healthy to work. That means the overall costs should be lower. The exception to this would be a small company where a few very sick employees or dependents could mak...
by magellan
Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:43 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA vs ACA
Replies: 35
Views: 2296

Re: COBRA vs ACA

Under what conditions would purchasing directly from the insurer be cheaper? You won't see a price difference for the exact same policy, but if you don't qualify for subsidies, it's less complicated to cut out the healthcare.gov middleman. Also, some insurers may offer certain policies off the exch...
by magellan
Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: COBRA vs ACA
Replies: 35
Views: 2296

Re: Observations from a first time poster, long time reader.

It would be interesting to analyze how this strategy would have impacted retiree portfolio survivability during historically worst-case draw down periods. On the face of it, it may be that giving up a few points of potential return in a great investing climate would be no problem, if what you got in...
by magellan
Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:00 pm
 
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [New Member Observations- Covered Calls, Financial Advisors]
Replies: 227
Views: 17170

Re: Ice Dams - now what?

...That area is a low-pitched roof with skylights. The roofer (who installed them in the first place) told us he thought the roof did not meet the minimum pitch requirements for the product, but I found the model number, and determined that the pitch (14 deg.) is equal to the min. requirement. As I...
by magellan
Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:18 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ice Dams - now what?
Replies: 49
Views: 4620

Re: Rural cellular signal help

I wouldn't use 'bars' as a reliable indicator of signal strength. Although you may ultimately need a booster, it could be worth it to try an app that gives a real time dBm reading of the cell signal strength. On Android, I use two apps. The first is called Network Signal Info. It has an easy to read...
by magellan
Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:46 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rural cellular signal help
Replies: 5
Views: 596

Re: What internet speed is fast enough?

I felt like I had won the lottery when I found out our address was included in the pilot project. It's an amazing thing for our rural town. I hope the roll out goes well and the project succeeds. Cable companies have been working furiously to get state laws passed to block projects like this. A les...
by magellan
Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:53 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What internet speed is fast enough?
Replies: 52
Views: 4987

Re: Savannah

DW and I enjoyed the architectural walking tour we took with this guy last year:
http://www.architecturalsavannah.com
by magellan
Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:51 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Savannah
Replies: 28
Views: 3401

Re: Ice Dams - now what?

Does IWS ccome in a roll? If so what is the width of it? If you want it to have your entire roof covered in IWS, does the bond between successive roll withstand the backing up of the snow dams? I am trying to understand if IWS uses similar kind of layering mechanism as it is done for roof shingles....
by magellan
Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ice Dams - now what?
Replies: 49
Views: 4620

Re: Starting a New Business with a Partner - Setup Questions

As for contributions: we won't have a lot of initial cost inputs outside of time, which may make things simpler, but good idea re:proportional inputs as applicable - my default plan was/is to pay setup costs out of pocket, and agree that those will simply be paid back first from revenues before spl...
by magellan
Mon Mar 16, 2015 3:40 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Starting a New Business with a Partner - Setup Questions
Replies: 11
Views: 740

Re: Wireless Internet Question

We have 8 security cameras that are all poe hard wired . we also have a dedicated computer hard wired for monitoring. Everything else is wireless. I was thinking cable modem--->smart gigabit switch--->one port to poe switch with cameras and one port torouter That won't work? Probably not. Unless yo...
by magellan
Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:30 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wireless Internet Question
Replies: 31
Views: 2516

Re: Wireless Internet Question

I think what we are going to do is run the Internet to a switch and try placing the router in a better location. Hopefully will get away with this quick fix. Other than the room where the repositioned router will live, do you plan to have any other wired network devices in the house? If you only ne...
by magellan
Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:39 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wireless Internet Question
Replies: 31
Views: 2516

Re: Starting a New Business with a Partner - Setup Questions

I was part of a 4 person partnership a few years ago and we used an LLC. Even though I had previously set up a single member LLC myself, we hired a lawyer to set up the partnership LLC. That cost around $1200 for everything. I think he mostly used a template for the operating agreement, but it was w...
by magellan
Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:17 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Starting a New Business with a Partner - Setup Questions
Replies: 11
Views: 740

Re: Annuity -SPIA

Buying an annuity combines two distinct retirement planning steps into one action. The first is removing funds from your risky portfolio to dedicate to the job of producing a safe income stream. The second is augmenting that safe income stream with insurance so that it continues until you die. You d...
by magellan
Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Annuity -SPIA
Replies: 9
Views: 738

Re: Guyton-Klinger Withdrawal Decison Rules

Mind sharing some of your experience with such decision rules? What works well, what doesn't work so well, what could be improved? You must have looked at numerous outcomes pretty hard in the process of developing such a tool. It's been several years since I coded the decision rule logic, but the b...
by magellan
Sun Mar 15, 2015 3:09 pm
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guyton-Klinger Withdrawal Decison Rules
Replies: 131
Views: 9873

Re: Ice Dams - now what?

that moisture barriers can work, but are not 100% effective, especially around dormers. Impermeable moisture barriers are darn near 100% effective when used and installed correctly. I get huge ice dams on several areas of my home's roof every year, yet they've never caused any damage. As with anyth...
by magellan
Sun Mar 15, 2015 12:04 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ice Dams - now what?
Replies: 49
Views: 4620

Re: Guyton-Klinger Withdrawal Decison Rules

Speaking of simplicity of implementation, has anyone created a calculator for the Guyton-Klinger decision rules. The basic calculations are pretty straightforward. I made a Monte Carlo based tool that supports something roughly similar to the decision rules. Here's a link: http://www.flexibleretire...
by magellan
Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:46 am
 
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Guyton-Klinger Withdrawal Decison Rules
Replies: 131
Views: 9873

Re: Ice Dams - now what?

So, how can a properly installed roof leak - ice dams or no ice dams? This seems like a "roof problem" not an "ice dam problem". I tend to agree with this, although this year was a stress test year for many locations. Roofs that have been good enough for their geography for year...
by magellan
Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:44 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Ice Dams - now what?
Replies: 49
Views: 4620

Re: Oneplus One phone- experience?

The OnePlus One is bigger and heavier (5.71 oz) than the Samsung S3 (4.69 oz). So make sure you are OK with that. When I first got mine, I thought I had made a big mistake in this regard. It is much more noticeable in my pocket than my last phone, especially in the front pocket of jeans. So much so...
by magellan
Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:38 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oneplus One phone- experience?
Replies: 20
Views: 2012

Re: Wireless Internet Question

Assuming you can position the WRT-1900AC so it covers the entire house, IMO your best bet will be to use the new device as the home's main wireless access point and then get a good but inexpensive router that supports gigabit ethernet as your main router. You'll connect the WRT-1900AC to the router ...
by magellan
Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:07 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wireless Internet Question
Replies: 31
Views: 2516

Re: Which Asus computer to buy?

In fact, the current-gen Core i7 is way overkill for what most people need a computer to do. Do you regularly run physics simulations or video editing? An SSD with a Core i3 would make for a snappier experience for most tasks. I used to also think that an i3 was good enough for most general purpose...
by magellan
Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:03 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Which Asus computer to buy?
Replies: 24
Views: 2151

Re: Oneplus One phone- experience?

I've had mine for a few months and I like it a lot. I'm not sure what Android has for built-ins these days, but the Oneplus One has SIP calling built into the dialer (for VOIP), a wifi hotspot, and built in VPN support. I use all of these regularly and having them integrated and controllable from th...
by magellan
Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:20 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Oneplus One phone- experience?
Replies: 20
Views: 2012

Re: What internet speed is fast enough?

With many ISPs, your throughput will be very uneven. Sometimes you might get 6Mbps and other times you may only get 2Mbps or less. This is because every ISP oversubscribes their network by design. Some ISPs oversubscribe by 100 to 1. That means that by design, everyone can't be using all their bandw...
by magellan
Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:31 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What internet speed is fast enough?
Replies: 52
Views: 4987

Re: Old homes and radiator heating

The boiler for my system is in the detached garage (pipes run underground between the garage and house), so I don't see how that could contribute to the very low humidity in my house which has baseboard heating. In that case, the low humidity is probably from too much dry outside air infiltrating t...
by magellan
Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:41 am
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Old homes and radiator heating
Replies: 41
Views: 1841

Re: Old homes and radiator heating

I have to reply to the many people who have mentioned that radiators do not dry out the air like forced air heat. As I understand it, the reason forced air systems tend dry the air more than hydronic systems is because most duct work leaks at least somewhat and those leaks increase air infiltration...
by magellan
Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Old homes and radiator heating
Replies: 41
Views: 1841

Re: Will you buy an Apple Watch?

IMO, this announcement bodes very well for the future of Apple without Mr. Jobs. Not because the watch is anything special, but rather, because it isn't special, yet we're all still talking about it a day later. That takes a certain kind of marketing mastery that Apple somewhat uniquely possesses. A...
by magellan
Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:03 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Will you buy an Apple Watch?
Replies: 355
Views: 22119

Re: Old homes and radiator heating

The heat is overpowering for seasons the are up and down in temp, so we use the electric heat for those times. If using the electric heat isn't too costly, that's probably a good workaround. OTOH, the water temperature in forced hot water systems can easily be adjusted to solve this problem if you ...
by magellan
Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:41 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Old homes and radiator heating
Replies: 41
Views: 1841

Re: Old homes and radiator heating

Does the system use steam or forced hot water? Radiators are used in both types of systems. Forced hot water heating systems are common and relatively easy to maintain, regardless of whether they use radiators or radiant baseboard heating. Any reputable HVAC company can maintain this type of system,...
by magellan
Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:16 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Old homes and radiator heating
Replies: 41
Views: 1841

Re: Driveway Replacement Cost

I'm considering replacing my 18 y.o. 400 foot long asphalt driveway in parts. Has anyone replaced just part of their driveway and if so, do the economics work out or do you end up paying a ton more in the end? I try not to use salt on my driveway but one part is steep and shaded and I use salt liber...
by magellan
Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:25 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Driveway Replacement Cost
Replies: 36
Views: 2808

Re: Driveway Replacement Cost

In respect to pavers and moss, I have a brick patio and moss clings to the surface of the bricks, is high maintenance. Only if you feel you have to get rid of the moss, unless I am missing something. I liked the look of the moss on the paver joints, but as time passed, a blackish moss/mold started ...
by magellan
Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:00 pm
 
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Driveway Replacement Cost
Replies: 36
Views: 2808
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