Search found 410 matches

by Bengineer
Thu Jan 12, 2017 7:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home heating options
Replies: 63
Views: 2501

Re: Home heating options

OP, some thoughts. Oil & Propane are generally considered expensive fuels, particularly as compared to natural gas, but also compared with all but the highest electricity rates. I would compare oil, propane and electric, calculating $/btu. Consider an air-sourced heat pump solution. As noted up-...
by Bengineer
Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home heating options
Replies: 63
Views: 2501

Re: Home heating options

I believe that new wood burning fireplaces have been illegal in California for some time. They are tremendous sources of pollution and very hard on any neighbor within a block or three who has a respiratory condition. I would expect that that type of regulation would spread to other states eventual...
by Bengineer
Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Keeping kitchen knives sharp
Replies: 53
Views: 3710

Re: Keeping kitchen knives sharp

OP, I'd have to admit I'm a little into sharpening cutting edges. For my kitchen knives, of which I have a spectrum of quality from cheap and effective Forstners to a Wusthof or two, I use a steel (not a ceramic or gritted sharpener) to burnish the edge before each use. This straightens up the edge,...
by Bengineer
Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bedroom is colder than rest of house. Radiator heating question.
Replies: 70
Views: 3002

Re: Bedroom is colder than rest of house. Radiator heating question.

...I am a little confused about all the talk about moisture problems with insulation. What is this all about? How would moisture get inside my walls? DBR has it. Warm, moist air in your house, cold, dry air outside. Moisture migrates from high humidity to low. Warm, moist air flowing from inside yo...
by Bengineer
Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Bedroom is colder than rest of house. Radiator heating question.
Replies: 70
Views: 3002

Re: Bedroom is colder than rest of house. Radiator heating question.

OP, I'm with Just Frank and the other posters suggesting insulation. You can do a thermostat or increase the heat to your MBR, but you've still got an uninsulated house. You could go with both - something temporary for a few $ to get comfort now, with a longer term plan to make the whole house comfo...
by Bengineer
Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: how do I attach phone wire to a house?
Replies: 7
Views: 479

Re: how do I attach phone wire to a house?

I'd use cable straps. There are little plastic ones with an included brad made for phone/cat cable. At your hardware or big-box home improvement store.

A crown stapler for wiring is an option, also useful for putting up the xmas lights.
by Bengineer
Thu Dec 22, 2016 8:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can Bogleheads Have Fun Too?
Replies: 29
Views: 2891

Re: Can Bogleheads Have Fun Too?

OP, I think you've asked a complex question. I think I'll go with 1) Of course you can have fun! I'm sure you're reading up on and planning to invest enough to let you retire comfortably when you reach 6x in 30 odd years. Getting your e-fund and liability insurance set. Working your cash flow so the...
by Bengineer
Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Physical security solution for basement door?
Replies: 19
Views: 1445

Re: Physical security solution for basement door?

Some thoughts: It's a basement door. A sheet of polycarbonate over the glass on the inside would increase the difficulty of getting in and be less obtrusive than bars. A sheet of perforated metal might work as well. If access from outside is needed, a good deadbolt & long screws would help slow ...
by Bengineer
Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:19 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: No employer retirement plan; how would you proceed?
Replies: 11
Views: 1375

Re: No employer retirement plan; how would you proceed?

I think the most important thing is saving. "tax advantaged" might or might not play out, as tax law may change in the future. Properly it's best to think of it as tax deferred. I wouldn't sweat it too much if you don't currently have tax-deferred options. Save as much as possible, invest ...
by Bengineer
Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: the economics of Spinn coffee making
Replies: 28
Views: 2903

Re: the economics of Spinn coffee making

I'm with SouthBay. ... Call me crazy, but I like to heat water in an electric kettle and do a pour over. Takes a couple minutes but tastes great and cheap/simple. That machine looks clever, but I would be worried about cleaning it and how reliable it will be. I use an electric kettle with adjustable...
by Bengineer
Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: In search of weak LED lights
Replies: 12
Views: 1180

Re: In search of weak LED lights

I use spot bulbs in my motion fixtures along the side of the house to limit the light spillover to the neighbors.
by Bengineer
Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any recs for a Linux-compatible laptop?
Replies: 62
Views: 5440

Re: Any recs for a Linux-compatible laptop?

IME, the touchpad is also something to check in addition to the network adapter, sleep/hibernate and graphics chip. I think if you are buying a just-released laptop, it would be wise to check the specific hardware in the exact model you're planning on getting.
by Bengineer
Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refrigerator issues - Temperature & Other
Replies: 22
Views: 1704

Re: Refrigerator issues - Temperature & Other

OP, I'm going to suggest putting a simple fridge/freezer thermometer in the middle of one side at a time, adjusting every so often until you get ~0 in the freezer and ~40 in the fridge, giving it hours to a day in between adjustments. The "dreaded fill tube freeze-up" is a well-known issue...
by Bengineer
Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: want to leave comcast but keep my email?
Replies: 17
Views: 1978

Re: want to leave comcast but keep my email?

My preference is a paid email service. It's all they do. Simple to set up, a few $ a year, permanent (assuming the provider remains in business). I'm not tied to an isp, nor am I a product available for mining by the likes of google or yahoo. I chose not to set up my own domain, but rather use one o...
by Bengineer
Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eating Healthy/Meals for One
Replies: 65
Views: 5020

Re: Eating Healthy/Meals for One

... I seem to be tossing out/wasting a lot of food. I find it nearly impossible to make a recipe that serves less than 4 - and after 3 days of the same thing, I don't want to look at it any more. ... I eat a mostly whole foods diet - do not like processed food much. All suggestions appreciated. I'l...
by Bengineer
Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:22 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What to do with my underwater house, sink or swim?
Replies: 29
Views: 3625

Re: What to do with my underwater house, sink or swim?

William104 wrote:Don't put too much weight on Zillows estimate in your decision making. ...


And/or do your own homework on recent sales near you, comparing them to your own home.

If you want to stay, refi-ing to a 15 or 30y fixed mortgage would cut your interest costs if your cash flow supports it.
by Bengineer
Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:18 pm
Forum: Investing - Help with Personal Investments
Topic: pocket listing
Replies: 13
Views: 821

Re: pocket listing

We have had good luck with: 1) Having a pretty good idea of what the house is worth - location, dig up the recent sales in the area, etc. 2) Picking a listing/selling agent after interviewing a few that sell similar houses in the neighborhood. 3) Spiffing up & staging the house & yard so the...
by Bengineer
Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AC blower motor died. need replacement
Replies: 20
Views: 1296

Re: AC blower motor died. need replacement

One option would be to buy a window unit to give you some time to shop around. If your air handler has an ECM, $840 might be a pretty good price for an AC company replacing it. If it is a PSC motor, that's a bit much. If it is a PSC motor, the start capacitor is a likely suspect, as noted, but your ...
by Bengineer
Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home energy efficiency
Replies: 7
Views: 722

Re: Home energy efficiency

I think the checkup will be worth it if it is a proper energy audit, which should involve a blower-door house envelope air leakage test, a duct leakage test, record the HVAC efficiency, insulation levels, etc. I had one done that was a similar arrangement with my electric utility. I think it is in y...
by Bengineer
Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:35 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: bifiocals vs progressive lenses - value/cost
Replies: 20
Views: 1485

Re: bifiocals vs progressive lenses - value/cost

Progressives for general use. If you spend a lot of time reading like heartwood or working on a large monitor desktop like me, consider an additional single-prescription pair for that. I really dislike moving my head to read various parts of the screen. Having a single prescription pair with a wide ...
by Bengineer
Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: advice on backyard project
Replies: 20
Views: 2307

Re: advice on backyard project

I advocate getting your design down in detail first. "What do we do" is one of the best things we've found think about. How do you envision spending your time out back and doing what? Meals, partying, reading a book, sunning, hot tubbing, pitching horseshoes? ... Engaging a landscape desig...
by Bengineer
Thu Aug 11, 2016 7:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: air conditioning filters
Replies: 36
Views: 2915

Re: air conditioning filters

From the air handler's perspective, it's all about pressure drop at the airflow your system runs at, something like 400cfm per ton of AC, might be more or less cfm for your heat. Your system probably has a filter slot/grill sized appropriately for a "bird catcher" - the blue or white stand...
by Bengineer
Tue Aug 09, 2016 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I get a different cassette for my road bicycle? Currently 11-23
Replies: 40
Views: 2077

Re: Should I get a different cassette for my road bicycle? Currently 11-23

"me too" :) I got a larger cassette & chain for hill rides. It worked well for me. As noted, be sure your derailler can handle the larger range.
by Bengineer
Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Hardwood Flooring: Floating vs. Glue
Replies: 35
Views: 15723

Re: Hardwood Flooring: Floating vs. Glue

I think I'd go with a floating floor. A perfectly flat subfloor is critical. As noted, engineered flooring is basically cheap plywood / mdf / plastic substrate with a finish layer. The thicker the finish layer, the denser/harder the substrate and better the finish, the more wear and impact resistant...
by Bengineer
Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gmail, Two POP Clients, Smartphone, Gmail Recent Mode
Replies: 12
Views: 1191

Re: Gmail, Two POP Clients, Smartphone, Gmail Recent Mode

I use exactly this [pop, gmail recent] on multiple clients. I automatically download new messages, leave messages on server, for at most nnn days.
by Bengineer
Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HELP - After Market Rims?
Replies: 14
Views: 1054

Re: HELP - After Market Rims?

Good points noted above. Here's a Car and Driver article on upsized wheels & tires. Note how the larger wheel combos weighed more, no doubt correlated with the higher elapsed times. You can spend some serious coin getting light high performance wheels to get the wheel+tire weights down. I own a ...
by Bengineer
Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Whole House Humidifier
Replies: 11
Views: 903

Re: Whole House Humidifier

OP, here's a different thought. Low humidity in your house in winter is likely caused by the air in your house leaking out and being replaced by dry air from the outside. The people, showers, laundry and cooking all contribute moisture. Cold outside air can't hold much, and so is very dry. Assuming ...
by Bengineer
Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:31 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Favorite ski resort
Replies: 61
Views: 3764

Re: Favorite ski resort

So I view "where to go" as all about the skiing. Night life is a hot tub with friends after getting up at the crack on a powder day and doing every last bit you can do. I too think SLC is a good choice if it's all about skiing. 400" a year, light powder. Stay in town and drive up each...
by Bengineer
Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:08 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HVAC Upgrades When Old Systems Still Work?
Replies: 16
Views: 1566

Re: HVAC Upgrades When Old Systems Still Work?

There's no telling how long the old system will last. We had an old AC and furnace that while not so efficient, just kept on going. Given that it is currently running, you have a great opportunity to do your research on the available brands and system types and get competitive bids instead of a &quo...
by Bengineer
Tue May 31, 2016 6:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two-Way Fence Lock
Replies: 12
Views: 1268

Re: Two-Way Fence Lock

How about the old-school arrangement often used on gates? A chain with as many inter-connected padlocks as there are users? Maybe not the most elegant, but effective.
by Bengineer
Mon May 30, 2016 9:16 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is there such thing as easy load front load washer/dryer?
Replies: 30
Views: 2395

Re: Is there such thing as easy load front load washer/dryer?

I found the pedestals a little spendy @ $250-300 per. I built a nice platform that the washer & dryer fit on and 3 clothes baskets fit under out of wood for a few $. Gets the W/D doors up to a convenient height, more functional than the pedestals and cost way less.
by Bengineer
Wed May 11, 2016 5:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low flow shower head?
Replies: 41
Views: 5725

Re: Low flow shower head?

I have these in my house. Love them -- they don't feel like low flow. http://www.amazon.com/Niagara-N2515CH-Fixed-Mount-Showerhead-Chrome/dp/B0089CGG9K ... I chose this one as well. I was looking to save water and/or energy and I like a large area shower spray head vs a needle jet or massage jet he...
by Bengineer
Sat May 07, 2016 2:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is buying organic really that expensive?
Replies: 111
Views: 11946

Re: Is buying organic really that expensive?

Frankly, I'm much more concerned about campylobacter, salmonella, e-coli and cryptosporidium (to name a few) than I am about trace amounts of pesticides and hormones in my food.

I tend to buy whatever seems freshest and tastes best vs what it is labeled as.
by Bengineer
Fri May 06, 2016 9:30 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What to buy my sig other from the DOG for Mothers Day
Replies: 16
Views: 2113

Re: What to buy my sig other from the DOG for Mothers Day

A really nice 6' full-grain leather walking lead? Mom! Take me out!
by Bengineer
Mon May 02, 2016 10:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sunscreen
Replies: 51
Views: 4425

Re: Sunscreen

Coppertone sport lotion, 30-50. Neutrogena stick, 70. Good sunglasses. Wide-brimmed hat & long sleeve shirt.

I have yet to find anything that doesn't sting when sweat carries it into my eyes.
by Bengineer
Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Security features of a good front door
Replies: 34
Views: 3043

Re: Security features of a good front door

I think the basic level is to prevent a walk-up & kick-in. A good deadbolt & strike with 3" screws extending through the strike and into the studs is a start. I've added long screws for the strike and one per each side of each hinge as well. You're going to have to raise the bar a lot h...
by Bengineer
Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with cleaning glass shower doors
Replies: 32
Views: 2868

Re: Help with cleaning glass shower doors

^^^^^ Thanks! I'm going to try a chamois.
by Bengineer
Thu Apr 07, 2016 3:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with cleaning glass shower doors
Replies: 32
Views: 2868

Re: Help with cleaning glass shower doors

jepalan wrote: ... *Every* morning when I finish showering I wipe down the glass door and all tile walls.
...The glass door is 10 yrs old and crystal clear as the day it was installed, as is the tile & grout.


I use a squeegee. Had you tried one before the chamois?
by Bengineer
Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Help with cleaning glass shower doors
Replies: 32
Views: 2868

Re: Help with cleaning glass shower doors

Plain old white vinegar with a bit of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. spray on, soak 15 mins, scrub with a scrubber sponge that won't scratch glass, rinse, squeegee. I clean the entire shower stall with it. It softens / dissolves the hard water deposits & "soap scum" better than ...
by Bengineer
Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Do you pay for yardwork?
Replies: 61
Views: 6550

Re: Do you pay for yardwork?

...Someone who knows how to tend garden beds is a rarer creature. If you hire someone for that be certain they know what you want done. I hired some people who did an excellent job the first time, then "weeded" out a desirable ground cover, etc. the next time. I totally agree. Mow & b...
by Bengineer
Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Copper in Brake Fluid
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Re: Copper in Brake Fluid

cheese_breath wrote:...
There is nothing in the owner's manual about replacing the brake fluid...


For my cars (Audi, VW), brake fluid replacement is down at the bottom of the maintenance chart with a couple other time-only items. In an earlier car, it was in a separate section.
by Bengineer
Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:23 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Competing Offers when Selling Home
Replies: 20
Views: 1544

Re: Competing Offers when Selling Home

We listed our house at what seemed like its value considering the comparable sales around the neighborhood at the time, spiffed it up and staged it, had an open house, got multiple competing offers with in a few rounds before the deadline and sold in about a week for well over asking. I think we con...
by Bengineer
Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:07 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Copper in Brake Fluid
Replies: 43
Views: 2634

Re: Copper in Brake Fluid

I've never had my fluid tested, nor even heard of "copper in brake fluid", but flushing & replacement every two years is fairly standard. I do mine every couple years. I'd be more vigilant in a humid locale, as brake fluid is hygroscopic and so slowly accumulates water, which will boil...
by Bengineer
Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tub Cleaning Issue - Soap Scum
Replies: 23
Views: 3296

Re: Tub Cleaning Issue - Soap Scum

stuffthatpig wrote:Best thing ever that I've found is Dawn (1/3) and Vinegar (2/3) in a spray bottle. Spray and wait for ~10 minutes. Scrub/wipe away. Cheap and easy.


White vinegar with a little dawn added is my go to for buildup in the shower as well.
by Bengineer
Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dogs & my mailbox
Replies: 37
Views: 2844

Re: Dogs & my mailbox



The reviews of this thing are pretty funny.
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: new gas range + convection oven, is it all that?
Replies: 14
Views: 1241

Re: new gas range + convection oven, is it all that?

This being the internet and all, opinions may vary. :)

The self-clean cycle on our gas range works pretty much as advertised when I follow the directions, leaving mostly gray ash that I can wipe out once the oven cools. The window does take some extra cleaning.
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A Lost Engineer [Which masters program to pursue?]
Replies: 20
Views: 3080

Re: A Lost Engineer

^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Nisi's post is very insightful. I "went back" to grad school after 4 years or so. Part of it was a dead-end career at a small company and part of it was a poor job market at the time. I knew I liked "working with things" early on. For the most part, I had a blast at...
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: new gas range + convection oven, is it all that?
Replies: 14
Views: 1241

Re: new gas range + convection oven, is it all that?

I like gas for the immediate heat control. Smooth top electric not so much because of the long thermal time constant. "Convection" is a minor feature for me. It does help if you need to roast/bake on two racks at the same time. As noted above, it comes on mid priced ranges. Continuous grat...
by Bengineer
Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Manual can opener recommendation
Replies: 45
Views: 3796

Re: Manual can opener recommendation

I've been using a classic Swing-a-way for IDK how long. Tip: Open the can most of the way (can moves ccw), move the opener to the other side of the cut and finish in reverse (can moves cw). The lid will be cut off cleanly almost every time, vs being left hanging by a meat-hook. vvvvvvv Sawhorse's ex...
by Bengineer
Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:28 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Refrigerator replacement
Replies: 23
Views: 2155

Re: Refrigerator replacement

OP, I have to think almost any fridge you get will be more efficient than one 20 years old. I would hook the current one up to a kill-a-watt for a month or so just because I want to know. :) You can compare the models you're looking at via their energy guide, which will state the # kWh per year the ...

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