Search found 71 matches

by WaffleCone
Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Credit Card Extended Warranties for Kitchen Appliances?
Replies: 3
Views: 408

Credit Card Extended Warranties for Kitchen Appliances?

Does anyone have experience using a credit card extended warranty on a kitchen appliance like a refrigerator or wall oven? Do they typically pay for someone to come to the house to diagnose and repair? We're upgrading our appliances and a 3-year "protection plan" (1 year manufacturer + 2 year extend...
by WaffleCone
Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: PA 529 Guaranteed Plan (GSP) for K12 Education
Replies: 0
Views: 191

PA 529 Guaranteed Plan (GSP) for K12 Education

We pay $12K private school tuition for 4 kids. First child is the most expensive and gradually decreases until the 4th is free. What a deal, eh? I'm trying to determine if it makes sense to use my PA 529 GSP for making payments. The GSP is the type where you buy credits at today's cost for use in th...
by WaffleCone
Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery
Replies: 45
Views: 4068

Re: Need Help Solving A House Smell Mystery

My first guess is pet smells that weren't properly sealed by the flipper. High humidity makes them worse, but that itself is a problem you need to take care of. How high is high? 60% or more year round I'd want to find the root cause. Did you have an HVAC guy test the system? The filter may be clean...
by WaffleCone
Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Converting old home to open plan layout?
Replies: 45
Views: 4065

Re: Converting old home to open plan layout?

I agree with some of the houzz folks that your plans need work and that you absolutely need to involve an architect. I'd stop now if your budget is less than $300K. People here will scoff at that number, say how they can build a house for that much, how you can GC it yourself to do it cheaper, how t...
by WaffleCone
Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:41 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Talk some "cents" into me- Home Improvement
Replies: 33
Views: 1608

Re: Talk some "cents" into me- Home Improvement

You say NO KIDS but are you planning on having any? Maybe? I can understand not wanting tar & chip or gravel especially if that isn't the style of your neighborhood, but skip the pavers. They look great when they are new but are more upkeep and often look dated in 5 years. If they're not installed r...
by WaffleCone
Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:42 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: curious about baseboard heater problem
Replies: 7
Views: 436

Re: curious about baseboard heater problem

Not that cold at night, maybe twenty. Ha! 20, not that cold... bogleheads in arizona probably need a sweater after reading that! Do you have removable baseboard covers or is it cast iron BB? If removable covers, take them off and check if the copper pipe has fins. I've seen it where the entire room...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Range Hood Blower Sizing
Replies: 40
Views: 1816

Re: Range Hood Blower Sizing

All that air getting pushed out needs to come in from somewhere and likewise will need to be conditioned, cooled and dehumidified in your case. 1500 cfm is a lot of air movement! Some whole house fans are that size and they are designed to run with windows fully open. I'm not an expert but even on m...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AJ Madison?
Replies: 11
Views: 1198

Re: AJ Madison?

You should at least give the local dealers a chance to match the price online. I almost bough a washing machine from AJ Madison but without even haggling the local price was $100 cheaper, tax included. They delivered, installed, and removed my old one and I was still ahead $25. I don't think I'd get...
by WaffleCone
Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: anyone installing a hybrid gas heat system for heat?
Replies: 5
Views: 486

Re: anyone installing a hybrid gas heat system for heat?

Your heat pump should have electric coils built-in for supplemental heat. They are basically toaster coils in the blower that are turned on if the heat pump can't keep up by itself. You should check if yours has this, and if not have it installed. In VA it should be there. HVAC guy did not do proper...
by WaffleCone
Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snow Tires? Worth it?
Replies: 147
Views: 7598

Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

They're a major hassle. ... I mounted my 4 tires last weekend. 30 mins, start to finish, and I wasn't moving quickly. As noted about cost should be about $500 w/ rims, and they will last you many years as others have noted, they only need to save you from one accident to be well worth it. The data ...
by WaffleCone
Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snow Tires? Worth it?
Replies: 147
Views: 7598

Re: Snow Tires? Worth it?

They're a major hassle. Storing 4 tires takes up a fair amount of space. Transporting 4 dirty tires to the shop only to be charged $15/tire to mount and balance adds up. Repeat a few months later. Or you could buy an extra set of rims, costly, and still you drive them to a shop or change each wheel ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Septic tank - deal killer?
Replies: 47
Views: 4620

Re: Septic tank - deal killer?

Our tie-in was $12,000 but it easily could have cost triple (and we had quotes for triple+ ). The permit charge was $300 and has since gone up to $1500. Our sewer main tap and lateral to the curb were already installed, which meant no street digging. If we needed to open the street it would have bee...
by WaffleCone
Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pricing a home addition
Replies: 7
Views: 877

Re: Pricing a home addition

I’ve struggled with this for the past year and I don’t think there’s a good way to do it unless you’re working from an architect’s plan that includes a full materials list and construction drawing. For a residential addition, even if a few hundred K, paying for that level of detail may not be worth ...
by WaffleCone
Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Installing a slide inside a home?
Replies: 39
Views: 3193

Re: Installing a slide inside a home?

Parent of 4 kids here. Our house has a slide built-in as part of its original code compliant construction. We call it a railing. Kids climb up, one leg over each side, and wheee! Fun for ages 3-8, no sign of them losing interest despite our best attempts to get them to stop. Slide or no slide, they'...
by WaffleCone
Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insulation in home question
Replies: 25
Views: 2588

Re: Insulation in home question

Definitely consider blown cellulose before any type of fiberglass product. Better R value, less expensive, and much better at air sealing. In theory I agree with removing the plywood floor and any existing insulation. In practice this can be very time consuming (expensive) and possibly create cracks...
by WaffleCone
Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is it worth it? [demanding jobs vs time with family]
Replies: 182
Views: 14652

Re: Is it worth it? [demanding jobs vs time with family]

Just my 2 cents... First, make sure it's really a question of not seeing your children enough vs. not having any time left with your spouse after you both work and spend time with the kids. It doesn't leave a lot of quality couple time before you go to sleep and do it all over again. With a regular ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:38 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?
Replies: 23
Views: 3313

Re: Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?

We have a real estate agent friend who said that not having a garage is a negative for resale, mainly becuase no matter how nice the house is the auto-searches filter it out before people even see it. On the flip side, no one around here actually uses their garage for parking and the extra bedrooms ...
by WaffleCone
Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?
Replies: 23
Views: 3313

Big family, small house dilemma -- kid bedrooms in basement?

Anyone have real-life experience with putting the kid bedrooms in the lower level (daylight basement)? We are a family of 6 with 4 kids (under 8yrs) living in a 1600sqft 3bd/1.5ba ranch. The main issue is bedrooms, which are all situated on one side of the house. When one person wakes up, everyone d...
by WaffleCone
Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:49 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Physicals and Forms for Kids Activities
Replies: 12
Views: 976

Physicals and Forms for Kids Activities

This is part consumer question and part gripe. I just spent ~$200 on physicals and health forms so my kids could attend a day camp. The camp was already paid for and something they earned so I went along with it. Allegedly the camp needs it for certification compliance. My insurance covers one physi...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car engine dispute
Replies: 29
Views: 3285

Re: Car engine dispute

I'd keep pouring oil in as well. $4 qt/1000 miles is much cheaper than a $1000 piston job. You may consider using different oil too. I don't know if the Equinox engine is similar to the direction injection model on the Enclave, but I find that I get better results with Pennzoil Platinum 5w30 and AC ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:09 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Nephews play football - don't want to encourage this
Replies: 45
Views: 4363

Re: Nephews play football - don't want to encourage this

As the parent of 3 young boys, I can assure you they won't make the connection between buying raffle tickets and your principled stand on not wanting them to play football. I think it's great to mention to their parents about all the new research showing the long term dangers. But ultimately the par...
by WaffleCone
Mon May 08, 2017 4:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Swing Set 2700.00??
Replies: 35
Views: 4253

Get a steel set for 1/2 the price

I was never a fan of wood playsets. They are expensive and often an eyesore after a few seasons. I suppose they can look good with some maintenance but who wants that. Check out a steel Lifetime set. You can order from Home Depot, Costco, or search online for even better prices. It ships to your hou...
by WaffleCone
Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What kind of stuff would you never DIY, assuming you could?
Replies: 75
Views: 7556

Re: What kind of stuff would you never DIY, assuming you could?

I just spent $2200 on 22 yards of mulch and soil, spring cleanup, and bed prep. It would have taken me a month to do the work myself, squeezing it in after work and on weekends in-between kids' activities. The longer it goes, the harder it gets to cleanup. And it's not worth vacation time to do. I'm...
by WaffleCone
Sat Mar 04, 2017 9:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building a video game PC with an 8 year old?
Replies: 9
Views: 756

Building a video game PC with an 8 year old?

Silly me thought I could go out and buy the new Nintendo Switch for my son's birthday this week. I was a little surprised to learn people were camping out for it. Camping out was OK when I was 18 buying concert tickets but daddy doesn't shop that way anymore. We live near a Microcenter and I'm leani...
by WaffleCone
Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs
Replies: 69
Views: 5464

Re: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs

Do not aerate, slit seed, or till any area of your lawn unless you're prepared to fight the weed seeds that are dormant in the layers underneath. In most cases of spot over-seeding simply throwing seed down and covering with a thin layer of compost is fine. And then: water water water. You can put d...
by WaffleCone
Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs
Replies: 69
Views: 5464

Re: Giving my lawn the TLC it needs

Throw away the estimate if they're not doing a soil test. As someone earlier suggested, go to www.aroundtheyard.com forums. Spend $20 for a soil test and post the results there. They will give you a plan for what you need to do with mostly non-chemical fertilizers. They are very helpful and in a few...
by WaffleCone
Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Grass trimmer
Replies: 67
Views: 5328

Give battery a try first.

I have both, a 4-cycle gas dual-line trimmer and a Black & Decker battery power single-line trimmer with a second battery. I NEVER use the gas trimmer anymore. If you have a residential lawn where you're edging grass around sidewalks, fences, and flower beds you don't need the power of gas. Even if ...
by WaffleCone
Wed Feb 22, 2017 2:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Utility Bills - How do ours compare?
Replies: 44
Views: 5653

Looks like I'm an energy hog

1900 sqft ranch in Philadelphia. Gas heat/HW, electric cooking. Newer windows and insulation. A/C from 2005. Family of 6. Stay at home mom and 2 young kids home most of the day. Electric min/max/avg: $95/221/133 ($1636/yr) Gas: $23/172/78 ($871/yr) Water: $95/125/105 ($1275/yr) Trash: $20/month Tota...
by WaffleCone
Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Construction Loan as 2nd Lien?
Replies: 1
Views: 373

Construction Loan as 2nd Lien?

Does anyone know if it's possible to get a renovation or construction loan (HomeStyle or similar) in the second lien position? I'm at least 6 months away from starting a large home renovation and mortgage rates are climbing. They may be a full point higher by the time we start. Looking to keep my cu...
by WaffleCone
Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:09 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Finishing a Basement
Replies: 13
Views: 2088

Re: Finishing a Basement

How high is the basement ceiling? Is it a walkout basement or almost entirely underground? Does it have a bathroom currently? What are you doing for HVAC? And, are you looking for a true code-compliant bedroom or just a workout room (big difference)? Answering these questions may help determine if i...
by WaffleCone
Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Two stage Snowblowers -- 22" or 28+"?
Replies: 40
Views: 3498

Re: Two stage Snowblowers -- 22" or 28+"?

I have an Ariens 28" without the auto-turn. I keep the wheels locked and it does take a little extra extra effort to make a tight turn, especially the first pass in deep snow. I don't have a problem with it. My neighbor is 65 and he uses it regularly without a problem. Just something to get used to....
by WaffleCone
Thu Oct 13, 2016 6:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snowblower
Replies: 39
Views: 4935

Re: Snowblower

There are plenty of good options but you won't get the horsepower you need from a 15A electric circuit. Ariens, Simplicity, Cub Cadet, and Honda all make very good snowblowers. You can get a lesser model from Sears/Craftsman, MTD, etc. that will still far outperform a small gas powered machine or an...
by WaffleCone
Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: major remodel: regrets or things you'd do again
Replies: 68
Views: 9109

Re: major remodel: regrets or things you'd do again

We've been planning to start "this fall" for about 2 years now, but we're finally getting closer. Our architect suggested that we pick out everything we can "see or touch" before the remodel begins. If you don't, you'll either have to accept whatever is convenient/cheap for the contractor or you'll ...
by WaffleCone
Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Retaining wall on neighbor's property
Replies: 69
Views: 6428

Re: Retaining wall on neighbor's property

Is it really the landscapers fault? If you said "replace this wall" but weren't there during construction and the property line isn't clearly marked, then I think you bear some if not all of the responsibility. Could they be reasonably expected to know where the property line was to within 10 inches?
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Suggestions for temporary housing during renovation
Replies: 4
Views: 933

Suggestions for temporary housing during renovation

We are a family of six (with young kids) and are planning a large home renovation that will last about 6 months. Does anyone have tips on finding a short term rental aside from using rent.com or similar? Other places to look or ways to find something less than a 1-year lease? Can anyone who's been t...
by WaffleCone
Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen remodel suggestions
Replies: 45
Views: 5596

Re: Kitchen remodel suggestions

I was wondering if you had any advice on mud room and/or laundry room remodels. We are getting those redone as well because the washer/drier is in our "mudroom" which is right off the kitchen. With 3 small kids, the shoes, coats, and backpacks end up being in a large pile in the tiny closet of our ...
by WaffleCone
Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen remodel suggestions
Replies: 45
Views: 5596

Re: Kitchen remodel suggestions

Second best - build a commercial kitchen. Make it look like a restaurant kitchen A real commercial stove (Vulcan) NOT one of the home "cook" styles Tile floor- real stuff like they use in restaurants- you think they worry about grout? Stainless shelves on wheels Stainless tables. Pot racks hanging ...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 31, 2016 5:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New Boiler Sizing
Replies: 40
Views: 3104

Re: New Boiler Sizing

Buying a new boiler is a lot more complicated than I could have ever imagined. Are you trying to self-calculate the boiler size but letting a pro design and install the system? It's not a DIY task for most people. I'd get a few estimates then review those with people in the know. There is more to s...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 31, 2016 2:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: backyard for a new house, pavers questions
Replies: 36
Views: 3070

Re: backyard for a new house, pavers questions

I'm not too concerned about drainage. This is exactly why municipalities care about drainage. Dumping thousands of gallons of rainwater in to the sewer costs money. What if everybody did? Similarly, on small densely populated lots, water runoff pouring in at all angles with no natural place to go c...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 31, 2016 9:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: backyard for a new house, pavers questions
Replies: 36
Views: 3070

Re: backyard for a new house, pavers questions

I'd be surprised if you can even do this since you'll be creating a large impervious surface and water runoff problems for surrounding properties. IF you are allowed to do it, you'll likely need large a rentention basin underground to manage rainwater. Make sure your contractor gets a permit. There ...
by WaffleCone
Mon May 23, 2016 10:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Building an enclosed breezeway
Replies: 9
Views: 2442

Re: Building an enclosed breezeway

I'd reconsider this project. Why are you doing this? Are you trying to connect the house and garage for zoning purposes (can't have two dwellings on one lot)? It will cost more to do properly and aesthetically than rebuilding your in-law suite in a more suitable spot. And rebuilding the garage may b...
by WaffleCone
Sun May 22, 2016 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?
Replies: 22
Views: 3607

Re: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?

A quick check of San Jose shows (if I read it correctly): a permit fee ($160 per bathroom x 2), a plan review fee ($105 x 2), and an inspection fee (^$618 + 206). That's $1300+ assuming no re-inspections and does not include contractors time to draw the plans and get the permit. http://www.sanjoseca...
by WaffleCone
Sat May 21, 2016 10:58 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?
Replies: 22
Views: 3607

Re: Is $2000 reasonable for bathroom permits?

OP is in the Bay Area, my guess permits are not cheap there. How much are you spending total? There needs to be trust between the contractor and the homeowner. If you need more transparency and he "just refused", he's not the right one for you. No matter how good. I'd let him know in a nice way that...
by WaffleCone
Thu May 19, 2016 12:06 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Getting married and how to quit my job. This is follow-up post earlier post
Replies: 16
Views: 2141

Make it a honeymoon never to forget...

My then girlfriend and I quit our jobs to take a cross country road trip. She is now my wife. It was the best thing we did for our relationship and it got us both out of an employment rut. New doors will open, much easier now than later especially if you plan on having kids. Trust me. Put your notic...
by WaffleCone
Thu May 12, 2016 10:50 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Gifted math program for 1st grade
Replies: 66
Views: 8810

Re: Gifted math program for 1st grade

Just wondering... Can he answer this? It was on a standardized test in the UK for 6-7 year olds and generated quite a controversy. "There were some people on a train. 19 people get off the train at the first stop. 17 people get on the train. Now there are 63 people on the train. How many people were...
by WaffleCone
Sun May 08, 2016 10:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Steam Shower - Your experiences?
Replies: 30
Views: 5289

Re: Steam Shower - Your experiences?

Thanks everyone. I did some research on gardenweb and not surprisingly they were a bit more popular there. Although I've never been in a steam shower, we do enjoy an occasional very hot shower that steams up the room. The hot water soothes sore muscles and breathing in steam relaxes me. Does a steam...
by WaffleCone
Fri May 06, 2016 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Steam Shower - Your experiences?
Replies: 30
Views: 5289

Steam Shower - Your experiences?

We're redoing our small master bath. The stall shower will be 3x4 with an adjustable height sprayer and a folding wood bench-- that much we've decided. Can anyone comment on the rain showerheads, body spray, and steam features? Is it a worthwhile splurge that you use frequently or something that was...
by WaffleCone
Tue May 03, 2016 3:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Pea gravel as paver patio alternative
Replies: 28
Views: 3992

Don't bother with stone

Personally I wouldn't haul in stone for a small patio that you plan to replace. That said, if you get bigger crushed stone like 3/4 it tracks a lot less than 3/8 ". I'd be wary of stone dust or crusher run unless you plan to use a compactor, even then it may not stay put through the winter. Or it ma...
by WaffleCone
Thu Apr 28, 2016 11:12 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Should a 60 yr old buy her first house?
Replies: 27
Views: 3276

Re: Should a 60 yr old buy her first house?

Knowing the area of the country and the housing cost would be helpful, and also if you have younger family nearby to help out. There are a lot of retirees in my area living in small 1200sqft ranch houses on a postage stamp of land. It gives them enough space to make their own without being overwhelm...
by WaffleCone
Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cost to refinish hardwood floors and to install new floors
Replies: 16
Views: 2487

Re: Cost to refinish hardwood floors and to install new floors

If the tile is a porcelain or ceramic variety (as opposed to vinyl, laminate, asbestos, etc), that alone could be $4000 of your estimate. Did you ask how much you'd save by DIY? It's time consuming and messy but not skilled labor. Finishing a floor nicely, especially if there are sections that need ...