Search found 234 matches

by brianH
Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:11 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee
Replies: 36
Views: 2143

Re: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee

rkhusky wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:55 pm
The fact that people are not paying 6% is evidence for market forces at work.
That's irrelevant to an antitrust lawsuit.

Far more relevant is whether or not the actions of the Assoc. of Realtors restrict free trade in a way that ultimately hurts consumers.
by brianH
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee
Replies: 36
Views: 2143

Re: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee

Every industry is subject to competition and disruption. Why don't one of you disrupt it since most think it's such a rip off in current state. That is the whole point, though. Disruption due to competition has not occurred and can not occur due to the alleged collusion of the National Association ...
by brianH
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:04 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee
Replies: 36
Views: 2143

Re: The lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are aiming at Realtors and their 6% fee

Best to allow market forces determine the right commission for a particular area, rather than the courts or government. The suit alleges, though, that we aren't dealing with pure market forces. There's a bunch of shady policies and rules surrounding how buyer's agents commissions are non-negotiable...
by brianH
Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:36 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: New HVAC systems before selling home
Replies: 29
Views: 2022

Re: New HVAC systems before selling home

No, if the systems are working, or you can restore them to working, I wouldn't replace them prior to listing. As long as the AC and heat works, and you have had them recently serviced and confirmed operational, it shouldn't be an issue for a buyer. If the buyer complains about their age, you could p...
by brianH
Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where do you pay quarterly taxes?
Replies: 26
Views: 2295

Re: Where do you pay quarterly taxes?

I have a Fidelity (Elan) card that has 2% cash back, but have never seen targeted spending bonuses. How can you access them? How often do you use the card? It is my primary card (average monthly balance $2000 - paid on time, of course), and I seem to get at least 2-3 of those offers every year. It'...
by brianH
Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing
Replies: 29
Views: 2109

Re: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing

I don't know about "much more". I just ran quotes and they are all within 10%, some were higher and some were lower. I would gladly pay 10% more to not have a medical exam personally. This is a few bucks a month we are talking here. There is a huge and permanent records risk to having a medical exa...
by brianH
Fri Mar 08, 2019 5:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing
Replies: 29
Views: 2109

Re: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing

Seems like you could get 500k-1 million without discussing the pregnancy at all. The downside is, you're probably going to pay much more for similar coverage with a plan that doesn't require a medical exam/health records. For what it's worth, my wife didn't have any issues with getting coverage fro...
by brianH
Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:53 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing
Replies: 29
Views: 2109

Re: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing

However, that was enough for the term insurance to bump her down from Preferred Plus (what I am) to just Preferred. How did the life insurance company find out about the test? Part of the requirements of a life insurance application is authorizing the insurance company access to any and all medical...
by brianH
Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing
Replies: 29
Views: 2109

Re: Term Life Insurance and Genetic Testing

Should we hold off on this genetic test until we secure term life insurance? Yes, I would. A genetic test came back for my wife that she is heterozygous for Factor V (one copy). Luckily, I'm not a carrier, so there wasn't any impact to our child, and her only having one copy is of minimal impact to...
by brianH
Tue Mar 05, 2019 5:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgages
Replies: 34
Views: 2834

Re: Mortgages

Now whether it's a good idea to forego any tax-advantaged space to pay off your mortgage in under 30 years is a different matter entirely and the topic for another thread (we already have dozens if not hundreds). I guess I don't see the point of the hypothetical. If one plans to make the even, cons...
by brianH
Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Mortgages
Replies: 34
Views: 2834

Re: Mortgages

I recently started a thread about that specific issue. The cost of paying off a 30 year mortgage in 15 years vs. getting a 15 year mortgage is higher than most seem to realize. Using the rate difference you reference, paying off a 30 year mortgage in 15 years would cost you an extra $4,442.40 for e...
by brianH
Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Snowblowers
Replies: 44
Views: 2015

Re: Snowblowers

+1 Every time a thread like this comes up, there are people that insist their little battery powered single stage toy can "handle any snow" These people obviously do not live in New England or the upper Midwest. That's true, but to be fair, the opposite case happens frequently as well: For much of ...
by brianH
Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:55 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chimney Cap Replacement
Replies: 20
Views: 1189

Re: Chimney Cap Replacement

In my experience, chimney companies are some of the most unscrupulous home contractors out there, and that's saying quite a bit. They all love to find issues with the liner or some slight movement that, of course, will cost many thousands to fix. If you don't, you risk fire, death, etc. If you don't...
by brianH
Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home DIY - increasingly complex repairs and cost savings by DIY
Replies: 38
Views: 2952

Re: Home DIY - increasingly complex repairs and cost savings by DIY

DC versus AC provides: Energy savings (up to 70%) The other benefits may be worthwhile, but I'd note that modern AC fans are pretty low consumers of energy. I was looking at a 52" AC vs DC, and on high, with a similar CFM, the DC saved about 27 watts. At $.13/kWh, even if you left the fan on 24/7, ...
by brianH
Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:43 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone Keep a Second Fridge in Garage?
Replies: 56
Views: 4042

Re: Anyone Keep a Second Fridge in Garage?

There are problems when running a fridge or freezer in an unheated garage, particularly when it gets close to freezing. This is true of older model freezers, but less so with more modern units. The cheap Best Buy Insignia chest freezer claims to run fine in any temperature range between -4F and 109...
by brianH
Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:15 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $5000 water bill-Help!
Replies: 68
Views: 6395

Re: $5000 water bill-Help!

Our condo has a FloLogic system, which monitors water flow and will shut off the water to the entire place if it senses either a long, slow flow (toilet or other slow leak) or a large sudden flow (catastrophic failure of a plumbing line). We have had a few false positives from too many showers and ...
by brianH
Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $5000 water bill-Help!
Replies: 68
Views: 6395

Re: $5000 water bill-Help!

Just be thankful you have public sewer and not a septic system. If 1600 g/day was emptying into your septic for months, you'd almost certainly have a failed field and probably other costly issues. I, too, don't see why the water company should cut you a break for negligence, but if they do, that's a...
by brianH
Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:21 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Insulating rim joists in basement/crawl spaces -- rigid foam or spray?
Replies: 7
Views: 795

Re: Insulating rim joists in basement/crawl spaces -- rigid foam or spray?

Professional spray foam is the best choice, but it will probably be the most expensive. If you want to DIY the project, you can use the foam boards with Great Stuff canned foam around the edges to seal it up. This is just about as good as the pro spray foam, but will be cheaper if you do it yourself...
by brianH
Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: purchasing new furnace tips
Replies: 35
Views: 1712

Re: purchasing new furnace tips

You might want to seriously consider a heat pump instead of the gas furnace. It seems to me that SoCal would be the perfect place to use a HP, because it doesn't get that cold (i.e. the HP can easily provide enough heat) and you'd also get AC with it. Numbers will vary with utility rates and average...
by brianH
Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On demand electric water heater
Replies: 34
Views: 1956

Re: On demand electric water heater

My understanding that the circulation concept is common in areas where water shortages are common. It is also probably more common in new construction if the system can be easily designed for it. You certainly see it more in 'high-end' new construction or high-dollar renovations. It's one of those ...
by brianH
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On demand electric water heater
Replies: 34
Views: 1956

Re: On demand electric water heater

I must have misunderstood as I thought the whole benefit of an on demand system is the instant hot water...and I thought it achieved it by circulating it. On demand must be the type that only heats what you need, there is no reservoir of hot water. There are a couple of concepts at play here. This ...
by brianH
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: On demand electric water heater
Replies: 34
Views: 1956

Re: On demand electric water heater

Tankless water heaters are highly overrated, in my opinion. Especially now with tank-based condensing gas or tank heat pump electric heaters equaling or beating the efficiency of tankless. About the only reason to consider one is for space constraints or the 'unlimited hot water' aspect, but if a ta...
by brianH
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Wasting Electricity for Fun and Profit
Replies: 58
Views: 5410

Re: Consuming Electricity for Fun and Profit

Maybe not in Texas but in some places they also have transmission fees or other fees to obfuscate their true overall cost. I must admit that I am suspicious that there may be some other factor that you do not fully understand. Yes. Make sure you read and understand every aspect of how you're billed...
by brianH
Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data
Replies: 53
Views: 2843

Re: FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data

I don't think it's particularly concerning, largely because the DNA genie is already out of the bottle. It takes very little biological material for these gene 'chips'/microarrays to grab enough information to fingerprint you. Heck, these services just require a few milliliters of saliva, most of wh...
by brianH
Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:10 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!
Replies: 35
Views: 3309

Re: Water in Basement... $11k to fix... Need advice!!!

I agree with many of the other responses that you need to, if you can, stop drainage issues around your foundation first. Your downspouts should extend at least 6 feet away from the foundation and ideally more like 10 feet. Obviously, if you have grading issues where the ejected water ends up runnin...
by brianH
Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: $120 per month for sewer charge? Seems high to me.
Replies: 23
Views: 1520

Re: $120 per month for sewer charge? Seems high to me.

It's high, but certainly well-within typical ranges. Our township is mostly septic, but for those lucky enough to be on sewer, which is handled by the neighboring town, it's about $900/yr for a SFH. The sewer lines are also fairly old, and something tells me that this doesn't include enough capital ...
by brianH
Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:40 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What is the best all-inclusive resort you have ever visited?
Replies: 79
Views: 12896

Re: What is the best all-inclusive resort you have ever visited?

For the resorts that offer it (probably most of them), my wife and I always found the 'premium package'/VIP to be well-worth the slight bump in day rates. At least at the resorts we visited, it was more like an exclusive resort-within-a-resort with a private clubhouse, pool, beach area, and waitstaf...
by brianH
Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Waterpik
Replies: 28
Views: 2496

Re: Waterpik

Does anyone have any experience with the numerous (Chinese brand) portable, battery water picks on Amazon? I just ordered one that has hundreds of good reviews (fakespot seems to think they're mostly real), because I wanted to use the irrigator in the shower to avoid spraying everything down. I used...
by brianH
Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:46 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: light fixtures with integrated LED
Replies: 19
Views: 1059

Re: light fixtures with integrated LED

Power supply failure would kill the fixture though. That's usually what fails in a LED bulb/fixture, often due to excessive heat. One hour ago my LCD monitor went dark, and after some troubleshooting, I determined it was the (external, brick) power supply. I found a replacement in my junk drawer, a...
by brianH
Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:14 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: light fixtures with integrated LED
Replies: 19
Views: 1059

Re: light fixtures with integrated LED

Add me to the list of: consider another fixture. LED bulbs are definitely still improving rapidly, but there are tons of reports of early (way early) failures in even top-quality bulbs. Personally, I have strong doubts that most bulbs will last anywhere near their claimed 20+ year lifespans. You pro...
by brianH
Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: P-Trap and plumber woes
Replies: 37
Views: 2399

Re: P-Trap and plumber woes

Isn't gluing a P-Trap to the adjacent pipe(s) generally considered to be a really bad idea? I wasn't clear in my explanation, but you'd glue an threaded adapter to the pipe coming out of the wall, which you would connect to with a female threaded connector for the trap assembly. This would allow yo...
by brianH
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: P-Trap and plumber woes
Replies: 37
Views: 2399

Re: P-Trap and plumber woes

I wouldn't go chrome, personally, if the plumbing isn't visible. I've found those to be the most prone to corrosion and leaks. If you're feeling handy, another option is to take the trap kit you fitted, and remove it while trying to keep the positioning the same. Then, build a trap of your own using...
by brianH
Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:34 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dishwasher Supply Hose Replacement
Replies: 9
Views: 443

Re: Dishwasher Supply Hose Replacement

Last time I bought a dishwasher (about 10 yrs ago) which included free installation, installer would not use existing copper line and we had to buy a braided line or do the install ourselves. Probably a smart move (or policy) on the part of the installer. If they used the existing copper, they'd pr...
by brianH
Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:36 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Dishwasher Supply Hose Replacement
Replies: 9
Views: 443

Re: Dishwasher Supply Hose Replacement

This is interesting timing, since this weekend I will be replacing a DW that just quit working after 16 years of service. My general approach is to replace all hoses when the unit is replaced, which given most modern appliances, is 10-15 years. It currently has a copper line with compression fitting...
by brianH
Sun Jan 13, 2019 1:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Anyone have TCL Series 4 65” TV?
Replies: 21
Views: 1884

Re: Anyone have TCL Series 4 65” TV?

I have that model line in a 49" size, and so far, I love it. Great picture and decent sound, and very reasonable price ($280 on sale.) The Roku features, which I thought were probably lame, turned out to be awesome. Many of the cable networks have an app that you can install and link to your cable/F...
by brianH
Wed Jan 09, 2019 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Battery
Replies: 48
Views: 3208

Re: Car Battery

Sulfation doesn't occur during charging. It occurs when a battery is allowed to remain in a very low charge or discharged state for an extended period. Some chargers are designed to pulse a recovery charge, and that pulsed charge may succeed to reversing sulfation by returning the lead sulfate crys...
by brianH
Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Battery
Replies: 48
Views: 3208

Re: Car Battery

The Battery Tender Jr does the latter, practically speaking, although when I measured mine I noticed it actually pulses on and off at a regular interval at float voltage. I'm not sure why they do that - if it has benefits for sulfation prevention, simplified the circuit design, or something else. T...
by brianH
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Battery
Replies: 48
Views: 3208

Re: Car Battery

Actually you are best served by connecting the trickle charger while the battery remains connected and in the car. Not only is this easier, but car's systems (primarily your radio) will retain their memory while the battery is maintained at a suitable charge. Is that a good idea with modern, sophis...
by brianH
Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Car Battery
Replies: 48
Views: 3208

Re: Car Battery

Your best bet is to remove both battery connection terminals and get a 'trickle charger' that you then connect to the battery. This will very slowly replenish the charge as it sits. Many auto stores or Amazon have choices that should run you about $20.
by brianH
Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:06 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Recommendations for a 9mm handgun
Replies: 171
Views: 12903

Re: Recommendations for a 9mm handgun

Add me to the list of Glock fanboys. My very first handgun was a Glock 17, and it's still one of my favorites to shoot. I've since owned/shot many others, and my accuracy is always the best with the Glock (maybe you're most accurate with your first?)
by brianH
Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Thoughts on Buying a Ryan Home?
Replies: 30
Views: 3108

Re: Thoughts on Buying a Ryan Home?

built in the 70s-80s. We are concerned about issues with older homes such as repairs. You might want to rethink this logic. IMHO, homes built around the late 70s early 80s have a number of things going for them. In most cases: -No asbestos -No lead -Copper wiring -Modern electrical (200amp) service...
by brianH
Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using less plastic
Replies: 69
Views: 1877

Re: Using less plastic

The biggest carbon improvement most can make besides transportation is home heating and water heating. The goal should be electric for all functions (heat pump + electric backup, heat pump/electric water heater, and electric range and clothes dryer.) Note, this is likely not the most cost effective,...
by brianH
Tue Jan 01, 2019 10:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips on preventative home maintenance?
Replies: 43
Views: 4807

Re: Tips on preventative home maintenance?

Couple of items I have not noticed being mentioned. Septic system maintenance: ridx monthly, [...], root killer and or leach bed cleaner twice a year Almost every reputable organization that doesn't have a financial interest in the discussion recommends against septic additives. In the majority of ...
by brianH
Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Radon Mitigation System
Replies: 20
Views: 1760

Re: Radon Mitigation System

We had our new house (40 years old) tested as part of the inspection process. It came back at 80+. The sellers paid for a mitigation system with 2 suction points under the slab and a extra strong fan ($1700). It took a couple of weeks to come down, but it eventually hit between 3-4. I think radon wo...
by brianH
Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tips on preventative home maintenance?
Replies: 43
Views: 4807

Re: Tips on preventative home maintenance?

As others have mentioned, periodic inspections are probably the best preventative action you can perform. The #1 enemy to any home is water, so you want to train your eye to find areas where water can get to where it shouldn't. Many water-related problems are easy to fix when caught early, but can c...
by brianH
Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC Cost in Denver
Replies: 5
Views: 677

Re: HVAC Cost in Denver

Somewhat fortunately for you, most HVAC contractors make their money from new system installs, so it shouldn't be much trouble to 'throw some chum in the water' and get 3-4 different bids from various companies. Ask for as detailed of an estimate as you can, so that you can start to learn what the v...
by brianH
Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Heating Advice
Replies: 72
Views: 5779

Re: Home Heating Advice

But you can get a propane furnace that operates aboot 96% efficiency, while most oil burners will run no more than 80% efficiency when new. This is because oil doesn’t burn cleanly enough for a condensing unit to run well, which is largely how the high efficiency is obtained in a 90+% gas furnace. ...
by brianH
Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Home Heating Advice
Replies: 72
Views: 5779

Re: Home Heating Advice

It would help to know your general location and cost of various fuels: propane $/gal, oil $/gal, electric $/kWh. In the Northeast, oil is typically cheaper than propane for the equivalent BTUs and doesn't require as expensive of a tank. Oil (and gasoline for that matter) is likely to remain relative...
by brianH
Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Furnace in rental has issues with out-of-warranty parts, replace or repair?
Replies: 20
Views: 1389

Re: Furnace in rental has issues with out-of-warranty parts, replace or repair?

On one hand, HVAC work is pretty darn close to thievery most of the time. For example, I just replaced an ignition transformer on my burner: $45 part (shipped) 15 minutes of work. Tech wanted $225, and he was already here doing the P.M. work. I'm all for a guy making a living, but I don't see how hi...
by brianH
Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing a gas furnace and electric AC: when and how much?
Replies: 25
Views: 1549

Re: Replacing a gas furnace and electric AC: when and how much?

I've never heard of a furnace/AC Tech carrying a Capacitor Checker to actually test one to see it its weak. IMO, if it's strong enough to start the motor, its good enough. Most were originally way oversized to what the motor needs to start, to make sure there is ample reserve. They definitely do ca...