Search found 530 matches

by Bengineer
Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: RTA Kitchen Cabinets
Replies: 17
Views: 1332

Re: RTA Kitchen Cabinets

I liked Ikea cabinets on my computer. Then to assemble them... Pass. I actually used RTA on the advise from a general contractor. I was very happy overall. Some pointers: ... I realize I sound like a paid shill. I'm honestly not. I really was very happy overall with the entire process. Would buy fr...
by Bengineer
Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:17 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: New Landlord: Have leases assigned or new ones?
Replies: 4
Views: 433

New Landlord: Have leases assigned or new ones?

I recently became the owner of land leased to tenants with mobile homes. The tenants are all on 30 day leases signed long ago with the previous owner. I'm in a rural area of a landlord-friendly state. Is it important to have the leases formally assigned to us or get new leases signed? My question ce...
by Bengineer
Wed Dec 18, 2019 7:08 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Casual slip on shoes
Replies: 25
Views: 2378

Re: Casual slip on shoes

Have a pair of the merrell jungle mocs, like them. Good foot support, reasonably good for walking on flat / low-slope ground.
by Bengineer
Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:47 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Growing income and becoming more nervous...
Replies: 28
Views: 4289

Re: Growing income and becoming more nervous...

With your business consuming your focus & wife's employment & income situation, I might step back a bit and consider the big picture. In addition to investment , are your insurances , wills & POAs all set up? Have you considered shifting from your SEP to an individual 401k , which could allow you to...
by Bengineer
Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:55 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home renovation
Replies: 12
Views: 1037

Re: Home renovation

... I would like to put a 2nd floor on my home ... From our working with an architect and attempting a remodel: Changing the envelope up or out is way more costly than interior remodeling that doesn't involve load-bearing walls. Remodeling contractors and subs are more expensive than build new due ...
by Bengineer
Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:35 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: Robinhood, Heading for a Trainwreck?
Replies: 41
Views: 5613

Re: Robinhood, Heading for a Trainwreck?

There's a bit of irony in their name - "stealing from the poor to give to the rich"... :mrgreen:
by Bengineer
Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Non stick pan preference?
Replies: 46
Views: 3721

Re: Non stick pan preference?

We banished teflon and the like years ago. Carbon steel for scrambled/fried eggs. Hot pan, add oil/butter, then eggs, wait a bit before stirring. stir. wait. stir. wait... Lodge carbon steel pans are pre-seasoned as are their cast iron pans. Cast iron for frying and searing. IMO, the only better sea...
by Bengineer
Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: high toilet
Replies: 33
Views: 3461

Re: high toilet

We have a Kohler like this. It "gets it on out of there" with not much water.

The "aquapiston" really does create a good flush with minimal water.

It replaced a toilet that used far more water and didn't flush well. It was so bad that I pulled it thinking someone had dropped something in it.
by Bengineer
Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AA batteries (in a blood pressure monitor for example)
Replies: 39
Views: 2660

Re: AA batteries (in a blood pressure monitor for example)

Note that NiMH (Eneloop mentioned above and other rechargable AA, AAA cells) have a lower voltage than alkaline cells. NiMH cells are great for flashlights and motorized devices. I've had less luck with electronics, as some depend on the higher voltage of the alkaline batteries. One comparison here .
by Bengineer
Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pitfalls in owning a mobile home park
Replies: 16
Views: 2367

Re: Pitfalls in owning a mobile home park

Thanks all. Quite a few good points & suggestions. I would certainly do the physical and legal due diligence suggested. I may come back with more questions if it seems workable.
by Bengineer
Tue Sep 24, 2019 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Pitfalls in owning a mobile home park
Replies: 16
Views: 2367

Pitfalls in owning a mobile home park

Hi all. What are the pitfalls in owning a rural mobile home park with tenant-owned homes? I might have the opportunity to purchase a small park with less than 10 units. My interest is in control of the land, rather than running a business. It's rural. The park is zoned for mobile homes and the surro...
by Bengineer
Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: *UPDATE* A/C and furnace - flooding
Replies: 52
Views: 4990

Re: A/C and furnace – probable replacement (soon)

Condensate seems like a plausible source for the water, though Colorado is pretty dry. Where does the condensate go? Is it just a pipe, or is there a pump? Regardless, it likely will end in a pipe terminating above ground, though sometimes it is run to a plumbing drain in the house. Condensate shoul...
by Bengineer
Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC isues - fix R22 system or replace?
Replies: 14
Views: 1081

Re: HVAC isues - fix R22 system or replace?

I'd take issue with "expensive diagnosis", unless the leak is in the lineset buried in the walls. With the significant leak you describe, it should be obvious to a tech with a leak detector. It's not clear "R22 will not be obtainable". It is being phased out, no new residential systems with r22. Ple...
by Bengineer
Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Kitchen drawer slide hardware recommendations needed
Replies: 17
Views: 1119

Re: Kitchen drawer slide hardware recommendations needed

Agreed that Blum has been the gold standard forever.

I used Custom Service Hardware for replacement slides when the "soft close" plungers on some of the cheapo ones in my house failed.
by Bengineer
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:45 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Cold Air Penetrating Window Glass (Winter, Boston)
Replies: 30
Views: 2550

Re: Cold Air Penetrating Window Glass (Winter, Boston)

You've got a lot of windows. The best windows are ~R-4/U-0.25, vs a 2x4 wall with fiberglass insulation @ something like a whole wall R-10/U-0.1. With lots of windows that are cooler than the walls, your mean radiant temperature will be lower. You're going to feel cooler that the thermostat setting ...
by Bengineer
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: semi-DIY solar panels
Replies: 39
Views: 3435

Re: semi-DIY solar panels

A couple thoughts: The sun is hot in Texas -> Solar carport. Solar power, shaded parking, not on the house roof. I'd think the electricity rates, utility and regulatory environment (think net metering and how powerful the utility is at quashing solar - i.e. Arizona as noted above) would be key. Area...
by Bengineer
Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to clean baked on "carbon" from corners of old cookie sheets
Replies: 27
Views: 2294

Re: How to clean baked on "carbon" from corners of old cookie sheets

Spray on "fume free" oven cleaner, layer plastic wrap over to keep it from drying out, let sit for a while, scrub off. Also works on the outside of pots & pans that have fired-on oil gunk. As others have noted, the seasoning == baked on, hardened oil, is what keeps your biscuits from sticking. Natur...
by Bengineer
Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Subaru Outback issue
Replies: 38
Views: 4055

Re: Subaru Outback issue

To the OP's actual question: If it's your wife's car, go new to allay her fears unless that's a significant financial issue. If it's yours, find a respected independent that works on Subies and have them go over it. Re CVTs: Consumer Reports, which is the closest thing I know of to statistical data ...
by Bengineer
Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:13 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: which stud finder?
Replies: 52
Views: 3393

Re: which stud finder?

A hammer and a finish nail. Tap wall to find most solid sounding point, use nail to find solid wood.
by Bengineer
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:03 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?
Replies: 21
Views: 1396

Re: HVAC questions: asbestos-insulated ducts need replacing? A/C costs?

From your pix, you have "hard duct" - galvanized sheet metal, which appears to be partially wrapped with unfaced fiberglass insulation. Your supply ducts are under positive pressure and so wouldn't suck. Black on them is from air escaping from your supply ducts into the crawl. Your returns are under...
by Bengineer
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:21 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Using Damprid with metal objects
Replies: 8
Views: 991

Re: Using Damprid with metal objects

I assume calcium chloride is there to keep the air dry. Se[a] air smells "salty" because of the small droplets of salty water in the air from the waves and the wind. It is not the case here. Exactly. Plus, as Sandtrap found, a tub of the stuff can only absorb a certain amount of water. A product li...
by Bengineer
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacement Windows
Replies: 30
Views: 2179

Re: Replacement Windows

... I also have solar shades to block the sun, especially in winter when the sun hangs low, or in the evening at sunset. These are stellar. They do darken the room, but I'm usually either using the southern ones or the west facing ones depending on the season. My FIL lives in a historic 100 year ol...
by Bengineer
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacement Windows
Replies: 30
Views: 2179

Re: Replacement Windows

Just looked up the storm door idea and it would get even hotter with Low E. I think the "even hotter" refers to installing clear glass storms over low-e windows. It's similar to putting a reflective/absorptive film on the inner pane of an IGU. The inner pane absorbs/reflects the light & heat, the o...
by Bengineer
Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacement Windows
Replies: 30
Views: 2179

Re: Replacement Windows

West facing, unshaded windows are tough. We use solar screens. They work well, but cut the entire solar spectrum, darkening the room as you noted. They are way cheaper than windows, though maybe in the range of storms. I think we paid ~$60 per 2'x4' double-hung at another house. The fabric isn't che...
by Bengineer
Sun Jul 14, 2019 4:17 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buying a used car: 0-interest loan over 15 months, or buy in cash
Replies: 32
Views: 2234

Re: Buying a used car: 0-interest loan over 15 months, or buy in cash

On the 0% vs cash. You're paying for that 0% in the purchase price. A dealer isn't going to give you free money. It's unlikely you'll get as low a price as with cash.
by Bengineer
Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lightest weight backpack for laptop?
Replies: 37
Views: 2641

Re: Lightest weight backpack for laptop?

Another option I use is a super light pack + laptop sleeve. The pack I have is very thin material, no padding other than the harness. It has a thin divider for a hydration bladder. Pluses: Pack stowable , useable for light hiking, hydration bladder fits in pack where laptop would go, laptop protecte...
by Bengineer
Mon May 27, 2019 6:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: All 10 Sprinkler zones won't turn on
Replies: 14
Views: 1532

Re: All 10 Sprinkler zones won't turn on

Could be that your rain sensor breaks the common wire.
by Bengineer
Mon May 27, 2019 2:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: All 10 Sprinkler zones won't turn on
Replies: 14
Views: 1532

Re: All 10 Sprinkler zones won't turn on

With the controller powered, but off, you should have "24" Vac across the two terminals on the low-voltage side of the transformer in your controller. Mine reads ~27Vac. With the system off, the resistance between each valve control wire and the common wire should be ~25 ohms or so. (maybe 20 - 60 o...
by Bengineer
Mon May 27, 2019 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Replacing wood windows - a little lost
Replies: 18
Views: 1475

Re: Replacing wood windows - a little lost

One more question - for the window with the faulty thermal glazing, it looks like there are various services (e.g., Glass Doctor http://www.glassdoctor.com/ ) that advertise repairing such damage rather than replacing the whole window. I haven't really looked much into this to date, but wanted to c...
by Bengineer
Fri May 17, 2019 5:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Compound miter saw recommendation
Replies: 42
Views: 2616

Re: Compound miter saw recommendation

I own a Makita LS1013 double compound slide miter. It is one sweet saw, but it knows more than I ever will. A 10 or 12" plain miter saw will cover mitering things, which is all most of us need. Slide will let you cut wider boards, say trimming 12" shelving to fit in a closet. Compound makes it easie...
by Bengineer
Thu May 16, 2019 4:51 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: .
Replies: 13
Views: 2246

Re: Fixing Bad Lawn

What foamy pirate said. If they're getting what they need, warm season grasses will cover the lawn. I''ve had good luck with enough water, mowing regularly to make sure no weeds get to seed, a little fertilizer and a selective broadleaf herbicide once a year. Grass needs about an inch a week in the ...
by Bengineer
Mon May 13, 2019 4:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Crawl space encapsulation
Replies: 38
Views: 3664

Re: Crawl space encapsulation

I do think encapsulating or conditioning a crawl is a good idea, particularly in the humid regions of the country. I'm with the "figure out where it's coming from" crowd. Go out when it's pouring rain and observe where the water is going. It's not rocket science. It will be obvious when you see the ...
by Bengineer
Sun May 12, 2019 7:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What kind of ?contractor? to fix bird holes in soffit/fascia?
Replies: 28
Views: 1615

Re: What kind of ?contractor? to fix bird holes in soffit/fascia?

Op, a couple thoughts to go with the many so far. From your picture, the gap between the soffit and frieze board looks sloppy. it should be tight to the soffit. There may or may not be a route to the attic at that crack. There's likely a clear path via the hole in the soffit. Looking at it from the ...
by Bengineer
Sat May 11, 2019 6:01 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Computer issues, fix vs replace
Replies: 33
Views: 2192

Re: Computer issues, fix vs replace

That's frustrating. I think I'd want a computer tech (got a wiz in the family?) good with windows to look at it before I gave up and got new hardware. I have a couple questions that might be helpful. Is the text "screwy" on just your web pages or on all applications? If just the web pages, maybe it'...
by Bengineer
Wed May 08, 2019 1:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Goodman HVAC System
Replies: 21
Views: 2189

Re: Goodman HVAC System

A recent thread with info on Goodman you might find useful.
by Bengineer
Thu May 02, 2019 7:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Defective audio port on new laptop
Replies: 15
Views: 858

Re: Defective audio port on new laptop

When I have had to send ThinkPads back for repair, Lenovo required that I remove the hard drive, which was a one screw operation. Likely it is not that simple on your Dell, but sending it back sans the hard drive would be my first choice. I'd do this if Dell is good with you returning it sans drive...
by Bengineer
Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:23 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's a good external hard drive?
Replies: 15
Views: 1101

Re: What's a good external hard drive?

My approach to external archiving (and backups) is to buy bare drives and a docking station. I use plastic storage cases to store the drives.

4Tb seems the sweet spot @ ~$25/Tb right now.
by Bengineer
Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Do I need a degree?
Replies: 73
Views: 4777

Re: Do I need a degree?

OP, do you love what you do? Do you want to have a long career doing it? Yes? Get a degree. Put some thought into what degree would be good in the long run - marketable and aligned with what you love to do. Not many in this economy have job security. Being marketable at all times is helpful. Getting...
by Bengineer
Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:53 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: The real dog food diet...
Replies: 59
Views: 4247

Re: The real dog food diet...

Small animal veterinarian chiming in here ... I'm going to step on my soapbox for one second. 'Grain free' has absolutely no meaning in veterinary medicine, but it has made billions of dollars for Blue Buffalo, Blue Wilderness, etc. In fact, the grain free diets are currently being study for causin...
by Bengineer
Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:59 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Remove damaged coating from prescription glasses
Replies: 29
Views: 2738

Re: Remove damaged coating from prescription glasses

OP, I've worn glasses forever as well, and have never had the coatings fail. I clean mine daily with a glasses/lens cleaning spray and microfiber cloth. Perhaps your failure is due to exposure to stronger chemicals?
I also have used zenni the last few years with good results.
by Bengineer
Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block 2018 Qualified Business Income Deduction
Replies: 3
Views: 989

Re: H&R Block 2018 Qualified Business Income Deduction

Thanks SuzBanyan. I've used that before. Note that like everything else at this point, it's a draft. I'll fill it in while I wait.

Thanks Jebmke. H&R block indicates the next update is Jan 3. It would be helpful if H&R block mostly works before the Jan 15 estimated tax deadline.
by Bengineer
Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:30 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block 2018 Qualified Business Income Deduction
Replies: 3
Views: 989

H&R Block 2018 Qualified Business Income Deduction

Anyone tried / had any luck figuring out where H&R block 2018 Deluxe (or any version) deals with the Qualified Business Income Deduction? It's line 9 on the 1040, but appears to come from somewhere else and overriding it doesn't change the calculations. I couldn't find any input for it. Is it "just ...
by Bengineer
Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: favorite reading chair
Replies: 4
Views: 725

Re: favorite reading chair

A mitchell-gold leather recliner. 16 years of heaven and counting. :happy Not cheap, but top quality.
by Bengineer
Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:56 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: should I go with inverter/optimizers or micro-inverters for home solar?
Replies: 14
Views: 1601

Re: should I go with inverter/optimizers or micro-inverters for home solar?

I'd second the string inverter if shading isn't significant. Modern string inverters, for example the SMA "Sunny boy" series have more than one Maximum Power Point Tracker and so can optimize more than one string, say for two roof orientations.
by Bengineer
Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Guy's Western US Ski Trip - suggestions?
Replies: 44
Views: 2896

Re: Guy's Western US Ski Trip - suggestions?

You can rent a mountain-ready van with ski rack at Denver airport and in under two hours be in Summit County anywhere (Copper, Breck, Keystone, Vail, Winter Park, Beaver Creek). Lodging, apr'es ski, great food and party bars are everywhere. We have stayed slope-side at almost every one of these res...
by Bengineer
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:52 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.
Replies: 66
Views: 4536

Re: Electricity bill should be 7% per month of home sq footage.

The energy use in kWh/mo at peak heating / cooling season (the months with the most heating/cooling degree-days) of neighbors with houses of similar size, shape and mechanical/appliances (electric / gas) would be more useful. As to air-sealing and insulating, a couple $k for someone to spend a good ...
by Bengineer
Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Air heat pump questions (any experts in the community?)
Replies: 24
Views: 2062

Re: Air heat pump questions (any experts in the community?)

OP, you've gotten some good responses in these posts. I'll apologize in advance: I can't do a short version. :happy I would approach your situation like this: First, I'd get my system doing the best it can. Second, I'd set my thermostat to use the aux heat strips only when necessary. Third, I'd air-...
by Bengineer
Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:05 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any Refrigerator Repair Specialists in the House?
Replies: 17
Views: 1817

Re: Any Refrigerator Repair Specialists in the House?

Um, is your "Exterior Moisture Control" on?
by Bengineer
Mon Nov 26, 2018 9:14 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: I'm so CHEAP! Don't think it is healthy.
Replies: 36
Views: 7158

Re: I'm so CHEAP! Don't think it is healthy.

OP, one way to turn the tables on feeling cheap is to approach it as being smart by figuring out how to spend the least you can for every need and saving the rest. You're being frugal rather than cheap! Being cheap is denying yourself things/quality/experiences you value. Building a good emergency f...
by Bengineer
Tue Nov 20, 2018 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: H&R Block 2018 Tax Software Deluxe $18.00 - Black Friday sale
Replies: 314
Views: 29688

Re: H&R Block 2018 Tax Software Deluxe Federal + State $29.95

Last year the $10 deluxe showed up Jan 1, fyi. I'd love to have it now, but the software (forms) aren't anywhere near final yet, so not sure it's worth paying $21 extra to have it now. Even though there will be a few updates, I find it helpful to run a pro-forma before our last estimated tax paymen...