Search found 735 matches

by criticalmass
Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Liquid Plumber / Draino bad for the pipes?
Replies: 24
Views: 1572

Re: Is Liquid Plumber / Draino bad for the pipes?

Drain openers are usually Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). It's a simple chemical, but a very powerful alkaline and reactive chemical in concentration. It dissolves and decomposes grease and hair. You might also find concentrated sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) (aka bleach) in the drain cleaner with the NaOH. T...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Honda Pilot - Improving Traction
Replies: 23
Views: 1577

Re: Honda Pilot - Improving Traction

I have a ~10 year old Honda Pilot FWD and the tires once in a while spin while starting from a stop, especially in the rain. They also seem a bit prone to hydroplane. My tires are pretty old (have 4/32 of tread left) but my mechanic said they don't need to be replaced and are Michelin's that get an...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:55 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low flow shower head
Replies: 35
Views: 1612

Re: Low flow shower head

A 1/2 hour shower. Does seem long, but a while ago on another thread some woman claimed a one hour shower time. The thread had to do with the environment in some way and she said she did not care. There was plenty if water and she could afford it. If you are in the showers for 30 minutes or an hour...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 17, 2018 12:27 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shell $0.05/gal discount card
Replies: 27
Views: 1385

Re: Shell $0.05/gal discount card

I use nothing but Shell in my car. A nickel a gallon is not enough to entice me to carry an additional card in my wallet and to swipe an extra card every time I fill up. If the reward doubles or more, I might consider it. If they would allow me to tie it to one or more of my credit cards, it would ...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Low flow shower head
Replies: 35
Views: 1612

Re: Low flow shower head

Just looked and saw my 2 are pumping out 2.5 gpm. Seems there's quite a few doing 1.5 gpm. Anyone switch to one they like with good results? I work out a lot and shower twice a day without any trouble. Figuring this could really help. Low flow? I don't like the sound of that. http://www.seinfeldscr...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:11 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Can I buy a PIN prepaid debit card with a credit card for rewards bonus
Replies: 10
Views: 442

Re: Can I buy a PIN prepaid debit card with a credit card for rewards bonus

Our real estate taxes can be paid with a credit card with a 2.35% convenience fee, or for a $2 fee for using a PIN debit card. For purposes of increasing credit card spend for rewards we'd like to do the following if possible .... anyone have experience with this .... Use the credit card to purchas...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:07 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity as a one stop shop
Replies: 45
Views: 3588

Re: Fidelity as a one stop shop

This makes no sense. There's no simplification. If you have internet access, you can access all these anyway. It's an illusion that all those things are really Fidelity, as their bank is really someone else, the credit card is someone else still, and many of their funds are really run by others, so...
by criticalmass
Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Polyurethane- House STINKS
Replies: 19
Views: 1940

Re: Polyurethane- House STINKS

Hi, We are having the floors redone and the house STINKS! Everything I read says the house should be in the 68-72 degree range for the Poly to cure but also says for the smell to go away you need the windows open. I’m in the Northeast and the weekend is calling for the temperature to be in the 50s....
by criticalmass
Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Furnace in rental has issues with out-of-warranty parts, replace or repair?
Replies: 20
Views: 1279

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

My dad is currently renting a 9-yr old house to an excellent tenant, and the furnace in the house currently has some issues preventing the furnace from running. The tenant has a local HVAC company over to do a diagnostic, and the HVAC company stated that both the pressure switches and the inducer m...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Landlord charging for unwarranted repairs.
Replies: 10
Views: 1465

Re: Landlord charging for unwarranted repairs.

Did you make a video walkthrough that you have documentation of? I'd first respond with a friendly letter. As upset as you may be, $410 is not worth a lawyer That depends on who is paying for the attorney. A landlord behaving improperly and attempting to collect/deduct improper damages from securit...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 14, 2018 9:51 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Question on dryer vent cleaning
Replies: 29
Views: 2432

Re: Question on dryer vent cleaning

Cleaning the vent pipes is usually a good idea. But, do you really need it? The filter in the dryer is supposed to catch the lint. Does it have a tear in it? Do the clothes dry in the same time they used to? I doubt if the $80 price recognizes the need to move both appliances, and then do the work,...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: A "super mega roll" of toilet paper = 6 "regular rolls:" is this possible?
Replies: 75
Views: 4723

Re: A "super mega roll" of toilet paper = 6 "regular rolls:" is this possible?

Well, they don’t fit on the holder and still spin freely, so that’s a deal-breaker for me. I think we buy what is called the double rolls. I think you can still get single rolls at mid-priced hotel chains. They are made of sandpaper as best I can tell. Charmin did or will send free adapters to allo...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: “Priority Mail” not a priority anymore
Replies: 11
Views: 1714

Re: “Priority Mail” not a priority anymore

I don’t know if this is a local issue (I’m in the Richmond VA area) but the quality of our USPS deliveries has really plummeted in the past few months. Specifically, mail is taking way longer to get delivered than in the past. Two examples: —I see letters in my daily Informed Delivery email that do...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:28 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Lyft driver got into an accident, but denies it
Replies: 71
Views: 5560

Re: Lyft driver got into an accident, but denies it

If the police don’t show up, you should go to the nearest station to the accident scene, if possible, and if not possible, the nearest to your location and file a report. You should do this within a few days. In busy areas, the police will not show up for minor accidents, and if they do show up (e....
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Fidelity HSA - Account Closed (Risk Department)
Replies: 20
Views: 2824

Re: Fidelity HSA - Account Closed (Risk Department)

I would wait 6-12 months and try to open a cash management account or HSA again. Even better, do it in person if there is a local office near you.

Do you have any credit or Chex Systems freezes in effect?

Or you could become employed at a company that offers a Fidelity retirement plan. :)
by criticalmass
Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need recommendation for new washing machine
Replies: 45
Views: 2368

Re: Need recommendation for new washing machine

I just bought a used Maytag washer dryer set on Facebook market place for $100. Changed the belt on the dryer and they are like new (probably 25 years old though). If you think you can do some basic maintenance, it's hard to beat the OLD Maytags (pre 1990), plus the price is great! BTW-I am constan...
by criticalmass
Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need recommendation for new washing machine
Replies: 45
Views: 2368

Re: Need recommendation for new washing machine

I just bought a used Maytag washer dryer set on Facebook market place for $100. Changed the belt on the dryer and they are like new (probably 25 years old though). If you think you can do some basic maintenance, it's hard to beat the OLD Maytags (pre 1990), plus the price is great! BTW-I am constan...
by criticalmass
Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:46 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Trip to Italy
Replies: 42
Views: 2370

Re: Trip to Italy

aristotelian wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 8:53 pm
I also highly recommend CapOne Quicksilver Cash Rewards ($150 back for first $500 purchases).
I like the $200 Quicksilver bonus for the first $1000 in purchases (3 months) better.
by criticalmass
Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need recommendation for new washing machine
Replies: 45
Views: 2368

Re: Need recommendation for new washing machine

I just bought a used Maytag washer dryer set on Facebook market place for $100. Changed the belt on the dryer and they are like new (probably 25 years old though). If you think you can do some basic maintenance, it's hard to beat the OLD Maytags (pre 1990), plus the price is great! BTW-I am constan...
by criticalmass
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:45 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"
Replies: 53
Views: 5334

Re: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"

This is great news, thanks for posting! I already have 2 of those cards that I acquired over the years, I'm probably going to get one more so I can have 5.25% in all the categories I care about, as well as 3.5% for Costco. If you have a grandfathered one from the Schwab Visa days, it is still forei...
by criticalmass
Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:42 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"
Replies: 53
Views: 5334

Re: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"

Hmmm. I was hoping grocery would be available, but it looks like they are just adding ones that don't already have a premium cash back. I'll need to run the numbers to see if drugstore would be better, or leave it on gas. I don't use as much gas as I did before retirement. Can you buy gift cards fo...
by criticalmass
Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"
Replies: 53
Views: 5334

Re: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"

Hmmm. I was hoping grocery would be available, but it looks like they are just adding ones that don't already have a premium cash back. I'll need to run the numbers to see if drugstore would be better, or leave it on gas. I don't use as much gas as I did before retirement. Can you buy gift cards fo...
by criticalmass
Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"
Replies: 53
Views: 5334

Re: "Bank Of America Cash Rewards Card Now Lets You Choose Your 3%(=5.25%) Category"

Excuse me while I don't jump to the front of the line to get the platinum plus bonus on my savings account with 0.06% interest( instead of the standard 0.03%). With a $100k on deposit/invested I can get 5.25% reward on up to $10k of select credit card purchases. Perhaps, $325 more than my 2% rebate...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:50 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need recommendation for new washing machine
Replies: 45
Views: 2368

Re: Need recommendation for new washing machine

Keep in mind, when everyone on here is buying their next washing machine, I'll still be touting my SQ. It uses more water, but I'm wondering where people are getting the "it uses more energy" statement from. My electric bill didn't move a dime. Check the energy ratings to compare versus other model...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 11:32 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this normal for an HOA?
Replies: 95
Views: 8631

Re: Is this normal for an HOA?

I have no advice other than to say I’m adding his to my long list of reasons why I will NEVER live in a development with an HOA. And happy to live in New England where HOA communities are still in the minority. Do you have to present your “papers” at the guard house too ? :oops: I've lived with HOA...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 4:07 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Need recommendation for new washing machine
Replies: 45
Views: 2368

Re: Need recommendation for new washing machine

I second the recommendation to look at an appliance forum. There are tons of great options for high efficiency washers. Front loading is slightly more efficient in many cases, but there are great top loading HE washers now too, if that's your thing. I have a front loading dryer, so it's easier for m...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Rental car totalled - amex insurance issue
Replies: 19
Views: 3232

Re: Rental car totalled - amex insurance issue

My rental car got stuck in a flooded road and was totaled. I rent on American Express card and pay for amex premium coverage as primary and assumed it will all be taken care of. After a couple of months I heard from the car rental company that amex is paying for approx 90% of the net ACV ( actual c...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:50 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: HSA and dental insurance
Replies: 8
Views: 948

Re: HSA and dental insurance

Keep in mind, GEHA HSA has a decent dental benefit baked in. I’ve found that it makes “low option” GEHA Connection Dental coverage through BENEFEDS almost superfluous. Read the brochure carefully to see how much your primary dental coverage on GEHA HSA would cover. Then, if you can afford it, consi...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 1:38 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric bill with LED
Replies: 102
Views: 6878

Re: Electric bill with LED

Hopefully they last much longer than CFL. There's still a bunch of electronic waste inside of LED bulbs, so hopefully these don't end up in incinerators/landfills in the next decades. I have been replacing with LED light bulbs for several years. Price came down a lot, from around $20. However, the ...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:26 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Electric bill with LED
Replies: 102
Views: 6878

Re: Electric bill with LED

Anyone notice a significant savings going from incandescent or CFL to LED? For about $50 in bulbs I switched all the bulbs in my house to LED. I did it to save $ and help the environment. Just wondering if anyone actually noticed a real savings month to month... $50 switched you completely over to ...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Christmas Tree Fire: Watered Tree vs. Dry Tree
Replies: 18
Views: 2254

Re: Christmas Tree Fire: Watered Tree vs. Dry Tree

Do not forget to water your Christmas tree! According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), more than 200 home fires each year start with a Christmas tree. In this video, NIST fire researchers demonstrate what could happen if a fire starts in a watered Christmas tree vs. a dry Christm...
by criticalmass
Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:20 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...
Replies: 182
Views: 19769

Re: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...

Holiday meals used to mean my mother's home-cooked recipes, now it's my sister buying Costco meals. Sounds like a family issue rather than a store based issue. Why not find those old recipes (or make new ones) and do the holiday cooking for the family this year? You can avoid the Costco nemesis and...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Car Damage Issue
Replies: 69
Views: 4040

Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

@criticalmass I know more than a little about EXIF and clearly more than you. I have been involved in digital imaging for more than thirty years of my 40+ year career and hold several patents. I have sat on standards committees. I have architected, designed and developed EXIF loading, storing and v...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:08 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Car Damage Issue
Replies: 69
Views: 4040

Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

everything about an image can be faked, including all exif data. the only crypto aspect that would help would be a 3rd party timestamping signature which could prove that the image was taken at some time based on trusting the 3rd party, and this isn't an exif feature Nope, try again. Certain digita...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: GE Washing Machine Screeching Sound
Replies: 19
Views: 1286

Re: GE Washing Machine Screeching Sound

I'm new to this forum, but I'm amazed that Bogleheads would buy anything but a Speed Queen!! Sadly, as of 2018 Speed Queen is no longer the go-to machine. It's very difficult to find a reliable and effective washing machine today. I’d like to know this too. What info are you relying on? See the New...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Car Damage Issue
Replies: 69
Views: 4040

Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

(Who is to say that your photo was taken when you left versus when you arrived?) I'm surprised you don't know this. The EXIF (EXchangeable Image file Format) has been in existence for 20 years. The date and time is recorded in the image file. Also, almost any smartphone in the last ten years has a ...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 09, 2018 12:04 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Car Damage Issue
Replies: 69
Views: 4040

Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

if there was no note of damage when your rental contract was closed, I'd tell them to stuff themselves. You have clear proof of rental return with no extras noted. At most airports, car rental return is a high volume operation that may or may not even check the fuel gauge. Fuel check and damage ass...
by criticalmass
Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:49 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Rental Car Damage Issue
Replies: 69
Views: 4040

Re: Rental Car Damage Issue

One of the things I like about Hotwire rentals is the collision damage waver is $9.00/day. I’ve been renting that way for this past year and it’s been great. There are downsides to Hotwire, but I really like getting a CDW, and that price is right. I pay $19.95 for car rental property damage coverag...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: County not accepting 2018 property taxes in 2018 - need help with ideas.
Replies: 138
Views: 6787

Re: County not accepting 2018 property taxes in 2018 - need help with ideas.

All of this is academic to me now as I expect to be taking the standard deduction going forward. Remember most provisions of the individual tax scam are temporary. Except for a few provisions that stay; the limit on SALT stays and the way inflation is calculated for deduction stays. It is a sneaky ...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:37 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: GE Washing Machine Screeching Sound
Replies: 19
Views: 1286

Re: GE Washing Machine Screeching Sound

There isn't much to a basic top loading washer. It is either the bearings, or something has fallen between the drum (perforated basket) and the tub (watertight enclosure) and when loaded and spinning, the deflection is causing it to rub and screech. To diagnose the latter problem, disconnect all th...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:33 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this normal for an HOA?
Replies: 95
Views: 8631

Re: Is this normal for an HOA?

I received a form included with our 2019 dues asking for a lot of personal information, and no letter stating why they need it or what they will do with it. I have tried calling the management company and it rings until it goes to a mailbox that is full, so I don't know if they are already gone for...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:27 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: County not accepting 2018 property taxes in 2018 - need help with ideas.
Replies: 138
Views: 6787

Re: County not accepting 2018 property taxes in 2018 - need help with ideas.

This is a "no politics" forum. I replaced "Trump tax cuts" with the correct name of the enacted legislation, "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act". Please do not associate political figures with the legislation. See: Politics and Religion In order to avoid the inevitable frictions that arise from these topics, p...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this normal for an HOA?
Replies: 95
Views: 8631

Re: Is this normal for an HOA?

I received a form included with our 2019 dues asking for a lot of personal information, and no letter stating why they need it or what they will do with it. I have tried calling the management company and it rings until it goes to a mailbox that is full, so I don't know if they are already gone for...
by criticalmass
Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:40 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is this normal for an HOA?
Replies: 95
Views: 8631

Re: Is this normal for an HOA?

I received a form included with our 2019 dues asking for a lot of personal information, and no letter stating why they need it or what they will do with it. I have tried calling the management company and it rings until it goes to a mailbox that is full, so I don't know if they are already gone for...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:57 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...
Replies: 182
Views: 19769

Re: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...

I know Bogleheads love Costco! Recently, I purchased a membership to get a black Friday deal on a Microsoft Surface 6 (someone posted on this forum). Since I was there (1 hr round trip) I figured I would pick up some groceries. I was a little disappointed to find that many/most items could be purch...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper
Replies: 119
Views: 10485

Re: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper

If you have an acquaintance who is a Costco member, ask them to buy a “cash card” (aka gift card) . Then you can shop at Costco without a membership, as Costco allows purchases with a cash card and without a membership. Any excess amount must of course be paid with Visa, debit, or cash. But save the...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...
Replies: 182
Views: 19769

Re: Best values at Costco? Honestly, a little disappointed...

Here are a few items we consistently purchase at Costco: Gas, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, $1.50 hot dog, wine, chicken, etc., etc. Their chicken is probably the best deal. $5 for a turkey-sized chicken already cooked. Gasoline is also their best deal if you have one with gas. Not so g...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: US->Canada Money Transfer
Replies: 5
Views: 503

Re: US->Canada Money Transfer

Search the forum history for lots of good options already mentioned. I like XE for great rates and no fees. There are many options that are far better/cheaper than using your bank account to do the transfer work. If you can give family an atm card attached to a no fee account, that can be a great op...
by criticalmass
Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper
Replies: 119
Views: 10485

Re: Why is Costco gas so much cheaper

My calculation is not wrong, although there are gas stations that are closer in price to costco, those aren't close to my home either. I am in the DC suburbs, and can compare gas prices around the beltway since I travel for work between DC/MD/VA. I am sure there are some stations that are cheaper, ...
by criticalmass
Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:41 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: AMEX Car Buying Service
Replies: 3
Views: 881

Re: AMEX Car Buying Service

I saw on the AMEX website that one of their cardholder benefits is a car buying service. It's linked to TrueCar. You provide specifications for car you want to purchase (new or used), they negotiate with local dealers (seems to apply to in-stock only) and dealers agree to accept AMEX for part of pu...