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Home Ownership Surprises

Old 01-30-14, 07:12 AM
  #26  
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When the previous owners redid the plumbing instead of running the tub drain back under the tub they ran it alongside it in the wall...at the same level as the tub bottom.
It drains very slowly. I have several switches that do nothing and in odd places. Some drains are outside the wall, inside the room.
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Old 01-30-14, 10:28 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Roosterbird View Post
my house is kinda new but we're not the first owners, we found that the dryer vent was never connected to the roof exit vent, thus we had a large lint ball in the attic.
Ours vents to the garage. My brother is going to help me re-route it up out of the roof.

We've been finding all kinds of strange things, which we kind of expected. Under the carpet in the 2nd bedroom and office was linoleum. Under that was (partially rotted & termite damaged) wood subfloor. Under the cheap vinyl tile in the kitchen is a hideous pink linoleum tile. They used popcorn interior ceiling treatment outside under the eaves. A lot of the work in the utility room looks like it was done with whatever materials he had on hand. The electrical work is the strangest part. It looks well done, except for the lack of grounding on some outlets, and the wire routing is less than optimal, according to my brother. He keeps saying he needs a time machine so he can go back to when the work was being done and nutpunch the guy doing the work.
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Old 01-30-14, 10:35 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by cradom View Post
When the previous owners redid the plumbing instead of running the tub drain back under the tub they ran it alongside it in the wall...at the same level as the tub bottom.
It drains very slowly. I have several switches that do nothing and in odd places. Some drains are outside the wall, inside the room.
Those switches probably open and close the neighbors garage door.
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Old 01-30-14, 11:23 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
That's a pleasant surprise.

The last house I lived in, the landlord fancied himself quite the handyman. He didn't need those fancy metal tubes and expensive wires. He'd just get a section of lamp cord, lay it down and then tile the floor on top of it. Some of the connections were baffling, roundabout and scary. One of my hobbies was taking things he had done and redoing them right.
Some relatives bought a house where the previous owner had taken extension cords, cut the ends off, and then spliced the wires together to run power to another room after drilling holes through the wall.
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Old 01-30-14, 11:33 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by monogodo View Post
Ours vents to the garage. My brother is going to help me re-route it up out of the roof.
Mine vented into the garage too. I opened the house to garage door one winter day to find the garage was filled with fog, so much you couldn't see from one side to the other. That was changed quickly.
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Old 01-30-14, 11:39 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Roosterbird View Post
my house is kinda new but we're not the first owners, we found that the dryer vent was never connected to the roof exit vent, thus we had a large lint ball in the attic.
The house I bought in 2010 didn't have a C.O. meaning it wasn't finished and I couldn't live in it. The house was 95% complete and everything was sheetrocked up. I just had to finish up a cuple items. So I took out all the permits and started hiring out the work. Got almost done, and was ready to move in after getting the C.O. Went to hook up the dryer....no vent. Woops!
HTH that passed the inspections, I have no clue. Anyway, the dryer is vented out the front of the house now, over the staircase leading to the front door. It's not ideal, but was a helluva lot better than tearing everything apart and spending $8,000 for a roof top vent pipe.
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Old 01-30-14, 09:06 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Some relatives bought a house where the previous owner had taken extension cords, cut the ends off, and then spliced the wires together to run power to another room after drilling holes through the wall.
I had a friend who used speaker wire for extension cords. He died some time back from alcoholism.
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Old 01-31-14, 11:14 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by ModoVincere View Post
Those switches probably open and close the neighbors garage door.
Check the soffits they may control Christmas light sockets there.
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Old 01-31-14, 11:33 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by overthehillmedi View Post
Check the soffits they may control Christmas light sockets there.
This. Also check main bath exhaust fans as some building codes require automatic and/or remote operation.
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Old 01-31-14, 02:54 PM
  #35  
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My house has plumbing in the attic. Why didn't I know that when I bought the house? Gee I don't know. I guess it's because it's the first house I ever bought a house and never saw plumbing in the attic before. I do like the simplicity of a cement slab house but always knew the plumbing to be under the slab in other houses that I'd rented before buying this one.

So my pipes froze twice and flooded my kitchen. So I had to dig up part of the slab in the kitchen and put some quality pex underneath. Then I ran pex from the main pipe coming in by my water heater under the ceiling in the back hallway and tied it into the copper in the wall between the bathroom and kitchen. I also ran a simple setup to outside in the backyard from the main pipe and just run a section of garden hose to the front yard to water.

Stupidest thing I ever saw in my life putting plumbing in the attic in this kind of winter climate.
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Old 01-31-14, 03:01 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
My house has plumbing in the attic. Why didn't I know that when I bought the house? Gee I don't know. I guess it's because it's the first house I ever bought a house and never saw plumbing in the attic before. I do like the simplicity of a cement slab house but always knew the plumbing to be under the slab in other houses that I'd rented before buying this one.

So my pipes froze twice and flooded my kitchen. So I had to dig up part of the slab in the kitchen and put some quality pex underneath. Then I ran pex from the main pipe coming in by my water heater under the ceiling in the back hallway and tied it into the copper in the wall between the bathroom and kitchen. I also ran a simple setup to outside in the backyard from the main pipe and just run a section of garden hose to the front yard to water.

Stupidest thing I ever saw in my life putting plumbing in the attic in this kind of winter climate.
I had a slab house with plumbing in the attic like that. Put pipe heaters on the pipes and you wont have to worry about frozen pipes as long as the power is on.
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Old 01-31-14, 03:32 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
I had a slab house with plumbing in the attic like that. Put pipe heaters on the pipes and you wont have to worry about frozen pipes as long as the power is on.
Too late now. My pex plumbing runs under the ceiling down a very short stretch of back hallway before turning into the utility room and tying into the wall copper.....nice and simple fix actually that doesn't involve building boxes around it in the attic and cutting vent holes in the ceiling. This was actually simpler than modifying my attic. It's also easier on my electric bills than wrapping the plumbing with electric heaters since I leave the hall heater on for my dog anyway when I'm not there.

I can also spot any leaks before they destroy my ceiling. My mortgage holder wouldn't approve but what they don't know won't hurt them. I could cover it up with a little box if I ever wanted to sell the house.
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Old 01-31-14, 04:42 PM
  #38  
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I was fortunate in finding and buying a 1911 Arts & Craft style house that had been gutted and reno'd by the previous owner. Pretty much everything excepting the roof, water and sewer mains (so walls, floors, upstairs windows, all doors, plumbing &bath's, electrical @ 200a, etc...). I've since done the roof (huge job @ $13,000) plus replaced a dozen crappy old vinyl windows with some Lowes/Pellas (good window poorly installed).

I learned a lot from the first POS I purchased and looked at 54 different houses before getting this one. About the only quirk is the front upstairs bedroom has it's baseboard heat return line running thru the un-insulated porch roof, thus I need to run that zone when the temp's below 25 or so. Given the floorplan, it's the only route for the piping, so I deal with it.

Hopefully the last house I ever buy.
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Old 01-31-14, 10:00 PM
  #39  
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Been fairly lucky *knock on wood* with our house. Only thing that has caused me to take pause was the fact that the mantle over the fireplace was held in place with nothing more than a couple dozen finishing nails. Any kid over about 60lbs could have pulled that off the wall had they tried to do a chin up or something similar on it. We had it removed while replacing the tile surround and have yet to replace it.
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Old 01-31-14, 10:24 PM
  #40  
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Ours has lots of little problems, but the thing I just can't figure out is the master bathroom. It's a normal bathroom, but then off to one side, there's a sliding pocket door looking like it leads to a linen closet. All normal (except maybe a pocket door here is a little strange, but whatever), until you open it up and there's a second toilet and a sink and a bathroom. So it's a normal bathroom with a half bath inside it. And the only way to get into it is through the main bathroom . When we moved in a year ago, the toilet in that little half bath was broken. I fixed the first problem with it (broken float), and the second (cracked flapper), but haven't gotten around to fixing the cracked seal at the bottom of the tank because it's not like we ever use it. Ended up braking the faucet in that half bath too trying to pull the aerator because it was all limed up and haven't bothered fixing that yet either. So many other problems that need fixing first (lots of leaky windows with damaged casements from ivy that had been allowed to run all over the house, getting rid of the rest of the ivy, radon in the basement, AC running nonstop when I have the breaker for it on, fence and deck rotting because it hasn't been taken care of since being installed when the house was built 20 years ago, dishwasher door spring broken, etc.) that I have a hard time wanting to spend time/money fixing a superfluous bathroom we won't use.
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Old 01-31-14, 10:25 PM
  #41  
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When we were shopping, my wife fell in love with a 30 yo house. It had been owned by an engineer and then when he left his wife she got it and let it fall into ruin. So many nice things that were broken down or rotten. But none of it surprised me since we had an inspection. Don't people get inspections?
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Old 02-01-14, 12:50 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
When we were shopping, my wife fell in love with a 30 yo house. It had been owned by an engineer and then when he left his wife she got it and let it fall into ruin. So many nice things that were broken down or rotten. But none of it surprised me since we had an inspection. Don't people get inspections?
See above: http://makeitright.ca/Holmes_Media/Holmes_Inspection/ . The home inspection business is largely unregulated.
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Old 02-02-14, 09:12 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
I've seen similar weird things with unconnected ground wires. The people doing it seem to think that either grounding is not that important, or that if the outlet is screwed into the wall it's automatically gounded and doesn't need a separate wire.
"Weekend Warriors", who have read the Time/Life books on "how to save a fortune by doing your own wiring!" are mostly responsible for this type of thing. They feel they can
do all the wiring themselves, instead of hiring a a trained and licensed electrician. And then they wonder why they come home and find a smoldering pile of debris where the
house used to be.

I've seen plenty of results of guys doing their own wiring. All too often, it ends up looking kind of like this:

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Old 02-02-14, 09:34 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
I've seen plenty of results of guys doing their own wiring. All too often, it ends up looking kind of like this:

Nuk, Nuk, Nuk!
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Old 02-02-14, 06:31 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
When we were shopping, my wife fell in love with a 30 yo house. It had been owned by an engineer and then when he left his wife she got it and let it fall into ruin. So many nice things that were broken down or rotten. But none of it surprised me since we had an inspection. Don't people get inspections?
Yea. We had one that turned out to be basically worthless. On the report the inspector said our asbestos chimney pipe was made out of pvc!!!
He also didn't check the sewer lines because we had root problems shortly after moving in. Also, our kitchen drain stopped up the first week we were there. I've thought about subscribing to Angie's List just so I could pan our inspector. What a jerk.
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Old 02-02-14, 11:11 PM
  #46  
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Famous last words on one of the homefix-it shows:

Guy #1 : Is this a load bearing wall
Guy #2 : No, I don't think so.
Guy #1 , guy #2 : wham! [hit the wall with slegehammers to begin knocking it down]

A few seconds later, the ceiling started to sink. oops.
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Old 02-03-14, 06:38 PM
  #47  
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I have mostly old wiring and a few newer grounded outlets. That's a short term problem, since the power grid will disappear in a few decades.
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Old 02-13-14, 11:29 AM
  #48  
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Well, he left this morning seeking work in Oklahoma, Nebraska & Iowa. Apparently Google is building a data center in Nebraska or Iowa, and he's hoping to get work there, as it's much closer to home.

He was able to address all the wiring issues on most of the house. I still have to get up into the attic on the older side and fix some of the joints up there, which he showed me how to do. He also ran conduit out to the shed, and installed boxes so that all I have to do is run the wire and install the breakers and I'll have power in the shed.

We installed two dual bulb fluorescent lights in the utility room, one above the work bench and the other by the entrance to the garage. The fixtures we bought were black, so we also got a can of silver/chrome spray paint and painted the reflector area. The bulbs we picked up are "Daylight" bulbs, so they're REALLY BRIGHT with that reflector.

I'm going to miss him being around to help out with projects, and to drink beer & ride bikes with, but at the same time, it's going to be nice to have our house to ourselves again.
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Old 02-13-14, 04:10 PM
  #49  
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At some point in between my divorces, I ended up moving back to my mom's to save up some money. The house was big and my mom had long divided it, leaving a full 3-bedroom home empty (she knew I will end up back in there). The place had not been used in over a decade and had a gazillion electrical problems.

Problem 1: Aluminum wires.

These had oxidation in many connection points and electricity was just not going through.

Problem 2: Metal pipes.

City codes required wires to be inside some kind of pipe. Steel pipes were used, laid inside the concrete. On some instances, aluminum wires where touching the steel pipe and give u a nice jolt when touching a box.

Problem 3: Leaky concrete roof

Rain water would percolate, enter the steel pipes and short the circuits. It wasn't uncommon to see water pouring out of an outlet during a rainy day.

Problem 4: Lack of ground.

It was non-existent in like 90% of the house.

I went ahead and rewire the whole thing myself. I spent like a week making sure I knew all the city codes... how tick the the wires have to be, what color, etc. I laid new pipes, using electric PVP. Leaved plenty on boxes to pull the cables every one or two corners. Wired everything to a new breaker box. The only thing I could not do was to hock the whole thing to the mains. That HAD to be an actual electrician per city law. And before that was done, I also had to pay the city inspector to check my work.

I have no idea what was the cost of the whole project. I think the electrician was $200 and $50 for the city inspector (it was long ago). The rest was just materials: Pipes (not required in many states), cables, boxes, outlets, switches, breakers, light fixtures, etc. I highly doubt the whole thing went over a thousand, but honestly I don't know.

I really really enjoyed doing the project. At the end I had lamps where they were needed, and outlets when they were the most convenient. Have you ever noticed how people place outlets right in the middle of the wall? Then when u place the sofa it covers the outlet? Well, I had outlets on both sides of the sofa, as it should be. I loved it and if I ever own a home, I will most likely made many modifications to the wiring.

PS: It took 3 days to hammer down the ground copper bar... that was a pain.
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Old 02-13-14, 04:14 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Zedoo View Post
I have mostly old wiring and a few newer grounded outlets.
I have really old outlets. You plug in your cellphone charger and the darn thing just falls off overnight. I want to replace them so bad. But is rented and I don't plan on staying here too long.
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