Sunday, June 10, 2012

Home Ownership

We are celebrating our 2 year anniversary of owning our first home! Boy has it been an adventure. It can be very frustrating at times but is totally worth it. I thought I would make a list of everything we've had to fix (and the awesome stories that go along with them). It is never ending.... especially in an old home. 

Surprise & Planned.... but mostly Surprise updates :)

1. Frozen Pipes SURPRISE

This happened February 2011 during an intense snow/ice storm. Our door leading into the garage from the backyard flew open during the storm & froze our pipes. We had no hot water for 2 days. It was miserable. On day 3 Chris came home & luckily heard something in the garage so he decided to go check it out. Water was gushing out everywhere in the garage.... thankfully it was in the garage and not in the house. We have a friend that is a plumber (now also does construction & remodels) and came to our rescue. He instructed my panicked husband to go turn the water off (which was in the front yard hidden by snow & ice). He eventually found it & did turn the water off. On day 4 our plumber friend came over and fixed our burst pipes. Phew! Thank you Matt!

Lessons Learned: Make sure the door to the garage is closed & locked at all times. There is now insulation around our pipes so this will hopefully not happen again. 

2. New Hot Water Tank PLANNED

Our water pressure has been excellent since we purchased the house. The amount of time the hot water lasted.... not so excellent. I got into a habit of taking really quick showers in an effort to not run out of hot water. We had a 1 year home warranty (that we requested the seller purchase for us in our contract) and I got to thinking maybe just maybe this is something that would be covered. Was the hot water tank completely shot, no.... was it very close, yes. We just had to pay $60 to have someone come out, evaluate it, take pictures & send off for approval. It was approved & we got a new hot water tank! Installed again by our plumber friend Matt!

Lesson Learned: The first year home warranty is actually a good idea. If you think it might cover something.... give it a try, It's only $60 for an evaluation & it could result in big savings for you. 

3. Sewage System SURPRISE

Oh this was by far the worst one of all. It was backed up & water trying to drain from our washing machine located in the garage was finding another way to drain.... luckily this time yet again in our garage not in our house. Matt our plumber friend (I'm sure he LOVES getting calls from us... not so much) came over & tried to unclog our pipe in the backyard but it was a no go. When he dug up the dirt to find the pipe we found that the previous owner had tried to do a quick fix and there was a piece of scrap metal laying over a hole in the pipe.... awesome! We had to get new pipes in the backyard under ground from our house to the back fence where the city sewage hook up is. I probably did not describe that correctly but that's a summary of what happened. Matt's guys came in at a later date & did all the new pipe work in the backyard.

Lesson Learned: Be happy you have a good relationship with a trusted plumber who knows what he's doing!

4. Landscaping PLANNED

This year we hired a landscaping company to complete phase 1 of our landscaping goals. They cleaned out all the weeds in our backyard & sprayed to keep the weeds out. They also created 4 flower beds in the front around the house & 3 flower beds in the back around the house with cedar mulch. The flower beds do not actually have flowers in them yet.... they were just created and really made a HUGE improvement in how our yard front & back looks. When we do plant flowers we will probably just plant them in pots and set the pots in the flower beds in an effort to keep it low maintenance & a weed free flower bed. We still need more landscaping in the back yard around the fence, a dead tree removed in the front yard & I would LOVE to have irrigation placed in the front yard. 

Lesson Learned: Shop around for quotes and get word of mouth referrals for lawn & landscaping companies. We found the company we used from a neighbors referral. 

5. New AC unit for the upstairs SURPRISE

This happened about 2 weeks ago. Rewind first to about 2 months ago when we had to get a new motor for the upstairs AC unit. It wasn't too expensive. But then 2 weeks ago our unit went out again & it needed a new compressor. That was a wee bit expensive. We have a wonderful Air guy that was a referral from a neighbor, he got us all fixed up. Luckily we only had to go 1 night with no AC upstairs.... also luckily we have 2 separate units 1 for the upstairs & 1 for the downstairs. We camped out downstairs the night we had no AC upstairs. 

Lesson Learned: Have a good relationship with an AIR guy! Also get your AC units cleaned & evaluated at the beginning & end of summer. 

6. New Duct Work in the Attic PLANNED

We have known for a while the duct work in the attic needed some work. We were told there were 2 ducts not even connected just floating around keeping our attic nice & cool. I tried also to get this approved through our home warranty.... it didn't work! They said they couldn't approve it because it appeared rodents ie: squirrels caused the damage. Soooo Chris & his dad fixed the area where the squirrels were getting in & our air guy redid all the duct work in the attic..... right before summer this year so hopefully we will notice a difference in our electricity bill. We for sure notice a difference in how efficient the upstairs stay cool. 

Lesson Learned: Have a good relationship with an AIR guy! 

7. New Washer & Dryer SURPRISE

Our washer & dryer came with the house. They were nothing special.. at all, but they worked. For a little while anyways. Last year the dryer stopped working. We bought a friends dryer.... they had just purchased new units & still had their old ones. Well last month our washing machine broke (the one that came with the house). I had enough at this point & told talked with Chris about getting a brand spankin new front loader HE washer & dryer with a warranty. He agreed it was time... so we got a new washer & dryer!!!!! It's so pretty, quiet & I LOVE doing laundry. 

Lesson Learned: Having a reliable washer & dryer is the best feeling EVER!! Take good care of your washer & dryer. After we are finished with all our loads we wipe down the inside of the washing machine door & leave it propped open.... this is supposed to prevent the mildew from forming. We also stopped using liquid fabric softener because it is hard on your washing machine & creates a film on the inside of your barrel. We use the dryer sheets only. Buy the warranty they offer! 

OK I think that's most of it! Congratulations if you actually made it through this post.
All I have to say is thank heavens we have a savings! We toyed with the idea of putting our house on the market & moving into our "for a long time" home.... but we're just not ready yet. I love our home & I'm still in love with our home. Could it be bigger.... yes. Could it be nicer.... yes. But, I'm just not ready to break up with it yet. So we'll stay a while longer & keep making planned & unplanned updates. Happy 2 year anniversary home! We've made so many great memories here & planning on making a few more :)