Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dear ADT Security

We received a knock on our door from an ADT Security saleswoman earlier this afternoon yet again violating the No Soliciting sign we put up earlier in the summer. In frustration dealing with a barking dog and a crying child I posted a gripe to both ADT's Twitter account and their Facebook page. A little while later I received a canned reply directing me to email the company with my concern. I'm not sure it will make a difference at this point but this is the email I sent them:

I was told in regards to a post on the ADT Facebook page to email this address with concerns I have regarding your door-to-door salespeople. Hanging very prominently next to my front door is a "No soliciting" sign that was put there in part due to so many visits by people from your company. Yet for some reason your sales representatives either cannot read, don't understand what the word soliciting means, or simply choose to ignore it. The latest violation occurring this afternoon around 2:15pm. I did not answer the knock on the door but the woman left her ADT card:

[Sales representative's info on the business card was here.]

Your chances of getting me to switch security providers at this point are non-existent due to these repeated violations of the simple request on my sign. Furthermore you can be assured that should the topic of security companies come up in conversation with anyone I know the feelings I share about ADT will not be kind ones. If representatives of your company cannot even read or pay attention to a simple no soliciting sign how can they be trusted to watch over my home?



At the very least I hope they enjoy a bit of bad publicity from me posting this. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014


As I mentioned in an earlier entry we opted not to have a deck included when our house was built. Our sales representative was honest with us that a better one could be added for less later. The downside to this was that a railing was placed over the sliding door opening on our morning room per the building code. Sometime next year we expect to add a deck and possibly a patio but haven't figured out exactly what we want to do yet. Until then we needed a set of stairs to get in and out and this past week I finally got around to building them.

There's not much to it. This is what was required to build it:
One 4x4x8
Three 4-Step Stair Stringers
Bag of quick set concrete
2x10 lumber cut to the width of stairs
3" Galvanized screws
Paver Stones

All of the wood listed above is pressure treated. The stair stringers are 25 inches tall so I cut the 4x4 in half to 48 inches for each piece. Using a borrowed post hole digger I dug a roughly 20 inch deep hole on each side of the sliding glass door of our morning room about two inches away from the foundation wall. (It wasn't worried the two holes being the exact same depth since I later trimmed off the excess 4x4 at the top once the stringers were in place.) In the bottom of each hole I placed a paver stone so the posts wouldn't sink over time. I then placed the 4x4 post in each hole, had my wife hold it straight, and then poured water and the concrete mix around it.

The bag said the concrete only needed a few hours to dry but I ended up not getting back to this until a few days after I set them so they were more than ready at that point. I was then able to attach the stringers and steps with the screws. I also had to use two additional paver stones under the middle and right stringers in order to make the whole thing level as the ground slopes slightly there.

It's worth mentioning that I had originally wanted to attach the stairs directly to the side of the house like what is shown here on another Sienna. Unlike that house however we have siding all the way down to the foundation and I didn't want to mess that up for something that will ultimately be temporary. It certainly would have simplified things had I been able to do that. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dryer Vent Cleaning

When was the last time you cleaned your dryer vent? Clogged up vents can cause fires and also cause the dryer to work less efficiently as it takes longer to dry a load of clothes.

While there isn't much I miss about our old house I do miss the ease of cleaning the dryer vent. The dryer there backed up to an exterior wall and was less than a foot long to outside. After several attempts by birds to build nests in it I replaced it with a vent tube with a cage to keep them out but otherwise it was easy to clean. I'd scrap off the lint stuck to the outside off every so often and pulled the dryer away from the wall once a year or so to replace the hose connecting it to the vent. (As it's easier to replace a $10 hose than it is to clean one.)

I noticed a few weeks ago that the flaps on the dryer vent cover on the wall outside weren't closed all the way due to lint build up. I didn't expect it to be clogged up so quickly after moving into the house. With it being roughly 16 feet up through the wall and then across the ceiling to the side of the house 20 feet up from the ground I was expecting I might need to hire someone to clean it out. But it turns out my trusty shop vacuum has more than enough suction power to get the job done. I shoved the hose as far up the vent as possible and even after only three months of use it pulled out a large amount of lint. There's still a little bit stuck on the vent outside so eventually I'm going to have to get an extension ladder to get up there clean that off as well. But the flaps are closing now at least. I also vacuumed inside the dryer as well. And thanks to our dimwitted younger cat I had to replace the vent hose due to him tearing holes in it for whatever reason.

I'll also note here one annoyance I have with the way Ryan Homes builds these houses. The vent pipe going up through the is oval while the hoses are round. There was a considerable amount of frustration involved in getting it on there. Apparently it's an issue with the thickness of the wall or so I was told but it's still irritating. If our cat destroys another hose I'll probably order a round to oval adapter that is available several places online. (But no where locally in-store oddly enough.)