Saturday, March 14, 2015

Condensation Line Fix

As I noted in this post from last month our furnace broke down on the coldest night of the year due to the condensation line getting bumped and broken and had to be fixed. Our service manager had come out the following week and agreed with my feeling that it was a poor design and combined with needing to climb over it to adjust the dampers several times a year would make it likely it would get broken again. Initially he thought that a separate access point could be installed at the other end of the attic (similar to how houses without the pull down stairs like we have are configured) but he discovered that due to the way the HVAC trunk lines are run that wasn't possible. Instead he spoke with the HVAC company that had done the original install to see if they could reroute the condensation line. Yesterday afternoon the an HVAC tech came out and was able to do this:

A few weeks ago the service manager had also adjusted the metal hanger that was holding the gas line and the tech was able to further move that over as well. This is the result I was hoping for and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I will no longer have to worry nearly as much about breaking something when I go up in the attic to adjust the dampers. A big thanks to our service manager and the HVAC company (Superior Plumbing, Heating, and Air of Ashland, Virginia) for fixing this for us.

Before/After Comparison

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Window Fix

As I mentioned in the Ten Month Review Part II entry from earlier in the month we discovered that our windows (Made by Ply Gem) have been leaking a significant amount of air. The window contractor came out this afternoon and fixed it, taking a half an hour or so to do all thirteen of our windows. (Not counting the two small ones at the bottom of the stairs and in the master bath.) It was so simple and seemed so cheap I really have to question how cost effective it is for the window company to do business like this. (i.e. Send a contractor out to fix them instead of applying the fix at the factory when the windows are built.)

The fix had three parts:

The red arrow marks a piece of felt he placed where the top and bottom sections of the window come together and stuck on there with a bead of silicone. The orange arrow points to small pieces of foam wedged into the track. (The spots I plugged with paper towels after discovering the leaks.) Our happy idiot cocker spaniel can also be seen in the lower part of the window. (Placed outside so the man could work in peace.)

The last part of the fix involved more foam wedged in the bottom corners. 

While he was here I also mentioned that the plastic in the middle of the window in our laundry room is cracked as well. He took a look at it and told me he'd be putting in an order for them to send us a replacement. (The whole bottom half since that plastic can't be replaced separately.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Never Hurts to Ask

I forgot to mention one additional thing in last night's entry about the ten month review. Ryan Homes is pretty adamant throughout the process that the landscaping is one thing that is not covered by any warranty. We however had one bush (or shrub, possibly a tree, not entirely sure what to call it) that despite being right by a sprinkler head and receiving adequate water died with a few months of moving into our house. Normally this wouldn't be much of an issue but when we priced out the replacement cost it was upwards of $60-70, not expensive but not cheap either for something that should have had a longer lifespan. Towards the end of the meeting the topic of the landscaping came up and we happened to mention this to our service manager. He said he'd take care of it for us and sure enough at some point today someone had come by, dug up the dead plant, and replaced it with a new one. Thank you Mike for helping us out with this.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

10 Month Review Part II

A few weeks ago I posted about the list of issues we submitted to get addressed during our 10 month review. The day of our appointment ended up being two days after a snow storm and with school being out I didn't need to take off work to be home which worked out well for me. I'm just going to copy and paste the same list I posted before but now with how these things were addressed.

1. Thorough check of the HVAC system - major temperature difference between upstairs and down.
Around the same time as I submitted the list I did what I should have done earlier and went to Lowe's and bought a digital thermometer. This showed that the temperature actually was within a degree of upstairs and down and in different spots on each floor. We've since discovered what we thought was an issue with the HVAC is actually an issue with our windows instead. (See below after the list.)

2. Light above the master bath tub is intermittently working.
This required an electrician's visit a few days later and I'm actually embarrassed to say ended up being a defective light bulb that I hadn't checked.

3. Nail pop (or bulge) in the floor of the kitchen.
Fixed with a mallet tapping down the popped nail under the linoleum.

4. Soft spot in the floor of the doorway of bedroom #3.
This is going to require a carpenter to come out and fix. They'll need to pull up the carpet, cut out the wood subfloor underneath and replace it. (What really should have been done originally.) This is going to take a few hours to complete so it was scheduled for the week I'm on spring break from work.

5. Major popping of the floor in the hallway upstairs in front of bedroom #2.
Just like the kitchen floor issue above this was simple fix with a few nails to secure the floor better. It's still creaking a bit and when they come out to fix #4 above I'll have them look at it again.

6. Re-caulking around the tubs and sinks in both bathrooms.
This is a standard part of the ten month review. One of the guys that was present went around the entire house checking the caulking and resealed anything that had cracked. (He also checked cabinet and room/closet doors for adjustment as well.) This will end up being a periodic routine maintenance issue.

7. Intermittent buzzing from the microwave.
If there's one thing I'm genuinely irritated about it's this one. The person I spoke with at Ryan Homes when setting the appointment specifically asked me to include the model and serial numbers so they could arrange to have a GE repairman out during the review to fix this. Despite that however no one was present and I had to go to GE's website and submit a request to get someone out at a later date. I was also a bit surprised to learn that the warranty on the appliances is only one year and according to the service manager GE is a stickler for that so it was best to get it addressed right away.

8. Re-caulking of the trim on the right side of the stairway.
See #6 above.

9. Readjustment of the seal around the front door.
The door ended up needing another piece of gasket around the top edge to fully seal it.

10. Air register in the ceiling at the top of the stairs does not close all the way.
This was an easy fix.

11. Floor on the right side of the morning room by the dining room has a bad squeak.
Just like with the other floor squeaks this was also an easy fix with a few nails.

12. Creaking noise coming from the area of the wastewater pipe between floors behind the wall periodically when water is used upstairs.
In talking this over with the service manager we figured out this probably had something to do with the temperature change outside. We hadn't noticed it until early November right around the time it got cold. It seems that it's most likely caused by contractions from the change of different temperature water running through the pipes. If we don't hear it again once it warms up outside we should know for certain this was the cause. If it continues we'll just have to keep an eye on it.

A few other things:

-Going back to #1 above about the HVAC. Even after establishing with the thermometer that the temperature was the same upstairs and down we still kept feeling drafts and being cold, especially downstairs but couldn't figure out why. The weekend before the aforementioned snow storm hit a cold front swept through resulting in heavy, house shaking wind. We discovered in the midst of it that we had air leaking in through the sides of the windows where hole for the track is. We then found that this isn't limited to just a few windows but rather nearly all of them in the house.

We brought this up during the review and it turns out they simple need small pieces of felt placed at the top and bottom to completely seal them. In the meantime I've stuffed paper towels in the holes to keep them from leaking. (If it's stupid and it works it's not stupid.) The service manager put in a call to the window company who in turn called me about it. According to the person I spoke with the excuse I received (which sounded more like a cop out) was that the windows are built for all areas of the country, some of which don't need the felt, and passed an inspection in the factory. It just seems dumb to not include these on all the windows and instead spend more on a service call to fix them along with annoying the customer. I'm still waiting to find out when this will be fixed but have been told it may take a while given the number of windows that need to be fixed. (Also stupid to me.) I'm going to be following up soon with the service manager if I don't hear anything about this in the next couple days.

-I'll mention here too that during the same period of crazy wind we also discovered air leaks coming from the electrical outlets and light switches on the exterior walls. This was solved by spending about $10 on gaskets from Lowe's that are made to fix this specific issue.

-Before the review meeting was over we spoke with the service manager about the one-time drywall repair. He gave us the certificate to fill out and send in to the contractor for scheduling. It will be done in two parts spread over two days so it'll be another thing that will have to wait until spring break to get done. We've got numerous nail pops and cracks but none of them are major.

Overall Jenny and I are very satisfied with how the meeting went. We really like our service manager and have found him to be very responsive with issues that have come up in the time we've been in our house. On that note too outside of the nightmare over how the fence issue was handled we're really happy with how things have gone since moving in. We knew there would be some issues but everything that has happened so far (*knock on wood*) has been addressed quickly. Even the furnace problem was no where near as bad as it could have been. (I'll have more on the follow up about this in a few weeks but a fix is in the works to keep it from happening again, thanks again to our service manager.)