Saturday, September 26, 2015

Door Lock Fix

Now that this has happened a second time I figured I better make a post about it in case anyone else encounters the problem. Back in May we started having an issue with the lock on the door handle. (Not the bolt lock.) It became hard to lock or unlock it inside or turn it with the key from the outside. I took it apart but couldn't for the life of me figure out what was causing it to be stuck. Thinking it was defective I got in contact with not only the lock company but also our service manager since we were only about a month out of the comprehensive warranty at that point.

The fix turned out to be stupidly simple. On the outside of the door handle there is a small hole with a hex screw inside. (What the arrow is pointing to in the photo below.) Over time it becomes loose and makes it hard to turn the lock. Tightening that little screw is all it takes to fix it.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

HVAC Maintenance

One of the things I learned from parents was the value of preventative maintenance on the HVAC system. For as long as I can remember, twice a year they had someone out to check the system out and make any necessary adjustments. As such they lasted much longer and it's safe to assume repair costs were far less because potential issues were caught early before they could become bigger problems at a far more inopportune time.

Because of that, as long as we've been homeowners I've had someone out every spring and fall. Several years back at our old house the fall check caught one of those aforementioned potential issues when a voltage check revealed a circuit board on the verge of going bad. Had it not been caught when it was it's very likely we would have lost our heat and needed a far more expensive emergency service call to fix it along with sitting in the cold. (It was also caught while the system was still under warranty which was a plus since we only had to pay the labor cost to fix it.) 

While I held off for the first year on our new house because of the warranty, now that it's over I had James River Air out this afternoon to do the winter check up. While I figured everything would be fine given the young age of the system, the peace of mind in knowing for sure was worth the expense.

On a related note, if you're served by Dominion Virginia Power they offer a heat pump tune up rebate program that will cover the cost of the service if you qualify.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lawn Maintenance

As I mentioned back in the spring I don't understand why people build nice houses and then let the yards go to crap. Ryan Homes put in a really nice sodded lawn in the front yards of our neighborhood and a number of them are completely overrun with weeds at this point due to neglect. A little lawn maintenance can go a long way to making the grass thrive and look nice. Last week I had a landscaper that cuts my neighbor's yard come out and core aerate my yard front and back. On Saturday morning I made visits Tractor Supply Company and Lowe's to pick up everything seen in the photo below.

Six 40 pound bags of lime, a 50 pound bag of tall fescue, two bags of fertilizer, and a 5 pound bag of rye grass.

While I didn't do a soil test like I probably should have the landscaper told me the lime would help with the weeds. The tall fescue and fertilizer are self explanatory. I bought the rye grass to spread on a few thinned out spots in various parts of the yard. It's fast growing so it should help to get a decent cover before winter arrives.

One thing I'm kicking myself for at the moment is not turning our irrigation system on this year. We got so much rain in the spring and beginning of summer I never got around to calling the irrigation company to come out. By the time we stopped receiving rain a regular basis it was mid-summer and I couldn't see spending the money on it for only a couple months of use. I probably could have turned it on myself too but I just never around to bothering with it. I picked up a cheap sprinker from Lowe's but it's a bit of a pain to go outside every fifteen minutes or so and move it. (And stay dry in the process.)

It's worth noting again too how much of a difference fertilizer makes. Come late December/early January I'll put down another round of it to keep the grass looking green. Several of my neighbors are spending considerable money on TruGreen, Scotts, etc. and I've managed to accomplish much the same result for a lot less by simply following the schedule in the homeowners manual regarding lawn care.