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b0b
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Home Improvement
Jun 14th, 2012 at 5:57pm
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Several of us own houses now, and I'm sure others will be in the market eventually, so I figured I would start a thread for home improvement and similar tasks.  Since buying our house four years ago, I've had to quickly learn about electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc.  I figured it might be beneficial to share some of the home improvement stuff I'm doing in the hopes it might be beneficial or encouraging to others.

This doesn't necessarily need to be limited to home improvement.  It'd be neat to see other types of handiwork, such as car repair, hobby-related crafting, etc.


-b0b
(...loves to tinker.)
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #1 - Jun 14th, 2012 at 5:58pm
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Our dish disposer was getting old and worn out, and our sink had recently started draining slowly. Even with judicious plunging and plenty of Drano, I couldn't seem to get things cleared up much.

After checking under the sink, it was clear the plumbing had been installed by a pack of retarded monkeys that were hitting a bit too much acid.  I'm obviously not a plumber, but it's common sense that drain pipes need to run downhill if you expect water to drain out of them.  Can you spot the problem in this picture?



The horizontal pipe that connects the disposer outlet to the drain from the right-hand rinse sink is angled upward.  That would explain the frequent and worsening clogs, and also the constant bad smell that emanated from the disposer.  Since the pipe was angled upward, both the pipe and the disposer failed to drain completely.  Also, the uphill angle caused water to drain very slowly, so particulate matter ground up by the disposer wasn't getting flushed out - hence the clog.



The idiots also used the wrong type of pipe to attach to the outlet of the disposer.  This permitted leakage, which badly corroded the disposer outlet and damaged the floor of the cabinet.



The plumbing has to be replaced in it's entirety to allow the disposal outlet pipe to enter the drainage pipe at a lower point.  Since the disposer is a bit worn out and the outlet is badly corroded, we've decided to buy a new unit and replace it along with the plumbing.

As a hardcore nerd, I couldn't buy just any disposer.  It had to be the biggest, baddest, most powerful, and most technologically advanced disposer on the market.  May I present the InSinkErator Evolution Excel 1.0HP garbage disposal:  http://www.amazon.com/InSinkErator-Evolution-Excel-Household-Disposer/dp/B000G7U...

-b0b
(...$3.99 overnight with Amazon Prime, yeah!)
  

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b0b
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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #2 - Jun 14th, 2012 at 5:59pm
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The new disposer arrived this afternoon.  I just finished with the install, and although I didn't get everything accomplished I had hoped for, the majority of the installation went quite smoothly.

After removing the vertical piping and tee from the rinse sink, the vertical pipe broke right off the old disposer under its own weight.  That's not surprising, but it's awfully scary.  Had that broken at an inopportune time, we could have had a bit of a flood to deal with.  I definitely found the source of the clog, though...





This is one of the things I had to give up on.  I was going to replace the strainer on the rinse sink since they're inexpensive and it would improve the appearance of the sink.  I absolutely could not get the retaining ring off this beast.  I went back to Home Depot and bought a purpose specific wrench and some penetrating oil, and I still couldn't get this thing to budge with all my might.  Since it was a purely cosmetic improvement, I eventually decided to just leave it.




The plumber's putty on the disposer drain adapter had long-since turned to dust, and was allowing water to seep around the adapter, hence the rust all over the top of the old disposer.  I found an unused, unopened disposer adapter under the sink, so whoever installed this one had apparently just reused the existing adapter when they replaced a previous disposer.




Once everything was removed and the new adapter was in place, it was time to seat the new disposer.  Here's a side-by-side shot, showing the size difference.  The problem with buying the Cadillac model is that it was freakin' heavy, making it very difficult to get the thing attached to the adapter.  It's only 20 pounds, but it is amazing how heavy twenty pounds can be when you're holding it at arm's length and trying to make fine adjustments to the placement.




Here it is, in place and ready for the plumbing.  I installed the electrical wire previously using a separate kit, and forgot to take pictures.  Whoops.




Here's the final product.  I'm not super happy about the odd angles of the existing PVC, but I was able to get everything lined up with a flexible tee.  I squared off and sanded the ends of the PVC and made sure everything was tight.  After running the sink for ten minutes, I couldn't find a drop of water that had escaped, so I think this might just do it.




Everything is held together with compression fittings and host clamps, so it is relatively trivial to take it apart again if I need to fix something.  I also noticed the outlet isn't GFCI protected, which seems like a bad idea for an under-sink outlet, so I've put that on my list of things to fix this summer.  The problem with home improvement projects is they inevitably lead to more projects!


-b0b
(...is going to take a long, hot shower now.)
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #3 - Jun 15th, 2012 at 7:26am
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Ok so at first I thought this would make us sound really old...but I was interested in your replacement...that's when I confirmed we were old!

X
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #4 - Jun 15th, 2012 at 9:25am
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Hahah, that uphill pipe is crazy.

This thread is a good idea, I recently purchased a home as of April. I plan to install a disposal at some point.

Total changes we've made so far:
-Painted 5 rooms
-Tile backsplash
-All electric receptacles/switches replaced and re-covered(previous owner painted over them)
-bathroom fossett upgraded/installed

Future Plans
- This would be a never ending list -
  
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b0b
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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #5 - Jun 15th, 2012 at 10:10am
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Are you sick of painting, Stick?  We painted about half of the rooms in the house when we bought it.  That was four years ago, and we still haven't painted the rest of the house.  I'll be a happy man if I never touch a paintbrush again!

Oh, and wallpaper?  Never again.  I think we spent more time removing wallpaper then we did patching, prepping, and painting (three coats!) combined.  This was some of the lovely wallpaper we had to deal with:





I also replaced most of the electrical receptacles when we bought the house.  The existing receptacles were ridiculously old and had 4-5 layers of paint (no kidding) on them.





I replaced most of the receptacles with surge protecting outlets.  This eliminates the need for a surge strip.  Sorry about the blurry shot:





-b0b
(...is tired just from looking at that wallpaper.)
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #6 - Jun 15th, 2012 at 7:38pm
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Oooo I like this thread, nice job bob with all your upgrades!
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #7 - Jun 15th, 2012 at 7:44pm
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That disposal drain made me throw up in my mouth a little, thanks bob
  
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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #8 - Jun 16th, 2012 at 12:12am
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Briney, I think you should show us how you hooked up Susie's hot tub jets to the electrical system!

X
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #9 - Jun 16th, 2012 at 12:41am
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X wrote on Jun 16th, 2012 at 12:12am:
Briney, I think you should show us how you hooked up Susie's hot tub jets to the electrical system!



Is this going to be scary?


-b0b
(...braces for impact.)
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #10 - Jun 16th, 2012 at 1:13am
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He is being sly cause I haven't done that yet! haha
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #11 - Jun 16th, 2012 at 10:36am
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I recently changed the brake master cylinder on my VW jetta, stupid car.  I also have a laundry list of jobs to do to my Jeep as well.  If anyone is interested I can put some stuff up here this summer as I do more work.

Home improvements suck, especially re-wiring some knob and tube, good stuff.

pez
  
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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #12 - Jun 16th, 2012 at 12:02pm
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Andrew, didn't you wire up your Ford Tarus with a complete sound system?  That's a tight spot, so a house shouldn't be that hard, right?
  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #13 - Jun 16th, 2012 at 12:42pm
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I pulled a ton of knob and tube wiring out of my garage a couple years back and went absolutely nuts with new light fixtures and receptacles.  Fortunately, I had bare studs to work with, so running the new cabling was trivial.  I think the hardest part of any electrical job in the house would involve running the new cabling.  This is particularly true in our house, which has had several additions, so none of the walls line up between floors.

Here are a couple shots of the garage immediately after I finished running the wiring.



The sub-panel was a crusty old fuse box.  I replaced that with a circuit breaker sub-panel.  One circuit controls the regular receptacles and the other controls the lights and surge suppressing receptacle for the network/stereo equipment.




Here is one wall of the garage.  I removed three receptacles and replaced them with ten receptacles, along with an eleventh surge suppressing receptacle that is elevated from the rest.  A twelfth and final receptacle was placed on the ceiling next to the garage door opener.




The new 2x4s will support a wall-mounted network rack.  The receptacle above the rack is surge suppressing to protect the network and stereo equipment.  The black cabling is Cat 5e, and the shiny copper cabling is speaker wire.




This pic shows the rear left corner of the garage, where my workbench sits.  I doubled up on outlets in this corner since it is where I will have the most use.  I also placed two network drops in each of two boxes here.  The corner box is a double-gang that also has the rear left speaker drop.




Finally, an overhead shot, and my one point of regret.  I replaced one overhead light with four overhead lights, thinking that would be more than sufficient.  Now I wish I had placed eight or more.  The garage is quite dark, and the walls soak up the light like a sponge.  Hopefully, once I put plywood on the walls, the garage will brighten up significantly.

« Last Edit: Jun 17th, 2012 at 12:12pm by b0b »  

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Re: Home Improvement
Reply #14 - Jun 16th, 2012 at 1:02pm
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I would love to see some of your guys' car projects, as that stuff is greek to me.

Here is a few outdoor things I did last year and actually took pictures of.

There was a raised flowerbed around our tree by the driveway that was sitting there with no bricks. The person that lived there before us took them all when they moved out. So I dug everything up around the bed, placed in gravel and leveling sand and built a nice wall around it. I don't have many Work in progress shots:



And finished!


We have 2 basement egress windows, that you can open to potentially escape a fire. Well the previous owners placed these tiny plastic egress walls in there, and you couldn't open the windows all the way to get out... nice. Also he put concrete at the bottom of the windowwell so when it rained, the water drained from the ground into this window well and it would fill up with water. To top that off, the ground all around the window wells actually angled back towards the house. With nowhere else to go, it would come in our windows and leak down the wall into the basement. Fail. Mold Fail.  Although it was funny one time to come downstairs and see an aquarium out the window. There were a quite a few late night water bailout sessions. So I set about fixing the window wells, to allow proper escape and drainage.

I don't have a good before picture, but this will show just how tiny those window wells actually were. The window opened outward and would just smack into the wall.



So after a little bit amount of digging I started running into... Concrete!! This genius had poured concrete at various intervals around the window wells to "seal" them in.  You can't see them in this pic, but I have a later pic of them. I had to use a pickaxe and a sledge to break up these massive chunks and haul them out of the hole.



I finally get down to the bottom of the windowwell. Hauling the concrete chunks out at this level was pretty tough.



But I finally cleared them out, and the plastic walls. I dug even further, because the guy had placed the concrete bottom of the well almost at the level of the bottom of the window. Not smart.



So to make sure water would flow properly I dug out a big pit, and then at the bottom I used a post hole digger to dig another 4 or more feet down to the draintile thats at the very bottom of the foundation with most houses. Modern homes may have a perforated pipe down there that goes into a sump pump or whatever, but I was pretty sure we just had the gravel.



I put in a capped piece of pvc pipe that had small holes all down the sides so that water would flow as best as possible down to the draintile. I also put in some weedbarrier for funsies and then poured in about 12 + cubic feet of drainage gravel. This would allow water to move very easily down and away from my windows.



After the gravel was in, I started laying in retaining wall brick and leveling it off. I backfilled with gravel behind the brick for further drainage.



Materials/Chaos:



Finished with the brickwork: I placed a small 6 inch step in the brick to help people step out of it.



I then hauled some of the dirt away, and used the rest of it to grade the surrounding dirt, so water would flow naturally away from the house.



Then I went ahead and did it all over again for the other window well! This one had to be smaller because we have a hose that comes out right by the window and the electrical/gas pipes that run out to our outbuilding are buried here too. Also you can see one of the concrete chunks from that window well in the picture, as well. The concrete had dried against on of the electrical conduits, so that was fun to get off.



So after that was all done, I put down weedbarrier (which does nothing, haha) and then a bunch of river rock.




I've had no leaks since then, and even in the craziest of storms there has been no water buildup. The brick has stayed level through the winter, and everything is still groovy.
  

"Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other."&&&&John Adams&&
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