Archive for July, 2009

Tank-less Water Heater

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

As part of my “home improvements” (in quotations because it was really more “home repairs”) I decided to replace my water heater.  The utility room was already ripped up and my old water heater was nearing the end of its life.  After putting this all back together, who wants to have a water heater rupture and ruin it all?  I decided with the tax credits and everything, this might be a good time to switch to a tank-less.  And let’s be honest, I’m a ‘gadget’ kinda guy anyway.

Quick side-rant/plug here:  I have a hard time believing the economy is as bad as everyone says.  When this disaster first hit, I called a lot of people to get estimates.  I had a feeling I might end up doing a lot of it myself, but I wanted to make sure the numbers the insurance guy was giving me were correct and if the price was good enough I’d save myself some time and money.  One drywall place I called… let’s just call them “Drywall Surgeon”  took about 4 days to show up to even look at the place.  He finally got there on a Friday I think it was, and said he’d have an estimate to me “…next week sometime”  When the estimate did finally show up, they wanted over $1,000 to do what ended up costing me maybe $100 (not counting beer)  Hell, one of the other drywall guys I called just never showed up.
The kitchen people I called were almost as bad.  Ok, so the one wasn’t all that bad… they were just a little slow, uninspired, and wanted to do all the work.  One moved really slow (they actually emailed me a good 2 and a half months after we had last spoke to ask if I had made a decision!) and I actually felt insulted by them on more than one occasion.  I really got the feeling this was too small of a job for them and I wasn’t worth their time.  The third guy got the job – he was the last one I called, the quickest to come out, the first one to have a design that I liked with numbers, and I probably learned more from him in 20 minutes than I had in the hours I spent talking with the others.  He was probably more expensive than the other two, but he was actually fine with me doing everything – actually, I think he preferred it.  The only reason he’s not getting a great review complete with name and number is because they made a pretty big ‘oops’ and I actually think they still might owe me some money 😀

One thing I knew I wasn’t going to do myself was some of the plumbing.  I can do some basic stuff, but when it involves water, electric, and gas… nuh-uh.  I had pretty much decided on a Rinnia tank-less water heater mainly because my dad went on and on about how great the one he put in a few years back was.  On top of that I was going to need a new water softener.  No sense destroying the fancy new water heater with hard water because the old POS softener I had couldn’t keep up.  And of course my motto towards the end of this whole project was “Why cheap-out now?”  One plumber (actually the one that did the ’emergency repair’ on the pipe) I couldn’t get to give me an estimate.  I’m pretty sure I asked for it 3 or 4 times and it took probably 2 weeks… if not more.  The guy from Ed’s Heating and Cooling though… boy was he on it.  Yes, I’m difficult to please – which means that when I say “Use this guy” it should actually carry some weight.  Use this guy.  Seriously, he was fantastic – I think he was out the day after I called to look at what I needed, sat down at my kitchen table and gave me a quote, explained all the tax credits, told me about a rebate my gas company was just about to start that no one really knew about yet, and even called me 2 or 3 times to see if I had any questions or had made a decision.  Not in a pushy way at all, just in a “I want your business” way.
The installation went perfect, even though they had to do some of it in the rain.  They cleaned up well after themselves, did a solid job, it even looks good, and he even (for no extra charge)  had one of the HVAC guys put in a small vent for that room in case it starts to freeze up again this Winter.  He went so far as to fill out and mail in the rebate form for me to make sure I got that $150.  Just wonderful all-around customer service… just when I thought such a thing no long existed.  Really, if you’re in this area and need plumbing work of any kind done, call him.

Ok… so the side rant really turned into most of the post.

So the point – last July my gas usage averaged 0.37CCF/Therms per day.  This year with the tank-less water heater it was 0.12.  It’s safe to say that neither year had the furnace running at all and hot water usage was probably similar… so that’s a pretty good indication.  That alone probably won’t pay back the extra installation cost over the life of the unit, but add in the tax credit and it probably comes close.  Not to mention I can take a 2 hour long shower (if I really wanted) and not run out of hot water 🙂  Oh, and the new softener is saving me a little too – it’s one of those ‘smart’ ones that only regens when it has to – my water is nice and soft all the time now and I’m probably using 1/4 of the salt.

Done Vida

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Here’s your gentle reminder to become an organ and tissue donor. It’s easy to do – check your state’s DMV website, many of them even let you sign up online. While you’re there, see if they let you add an emergency contact to your driver information.

Remember – even if you sign up and have the sticker on your license, you still need to make sure your family knows your wishes.

Donate Life

Home Repair

Saturday, July 11th, 2009
From Home Repair 09

Can I get a sponsor for my next project?  Please?

While we’re talking – hey Big Box hardware stores, how many trees are you trying to kill?  Aren’t these reciepts just a little long?  Continue reading for the whole slideshow….

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