It’s official, we own our first house! Well, technically the bank owns the house because we didn’t have 150k sitting around but you know what I mean. We now have a mini-mansion (which means I have my own garage!) and we’ve been working on moving all our crap (it’s amazing how much you can fit in a small room!) and trying to take care of what issues we can before Winter sweeps it’s way on in. We closed on the 17th, so that’s why you haven’t heard from me in a bit. Don’t worry, I’m going to go over some of what we’ve been doing and show off our super messy house a little. Let’s dive in!
Our first act was to do a lot of cleaning. The house has been vacant for a while so there was plenty to do and even after a few passes we are still finding more that needs to be cleaned up. We went for some easy quality of life stuff as well, like the shower curtain and then a nicer (compared to what was on there) Moen shower head. We’d eventually like to remodel this bathroom and possibly the other full bath as well. This house was built in 1901 and it looks like the last time major work was done was sometime in the 70’s or 80’s. Then again, we wanted an older Victorian due to the charm and character these old houses have, you just don’t get that with newer “cookie cutter” style houses. Check out our super comfortable sleeping arrangement, we decided to stay in our new house the day of closing and hadn’t been able to reserve my parents truck to move our bed.
Charter came out to set up internet services on our second day, I had purchased a D-Link modem & a D-Link router as well and it took a bit to trace the correct cables and get everything set up. The speed test came back good though!
The next weekend was filled with lots of moving stuff, we got a hold of my parents truck and trailer, loaded it as full as we could, and spent most of the day unloading it. After the first round of unloading, we headed back home to load up the Mazda again and brought our cats along for the ride. I can’t say they appreciated it.
Xena, our younger black cat, spent most of the first night hiding behind the refrigerator. Most of her second day (after keeping us up all of Saturday night with her sisters help) was spent hiding behind the dryer upstairs. Zoey, our older calico wasn’t as bothered but she did her fair share of on-edge exploration before she became comfortable with the house. Now they both run around like demons pretty much day and night. Lola, our button quail, didn’t seem at all bothered by the move. She did enjoy her new sand though!
The following day was filled with more unloading and just trying to find where we had packed stuff to begin with. It’s pretty exhausting trying to get everything organized enough to start figuring out where to go with everything. Even now, two weeks after closing, we had more boxes sitting around waiting than we have unpacked. My dad, Sam, and Ashley decided they wanted to go for a nice cruise so we all took some nice twisty back roads over to Columbus, stopped at our new house, and then ate at a local sports bar.
Then we had our first issue! Our dishwasher seemed to run fine the first time we used it, but the second run didn’t clean the dishes as well. My dad had pointed out that our floor was damp in the kitchen area, we had noticed it while exploring the basement and he had happened to look up and see the damp floor. Well, when I ran our dishwasher for the third time, I found out why.
Turns out my dishwasher was leaking. I wasn’t able to immediately identify where it was coming from, but I was able to get the front bottom trim off the machine and found that the pump itself was leaking. There was a steady drip with the machine off, so I can only imagine it was quite a sight with the thing going full swing. The water hadn’t been immediately noticeable as the kitchen has linoleum flooring. It wasn’t until a day or two after I discovered the leak that the flooring started to show symptoms. By this time I had turned the water supply off to the machine and disconnected both the supply and return lines (which was so old it actually broke as I was removing it). Unfortunately, the flooring still has a small area where the water damage caused it to separate from the layer beneath it.
I immediately called our home warranty place, this was later at night so I had to leave a message and was contacted by them the next day. By then I had already looked into a replacement dishwasher. It turns out that making a claim with our home warranty company costs $75. They send a contractor out to look a the issue, if it is determined that the issue appeared (or appliance broke) after you took possession of the home, then they will either buy a new one or give you a credit for the cost of the repair. I found a dishwasher on Craigslist for $40 instead, because we’d already spent quite a lot of money on getting the essentials for our new home.
I also discovered that our cold water supply line to our washing machine was leaking. Luckily, my dad pointed out that all I had to do was tighten it up and that stopped the leak. I’ve circled the “nut” I tightened in the picture below.
So I was able to do the small and quick fix for the clothes washer, but the dishwasher was another story. I had to pull it out, find a replacement, and then reinstall. It really is a pretty simple thing but added on top of everything else I was doing, it was something of a headache. It didn’t help that both the supply and returns lines from the old dishwasher weren’t compatible with the new one. I think I ran back and forth to the local Ace at least 5 times with Nate, who had stopped by, before we finally got the right return hose.
Now, when I pulled the old washer out, I noticed that whatever contractor had previously done the electrical work in this area had made some interesting choices. Part of our closing agreement was that GFCI breakers be added and all outlets near a water source be switched from 2 prong to a grounded 3 prong outlet. For some reason, the contractor that did this work decided to add a ground to the 2 prong dishwasher. On top of this, the way it was added was something to behold; no wire nuts, solder, or shrink wrap here. Just some good old electrical tape. Seriously, check this out.
I cleaned up the soaked insulation that had come off the dishwasher and took a closer look, it didn’t inspire confidence.
So the next day I picked up the new-to-me dishwasher (A Kenmore 110.16502690, which I’m leaving here so I don’t forget, though I suppose I could always just look on the machine again) the only problem was that it was a direct wire style instead of the usual “plug it into the wall” type so after work I headed to the local Ace for some more bits and pieces. This was the start of the “at least 5 runs” for the return hose, but I also picked up a 3 prong wall outlet as I couldn’t understand why they would go through the trouble of running the newer 3 wire style and then leave a 2 prong outlet in place. I also picked up a torch, some electrical solder, shrink tubing, a wire crimper, a household voltage tester, and a short extension cord with a 3 prong end. You can see where this is going.
Saturday morning before digging in to the work ahead we picked up Sophie, my sister’s pure bred border collie, and brought her to our new home. She wasn’t getting along with the puppies at my parents place and was doing a lot of food guarding as a result. We thought that she may do better (after some adjustment) away from said puppies. You can see why I don’t allow animals in my vehicles in the last picture there. Fur everywhere.
Once we were back and unloaded some more stuff we’d grabbed from my parents place, I dug into the fun stuff. I made sure to switch off the breaker for the kitchen first and used my household voltage tester thing to make sure I wouldn’t kill myself before I did anything. Then I removed the old outlet and replaced it with the 3 prong grounded outlet. Once it was back together, I flipped the breaker back on and tested again, success!
Then it was on to the dishwasher. I cut the end off the cord I’d picked up and stripped the wires back. Next, I matched the cord wires with the dish washer wiring and then soldered it together. I’d put shrink wrap on before doing so, which allowed me to slide it over the solder and provide an extra measure of protection. Skeeter assisted by holding wires while I aimed a torch at her, thanks Skeeter!
I made sure to remove the slightly sketchy ground wire that had been wired in and cleaned that up with shrink wrap and then some electrical tape over that.
Next up was the dishwasher itself! As I mentioned, it took a few runs to get the correct outlet hose size. I got lucky and it ended up coming in a whole kit with the supply side hose and connections as well, all for about $14 at Ace. I’d already bought some PTFE tape and paste so I threw some tape on and started tightening things up. Once it was all hooked up, I pressurized the supply line and checked for leaks. I also ran the machine a few times before putting it into place just in case it also leaked.
The test runs went well, though I must admit there are some “hot spots” in the washer where certain areas don’t seem to get cleaned as well. I’m not that worried as it cost $40, so I don’t expect it to run as well as a new $400 washer would. I went ahead and reinstalled the washer, it does get annoying when it tries to tip over every time you open it. I had some stuff left over, so obviously I out-engineered the previous installer.
That was the main thing I worked on last weekend, but I also found some horrifying bugs in the basement (including the cool “dust spider” skeleton thing) and used caulk to patch some trim issues around the outside of the house. Some of the wood trim is just old and deteriorating and in other spots a previous owner had cut channels for the downspouts but only used a handful of them.
What little time I had left was spent trying to semi-organize the garage. I don’t have either of the door openers working yet but I’d like to get the right one working so I can pull the Mazda straight in for the Winter. The other bay will likely host the Benz or the Laser depending on how/when I get that over here.
I’m also a bit niave, so I thought I could organize my tools.
As soon as you close the drawer though…
So I had to set things up a little differently. We’ll see how long that lasts.
That’s it for this week! Pretty long update but I’ve also been all “radio silence” for a bit. Expect to see more about the house in the future, at 115 years old there are bound to be more problems than I can even comprehend.