Plumbing & Heating


I decided to install a new thermostat. Supposedly the newer programmable ones can save you money in energy/fuel costs by having the room temperature set colder when you’re away at work during the day. However I work from home. Whatever. It came with a $25 rebate from the local utility, so what the heck, I installed it.

We had an old school classic round thermostat. It’s actually a Honeywell T87 series.

old thermostat

Continue reading “New Thermostat” »

Upon returning to the east coast after six years on the other side of the country, I started to notice a few small differences in accents and words. I’m sure many are familiar with the Boston accent, so I will not delve into that. Instead, I’m talking about word choices. Last month, a newspaper ad for a co-op bank was featured in the local newspaper. The co-op describes itself as a bank “not for the poor or wealthy, but for the thrifty and industrious” (italics mine). I have not seen the words “thrifty” and “industrious” used in ads in San Francisco.

Continue reading “New Englandy Words” »

Winter is quickly coming. And we don’t live in California anymore :-(

For most older homes, the biggest area of heat loss comes from the attic. Usually it is not insulated and/or not sealed well. I’m in the process of sealing it by using duct board and that instant-foam-in-a-can stuff to block all the holes. Sealing around the chimney is pain because you need to use metal flashing and heat resistant caulk.

Continue reading “Thrifty & Industrious (pt 2)” »

After opening up the walls, Tig fashioned a remote camera out of some wire and duct tape. With the camera firmly attached to a wand of metal, he fished the camera into the hole and took pictures. Actually, it was a little more complicated than that. The camera was wired to the laptop, so that we could see the images from the camera. It was much like microsurgery, with Tig manipulating the camera, while I operate the laptop and snapped pictures using remote commands.

Here were some of our suspects:

pvc on wood

Continue reading “Microsurgery: Finding the cracking culprits” »

This past winter, we spent a week in Paris at a fabulous apartment by the Eiffel Tower.

view from kitchen window

In this apartment, we noticed these neat wall mounted radiators/towel warmers in the bathrooms. We were definitely intrigued.

Continue reading “Wall Mounted Radiator” »

We still have not moved into our bedroom.

Everytime we seem to be getting closer, we actually get further and further away.

It would have been nice to move in to the bedroom by early fall. The items we definitely needed to do was to fix the closet (which we finished a few weeks before Thanksgiving) and paint the room. If it was just that, we’d easily be moved in by now. However, a few problems came up.

Continue reading “The Neverending Bedroom Saga” »

Lead and other heavy metals are usually not wanted in your drinking water. I’ve had plenty of first hand experience with water quality issues, so I know this topic very well. I won’t go into detail. But it usually goes… “lead=bad”. That said, we bought our house knowing we had a lead service line supplying our domestic water. Granted, the previous owners lived and raised 4 children with that lead water service line, so it’s manageable. The water can be flushed a few minutes before you drink/use it (although this might get you worse results, but I won’t get into the details).

But we had an incentive. The Boston water utility actually gives owners a $1000 credit towards the replacement of the lead service line. So we signed up. A few weeks later, they were ready to go. Which is quite fast for a beaurocratic institution like BWSC. I was figuring a few months.

4 out of 5 of the crew

A team of 3 subcontractors, a BWSC inspector, and a police officer arrived that morning (now there’s an efficient team put together by a local government). The subcontractors brought an excavator, a dump truck, and a pickup/dump truck towing a large air compressor.

Continue reading “Getting the Lead Out” »

what the??

Continue reading “It Started With a Bottle of Grape Juice …” »

(continued from It Started With a Bottle of Grape Juice …)

Ironically, our original faucet model was named “Endurance”. Ha!

With no working kitchen faucet, and a pile of dishes from the previous night, we had to do something. So we all get into the car: me, Serena, M, his wife, and their four month old baby for a trip to Home Depot.

Of course, as we surveyed the display of kitchen faucets, my lovely wife instinctivelyly picked one of the most expensive faucets without even looking at the price tags (how does she do that?). I tried to convince her with some cheaper options, but secretly I liked the one she chose best. Although I like to tease her for having expensive tastes, I’m guilty of the same. Without the luxury of time and research, we took the plunge and splurged.

Continue reading “…And Ended With a Shiny New Faucet” »

Let me clarify. Not an attack from a marine mammal, like a great white shark, but these new fangled plumbing connections called SharkBite made by Cash Acme. It’s a simple “push-fit” connection system that works on copper, PEX, and CPVC.

Continue reading “SharkBites are Awesome” »

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