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Home Repair and Maintenance


DraftStopper I was channel surfing and when I came to stop on a home improvement show. The guy was talking about insulating a house, and was talking about something called a fireplace plug. The fireplace plug was a kind of plastic inflatable pillow on a stick. You partially inflate the pillow, then shove the pillow up into the fireplace against the damper. There is an adjustable length plastic stick connected to the pillow that you place against the bottom of the fireplace. Then there is a tube hanging down that you use to inflate the pillow to fill the fireplace cavity below the damper. This will help keep warm air from sneaking out through the fireplace. Last year there cold spot near the fireplace, even though the damper was tightly closed. I had placed styrafoam in front of the fireplace and that helped some. So I searched Google and found a product named DraftStopper that looked like the one the guy was showing on TV. So I ordered one. Hopefully it will help keep our house warmer, and reduce our power bills.

Now that we have our new wood stove, I wanted to get a rack to hold more firewood. We have a small space to store firewood in the rock wall that is our fireplace facing. But it wood be nice to have a larger rack to store a larger amout of wood so we can make less trips to the wood pile. I have been looking at these expandable firewood racks that mount on a pair of 2x4s. Lowes has had them for $19.99 or something like that. I finally decided on buying one, and I drove to one of the Lowes stores in the area, and they were sold out. That was a 30 minute drive each way. Today I went to the Lowes by my work, and they are sold out too. I asked at the customer service desk, and they told me they are on order, but have no idea when they will be coming. She told me that two other Lowes in the area (but not convenient for me at all) have the racks in stock. I asked if they couldn’t have one sent over, and she told me no. I asked if I could preorder one so that I would get it as soon as it came in, and she told me no. I don’t particullarly want to be driving to Lowes every other frigging day to see in the have the racks in. She took my name and number, but I am not going to hold my breath that they will actually call me when they get em. Home Depot sells the racks also, but for $25. And I am not sure if they have any either.

Roomba Discovery 4210
I saw the Roomba Discovery 4210 at Home Depot the other day. I had seen the earlier Roombas, but they seemed kind of fragile, and reviews of them didn’t seem very impressive. I loved the idea though. The new Roomba is the second generation and seems to built sturdier. The reviews I have read seem to be mostly positive. I think it was $279+tax at Home Depot, but it was listed as $249 at Amazon with free shipping. I may go down the the store and take a look to see if they are on sale or anything. One benefit of getting it from Home Depot is that if it really sucks (not in the good vacuum way), I can return it more easily. Also I would have it today instead of a week or two or three. Can’t hurt to look.

Upp…changed my mind. After looking at Amazon, I noticed they had an additional $25 savings using a discount code. So with the $25 discount, free shipping, and no state tax, it cost $225. If I had bought it at Home Depot, it would have cost $279+ tax for a total of about $300. So I am saving $75. For $75 I can wait. I have returned stuff to Amazon on rare occasions, so if the thing doesn’t work, I should be able to return it.

Our Pacific Energy Summit insert wood stove
Our Pacific Energy Summit wood stove insert was installed today. The oversized surround was out of stock, so they installed a standard surround, and will be back to swap it out when the oversized surround comes in next week. Also the gold plated door was out of stock, so they installed a plain black door until the gold plated door comes in. Another thing is that the stove doesn’t come forward enough to be flush with the face of the fireplace. So the installer is going to have to custom make an extension for the surround. Hopefully they will be back next weekend to complete the work. Meanwhile they installed it complete enough that we can use the stove until then.
It took a bit to get it lighted. I crumpled up newspaper, and laid some slivers of wood hacked off with a hatchet, and laid some slightly larger peices on top of these. I lit them, and was get some smoke coming out the door. I closed the door, and the flames smothered. I wasn’t sure about which way to slide the air control handle for high. I called the seller, and he told me that left is high, right is low. I noticed later that there is an L and an H on the piece of metal below the door. After a couple attempts I didn’t get the wood to catch fire. I went out to the garage, and got a small piece of 2×4. I hacked it into pieces, and laid it on top of crumpled newspaper. Then I laid the other small pieces of kindling on top of these. I lit the paper on fire, and I got the fire to go. I added a few larger pieces of wood to the stove after a bit. It took quite a while (about half an hour) for the automatic blower to turn on. There will be a learning curve to figure out where the air control setting should be set.

The 3 cords (full cords!) were delivered today. I spent the late morning and early afternoon stacking them. I am tired!
Three full cords of wood!
I stacked the wood on pressure treated 2x4s and some 2x8s. Next year I think I will plant some posts in the ground about 12 feet apart, and I can stack the wood between them. I can’t wait for our stove to be installed this weekend! :)

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