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Home Repair and Maintenance


When we bought our house a half dozen years ago, there was no door bell. I have wanted to install one, but there are always so many other things to do. There was also the thing that rarely does anyone come to our front door. Most people come in through the garage. So when we are expecting someone, I have to keep looking out the window to see if someone is in our driveway. Sometimes I would leave the garage door open so they could come knock on the entry door there.
But I was expecting UPS to deliver a package today, and I was concerned they might need someone to sign for it. I didn’t want them just to leave a note saying they attempted delivery.
When I first started looking at door bells, there were a few wireless ones. I don’t want to have to drill holes, and run wires all over the place. But when I stopped at Lowes last night, they had a whole selection of wireless door bells. I bought a fairly plain looking wireless door bell that came with two buttons. I figured I could put one button by the front door, and another out by the garage. I also bought an add-on chime. So I could install one chime in one part of the house, and the other one downstairs. That way we would be sure to hear the door bell. I also bought some C batteries to power the main chime. The other chime plugs into the wall.
Installing the wireless door bell was extremely easy. I just screwed a couple screws into the wall to hang the chime. The hardest part was locating a stud. My electronic stud finder was acting all flakey. I replaced the battery, and then it worked fine. I wanted to screw right into a stud, instead of putting bigger holes for the plastic anchors. Installing the buttons was also easy. Just two tiny screws each.
Something I don’t really like about the wireless door bell is the chimes. It has 13 different sounds. The first two are Dong and Ding Dong. The single Dong is just too short. The Ding Dong actually sounds like a door bell. But I don’t really get the other sounds. There is the Westminster Chime. Great, it sounds like a frigging clock! Then the rest are songs like Star Spangled Banner, Jingle Bells, Auld Lang Syne, Happy Birthday. Yeah, all of those scream that someone is at the door. Another song is Beethoven’s 5th. That would make me almost afraid to answer the door, worrying that it was death, or a tax collector. And they have Dixie. Maybe they should have a Northern and a Southern version of the door bell. The northern version wouldn’t have Dixie.
I could have each button play a different sound so I could tell which door they were at. But I ended up choosing the simple Ding Dong sound for both doors.

I was watching a show about the bar-b-que places around the country. One of the guys at one od the places was talking about the importance of the wood. Then they flashed a picture of rows and rows of firewood all neatly stacked. I was envious. The ends were nice and square. I looked close but didn’t see supports. I thought about, and I think I figured out what they used. I think they maybe used those T-posts that are used for fencing.
I stopped up at Home Depot and later Lowes to check them out. I can buy the 6 foot T-posts for about $3.29 each. I was hoping to find a little bit longer ones. I know they make them. But I think the 6 foot T-posts will work. I can pound them 2 feet into the ground, leaving 4 feet above the ground. I place a couple of them about 12 feet apart, and stack the firewood to be 4 feet high. Two rows like this would be a cord.
I think a single Tee-post at each end should be enough to support the stack. If not, I could always place two t-posts at the end of each stack.
I got a $25 gift card for Home Depot for Christmas, so I may go buy some of the posts. I wont mess with it til Spring though. I want to use up most of the firewood we already have. That and it is ptetty cold and wet outside. I don’t want to mess with it till it warms.

The primary heating in our house is electric baseboard heaters. The house is a post & beam style, so not much else would work well. Last eyear I replaced all the old thermostats with newer programmable ones. They are very good, and help keep the temperatures more consistent.
In our bedroom area, there were two baseboard heaters, both connected to the same thermostat. One was a 3 foot unit (400 watts), and the other was a 6 foot unit (1000 watts). One of the units stayed cold, and the other was making popping noises, and my wife said she smelled a burning smell. I never smelled it though. I decided to replace the units.
The new baseboard heaters give more wattage for the same size. So I was able to get a 6 foot baseboard heater that was 1500 watts that would replace both the 6 foot and 3 foot units that were there.
I stopped in at Home Depot yesterday afternoon. A basic 6 foot/1500 watt electric baseboard heater was only $47. But they also had these hydronic baseboard heaters. They were a little taller, and cost about $170 for a 6 foot/1500 watt unit. I am not sure what all differences are, but the hydronic model seemed to be able to retain heat and distribute it more evenly. I didn’t think I needed anything like that. The programmable thermostats I put in are smart, and learn the characteristics of the room, and modify it’s functionality. It can send partial power to the baseboard heater. Where many thermostats can only send 100% or 0%, mine can send 25% 50%, 100%, or other percentages of power. And they learn how long it takes for the room to come up to temp. So it can turn on the heater, and shut off before the heat actually reaches the thermostat.
So I bought the basic $47 electric baseboard heater.
The first thing I needed to was to remove the old baseboard heaters. I shut off the circuit breaker. I checked the thermostat to be sure there was no power to it. 240 volts is nothing to play around with! I lifted up the heaters which were mounted on little metal hangers nail to the wall. I unscrewed a little plate to access the wiring. I removed the caps to release the wires. There was also a cable clamp where the electical wires came in the back. I loosened the screws on these, and pulled the heaters away from the wall. I removed the hangers with a nail puller.
I found the wires first came into the 3 foot unit, then came out of it, and went to the 6 foot unit. Since I wasn’t replacing the 3 foot unit, I used wire caps to connect the wires straight through.
Using a screwdriver I removed the punch-out where the wire would enter the new baseboard heater. I used the cable clmap from one of the old heaters. Upon removing the access plate, I found a red wire and black wire twisted together with a cap. I removed the cap. I ran the wires in the back, connected the black wire to the black wire, the white wire to the red wire, and the copper ground to the copper ground. I tightened the screws on the cable clamp. I moved the heater into position. There were little “X”s where the mounting screws could go. I found the “X”s closest to where the hangers had been figureing this is where the studs were located. I drilled small holes through 2 of the “X”s. Using a couple scews, I fixed the heater to the wall. I reattached the access plate.
Now for the test. I flipped on the breaker. It didn’t snap off, so far, so good. The thermostat was on but not sending power to the heater is it was above the set temp. I cranked up the temp on the thermostat until it turned on. I went over and felt the baseboard heater. After a few second I began to feel it heat up. Great! Another thing accomplished! One down, and about a thousand to go! It never frigging ends!

The guy I called about firewood is supposed to call me back next week to arrange a time and day to drop off the first of two cords. Its going to cost me $70/face this year. Think about the same as last year. I still have a cord of wood leftover from what I bought last year. There is another cord or so stack on my driveway that is made up of wood I bought the year before, and wood that I cut from trees that have fallen on my own property. The wood I bought last year has been stacked and sitting under a tarp. So it is nicely dried and seasoned. The other stuff has been stacked, but not covered.
So last night my wife and I grabbed the wheelbarrows intending to merge the piles. The wheelbarrows hadn’t been touched since last winter. I found the tires were low. So the first thing I had to do was pump up the tires. Then we started loading the old wood on to the wheel barrows from the old stack, and moving it over to the newer stack. My wife helped with a few lods, then disappeared into the house. I continued to work, and got about half the old stack moved. I will work more on it on Sunday probably. Once I get the old stack moved over, it will be under tarp, and dry it out more. Not that the wood is wet, but I am sure that just sitting out in the elements, it absorbs moisture. When I get the two cords delivered, I may only be able to fit one cord where I stack to wood now. I need to build a shelter for the wood where I can stack it easily, have it sheltered from the elements, and where I can retrieve it easily. It will need to hold about 3 full cords.

Last year I bought 3 full cords (9 face cords) or firewood. But January was warm, so we didn’t end up burning all of the wood. We still have about a cord of firewood left. So I have been looking to buy another 2 full cords.
The guy we bought the firewood from the last two years was recommended by the guy who sold us the wood stove. And he was great. The wood was good quality hardwood, and the quantity was accurate. But this year I haven’t been able to get a hold of him. I have left him messages, but he hasn’t returned my calls. Maybe he is out of the business?
I have been looking for another source for firewood. Finding people who sell firewood is not hard. But you need to be careful as some people sell poor quality wood/unseasoned wood. Others may short you, and not deliver an accurate amount of firewood. The son of one of my wife’s co-workers aparently sells firewood. I did a search on the internet, and found places that sell firewood. I even found listings in the phonebook fore places that sell firewood.
I decided to do what I did before. I called the store that sold me the wood stove, and he gave me the name of another guy. So I called him. He does firewood only part time (his full time job is a UPS driver). He is going to call me next week to set up a time to deliver some wood. His going to deliver one cord, and then come back a couple weeks later and deliver another cord. Apparently he has been slammed with demand for wood. We are the last people that he taking orders for.

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