House Repair Notes

1. Tree pruning:
Need it soon.
We have spent any where from $300 to $2000 on tree trimming in the past.

2. Sticking doors
How to fix:

3. Damper not closing
Bad or necessary?

Typically, the dampers that are required not to close are for vented gas units. That is a standard code now, although it can lead to drafts and irritating noises in the FP if installed poorly. (I suppose the issue that lead to the requirement is exhaust gases entering the home when someone forgot to open the damper and didn’t have a lot of black smoke in the house to remind them).

For a conventional FP, I am not aware of any jurisdiction near my area that requires an open damper.

I agree that any hole in a house – even the damper – is a hole in the house. Serious energy loss – that alone should be enough. But why is the damper not closing? Age? Build up? Any of those items indicates that further inspection by a qualified chimney specialist would be warranted.

4. Attic insulation = 5 inches
How much do we need?
“Most likely, there is a vapor retarder beneath the existing insulation. If it is there, all you need to do is add insulation that has no paper face on it.
If there is less than 6 inches of insulation now you may have to add two layers. The first lays is to fill the space between the joists. The second layer is to build depth running the other direction across the joists.

The recommendation is an attic should have between 16 and 22 inches of insulation with a minimum total R-value of 49.”

This did not make it into the list of “repairs” that they are going to make. I wonder if we need to do it. How much will it cost? We never did it here. Of course here our a/c costs were horrific. On 1/2 the salary, we probably don’t want that.

5. bricks with impact damage

What do we need to do to seal them?

The simplest way is to spray on a sealer. You can use polyurethane either water based or oil, there are products available at most big box hardware stores that will do the job as well, many will be marketed towards driveway/paver sealing and will do the job just as well for your purposes.

Make sure you clean as best you can the surface without scraping out the mortar, a large old paint brush is a good tool for this job, gently brush away as much of the dust as possible, then spray on the poly. You can also brush on the poly as well but you need to make sure you keep a wet brush and it is much more time consuming than spraying.

DO NOT seal the bricks if there is a moisture problem, make sure you address this area first.

6. One missing knockout cover
What will that take to fix?
You can get knockout caps at any of the big hardware store. Probably in the order of 30- or 40- cents apiece.

7. GFCI replaced:
How much?

Labor costs vary with size of project and level of detail/quality. For typical GFCI Circuit Installation expect to pay between $70.00 to $122.50 per circuit. A minimum fee equivalent to 1.5 – 2 times the base wage rate may apply for small jobs or initial consultation.

The typical GFCI Circuit Installation project can be completed by a moderately skilled do-it-yourselfer; as with any project, high quality GFCI Circuit Installation requires attention to detail and careful planning.

8. Exposed connection:
Do not attempt to work on your electrical wiring, switches, or outlets unless you are properly trained and equipped to do so. Electrical components in a building can easily cause an electrical shock, burn, or even death. …

When we see exposed electrical work like this we know that someone un-trained has been doing electrical work on the building and we need to be alert for other faulty electrical wiring practices. …

In good practice you don’t want to strip off too much insulation – when the splice has been completed and the twist-on connector has been installed, you should not see any bare wire exposed extending beneath the bottom edge of the mechanical connector.

9. Slow Drain:
Get a plumber. Figure out how to use the snake ourselves.

10. Cooling equipment:
No comment on the size of the unit to the size of the home. Since we have had trouble with that here, I would want to know. Can we just ask? Will he know?

Note: No sprinkler system. Drats. That means I have to go water the yard still.

For us when we are selling our house:
minor electrical fixes