More Green For Less Green

Living more eco-friendly for less money


House Update: A Moment of Glory, Many Moments of Humility

Last Saturday I was thrilled to be featured on one of my favorite sites, The DIY Showoff. I now get to add this super-cute badge to my blog!

It was great to get an outside reminder of how far we’ve come on this house. Though I try to always see myself as a “have” rather than a “have not,” it is easy to get bogged down and lose sight of progress. So, yay for taking the house from ick city to a place we live and (mostly) like, in only four months. Yay that it has been over a month since we’ve seen a cockroach; the living room, dining room, hallway, and bathroom are painted; the office is 3/4 painted and the kitchen cabinet doors are 1/10 painted; our roof didn’t leak when we had all of the snow on it last month; we didn’t have any water problems even when all of the snow melted; and yay for all of that cleaning that kept on going, and going, and going but now in much of the house you'd never know about the previous squalor.

Now onto some big things facing us:

  • HVAC system is only partially operational and needs mega help. We can replace just the the dead (and not reparable) condenser unit with an new, but older model that is compatible with the 12-year-old air handler: affordable price, but who knows how long it will last, and it won't be energy efficient. Or we can replace both parts of the system for three times the cost, but we'll get some back at tax time and will have a cheaper electric bill. Our basement is not heated and neither of these plans include heating for the basement, but today one of the companies we are shopping offered us a system powerful enough to heat the basement at no extra cost if we go with them. Hubby would have to do the basement ventilation himself, but maybe we can get that negotiated in, too. It is tough to pony up the money, but in the land of counting our blessings, yay for that $8,000 first time home buyer credit that we never factored into our budget--until now.

  • Bathroom ceiling is falling apart and must be replaced. It was trashed from an old leak when we moved in, but fresh paint kept in decent for a few more months. Then, water started leaking in through the ventilation fan and it started crumbling. The leak is fixed, but the ceiling still needs to be replaced.

Please ceiling, don't get my cute shower curtain dirty!

View from inside the shower

  • The sump pump and pit need a total overhaul. Due to poor design, the pit cannot fully drain so gnat larvae have taken up residence. We have the actual gnats controlled with a mosquito dunk (also great for rain barrels and other standing water), but the larvae don’t seem to be effected. The previous owners pumped their kitchen and laundry wastewater through the sump pump and into the backyard, so the pit is just really gross, despite me diving into it and scrubbing multiple times (shudder). The pump itself no longer turns on automatically, so we have to check on it and manually lift up the float.

Sump pump on inspection day with kitchen & laundry wastewater flowing through it.

Cleaned up and wastewater pipe closed off. The brown powdery stuff is a natural enzymatic cleaner designed to clean septic systems and eat away grease.

Hubby and I are both taking a week off from work in April to do stuff around the house. It will be great to see how much we can get done. Here’s hoping for good weather! We will be having an open house/my birthday/thank you to the army of volunteers who helped us party in May.

P.S. If you are thinking about buying a home, please, PLEASE make sure you have a hearty amount in savings for the unexpected (separate money from an unemployment emergency fund). Our HVAC passed inspection, and yet here we are. We do have a home warranty, but they denied both our claim and our appeal. And, had they approved our claim, they would've only kicked in $1,500 before reaching the maximum per-claim amount. We knew that this house had many problems, but for every known problem--with any house, not just foreclosures--there are always more things that are unseen.



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