Homeowner/House Thread: It's going to cost how much, now?

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  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    I was talking with my mom today and she had a repairman come over to fix her Samsung fridge a few days ago and shortly after he finished repairs the fridge started popping the breaker (it hadn't the entire time she had it up to that point). She called them back and the guy apparently decided to "fix" the problem by swapping the 20 amp breaker for a higher one. My mom doesn't know what he swapped it out for (I'm having her check tomorrow when it's light out since her breaker is on the outside of her house) but I'm pretty sure no matter what he upped it to it's potentially very dangerous, right?

    Al_watMugsleyBullheadMvrckDaenris
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    chromdom wrote: »
    The meatballs alone are worth the drive

    Also their jams. I dont know where else in North America i can buy lingonberry or cloudberry jam.

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  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    Opty wrote: »
    I was talking with my mom today and she had a repairman come over to fix her Samsung fridge a few days ago and shortly after he finished repairs the fridge started popping the breaker (it hadn't the entire time she had it up to that point). She called them back and the guy apparently decided to "fix" the problem by swapping the 20 amp breaker for a higher one. My mom doesn't know what he swapped it out for (I'm having her check tomorrow when it's light out since her breaker is on the outside of her house) but I'm pretty sure no matter what he upped it to it's potentially very dangerous, right?

    Yeah, that's a red flag. For one thing, the in-wall wiring is (presumably) rated for 20 amp, and you don't want the breaker to have a higher limit than the in-wall wiring. There's a possibility he swapped it out for a different 20A breaker because the existing one was flaky, but I doubt it.

    (If it's an old house, the fridge might not be on a dedicated circuit, which could cause overloads when using another high draw appliance in the kitchen, so this isn't necessarily indicative of an internal fault with the fridge, but it's unsettling.)

  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    The house was built in 2017 (newly built 55+ community, I still have no idea why they put the breaker box outside) and the fridge has a dedicated breaker. I had her unplug her fridge for the night just in case what he did was install a higher amperage breaker. 20 amps is plenty for a fridge, especially on a dedicated circuit.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Outdoor breakers aren't a new thing. What state is she in?

    It may be worth calling an electrician depending what she finds.

    ElvenshaeN1tSt4lker
  • QanamilQanamil life cheated us all and i'm full of angst Registered User regular
    My breakbox is outside and it drives me crazy.

    Banzai5150
  • OptyOpty Registered User regular
    Mugsley wrote: »
    Outdoor breakers aren't a new thing. What state is she in?

    It may be worth calling an electrician depending what she finds.

    It should be inside because it's a 55+ community and forcing older people to go outside and navigate the side of their house that has no lighting to reach the breaker box is dumb. It's even dumber because she's in Colorado which means during the winter it's basically inaccessible to her. Anyway she got back to me this morning and what he did was swap the GFCI breaker that was there (and came with the house) with a normal one. The way he told my mom what he was intending to do was confused her: what he said was "the fridge breaker (20 amp, GFCI) needs to look like the dryer breaker (30 amp, not GFCI)" and didn't specify that he was talking about the GFCI part so she thought he put a 30 amp one in (or in her words, a "stronger" one). Regardless of all that, the old breaker worked fine for the two years she had that fridge until he did his repairs, so blaming it on the breaker is still skeevy to me. Since the repairs were done through a Home Depot warranty I told her that if she needs to get repairs again in the future (since I think there's still probably something wrong with the fridge) then to request a different repair place than the one that sent that guy if at all possible.

  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    GFCI breakers on dedicated fridge circuits aren't universally praised, as trips can result in food spoiling. The question of whether or not to put a fridge on a GFCI circuit is currently debatable. (I think it's fine.)

    What's less debatable is that the fridge worked before, but after getting fixed, will now trip GFCI protection. This sounds a lot like the fridge now has a ground fault. (While GFCI breakers can go bad, there's a tendency to blame the GFCI protection instead of considering that it's working exactly as intended.)

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Yep. Either the blower motor or the compressor motor is basically shot.

    Also I agree with you @Opty about outdoor breaker boxes. They were probably 100x cheaper for the builder and I don't understand how any area with any sort of Winter or extreme weather can say it's okay to have the box outside. Either way you have to penetrate the structure anyway.

    Bullhead
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    They make it way easier for enemy commando groups to cut power to your home when they infiltrate. Am I the only one who watched Patriot Games!?

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  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    It makes more sense in the south, as the weather is less lethal during winter. It absolutely should have lighting, though.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    It makes more sense in the south, as the weather is less lethal during winter. It absolutely should have lighting, though.

    It still rains in the south though.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    BullheadMugsley
  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I asked a bunch of the nerds in my office (one is the son of a master electrician) and no one could figure out exactly why they would stick the breaker box outdoors. Our best guess is that it's for easy access by emergency services. It's evidently more popular out west.

    camo_sig.png
  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    Just, wow. Outdoor electrical panel? Are there like, no building codes in the USA? holy hell.

    :so_raven:
  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    Ugh, so we're discovering that our new home is kind of an energy black hole the 2 months of the year it actually gets cold here. First month we used the gas furnace in the evenings and blew a 200 gas bill. Next month we tried setting that down to 60 when we didn't need it and using a space heater in our sleeping area and promptly blew a 200 electric bill. Ah well, we knew the ancient HVAC system was going to be inefficient in combination with single pane windows. We'll see how the rest of the year goes, including summer, before deciding whether this is improvable without breaking our financial backs.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Corvus wrote: »
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    Just, wow. Outdoor electrical panel? Are there like, no building codes in the USA? holy hell.

    I'm not sure what you're envisioning. There are outdoor-rated breaker panels for this. Essentially, a larger version of the panels you see for swimming pool electrical equipment. They are designed to handle the temperature extremes and moisture of the outdoor environment. The National Electrical Code has a rating specifically for outdoor enclosures that covers whether they are sufficient.

  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited February 3
    Ugh, so we're discovering that our new home is kind of an energy black hole the 2 months of the year it actually gets cold here. First month we used the gas furnace in the evenings and blew a 200 gas bill. Next month we tried setting that down to 60 when we didn't need it and using a space heater in our sleeping area and promptly blew a 200 electric bill. Ah well, we knew the ancient HVAC system was going to be inefficient in combination with single pane windows. We'll see how the rest of the year goes, including summer, before deciding whether this is improvable without breaking our financial backs.

    Oh man, single pane windows are what's killing you. Also possible contributing culprit is weatherstripping (or lack thereof) on your exterior doors. That's an easy $30 fix though with a trip (or 3 after remeasuring twice) to Home Depot. Do you have storm windows sitting around in the basement you can throw in there in place of the screens during the winter? That was the olden days version of double-glazed windows to help with insulation.

    Simpsonia on
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  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    Ugh, so we're discovering that our new home is kind of an energy black hole the 2 months of the year it actually gets cold here. First month we used the gas furnace in the evenings and blew a 200 gas bill. Next month we tried setting that down to 60 when we didn't need it and using a space heater in our sleeping area and promptly blew a 200 electric bill. Ah well, we knew the ancient HVAC system was going to be inefficient in combination with single pane windows. We'll see how the rest of the year goes, including summer, before deciding whether this is improvable without breaking our financial backs.

    Single-pane windows are actually not that bad. What you need to do is go around the house and look for any daylight, feel for any drafts, and listen for any road noise. Concentrate on the surrounds of doors, windows, pipes, and vents. There's a lot you can do with a tube of calk and a couple weatherstripping kits.

  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    edited February 3
    Simpsonia wrote: »
    Ugh, so we're discovering that our new home is kind of an energy black hole the 2 months of the year it actually gets cold here. First month we used the gas furnace in the evenings and blew a 200 gas bill. Next month we tried setting that down to 60 when we didn't need it and using a space heater in our sleeping area and promptly blew a 200 electric bill. Ah well, we knew the ancient HVAC system was going to be inefficient in combination with single pane windows. We'll see how the rest of the year goes, including summer, before deciding whether this is improvable without breaking our financial backs.

    Oh man, single pane windows are what's killing you. Also possible contributing culprit is weatherstripping (or lack thereof) on your exterior doors. That's an easy $30 fix though with a trip (or 3 after remeasuring twice) to Home Depot. Do you have storm windows sitting around in the basement you can throw in there in place of the screens during the winter? That was the olden days version of double-glazed windows to help with insulation.
    Ugh, so we're discovering that our new home is kind of an energy black hole the 2 months of the year it actually gets cold here. First month we used the gas furnace in the evenings and blew a 200 gas bill. Next month we tried setting that down to 60 when we didn't need it and using a space heater in our sleeping area and promptly blew a 200 electric bill. Ah well, we knew the ancient HVAC system was going to be inefficient in combination with single pane windows. We'll see how the rest of the year goes, including summer, before deciding whether this is improvable without breaking our financial backs.

    Single-pane windows are actually not that bad. What you need to do is go around the house and look for any daylight, feel for any drafts, and listen for any road noise. Concentrate on the surrounds of doors, windows, pipes, and vents. There's a lot you can do with a tube of calk and a couple weatherstripping kits.

    Good ideas all around, thanks! I'm certain there's plenty of daylight peaking through some of the parts in our home. The front doors definitely could use some better weather stripping as well as the door that leads to our garage.

    I should probably see if I can dampen the heat that might be escaping through skylights as well. Got a bunch of those, and they are super new to me.

    We want to look into cellular blinds for some of our windows that we could use during winter - I've heard a lot of people really raving about them lately.

    Straygatsby on
  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    Almost forgot. Many energy (electrical/gas) companies offer free energy audits, where a professional will come to your house and give their profession opinion on what you should fix to improve your energy bill.

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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    I successfully repaired the drain on our kitchen sink tonight.

    Homeowner level: 1000.

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  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited February 4
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    I successfully repaired the drain on our kitchen sink tonight.

    Homeowner level: 1000.

    Unfortunately, much like every RPG ever, home problems tend to scale to your XP level as it increases.

    matt has a problem on
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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    I successfully repaired the drain on our kitchen sink tonight.

    Homeowner level: 1000.

    Unfortunately, much like every RPG ever, home problems tend to scale to your XP level as it increases.

    Oh no, this home has had plenty of problems already that are out of my wheelhouse. It still continues to have some of them. Normally I don't touch plumbing, but in this case I can see the problem and will be able to tell if I did it wrong so I went for it.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Mugsley wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    Just, wow. Outdoor electrical panel? Are there like, no building codes in the USA? holy hell.

    I'm not sure what you're envisioning. There are outdoor-rated breaker panels for this. Essentially, a larger version of the panels you see for swimming pool electrical equipment. They are designed to handle the temperature extremes and moisture of the outdoor environment. The National Electrical Code has a rating specifically for outdoor enclosures that covers whether they are sufficient.

    The problem is, often times you need to reset breakers when it's raining and storming out.

    Can't do that with an outside panel, so you have to wait it out.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • BullheadBullhead Registered User regular
    Almost forgot. Many energy (electrical/gas) companies offer free energy audits, where a professional will come to your house and give their profession opinion on what you should fix to improve your energy bill.

    And they often give you coupons/discounts on said things, like $400 off new AC or $50 off ductwork.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I asked a bunch of the nerds in my office (one is the son of a master electrician) and no one could figure out exactly why they would stick the breaker box outdoors. Our best guess is that it's for easy access by emergency services. It's evidently more popular out west.

    My house has a split master panel - while all my indoor circuits are on the inside in my laundry room, my master cutoff and exterior circuits are on the side of my house. Part of this is that there are regulations on certain items (like the air conditioner) needing to be in visual sight of their breaker.

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  • CorvusCorvus . VancouverRegistered User regular
    Mugsley wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    Just, wow. Outdoor electrical panel? Are there like, no building codes in the USA? holy hell.

    I'm not sure what you're envisioning. There are outdoor-rated breaker panels for this. Essentially, a larger version of the panels you see for swimming pool electrical equipment. They are designed to handle the temperature extremes and moisture of the outdoor environment. The National Electrical Code has a rating specifically for outdoor enclosures that covers whether they are sufficient.

    Envisioning something like a damp raccoon clawing into the panel. <shrug>




    Anyhow, we need a new front door. Someone mentioned fiberglass doors to me. Anyone got any thoughts? I had just been assuming going with a steel door.

    :so_raven:
  • evilmrhenryevilmrhenry Registered User regular
    Corvus wrote: »
    Mugsley wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    Just, wow. Outdoor electrical panel? Are there like, no building codes in the USA? holy hell.

    I'm not sure what you're envisioning. There are outdoor-rated breaker panels for this. Essentially, a larger version of the panels you see for swimming pool electrical equipment. They are designed to handle the temperature extremes and moisture of the outdoor environment. The National Electrical Code has a rating specifically for outdoor enclosures that covers whether they are sufficient.

    Envisioning something like a damp raccoon clawing into the panel. <shrug>




    Anyhow, we need a new front door. Someone mentioned fiberglass doors to me. Anyone got any thoughts? I had just been assuming going with a steel door.

    How likely is it for someone to try to kick in your door? If that's not a reasonable concern, I don't think it matters that much.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    FWIW I agree that outdoor breaker boxes are dumb. Just in general they aren't outright unsafe.

  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    I don't know, I checked in with my local electrician (Voorhees & Son) and was told outside breaker boxes are a must-have at all times.

  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I don't know, I checked in with my local electrician (Voorhees & Son) and was told outside breaker boxes are a must-have at all times.

    Did he say why?

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    Bullhead
  • webguy20webguy20 I Spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Corvus wrote: »
    Mugsley wrote: »
    Corvus wrote: »
    Al_wat wrote: »
    outdoor breaker boxes seems like a horrible idea, what the fuck

    Just, wow. Outdoor electrical panel? Are there like, no building codes in the USA? holy hell.

    I'm not sure what you're envisioning. There are outdoor-rated breaker panels for this. Essentially, a larger version of the panels you see for swimming pool electrical equipment. They are designed to handle the temperature extremes and moisture of the outdoor environment. The National Electrical Code has a rating specifically for outdoor enclosures that covers whether they are sufficient.

    Envisioning something like a damp raccoon clawing into the panel. <shrug>




    Anyhow, we need a new front door. Someone mentioned fiberglass doors to me. Anyone got any thoughts? I had just been assuming going with a steel door.

    How likely is it for someone to try to kick in your door? If that's not a reasonable concern, I don't think it matters that much.

    If you get a steel door make sure to get a steel door frame too, or Its not going to do a lot of good.

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  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    Simpsonia wrote: »
    Ugh, so we're discovering that our new home is kind of an energy black hole the 2 months of the year it actually gets cold here. First month we used the gas furnace in the evenings and blew a 200 gas bill. Next month we tried setting that down to 60 when we didn't need it and using a space heater in our sleeping area and promptly blew a 200 electric bill. Ah well, we knew the ancient HVAC system was going to be inefficient in combination with single pane windows. We'll see how the rest of the year goes, including summer, before deciding whether this is improvable without breaking our financial backs.

    Oh man, single pane windows are what's killing you. Also possible contributing culprit is weatherstripping (or lack thereof) on your exterior doors. That's an easy $30 fix though with a trip (or 3 after remeasuring twice) to Home Depot. Do you have storm windows sitting around in the basement you can throw in there in place of the screens during the winter? That was the olden days version of double-glazed windows to help with insulation.
    Ugh, so we're discovering that our new home is kind of an energy black hole the 2 months of the year it actually gets cold here. First month we used the gas furnace in the evenings and blew a 200 gas bill. Next month we tried setting that down to 60 when we didn't need it and using a space heater in our sleeping area and promptly blew a 200 electric bill. Ah well, we knew the ancient HVAC system was going to be inefficient in combination with single pane windows. We'll see how the rest of the year goes, including summer, before deciding whether this is improvable without breaking our financial backs.

    Single-pane windows are actually not that bad. What you need to do is go around the house and look for any daylight, feel for any drafts, and listen for any road noise. Concentrate on the surrounds of doors, windows, pipes, and vents. There's a lot you can do with a tube of calk and a couple weatherstripping kits.

    Good ideas all around, thanks! I'm certain there's plenty of daylight peaking through some of the parts in our home. The front doors definitely could use some better weather stripping as well as the door that leads to our garage.

    I should probably see if I can dampen the heat that might be escaping through skylights as well. Got a bunch of those, and they are super new to me.

    We want to look into cellular blinds for some of our windows that we could use during winter - I've heard a lot of people really raving about them lately.

    You could get one of those kits to shrink-wrap your windows for the winter, too. I think they are kinda ugly, but not as ugly as a $200 energy bill.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I don't know, I checked in with my local electrician (Voorhees & Son) and was told outside breaker boxes are a must-have at all times.

    Did he say why?

    Outside breaker box is shit.. and outside mains disconnect can be helpful to firefighters and electricians though.

    The fact that you never see them in the north east makes me think the "a must-have" is a convenience for electricians more than actually a good thing to have.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • Banzai5150Banzai5150 Registered User regular
    We had an outdoor one in Colorado and I hated it. Always at night or snowing was when I had to go out to it

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  • AbsoluteZeroAbsoluteZero The new film by Quentin Koopantino Registered User regular
    Breaker box outside seems unsafe. If I'm a burglar guess what I'm going to do first?

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Breaker box outside seems unsafe. If I'm a burglar guess what I'm going to do first?

    Check for grade school kids?

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Breaker box outside seems unsafe. If I'm a burglar guess what I'm going to do first?

    Check for grade school kids?

    Guess what Grade school kids and burglars are gonna do to houses with breaker boxes on the outside?

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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  • DoodmannDoodmann Registered User regular
    I'm going to guess nothing, because it's already just as much work if not more than breaking a window.

    People don't break into houses because we live in a relatively safe society, not because we all have super secure fortresses.

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