Thursday, July 12, 2012

+35 days, 30 Day Inspection tomorrow

I know I have been seriously missing from Blog land since closing, but it has been a hectic month.   We have a baby on the way in 1 month, so getting settled in as soon as possible was very important.

Anyway,   We have our 30 day (35 actually) inspection tomorrow.   There have been a few growing pains in the first month, but nothing crazy.  There was the early on dishwasher pump issue.   Then a week after that I found a bolt from the garage door had dropped out and nearly hit my car.   Turns out they install the doors and THEN the drywall so the drywall guys move the doors and hope they hit the studs again after they put the drywall in.   They had 2 bolts actually into wood of the 8 holding up the 2 doors...   Door installers came out and fixed/adjusted everything, but the moral is add this to the list of things to check.   Door guy had a 2" nail that he poked into the drywall.  More than 1/4" and it wasn't hitting wood...

Finally last week the AC froze up twice.   HVAC crew came out and we have a leak in the evaporator coil (outside part).   They recharged it and said it may be up to 2 weeks to get the part.  Then PM tells me we were the first of 4 in the neighborhood, so apparently there is a defect from the factory...  He made them come out today (4 days later) and recharge the entire neighborhood just in case.   Ours was already down almost a pound of coolant (of 7), so the leak is definitely small but active.  

On the projects front -- I have the media room installation done, and just in time for the olympics into football season :-)   Projector mounting was a bit tricky around the HVAC soffits, but with a little improvisation there is now a 110" screen in a 20x12' room, and it has no windows, so the projector is perfect.

After our meeting with the PM tomorrow I will get a update out with all the little things I had him take care of.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Office Plans change, Security and Technology

Unpacking has been going pretty smooth and I'm even getting a chance to work on some of my pet projects for the new house.   

  First priority was getting the alarm going.  Rather and a guardian system I installed my own (Visonic Abbra system) with monitoring via NextAlarm.  I have a grandfathered in price plan at $10/month, so it doesn't take many months of saving $30 off the guardian rate to offset the equipment purchase -- plus I got exactly the system I wanted.   Normal door sensors, 2 motion sensors, 2 smoke detectors tied to the alarm and 2 water sensors in the utility room tied to the alarm.   Any drain or sump pit issues and I will know ASAP.

My secondary and ongoing project has been the tech nerve center in the basement.   There are a few different things going on there that might not be evident from the photo.   First, the board on the wall is where all lines coming in are terminated.   Time Warner's modem is mounted there, All of the DirecTV cables and power injectors, etc, and the alarm system.   Then the rack has 1) Network switches (ebay purchases 2) Firewall to protect home network from outside network 3) Network Storage hard drives, and 4) AV equipment for the media room.

My goal for the media room is to have almost no visible equipment.   TV will be a rear projector on the wall,  Speakers are small, and all will be wall mounted.   Remote control will have a small relay into the equipment in the rack (DirecTV receiver, audio receiver, etc).    The TV mounted on the wall in the equipment room is a mirror of what will be on the projector (testing purposes) and also serves as a monitor for the firewall.  

Lastly,  I think I have given up the idea of putting my office in the basement unfinished space.  The 1st floor study/living room is the same size, already finished, and a much better use of space.  We really need that 200 sq ft of storage in the basement if I ever want to have the garage 100% reclaimed.   All the upstairs needs is a set of french doors (to keep kids out) and it will be good to go.  

Front door wireless sensor
First floor Keypad, wireless arm/disarm
The main panel
My nerve center.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

+9 Days - Breath Caught, and 1st PM Service call.

Success in a move is measured by how long it takes before your garage is usable.  I can officially and publicly state that on day 9 (6 since moving in) I was able to park both cars inside for the first time.   I consider this a success.

Info on our first service call/issue at the bottom.

The move has been hectic and exhausting, but we are officially in and most of the main stuff is done.

  1. Ceiling fans were installed by me last Sunday.   By the 4th one I was getting a lot faster and got on a roll.   Only problem was all 4 fans were different, so each had a slightly different steps.  I will try to post photos tomorrow.
  2. HDTV hung over the fireplace.   This was an ordeal, and thankfully no kids were a round because the profanity was flying fast and loud.   First issue -- we had a level that gave different readings when flipped over.  So basically our level wasn't level and it threw everything off.  Took 45 minutes to figure that one out.   Next issue, the TV screw holes were not level (old level or new level) so we had to redrill a hole wider on the bracket to give us some wiggle room.  Eventually it worked out.
  3. HDTV on wall of master BR went in, much easier. for all your mount needs. Seriously,  $12 vs $88 at Best Buy.
  4. Garage door openers installed (not by me). Very glad we went with belt drives.
  5. Installed a "Honeywell RWD41 Water Defense Water Sensing Alarm" around the washing machine.   Our house has a 1st floor laundry with my media room (finished) below it in the basement.  Any washer leaks would be bad news.  We sprung for the 20 Year Hoses that are not supposed to break (or at least in 5 years like the rubber ones do), but with a 5 year old washer I was still a bit nervous.  At the first sign of water underneath the washer the alarm will sound.   
  6. Granite half sealed.   Sealed the island and the bar top, still need to find time to do the counter slab.   It needs to dry 12 hours before you seal and 4 hours after, so it takes some planning.  I used the SCI cleaner and sealer from home depot but I think I went heavy on the sealer.  I used 80% of the bottle on the island/bar and it says you can do 100 sq ft twice with 1 bottle.  Oh well, it looks good :-)
  7. Landscaper "buried" the time-warner coax for us under the sod.   Had to chase away the TW contractors that showed up with a pick ax and wanted to hack up my new sod.  I will need to be careful when installing my sprinkler system.

My alarm install is on tap for tomorrow night.  I have had everything setup for a week, but haven't had a chance to do the activation.   I ended up going with the Abbra wireless system with monitoring from

Ordered another wifi access point last week and will be installing it tomorrow.   This house is solid and wireless throughput drops from 30M in the basement to 28M in the kitchen, to 5M upstairs.   I'm going to add a 2nd access point on the 2nd floor connected with cat5 to the basement.  Should provide coverage to the whole house and some of the outside space.  

Long story warning:
Ok.. So we had our fist service issue last week.  The dishwasher has been an issue since closing.  Our inspector didn't like they way they shimmed it in, so we had them fix it pre-closing.   Then day 2 we tried to run dishes and couldn't get it to power on.   Apparently there is a switch on the counter that provides power to the unit.  I found this out after checking the circuit, testing the disposal (same feed) and then calling the PM.  I have never seen this before, but having kids I love it.   Master shutoff capability....   
Then we ran it twice and noticed it wasn't cleaning.   Did some more digging and realized it wasn't getting any water, but ran the whole cycle w/o water.   Called PM.  He said call GE but he will have the plumbers check supply line real quick in the morning.   Plumber comes, water line fine, says he sees no signs of water inside the unit.  So we call GE and they say they will be there in 3 days (they don't work over the weekend)...  Then I call the PM back.   Basically I said "it's your call, but you might want to take a look at this DW today at some point..."   If it's GE's problem then they will fix it, but if I had to wait 3 more days (10 post closing) to get it fixed and it ended up being an installation (read Ryan homes) problem then I was going to be pissed off.   Somebody stopped by, found a wiring issue with the pump, and it was working fine within 10 minutes.   Either 1) it was installed wrong, and ran dry at least 3 times (ouch...), or 2) it worked when installed but something happened, the wiring came lose on the pump, and the guy who stopped by fixed it for GE ahead of time...   Both are plausible, but I'm betting on #1.    In the end it was fixed, builder response was prompt (after I leaned on them a bit and wasn't willing to just accept it was a GE problem).   MORAL of the long story:  TEST EVERYTHING before closing and verify.   I heard the dishwasher run, but never verified water running, and it bit me in the butt sort of.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 90 (but 7 days late posting) Pre-Move photos... Finally

Sorry for the week delay, but our old internet service shut off a day early, and then the whirlwind of moving took every free second of the next 6 days.   

We are now officially in, semi-settled, and officially out of the old house.  NVRM ended up finally giving our re-approval 14 hours before closing.  I asked what the issue was and they said there was none, it wasn't even close to not being approved -- so apparently that is just how their underwriters operate.   

I will post more this weekend.   Until then here is a ton of photos from the night before closing. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 89 - Final Walkthrough and Landscaping

Lots of stuff going on today.   

We started the day with our final walk with the PM.  Took about 2 hours, was very informative and complete.  He has really done a great job.    Left him with a few new things to fix (paint touch up in a few places, etc) but nothing big remains.  Inspector showed up and passed the house, so we are officially allowed to live there now (once we own it).   Then the fridge installers came and dropped that off.     

Right as we were leaving the landscapers were starting to get going.  It took them a few hours just to unload all the sod, trees, and plants

Fast forward about 4 hours, and all the flower beds are in, trees planted, final grading and rock hounding done, and sod was about 40% done.   

Plan is to take some photos tonight and hopefully get them posted because the next few days will be crazy.