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Jim Katen

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Everything posted by Jim Katen

  1. Hah. I don't have to. They're engulfing much of my property as well - but not the house. Besides, if there's one thing I should *not* be eating more of, it's pie.
  2. I was once asked to inspect a house that turned out to be buried in blackberry brambles. It had a small path leading up to the front door, but was otherwise unrecognizable as a house. I turned around, got back in my car, and told them to call me back when the blackberries were gone. They never called and now, about 15 years later, the blackberries are still there - can't tell whether or not there's still a house. It's been vacant ever since.
  3. Using the live-edge pieces for sheathing was smart. Scabbing the rafters, not so much. Even in 1900, that was a dick move.
  4. It looks like the right flashing, but installed by a left-handed bear.
  5. No, it works fine with air - I use it on frost proof bibs several times each week and they always have a slug of air at the beginning.
  6. Probably. I suspect that the valve seat only allows water to flow one way. To find the true pressure, you'd screw on the pressure gauge and just barely crack open the valve and wait for the pressure to build.
  7. That's cause it keeps changing, depending on how pressured you are to find it.
  8. Perhaps. But why doesn't it happen with all of the bibs of this style? I test the water pressure at every house. This particular phenomenon only happens about once every year or so.
  9. I see this occasionally, but I've never heard a satisfactory explanation for it. Any ideas?
  10. Look at it this way: you're ready for next year.
  11. Do you mean to say that they were constructed that way from the get-go, or constructed the way that Bill said: excavated from a former crawlspace? We have the same thing in Portland, but we use concrete instead of bricks. We call the retaining wall a "bench" or, sometimes, a "retaining wall." (There usually aren't any footings; the perimeter stemwalls just sat in the dirt.) As far as I know, no one has a special name for the basement, itself.
  12. Looks like you're trying to connect an A-vent to a B-vent. A-vents are for woodstoves. Take back what you just bought. A few different companies make B-vents and they're not inter-compatible. I can't quite make out the brand in your picture - is it Amerivent? Look carefully at the existing vent and note the manufacturer's name, vent type, and size. You'll need more of the same stuff.
  13. Is the pilot at least staying lit? Does the flame come on when you turn up the temperature dial?
  14. Is he sure? The new exterior LED fixtures have no sockets, just little flat LED disks that might look like "nothing" until you turn on the light. And if it's daytime, the lights might not even work if they have daylight sensors.
  15. I live in an area that gets lots of water regularly, and I never see sand getting "pushed" out of joints. What would be the mechanism there? Was the mortar particularly soft?
  16. I'm seeing no brace kits. But then I'm not a poet.
  17. You'll be seeing more of it in the future. The 2nd white wire has a red stripe, just to keep things straight. I started seeing it about 10 years ago, when AFCIs really started to take off and when the requirement to run a neutral to every switch kicked in. It's very expensive stuff, but it saves on labor.
  18. And while they're answering the door, set their phone's text tone to a doorbell. . .
  19. White propane residue should not be getting into the household air at all. If it is, that's a serious problem. You can have 10 HVAC men look at it and if they're crappy HVAC men they won't find anything. Find a good HVAC man and challenge him to chase down the problem until it's solved.
  20. . . . while wielding metaphors like a pro. . .
  21. That's a lot of problems for an 8-year old water heater. These things often run 15 years with no problems. Bad gas valves just happen sometimes. The expansion tank was probably not properly pre-pressurized. Corroded pipes and a rusted pan are signs of a larger problem. I'd want to know why they're in such bad shape after so little time in service before I started fixing things.
  22. What happened the third and fourth times?
  23. I find it interesting that this old discussion should come up again given that the "hottest" new siding these days is burnt wood. http://charredwood.com/history-of-shou-sugi-ban-charred-wood-treatment/
  24. I've had lots of customers who didn't attend the inspection and several who have never even seen the house. All of them provided me with a signed contract well in advance of the inspection. *Anyone* buying a house has already had to sign several documents before even calling for an inspection. They can manage to sign an inspection agreement as well.
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