This Old House… Got Some Serious TLC!

It’s been a month on the day that we’ve lived in our 1967 house now and it is starting to feel like a home. Until yesterday it’s felt more like a war zone with boxes and boxes and more boxes and us having to keep areas clear for handyman access. Insert mental image of me jumping from between two boxes to another set of boxes while juggling a huge pile of STUFF. Uffda!

Even though the house is “completely renovated” as per its listing there was is a long list of things to update or fix. At closing I must have accidentally traded in my wonderful boyfriend for a HouseMonster that has been working relentlessly on making the house safe and durable.

The inspector had identified several things that needed to be addressed and thankfully the sellers cut us some slack by contributing to the closing costs to cover some of the repair costs. One of the first things to go was the leaking water heater and our new one is so awesome we had to real it in a little bit because the water was too scorching hot. Score!!

Several people have come to work on the crawl space that had a moisture content in the wood that was outside of what they normally like to see. Side note, it has been an unusually wet and cool summer! So we got a moisture barrier, some neat drains, sealed vents and now finally after at least a three week delay a dehumidifier that kicks in if it gets too humid under our living room.

Another item on the list was to get our chimney swept. We have an awesome real wood fireplace and that is just part of the regular maintenance routines. Well, the chimney sweep took some photos and apparently the clay tiles were in need of some TLC. Zee HouseMonster could tell you all the details but I turn into a bad listener when construction projects turn too technical (I imagine that’s what it’s like when we tell men the nuances of four different dresses – they’re NOT all dresses – to us girls anyway). Long story short, we now have a newly lined chimney that should withstand World War III and will serve as a great landmark if the house ever burns down. That beast is (hopefully) indestructible.

We are definitely ready for atypical North Carolina winters now with our fierce water heater and the stately chimney. And nicely enough, the previous owners left us a big stack of wood (that hopefully isn’t infested with spiders) so we can have some cozy fires later this year. (Note to self, search for “how to start a fireplace fire” on youtube.)

Speaking of fire, there was quite the big fire hazard going on with the house. Back in the 60s and early 70s copper was scarce in the United States and so aluminum was used for electric wiring in houses just like ours. Which in itself is not problematic, except that there are usually copper wires that connect to them by the outlets. OK, our realtors still didn’t see what the problem was but all our HGTV watching had educated us that copper and aluminum react to heat and oxygen differently and therefore over time there is a chance of shortcircuits and fires. Granted we only live a handful of houses down the road from the fire station but the thought of sleeping in a place that could quite potentially catch on fire any day was quite unsettling especially for this German and her MidWesterner. Risk no es bouno for us.

So my darling the HouseMonster found a few ways to deal with this aluminum wire problem, one being the Copalum and the other being the Alumicon method. In comparing the two, the best indicator was that the one electrician certified to do Copalum in our city took 3 weeks to get a quote to us and then had the guts to be twice as expensive as our fantastically Angie’s list rated Alumicon electrician. Hmmmmmm…. Tough choice!

In my ideal, magic world we’d let the electricians into the house, let them work, they finish and the house is back to normal. In the real world this turned into the Honey removing every outlet and switch plate in our 13.5 room house. I lived with the fear of sleepily reaching for an uncovered switch and being zapped back to reality or beyond by 120V. Not to mention keeping the four legged pal from escaping our watchful eyes and sniffing around one of the low uncovered outlets. Yikes!! War zone!

See those purple things in there? Basically they keep the aluminum wire that comes from the wall and the copper wire from the outlet apart so all is safe and purple. They were all over the place and the electricians installed three of them in every outlet, light fixture, and switch. Talk about a tedious job!

But thankfully, eventually they were done! They also fixed this cable mess in our breaker box and now all furniture is pushed back to where it is supposed to be and we’ve had time to tackle quite a few boxes. Our bathroom got a new skylight today that actually lets us see the sky and not some milky roof covering! Yay! We’re getting there and it feels GREAT! I know the HouseMonster still has plenty of projects on the list including restoring the deck and shed but at least the war zone in the house is gone. Phew! What a great feeling and I am so thankful for my superman who’s been coordinating work crews and worked super hard along side them to make a safe and sound love house for us. I feel so thankful!

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1 Comment

  1. Ah, that’s so great!!
    Love reading your house updates.
    And when you finished unpacking would you maybe share some room pictures with us? *prettyplease*
    And I would love some from the outside of the house to see how it looks. I love American houses and if I could have, I would have built one over here. 🙂

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