Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stuff We Did Before Touching the Inside of the House

After we bought the house we realized we had other stuff to do before we could touch the house.
1. The well water was bad. The prior owners had lived here for 50 years and drank the well water and never had a problem. The basement included a cistern that was full of water. We had the water tested twice over a couple weeks. Both times it tested for E-Coli. We shocked it but decided you would never know the exact moment it went bad. And it smelled bad. It smelled like a pond. When we took a shower with the water it smelled like you were showering in a pond, complete with frogs and seaweed. Yuck. No real frogs, it just smelled like it.
2. So what did we do? Well, we were approximately 900 feet from town water which was down at the next road. We contacted the town and requested we be hooked into the water line. We were then considered an "out of district water user." Plus, we had to foot the bill. And we have to pay extra on our property taxes for it. We paid approximately $7,000 for water. That was about $5,000 for the contractor to dig a line 900 feet, dig a pit for the water meter, lay 1 1/4" black pipe, and grade over and plumbing. Since he already had the backhoe on the property, we also had him pull a big old stump that was sitting in the middle of the front lawn, and take out a really bad arborvitae tree in the front yard. Then we spent another $2,000 for the town to install and connect the meter. We also signed an agreement with the town that when water was brought up our road (probably this Spring-2009) that we would hook in. We will get a break on the price, though. This was a huge expense and one we were not expecting right away. However, it is probably the best thing we ever did. We have fantastic water and we have had no problems with the water line. Also, becaue we still have the well, Dave (hubby) was able to rig up a PEX line and the original Goulds pump from the well, to install a line to the opposite side of the basement. Dave then installed an outdoor faucet to it and we run a hose from that to water our vegetable garden and do any other outdoor watering we need to do. This saves us money. Yes we have an old water hand pump and it still works. We pump the water into a bucket to use on flowers.
3. All gutters on the house AND on the barn (which we did not realize right away) were aimed at the cistern which we no longer needed and wanted to remove. We reoriented all the gutters away from the house and also had to install some extra drainage pipe because of that.
4. Draining the cistern was a project in itself. Once we changed the gutters on the house, the cistern was still filling. We were so frustrated. Once we realized the barn was also being piped over there, we could correct that and eliminate the water going in.
5. We put a submersible pump with a garden hose attached to it in the cistern and drained it. At one point there was a dead squirrel floating on the top of the cistern. Another reason for not using the water. Gross.
Most of the drainage work cost very little. Just time and sweat - mostly Dave's. I would not go into the creepy basement unless I had to.
6. Spiders. Big, black, brown, fuzzy things that would carry away a small baby, I swear. They completely freaked me out and they were the hardest things to kill. One night, I was in bed and waiting for Dave to come upstairs. He had gone into the basement and I don't remember why. All of a sudden I heard this HUGE WAP WAP WAP! I knew exactly what he was doing. He was TRYING to kill a spider. He came upstairs and even he was freaked out. He said, "I can't even tell you. That's the biggest damn spider I have ever seen." He had been wacking it with a 2 x 4. I shiver to think of it. Sometimes we would be sitting watching television and all of a sudden, one would run across the floor. Up went my legs and I would screech. I hate spiders. We realized that there they were probably in or around one of the outside walls where the previous owners had kept a woodpile. It was also near the exterior basement stairs. We have since been able to eliminate the spiders. There were also tons of webs and dried up spider thingies in the basement rafters. Dave cleaned them out. Did I mention Dave's a really good guy? :)
7. After a hundred years of no powder post beetles, all of a sudden we had them. We had to have an exterminator come in at a $500.00 pop.
8. We found that the barn roof was not in as good as shape as we had thought and we had to replace the back section. We replaced it with green metal roofing. We spent $4,000.00 on that for materials and installation.
9. We sold a building we had and with the $10,000 profit we re-roofed our house. That was in 2007. We purchased 30-year shingles. I'll have to look up the manufacturer on those and the metal roof for the barn. We are pleased with both.
10. There was a 1970's-era trailer home that was on the property right next to the house. It was being rented out at the time we bought the house. We had to evict the tenant as we were going to have it dismantled. Because of its age and town zoning laws, we couldn't have it sold (or give it away) and moved elsewhere. The cost to dismantle and remove it was approximately $1,700.00.

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