Home Ownership 101

Sir Monkeypants and I have been home owners now for 16 years, and yet, I still feel like I know nothing about home ownership. We bought our first home because we could afford to do so and it felt like the logical next step, but I really didn’t know anything about home repair or maintenance. When we sold that place, we had lived there for six years, and the home inspection that the buyers did revealed that the “furnace was dirty.” And I was all, of course it’s dirty! It’s a furnace! But then it turned out that you are actually supposed to have your furnace cleaned from time to time, DOH. Ours still had drywall dust in it from when the place was built. WHO KNEW.

So we moved to a new house and I was all, I know about having the furnace cleaned now, we are SOLID. But approximately once a week something breaks around here and we are left running to Google (thank God for the internet) to figure out what is going on. This is what happens when you don’t have any grandfathers living in town – my mom is actually pretty handy around the house but when it was something serious, she’d call my Papa over for help, and he always knew what to do.

Side story about my Papa: once, when he and my Nana were newlyweds, they rented a floor of a house. On the floor above them were some noisy neighbours who would play their record player late at night, loud. My genius Papa opened up the wall in their closet to access the wiring, and when the upstairs neighbours started to get their late night party on, he’d get out of bed and go to the closet and disconnect the wiring, and that would be the end of it. GENIUS.

Anyway! Last winter a plastic vent cover on the side of the house got broken through overzealous sled action, and I thought it was the dryer vent, so a while back Sir Monkeypants went out and bought a new dryer vent to replace it. This weekend we finally got around to getting it done and when Sir Monkeypants took the old vent off – there was nothing at all behind it. Like, it was literally a hole in the foundation, going from outside right into the basement.

At first we panicked, like, why is there a giant hole in our house? Then we Googled, and it seems this is an air intake valve – a place for an otherwise sealed up home to take in air, to equalize pressure differences caused by exhaust fans and central vac use. It’s common in cold-weather homes – if air is leaving the home, and there’s no other way for air to get back in because everything else is properly sealed up, then small gaps around windows, doors, and hose outlets start to get bigger and bigger.

So it’s good, right? But then we noticed that ours was a) totally blocked on the basement side by a wad of insulation, and b) totally missing the insulated hose that is supposed to bring the fresh air into the house and down to the floor. Meaning: random hole in the wall, required for our house to function properly, was never properly installed when the house was built, TEN YEARS AGO.

Sir Monkeypants fixed it, but this is the kind of thing that makes me wonder what else is wrong/broken/improper in this house, and eventually going to kill us or else make the place fall down to ruin around our ears.

When do I get to be all grown up, again?

7 thoughts on “Home Ownership 101

    1. by the way that was me (Javamom) above. I was just on the other blog. Our renovations that haven’t started yet may not happen – I cannot believe how much stress the entire thing has already been and not one thing has been finally decided. But,doing nothing will cause more stress…. 🙂 Hindsight and all that…

      1. Ugh, I can only imagine – I think a major home reno is one of the most stressful things you can live through. It’s all the deciding, deciding, deciding…bleh. You were just joking about selling, though, right? I cannot imagine going through the horror of a house reno and then just putting it up for sale – how do those flippers do it?

        1. Exactly. I actually sent plan K to the architect today (significantly scaling back every thing we discussed)…just poison me know with Halloween candy and wake me up from my overindulgence when it’s time to eat Xmas cookies. 🙂

  1. This is why I snort when my husband complains about our old house. I figure our house has lasted for about ninety years and it’s OK, so that might even make it better than a new house where all the weird issues have yet to surface. Fact is, workers have off days. When my parents built the cottage we couldn’t get any hot water. I went in the basement, shone a flashlight around and figured out (with my English degree) that all the water lines were connected to the cold, and none to the hot. Turns out the plumber’s wife left him partway through the construction and his mind was not on hot water lines …

    1. Ha! You’re right, this is the kind of bug that gets worked out over time – your house is a warrior! We had an inspection done on our house before the one-year warranty was up (it was a new build) and the inspector found at least a dozen issues we never would have known about ourselves, including plumbing that was connected to nothing (all gases were vented into the attic), and no connection at all between the kitchen fan and the outdoor vent. Guess he missed this one – it all does not leave one bursting with confidence, I will say that.

  2. I don’t even know what I don’t know about our house. We have lived here for 13 years and this is the first I’ve heard about getting the furnace cleaned. I just did an online search and….yep. So. Guess I can add another phone call to my list of phone calls I keep putting off.

    We’re also getting our trees trimmed, and I just have no idea.

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