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Everything posted by RDM

  1. 1.71" so far - in a lull now. Ground is saturated and pooling all over.
  2. 45F and .55" for the day. Still a cold drizzle here. Wife and I just came in from 45min soaking in the hot tub. Felt like winter in the air.
  3. Nice splitter. Splitting wood is good exercise. Built a log splitter for my senior engineering design project in school. Still have it 35 years later. Uses two cylinders mounted inside the edge of the I-beam to slide a "box" with two wedges against two end stops. It splits wood in both directions to avoid the unproductive return cycle. Works 4 guys to death. Have some Locust to split myself when it gets colder.
  4. With access to the western side of the beltway in mind, suggest focusing on something south of the Potomac. Where, depends on what your priorities are. Having to cross a bridge around here can be a royal pita, especially during inclement weather or accidents. To access NOVA from MD there's only have 4 options after you get away from DC - Chain Bridge, 495, Whites Ferry, Rt-15 and I-81. On any given day, one or more of them have significant backups. Throw in even a minor incident and a normal drive across a bridge can be a nightmare. Rt-15 is getting notorious for backups between Leesburg and the Potomac/MD. In NOVA, it's all about price vs commute. In the reference to "Western side of the DC Beltway", what are the things your wife is interested in and how far out are you looking? As WinterWxLuver pointed out, the area around Front Royal and Winchester is beautiful if you're looking in that area. It depends on how far west you want to be. From I-81 it's a min of 45 mins to an hour to get to the Beltway, w/o any traffic FWIW - I-66 is torn up yet again for widening and will be a construction zone for the next several years. I-66 is also a demarkation point in that if you have to cross over it to go from N to S across FFCO or Loudon to PW County, crossing I-66 can be akin to crossing the Potomac. If you get west of Rt-28 (and north of I-66) Dulles airport is another obstacle. The main arteries/routes running E/W to the western suburbs are Rt-50, the Greenway, Waxpool Road and Rt-7. If you go as far west as Leesburg, the options to get to NOVA are the greenway (F/T toll road and $$$) and Rt-7 (also under construction for widening). If your focus West of the Beltway is closer in towards the Tyson's area, it's hard to beat Vienna, Oakton and Reston. That triangle is convenient to I-66, the Dulles Toll road, Tyson's, multiple shopping areas, plenty of hospitals and medical care, and only 30 mins to downtown DC (non-rush hour). The challenge can be expense. The old saying used to be, for every mile outside the beltway in NOVA the price of a house goes down $10,000. That figure still roughly applies. Hope this helps.
  5. FWIW - https://www.yahoo.com/news/accuweathers-2020-2021-us-winter-162219383.html
  6. Try spreading peat moss over the seeded bare area. Peat moss keeps the soil more moist and has additional nutrients compared to straw. Takes a lot more to blow it away too compared to straw. I've had good luck with it in the past.
  7. haha - Indeed on the Alps. Their trails typically go blue, green, red and black, with not much blue. And if you come across a sign that says "Actung" you gotta really pay attention (that means this is REALLY steep). If you ski and haven't had a chance to ski the Alps it is a must. After skiing the Alps I went to Squaw Valley in CA - was disappointing in the lack of vertical. In Zermatt, Switzerland (where the Matterhorn is) you can ski more than 8500 feet of vertical in one run - more than twice the max vertical of anyplace in N. America. It's breathtaking, literally. You start at 13,500 feet where the air is thin and curve around adjacent to the Matterhorn. It's an incredible experience. It would be a rough endeavor now as I'm near 60. But back in my 20's and 30's it was a blast. Learned to telemark ski there and have not been back on Alpine gear since.
  8. Sounds like a nice project nj2va. If you ever need to service it, would guess you'll like having relatively easy access to it from the ground. (compared to the roof). Hope it works well for you Been thinking about taking my wife and daughter (23yo) on a long weekend trip sometime soon. Being cooped up since March is taking its toll. Your mention of Deep Creek made me think that would be a nice area to take them. Do a little hiking etc. They've never been there before. Wisp was the first place I skied after moving here in 85. Was terrified at the time how "steep" the front face was. Three years later I moved to Germany dove in big time and skied all over the Alps. Went back to Wisp once after that - what a different perspective it had the second time. None the less, like the area around Deep Cr
  9. Assume by "pitch" you mean the ridge of the roof? Or are you referring to the rake, which is the angled edge at the end of the roof? Either way, if its not too late suggest giving thought to mounting the anemometer on a chimney if you have one. If you're taking the step of hiring someone to mount it on the roof, assume accuracy is the goal. Mounting the anemometer on or near the ridge or rake of a roof would subject it to the influence of the slope of the roof. This could significantly influence the readings depending on the geometry of the roof and wind direction. By design, the top of a chimney must be a certain distance above the roofline to provide ample draft and minimize turbulance. Getting the anemometer way up there has a better chance of getting into more laminar flow and minimizing the influence of the house itself.
  10. Have the Davis Vantage VUE wireless. Performed flawlessly for nearly 10 years now. That said, agree with nj2VA on Davis - their GUI is a bit dated. The solar array on my VUE is clouding over and starting to loose its ability to effectively recharge the outdoor unit's internal battery. (no surprise there after 10 years). A nice thing about the Davis family of weather stations is that about ever part on their different models can be ordered online. The solar array is about $20, so I may just replace that and keep the VUE.
  11. Interesting. Given how relatively new the unit is, makes you wonder if there was a defect at the point of manufacture. Hope the system provides trouble-free service going forward.
  12. Congratulations! Care to share any details on what the fix was? Curious...
  13. Oh my - yet more memories. My parents had an 80's Buick LeSabre diesel - think it was an 86. Same platform and same failed diesel engine as in your parents Delta 88 diesel. The GM 5.7 (350ci) diesel was a terrible engine. GM took a standard gasoline engine and modified it to be a diesel. It was fundamentally not able to withstand the added stresses of a diesel compared to a gasoline engine. After only a year or so, the diesel in my parent's Buick started making noises. Dad took it to the dealer who was overwhelmed with recall related services on the engine at the time. My dad, a P/T aircraft mechanic who learned the trade in the Korean War, took the internal/failed engine parts that GM replaced and measured the discrepancies with micrometers. Went to arbitration with GM and was able to force GM to buy back the Buick. Can you imagine... He showed up at arbitration board with a hard side briefcase. The lawyers for GM expected the briefcase to contain notes etc. When my dad opened it to reveal 8 connecting rods w/bad bearings, 8 wrist pins w/bad bearings, and an array of scoured/failed bronze journal bearings from the crank, the lawyers for GM slumped in their seats. The arbitration board quickly ruled in favor of my dad. He actually received nearly the full purchase price, minus some minor prorated fee. When he passed away 2 years ago we found the briefcase of old parts from that Olds and the arbitration board. GM lost a load on that platform/engine combination and it left a sour taste on GM diesel products that still lingered for decades.
  14. You're very welcome. This HVAC stuff can be complicated, but isn't bad when you get it figured out. Hopefully the technician working on your system is on top of his game so you and your family can rest comfortably soon w/o worry. Our dad installed our first central air conditioner himself in our home in 1968. House was built in 1880 w/o any duct work to the upstairs at all. Until dad installed the central system the only heat that got upstairs in the winter was via the stairwell (and it got cold in Ohio in the 60's). Prior to 68, we only had one AC unit in the living room window and a second in our parent's bedroom. Can relate to some earlier comments from others about sweating through summer. haha. Will never forget the first time dad turned on the new central AC for the first time in his life. That AC unit worked reliably without being touched until it finally gave up 2 years ago. 50 years of service is not bad.
  15. Looks like a Mazda 323 or 626 coupe.
  16. Mappy - a 2014 unit is still considered new, so you should not be having leaking coil issues. Was the ice on the line outside the house near the compressor? (the compressor section is the large boxy looking component outside the house with a large fan on it that comes on with the AC). If there's ice on one of the freon lines outside the house, that's not a good sign. It means the evaporation point of the freon has shifted from the evaporation coil inside the air handler (where you want it to be) to a point down the low pressure line. Was the ice present on that line before the technician added freon the other day? If not, and the ice only developed after he added freon to the system he may have over charged the system. Is there any ice on the freon lines where they exit from the air handler? Any sign of ice on the air handler itself? If so, the coil may be frozen with ice. Check the condensate drain inside the air handler (in the basement?). If the condensate drain clogs up, the water fills the condensate tray under the coil until the water touches the coil. Once the water level gets to the coil, the condensate quickly turns to ice and the ice level migrates up the coil until the entire coil and condensate tray is one solid block of ice. This can happen fairly quickly with a clogged drain. If there's no air flow from the registers around the house, that's because no air can get through the evaporator coil due to the ice. If the condensate drain is clogged, the technician should have zeroed in on this during the inspection. Was there any water laying on the floor in the area around the air handler? If so, that was water that overflowed the condensate drain and/or ice that thawed from the coil. Be careful, with an electrically charged air handler, water laying around is a potential shock risk. With the clogged drain there's no place for the water to escape. Clogged condensate drains happen rather frequently. On houses with 2 or more HVAC zones, there's often an air handler in the attic. These air handlers are installed on top of a large tray that is used to catch overflow condensate when the drain clogs. There's a float switch in the tray that shuts off the air handler to prevent the overflow tray from filling up and running over, which would damage drywall in the ceiling etc. I only raise this because I'm not sure where your HVAC unit inside the house is located. If the condensate drain is clogged, you may be able to fix it yourself. Turn off the AC at the breaker panel. There will be two breakers - one for the outside AC compressor and a separate breaker for the air handler. Open the side access panel/s to air handler near where the two freon lines go in and out of the air handler. If the coil is iced up, that should be easily noticed. Need to let the ice thaw in order to find the drain in the condensate tray and unclog it. The ice could go down the condensate drain hose too, which can take a while to thaw. Look for a piece of 3/4 or 1" diameter PVC pipe exiting the air handler IVO the two freon lines. This is your condensate drain. It likely runs to a drain in the floor nearby or to a small pump that pumps the condensate water to a drain someplace else. If there is a drain in the floor, see if there's water coming out. If there's a small pump, check to see if it is working properly (just pour some water in it - the condensate pumps are auto on/off). Hope this helps too.
  17. Picked up a quick .91" over the last 30 mins. Was a torrent for about 20 mins.
  18. That's hilarious. My parents bought our "Shove-It" in Nov 75 just after they went on sale. The 76 model year was the first year of production. Didn't even have AC as an option until later. So our AC was the windows. Fortunately, my dad insisted on getting the "larger" engine - the 1.6L compared to the standard 1.4L, which was an even worse dog to drive. Remember having to carry a baseball bat behind the driver's seat all the way through HS and then part way through college (until I rolled it). The starter had a dead spot and had to routinely open the hood and bang the handle of the bat on the starter to "bump" it through to start it. Suspect there's some other old timers out there that know what I mean by "bumping a starter". I was lucky when I rolled the Chevette - didn't get hurt but totaled the car. Was not sorry to see it go though. The 71 Caprice 2 door hard top my dad picked up as a replacement for $150 ran like a scalded cat, had a front bench and even had working AC. Couldn't put anything in the trunk though because the rear fenders were so rusted out anything in the trunk was likely to fall out.
  19. The Yugo is right down there, but above the infamous Trabant. Will never forget.... I lived in Frankfurt, Germany when the wall came down Oct 1990 reunifying East and West Germany. Fkt was only about 80 miles from the former border. So as soon as the border opened the former East Germans flooded the shopping centers in the West. The Zeil in Fkt was and remains one of the most popular shopping spots in Germany. Was driving home from work at the height of the onslaught that Winter behind a Trabant packed with way too many people teeming with all their newly purchased western goods. It was cold, the windows were all steamed over as the driver was alternating trying to peer through a small splotch of transparent glass in the windshield and sticking his head out the drivers door open window to see where the heck he was going (that's how I could see how packed it was inside as all the other windows were completely opaque with condensation). The occupants were laughing and screaming and carrying on like it was Mardi Gras. On the rear bumper of the Trabi (nickname for the Trabants) was the best bumper sticker in the history of bumper stickers. It read, in English, "My Other Car is a Trabant Also". The scene was so comical I about crashed my Honda Civic. Normally, you expect a bumper sticker that's bragging about the "other car" to reference the Ferrari, Benz or Rolls in the garage at home. Noooooo - this guy was so "proud" of his Trabi he wanted everyone to know he had another one and was broadcasting the same in English! At the next traffic light I rolled down the window on my Civic and gave them a "Herzliche Wellkommen Zuruck" (A heartfelt welcome back) and the hoard in the Trabi just laughed even louder and kept carrying on. The light turned green and in a big cloud of blue smoke they trod forward (many had 2 cycle engines and burning a lot of oil was the norm). My comparison, the Yugo's were 4 cycle and very modern by comparison (relatively speaking). They resembled the Chevette in design and proportions.
  20. Now we're talking!!! Sweeeeeet!!!
  21. OMG - what memories. The Pacer was right up there with the Matador. Our next door neighbor growing up in Ohio had a Pacer - for about a year. He gave away to avoid the ridicule he received when he drove it. Passenger's side door was 4" longer than the driver's door to make it easier to get in the back. The Pacer was the same era as our Chevy Chevette, which I learned to drive in. What a POS that was, until I rolled it late one night... That took care of that. The only thing good about the Chevette was that it wasn't my dad's red and white 65 Rambler with 3 on the tree. My 3 older siblings all learned to drive in the Rambler. Yet, somehow they all accused me of getting off easy because the Chevette was an automatic!!! yippie??? It had a 2 speed Powerglide tranny coupled to the infamous 1.6 liter Iron Duke 4. It could not get out of it's own way if it fell off a cliff, even with a 4.10 rear end. That was life in the late 70's post Arab Oil Embargo...
  22. Oh crud. Sorry to hear that. That lends to a lot of questions. Happy to offer a few more thoughts and can follow up offline if you ard/or Mr. Mappy want. Know a fair bit about AC units having done a fair bit of troubleshooting while living overseas in some harsh environments, and worked on our own here in NOVA too and saved a lot in the process. The mention of a bad coil points to a fairly old unit. Normally coils are either air tight, or not. If there is any leak in the system at all, with the pressures involved the freon will quickly leak out and the low pressure switch will turn off the compressor to keep it from burning up. The compressor is big bucks if it dies and is typically not repairable - they can only be replaced. There's two coils in an AC system - the evaporator coil (the one inside your house that gets cold) and the condenser coil (outside with the compressor, which gets hot). Which coil was quoted as being bad? Replacing the coil inside can be a major pain depending on the configuration of the air handler and the design of your system. Assume he used a sniffer to detect the leak? A freon sniffer is very sensitive and a good one can pinpoint the leak's exact location. Coils typically don't leak except after extreme age or if a unit is moved in such a way that stress is applied to the line over time. With a bad coil, and if the unit is circa 15 years old or older, and if the bad coil is the condenser coil, it may be more reliable and in the end cheaper to just replace the outside unit. Older units use R-22 freon, which is outrageously expensive as mentioned before. New units use R-410a, which is a fraction of the cost of R-22 (R-22 is 4-5X the cost of 410a). Plus, newer AC units have a much higher Seer rating - the higher the Seer number the better with the max being in the low 20's. By "better" we mean they are more efficient and draw less electricity and save money - perhaps a lot if the current AC unit is 20 years old or older. The difference in operating cost of a AC unit rated with a Seer of 15 verses a Seer of 20 is substantial (there's various charts you can lookup online). The newer AC technologies include variable speed compressors and larger condenser coils when allows lower fan speeds on the compressor unit outside with much less noise. We have 3 zones in our house and just installed a new outdoor unit a year ago. The difference in the lower noise when the two outdoor units (old and new) are running side by side is amazing. One older unit is circa 2005 technology, which is not THAT old - but the difference in technology is obvious. Our electric bill went down substantially with the installation of the newer more efficient unit, even though it has a higher cooling capacity. Lastly, if the solution is to replace the AC, suggest getting multiple estimates. When our until died last year, we got 3 estimates. One from the company that normally did our maintenance, and two from other reputable companies. Two of the 3 were comparable in prices (within 10% of each other) and the 3rd was more than 2x the other two. The company we went with was able to start immediately and provided references to back their work, who I called. Could not have been happier with the work they did end to end. The 3rd company that was 2X the other two readily acknowledged he was expensive and didn't seem to care that he was SO expensive compared to the others. He even told me that even at his price he had more work than he could handle. Good luck.
  23. Hummm - Interesting. If enough freon (R-22 or R-410) leaked out that it prompted the low pressure switch to shut off the compressor, then they likely had to pull a vacuum, evacuate the system and completely recharge it. If that's the case, you got off cheap for $300. The cost of R-22 is outrageous these days. Either way, glad to hear they got you back online.
  24. The other thing that goes with some frequency is the starter relay. Have an extra of those on hand too. It's about the same price as the start capacitor. Of course when our AC went kapooey back in July, it was not the capacitor. Being the last afternoon before the July 4th long weekend everyone was closed. We were fortunate to get an HVAC Company to respond and were happy to pay the $200 for the call. Murphy never strikes when it is convenient.
  25. Sorry to hear about your AC. Hope the HVAC guy can do the needy. FWIW, in most cases the issue with AC failures is a bad start capacitor on the outside compressor unit. The start capacitor is normally a round or oblong silver thing about 5 inches long with terminals on one end. You can get one at Grainger or online (Amazon or Ebay) for about $20-$30. Substantial savings over the HVAC guy. Need to know the rating requirements, which is stamped on the outside of the capacitor. Easy way to tell if the capacitor is fried is to look at the top end where the terminals are. If there's a bulge on the end, and/or signs of any liquid on the outside the capacitor case, it's bad. Likewise, if you put a voltmeter on the capacitor terminals and get an open reading, it's bad. It is a 5 min job to swap out the capacitors, but make sure you electrically disconnect the main electric service to the AC unit before opening the case. It is 240VAC, which is unforgiving. I normally keep an extra capacitor on hand for emergencies. Didn't have one on hand when our AC went out on the afternoon of 03 July just before the long weekend. Got ahold of someone who responded in an hour - to the tune of $200+. Ouch. Hope your fix today easier on the wallet.