Sunday, August 27, 2017

Taking a deep breath after our move

Lots of things about our cross country move are working out very well. Our new house is comfortable, neighbors are friendly and the weather is divine. We have seen more of our family in the last 4 months than we have in the last 4 years - and that is wonderful. We are ready for the next phase of life as Hubby retires at the end of September and we figure out how to spend our time individually and together and how to make new close friends.

But .... we were talking last night about the unexpected expenses that have come with this house; not that we didn't expect some but still there have been more than anticipated. Some have been choices such as the quality of the den furniture we ordered but others were total surprises such as having to replace a relatively new water heater and a recirculating water pump.

So I think we are going to take a pause and hold off on a big expenditure that would be a quality of life improvement and also not necessary. The water here is extremely hard which is why the water heater had to be replaced. As long as we periodically flush the new one it should last a lot longer. However the washing machine and dishwasher could be damaged over time.

We have looked into a whole house water treatment system that would be great at solving this problem and making the water taste great without adding salt as many systems do. It would also make cleaning a lot easier as the hard water leaves deposits. But at $3,750 to purchase and install is it really worth it? A spending pause seems right so we can really think this through because honestly I'd rather take a vacation!

2 questions:

Any experience with really hard water and ideas for cleaning materials and steps to take to prolong the life of appliances?

Do you ever take a spending pause to contemplate your priorities overall or in a specific area of your life.

20 comments:

  1. Well, we have been living with hard water our entire kife, and are not aware of any repair being solely due a deposit issue. Generally it's been something unrelated, and substantially never had a dishwasher repaired, so those seem to do just fine. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    Regarding spend pauses, only to the extent that if our portfolio drops below where it was in Jan 1, which is when we determine our budget for the year, I will reduce allocations as needed to stay within our pre-determined withdrawal rate for the year.

    I hope that helps!

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    1. Interesting about your experience with hard water. May I ask what you use to clean the spots left behind on shower glass, stainless steel, etc.?

      We are not pausing all spending (far from it) just taking the time to think about how much we want to invest in this house.

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    2. We use a squeegee on glass shower walls, so no deposits or spots yet (8 years doing this in our prior home). I use a razor to scrape deposits from around kitchen and bath faucets. I use stainless steel cleaner in sink.

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    3. Hadn't thought about a razor blade! We do use the other two.

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  2. If you have a bad build up of hard water/soap scum already, I have had good luck using Bar Keeper's Friend (and blogged about it here with before/after photos https://fourmilesnorthofnowhere.blogspot.com/2009/04/todays-program-is-brought-to-you-by.html#comment-form ).

    Some other things that help. Use liquid shower gel and hand wash. Bar soaps really increase build up. If you have completely smooth shower glass, keeping a squeegee in the shower and using it after each shower helps (kind of a pain though). If you have the sort of glass that is kind of textured, a squeegee doesn't work, so when we had that, we kept a hand towel hanging nearby and would dry off the shower door upon exiting.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions! We do squeegee the glass so it is mostly the shower heads, metal trim and grab bars. I haven't tried Bar Keeper's Friend on them but we do use shower gel. The water has a very high calcium level - sigh.

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    2. Shower heads we soak in vinegar. Either unscrew it and place the spray side down in a bowl and let soak...or put vinegar in a plastic bag and place over the shower head so that the spray holes are submerged in the vinegar, and hold the plastic bag in place with a twist tie or rubber band. The vinegar really cuts the mineral build up. Good luck!

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    3. I had forgotten the vinegar trick for shower heads. Thanks.

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  3. We have terribly hard water, too. Have heard good things about Bar Keeper's Friend. Need to get some. I use vinegar and a mix of heated vinegar and Dawn on my glass shower doors.

    We are feeling the blow to our bank accounts that the pool has dealt. And in trying to pay it off quickly, we are making large payments that keep us 'poor' for other things. Need to paint the house and trying to postpone doing that til we catch our breath again.

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    1. I hear you on the need to catch our breathe again! Today we found out it will be $2400 to buy plantation shutters for the 3 windows in our TV room (now that we have uncovered the "missing window"). Sigh.

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    2. Juhli, that estimate seems high in that I just went through same for our home. Consider getting a second, possible third bid if you can before deciding. Try Yelp for well rated shutter installation vendors if you've not yet done so.

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    3. We did not order them and are going to meet with other vendors. Which one did you use?

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  4. We've lived in areas with naturally soft water, and now live with hard water. However, within the past year, our community water supplier has started softening the water, and we're thrilled. While living with hard water, we were vigilant to wipe down/dry showers and faucets following use. I know it's a pain, but it reduces buildup. In the meantime, I think it's smart to take a pause and enjoy your new home. Give yourself 6 months, or so, then revisit the whole-house water softening system. I have to admit...I love soft water, and I'd probably install one, eventually. The costs of moving can really add up, but being able to spend more time with family is truly priceless. I'm happy for you!!

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    1. Wow, I wish our water supplier would do that! We had no idea the water out here was like this compared to where we used to live an hour east. I'm adaptable but I don't like cleaning lol. Family is great.

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  5. We have hard water too. Never had to replace an appliance though, because of it.

    A tip for hard water deposits - After our showers we always squeegee the shower and then dry with a towel. (The last person out of the shower takes care of this.) It sounds compulsive (it is!) but in the 12 years we have been here, we have not had any problems at all with hard water deposits on our shower tiles. Agree with soaking shower head in vinegar periodically too.

    For hard water spots around sinks, on stainless steel etc. the easy cheap and very effective solution is white vinegar! Takes it right away. So much better than all the harsh chemicals you can buy.

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    1. I'll have to get the vinegar out and try again on the stainless steel grab bars and trim in the shower. Thanks.

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  6. Just don't use vinegar on granite :). We have terribly hard water and never replaced an appliance because of it. We run vinegar in our dishwasher instead of rinse aide. We let the grands pour a mixture of baking soda and then vinegar down our sink every once in a while. Fun to watch their reaction. We use a pumice stone about every other month on the toilet. We do drain the hot water heater every other year. Since we also have septic, we are careful to never use bleach. Personally, I would never get a water softener. The extra salt drives my body crazy. I'm looking into BarKeeper soap as soon as I am done with this comment.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  7. I have a whole different way of thinking. I consider water to be thee utmost important thing in life. One of the reasons why early Rome was so successful, and the greatness of New York City lies within their water. A great water supply of top quality water leads to a better quality of life. IMHO.
    We have well water where we currently live and it took my husband around a year to straighten it out, thanks to some water engineers in Canada. They devised a system that delivers the greatest quality of water in our home. The system cost us $2400 and my husband installed it. We also have a reverse osmosis system installed under our kitchen sink that we use strictly for drinking water. Before we installed this, our water had too much sulfur and would leave brown marks on all our white appliances as well as on our clothing, our teeth and on our nails. It was awful. Today....our water is simply crystal clear and pure.
    If it were me, I'd spend the $3,700 and get the best possible water I could afford. I wouldn't be using any razors to clean up faucets or anything. Just my simple opinion.
    Water is the essence of life.
    To me, it's a no-brainer. Powerful civilizations have been erected strictly on the quality of their water supply.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. We may end up doing it but thought a pause to carefully consider our options and priorities was in order.

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