Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our New Fiberon Composite Deck - Fiberon IPE with a Rosewood Border

I'm back!  We have been in our house for almost a year now and have been enjoying it.  We finally decided between a deck and a patio.  We came up with a plan that would allow for both.  We have a composite deck that is under construction right now.  We were going to go with a "grill bump out", but I changed my mind while it was under construction and had an octagon added to the corner.  After looking at many pictures on Google's image search and Pinterest, I found a few screened-in gazebos that i liked.  I gave the pictures to my contractor and he did an excellent job replicating them.  He used Fiberon composite decking in IPE with a Rosewood border and Horizon Railing with black round metal balusters.  It should be completed by next week.  We plan on adding a patio in front of the basement walk out and a walkway to the garage next summer.  Here's a sneak peak at our deck and screened-in gazebo...

Pin It now!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My House Smells Like Sewage with a Twist of Peppermint

UPDATE: The PVC pipe in the concrete for our bathroom rough-in was cracked in half.  Ryan Homes had to chip away the concrete to get to the PVC pipe and fix it.  This resolved the problem. 

I think we have one of the worst problems that can go unresolved... SEWAGE GAS.  It is entering through our basement storage area and dissipating throughout our house.  It happens about every two weeks and last for 3-5 days.  Apparently, atmospheric pressure is causing the pressure to build up in the sewer vents.  This is forcing the gasses to escape from an opening somewhere in my basement storage room.  Note: We have an underground septic tank, not public sewer.     

Initially, I thought the smell was coming from the Chick-Fil-A boxes that we had used to move.  I thought they had oil on them that had gone rancid.  The smell is rotten, just like sewage.  Well, it is sewage.  I unpacked all of the Chick-Fil-A boxes and the smell came back a week later.  It was so bad one night, even with all of the windows open, that we debated on whether it was safe to sleep in the house or not.  The septic gasses flood the basement and make their way all the way to the third floor.  We have been getting by with opening the windows and closing all of the vents for the past few months, but now that the winter months are upon us, it is not practical.

The plumbers and I tried to pinpoint the smell, but it was so overwhelming in the storage area, that we could not pinpoint the exact location.  We narrowed it down to one section of the storage area.  They decided to schedule a peppermint test.  This is where they pour peppermint oil in the sewer gas vent on the roof and wait for the peppermint scent to seep out through the pipe that is not sealed properly.

The day came and the roofer climbed up to the roof while the plumber, service manager and I waited in the storage room.  We heard the peppermint oil being poured down the pipe, followed by a bucket of water.  I started to panic, because I heard it traveling down a pipe next to the heat pump.  The plumber followed the sound and found that the oil was being poured down the radon pipe.  The plumber did not have a second bottle of peppermint oil, so we scheduled a second peppermint test.  While he was at my house, he replaced the wax ring on our powder room toilet.  This toilet sits above our unfinished storage area in the basement.  We were hoping that this was the cause and would solve the problem.

The plumber and roofer returned about 2 weeks later for a second shot at the peppermint test.  The roofer went up and poured the peppermint oil down the correct vent, followed by a bucket of water.  We waited a few minutes and did not smell anything in the basement.  We thought we had passed the test.  That evening, my husband went down to the basement to watch the Redskins play the New York Giants.  He asked me if I smelled the peppermint.  I had not, so I went downstairs and sure enough the basement smelled like peppermint or more like a candy cane factory.  The peppermint scent was the strongest in the storage room, just as the sewage gasses had been.  We kept the storage room door closed, but the scent still made its way upstairs.  I prefer the peppermint smell over sewage, but the peppermint oil is potent and it does not take long to give you a headache.

Back to square one.  I contacted Ryan Homes.  The plumber said that he had never experienced the scent leaking out hours later.  They offered to come back and do a second peppermint test with two bottles of peppermint and hope for instantaneous results.  I let them know that I did not think that would solve the problem.  The peppermint scent is leaking out in my storage room right now and I cannot pinpoint the exact location.  Apparently, this is the first time this has happened to a Ryan Home and it had to happen to me!  Why me, why me, why me???  I Googled "peppermint test sewer gas septic" and came across the following website:
It sounds like I need a "smoke test".  I am going to forward the above website to Ryan Homes and hope for the best.  Here are a few excerpts from the website:

Sewer gas is created by the decomposition of waste materials that are found in public and private sewer systems and private septic systems. The characteristic odor can be overpowering and it is toxic. To add further insult to injury, the gas is explosive as it often has a methane component.
Sewer gas leaks can be quickly discovered by a plumber who owns a very cool machine that generates artificial smoke. The smoke is simply visual and does not create a lasting odor nor does it stain any surfaces in a house. The plumber connects the smoke generation machine to the plumbing drain system and then blocks off the drain pipe leading to the sewer and caps off all roof vent pipes.

Once the smoke machine starts, it begins to slightly pressurize the plumbing system. If there is a cracked pipe or a fitting joint that is loose, the smoke readily exits at that point before it would bubble up through a fixture trap filled with water. Usually the source of the sewer gas leak can be discovered in less than one hour.

Has anyone ever experienced this problem?

Pin It now!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm Back!

I'm back!  It has been 2 months since we moved into our Ryan Home and I am ashamed to say that I still have many boxes that need to be unpacked!  We have been so busy since day 1.  It seems like one thing has come up after another.  I just need one free week or at a few free weekends to start decorating and picking out furniture and colors.  We have been battling critters for the past few weeks.  So many different kind that I will dedicate the next post to them! 

We LOVE our new home and our neighborhood.  The kids are doing great at their new schools.  My husband is getting used to the extra 15 minutes that has been added on to his commute.  I think the three car garage that houses his new 4-wheeler makes up for the extra 15 minutes! 

Settlement went smoothly.  The move took a lot longer than we had expected.  We packed ourselves and hired McKendree Moving & Storage company for the move.  The movers did an excellent job.  Our furniture and belongings arrived in perfect shape.  We had 5 movers that worked unbelievably hard the ENTIRE time from 8am to 10pm.  We were quoted an estimated time at an hourly rate.  With the move taking longer than expected, it went over by $1,000.  Apparently, we had a lot more stuff than we appeared to have!  I called the owner and he split the difference with me.  I would hire McKendree Moving again and recommend them to anyone, but I would recommend negotiating a flat rate.

Our kitchen turned out perfect!  I finally hunted down the hardware that I saw in the Richmond Homes' model.  It is made by Aristokraft.  I contacted a dealer and was initially told that Aristokraft discontinued all of their hardware.  I contacted Aristodraft via their website to see if they had any left in stock that they could sell me directly.  They informed me that they did NOT discontinue their hardware line.  I was relieved!  I called a few dealers to compare prices and ended up getting each piece (all 48 of them!) for $3 less than the majority of the dealers were selling them for.

Our 30 day list was taken care of in a very timely manner.  We did not have anything major on the list.  Everything was scheduled to be taken care of in one day, which made it convenient.  We had crews in and out all day.  Then it was time to sign off and say goodbye to our project manager, Josh.  I think it is safe to say that we had Ryan Homes' best project manager.  He was detail oriented.  This worked out perfect, since I was striving for perfection!  I never had to fight or explain much to get things corrected and most of problems were resolved before I even had a chance to mention them.  Josh was responsive and very knowledgeable.  We had absolutely no complaints about our project manager.

We had a few settlement issues in our yard due to it being graded during a very dry period.  The ground started to settle after it rained a few times.  Now we are bracing for days of rain and wind from Hurricane Sandy.  I hope that we lost all of our weak trees during the derecho.  I guess we will know by the end of the week.  

We love our new Ryan Home and I plan on continuing to update this blog.  Be on the look out for my critters' post, the digging of our well and installing a battery back up sump pump.  I'll be back!

Signing my life away!

Awesome fixed rate!

Love, love, love!

Grout Sealer - I recommend sealing your grout immediately after settlement. 
Otherwise, you might put it off and never get around to it. 

Our cool refrigerator!

Santa Cecilia Granite

On the move!

Moving Day

Strong Men

New Refrigerator

We removed the shoe molding, so we could push our refrigerator back further.

The delivery guys had to take the door off of the hinges to get the refrigerator in.

Touch-up Painter


Paint Touch-ups

30 Day List

Our AWESOME project manager, Josh!

Our house is getting major touch-ups!

I filled a jar with extra paint for quick touch-ups.
It is much easier to unscrew a jar than it is to pry open a paint can.

Child Labor!

Preparing for Halloween

New Filter vs. Old Filter (after 30 days)

Driveway Settlement Repair

Home Sweet Home

Bye Josh


Sink Hole... settlement around our septic system

    Pin It now!