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So I haven’t really had a house update since we planted our grass in the fall and I would say that’s because there’s really not a whole lot to say. It’s winter and there’s really not a lot going on right now house wise because of the season. There are few things I want to mention though so I thought I would give this small update.

We’re continuing to have some sticking issues with one of our bedroom doors. It’s actually my husband’s office/guest bedroom and they have attempted to adjust it twice now and we still have issues in the coldest parts of winter. I realize it’s because doors tend to swell in the winter and can cause a door that has a closer fit to actually become hard to close and stick. This happened in our old house with our front door in the winter and it could be a real pain…you had to sometimes put your hip into it to close it if you know what I mean.

This door is not as important as that problem obviously as it is an internal door, but frustrating none the less when someone would need privacy in that bedroom. We will be bringing it up again to Wayne Homes, but honestly I don’t know what else can be done as the first time they tried to adjust the door via the hinges and the last time they literally took a block and a mallet and tried to adjust the frame by hammering on the block on the frame and in doing so may have even did some slight damage to the frame trying to adjust it. And it worked for a while as it took until it got decently cold before it started sticking again. We shall see if anything can be done.

Another thing that we have noticed is that there are some drywall issues in a couple of areas from general settling of the house I presume. We had already pointed one of these areas out to our warranty support person from Wayne Homes one of the last times they were here and they basically told us to keep a mental note of these places and there will be a final drywall fix before the end of our 2 year warranty and they will deal with any drywall/painting issues then. We understand this because it makes more sense for them to bring their drywall people out just once to fix all the issues before the end of our warranty period (as they are mostly cosmetic and could have more of them before the end of the period) rather than send them out each time a little thing is noticed. At this point I think our biggest issues are a seam in the stairwell and a crack that has developed near an archway. This one at the archway is directly above the crack in the basement corner wall that I have mentioned in a previous blog post (that thankfully has not gotten bigger thus far) so I assume there is just a lot of load and settling in this corner of the house.

Now to talk about a couple things I want to praise. I am constantly amazed by how energy efficient our house has been! We are spending the same or less on our various utilities on this 3,000+ square foot Wayne Homes house than we were on our less than 1,700 square foot Rockford Home that we sold. Seriously, it’s crazy to me that I can write this. Part of that is because we have a well and a septic and paid for the full cost of that up front, but even if you take those out of consideration, we spend less on electricity and we spend about the same over the course of a year on gas. Even slightly higher would be a huge surprise to me because I was expecting to be close to double our costs, since we are close to doubled our square footage. Makes sense, right? Our basement is about 4 times the size or more of our old basement and we don’t close off our vents down there so really our square footage is much more than 2 times in terms of heating and cooling. I knew our new home would be more efficient than our old home, but I was still incredibly nervous as to see our new monthly costs.

The energy efficiency of our home is simply astounding to me, especially when you consider that the costs could actually be lower if I could get everyone to remember to turn lights off when they leave a room. ? We also leave our outside lights on for security and often forget to turn them off during the day. All of our lights are energy efficient LEDs, so I am sure it’s not burning that much extra power, but I know we could probably shave off a little more money on our electric bill if we just got into some better habits.

The gas is a little harder to calculate because now we are on propane versus direct gas line. Because we are on propane we do what is called a pre-buy at the end of August each year. We pre-buy propane at a lower rate at the end of summer by estimating how many gallons of gas we will need to get us through the winter. Last winter was our first year doing this of course and our estimate was slightly low which meant we had to pay a larger price in early spring for a minimum 200 gallon delivery, which was more than we actually needed. This meant our costs last year was a bit higher than they should have been. This year we upped our pre-buy slightly and it should not only last us through the winter into spring, but because we’ve had a relatively mild winter we may not even have to buy any this summer before the next pre-buy as the only gas we use in the summer is for the stove. The only thing that might be hard for some people with a pre-buy is that you are buying all the gas you need at once which of course is a large chunk of change, but knowing it’s coming up makes it easy to plan.

At our old house gas was provided through the city utilities and so we got one bill that covered gas, water, sewer and trash. I didn’t keep a lot of that paperwork when we moved although I have some saved receipts in email from paying the bill electronically on occasional so I don’t have the line items for gas. But from my personal recollections and looking at the price we were paying there for utilities I can say that the cost of gas for the year was probably around the same just split up differently. Crazy to think that our utilities as a whole have actually gone down since the move into a much bigger house.

Another thing I want to talk about is how easy it is to clean our home. I absolutely love our Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring! I’m shocked that those words came out of my mouth and I will tell you why. When we first went to design our house I was adamant that we would have laminate flooring. Ultimately I wanted hardwood flooring on most of the bottom floor but I figured that was something we could upgrade in the future. I was determined that laminate flooring was the way to go as it looked the most like hardwood flooring, but at a fraction of the cost. I also knew it would be easier to clean than what I previously had which was carpet in most of the rooms (white carpet I might add, not my choice as we bought a spec build last time…we changed it before putting it on the market as it was just horrible) and 16 year old vinyl flooring. I hated the vinyl flooring, it never seemed to get fully cleaned and had been scratched and even had a few small tears.

As we met with our home consultant at Wayne Homes we went over all the aspects of our home and she told me that the flooring in the model home we were in at the time was actually LVP. I was honestly surprised as it did not look anything like what I knew as vinyl flooring. The more we looked into costs and additional options I wanted, the more I warmed up to the LVP. It was cheaper than the laminate which would allow me to get it throughout the whole bottom floor except the master bedroom (our choice, I still want carpet in bedrooms) where because of costs I was going to keep the default carpet in a couple other first floor rooms if we chose the laminate. This would give less transitions and more of a cohesive feel. I also learned more about the laminate flooring. We had only put laminate in a closet at our old house so it wasn’t an area that had high traffic and didn’t have a likelihood for spills. I had a family member who had put in a bunch of laminate flooring installed in recent years, including into her kitchen and dining area, and talked about how they had to work hard into the night to get up all the water that spilled as a result of a dishwasher issue. LVP on the other hand can handle water and LVP can easily be patched out with a new piece if a plank gets damaged. It truly is the more functional product. I really started thinking long and hard about whether I was being biased against the superiority of the LVP simply because of the vinyl in its name.

Now that I have the LVP floors, I love them. I simply love them. They look great as far as having the look of wood (soooo much better than what I thought of as ‘vinyl flooring’), they clean up with ease and they really stand out when mopped. We use a Bona floor mop that is similar to Swiffer mops except the liquid container is refillable, the pads are washable and the actually liquid cleaner, Bona, is made for LVP flooring. In many ways our new home is actually easier to keep clean than our old house even though it’s so much bigger. I don’t have carpet I am trying to scrub stains out of, I have nice white trim that is easy to see if it’s clean or dirty (unlike the horrible builder grade fake wood looking trim and doors at our old Rockford home) and there’s plenty of space to organize things so it’s less cluttered.

So there you have it, a little update on our house this winter. Not a lot to talk about until it warms up a bit. This winter came on strong last year in November, seemed to be more like fall for December and January and has now went back to winter for February. Other than having maybe one good snow for Stephen to play in, I’m ready for spring!

Thanks for reading!

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