Monday, April 30, 2012

Humidity Sensor for Bathroom

This switch automates turning on the bathroom fan after taking a shower and shuts off automatically when the humidity has cleared:

I like this rather than the timers since it works by itself and you don't have to remember to do it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Triangle of Empty Space

From the architectural drawing I have noticed a triangle area of walled off empty space in the master bedroom area where they cut the corner at a 45 degree angle.  While it is aesthetically appealing it seems seems to touch a small nerve on my efficiency side.  Seeing Stuart's bonus room optional closet picture reminded me of this.  Looks good by the way Stuart :-)

The Ravenna has this triangle in the master bedroom next to the restroom.  Here is the diagram:

My thought here is that some shelves could be put up to be used in either the bathroom or in the master bedroom.  The following links are good examples:

Otherwise I guess a medicine cabinet could be installed to utilize some of that space.  I did not see where they installed on in the model.  Here is a link to Amazon's recessed mounted cabinets:!1063498%2Cn%3A1063236%2Cn%3A1063238%2Cn%3A3743901%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_browse-bin%3A4275234011&bbn=3743901&ie=UTF8&qid=1335764966&rnid=4275164011

It is something trivial in the grand scheme, but I will think about what to do with that space in the future.  I am interested to hear if anyone else has done something with this space or if it is just one of my idiosyncrasies.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Denials and Approvals for Customizations

Here are some verdict updates on requests that I made to Ryan about customizations.  Some of these are recent, others I requested earlier but did not get to updating the status of them here.

  • Change the shower faucet -

    Okay, so the upgraded shower costs a decent amount but I am not able to upgrade the faucet because they cannot warranty it....?  The faucet comes with a lifetime warranty, hmmm.
    "Lifetime limited warranty against leaks, drips and finish defects
    to the original consumer purchaser"

Several from my first post -
  • Separating the two master bedroom windows so that they are on both sides of the corner rather than just on one side

    Would have cost about 85% of the cost just to add 2 more windows.  I chose to decline this.
  • Moving the light switches for the garage coach lights and inside garage lights to the inside wall of the house in the mud room

    Cost is $25.  I assume that it is due to the blueprint change because it should take near zero effort to just turn it around and put it on the inside wall.
  • Adding a switch for the garage coach lights at the front door entrance


    Adding a switch at the top of the basement stairs to turn on/off the basement lights there rather than having to go down to the bottom of the stairs each time

    Both Possible
    Cost was around $150 I believe each.  I got some **ahem** flak for wanting to spend money on these though, so I conceded in order to retain earlier wins :-) 
 Things that I have asked for but did not mention in the blog
  • Door deadbolt for the door going into the garage from the house

  • A separate water meter (deduct meter) for the hose bibs so that there is now sewage cost like the main line


    Cost was estimated at $2,500+ to install.  No thank you.
  • Stronger roof anchors -

  • Patio installed by Ryan


    They only offer patios for slabs or houses with walkout basements (at least in my area).
  • Radon venting system

    Partially Possible

    They will install a 3" pipe but they are not able/licensed to install the complete system to vent the radon gas from underneath the foundation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Shower Faucet

So it is a little strange but I do not like the faucets that you have to turn in a circle to turn on go through the cold and then get to the hot.  I want to have a lever faucet that you lift up to turn on because sometimes I turn off the water while I am in the shower, and I don't like getting hit with the cold blast again when I turn it on.

This Moen model TL182 is what comes with the shower currently:

The Moen model L3175 is what I would like to replace it with:

The Moentrol valve type is what allow the lever on the L3175 versus the dial turn on the TL182 (PosiTemp).

I spoke with the SR and they said that if I could find another Moen faucet that I wanted they would send in the request for me.  I sent the the information to them tonight and they are submitting it to the main office for approval in the morning, so we shall see.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guardian Meeting

So I walked out of the Guardian meeting yesterday without buying anything extra.  That is right nothing but the included jacks.  I work for an audio, video, network, and computer cable manufacturer and I am getting a 2" pipe run from the basement to the attic, so I will be doing some cable runs myself.

I was not sure what to expect of the meeting but the rep from Guardian that I spoke with was very down to earth and we actually spoke for a couple of hours on various topics.  He took his time and and answered questions that I had and helped explain things that I was not up to speed on.  To his credit I am more understanding now of the prices they have considering the labor and that they have to stand behind their work.  I mean they are in the business to make money too!

Yeah, so I walked out the door without anything but I am now weighing the actual costs of the alarm system.

Breaking it down:

$27/month with a 3 year contract
First 6 months free
Keypad, motion detector, sensors for all outside doors

Total: (36 months - 6 free months) * $27 = $810

Control Unit/Keypad - GE Simon XT
Unconfirmed on the exact model

Additional Guardian Options:
Fire Detector - $150
Unconfirmed on the exact model

Carbon Monoxide Detector - $170.

Guardian Site:

Home Security Store Kit

I posted earlier about the Home Security Store package which is similar but wireless.

$9/month monitoring (UL listed) with a one year prepay
$35 activation fee
$260 for the base package that matches what Guardian is offering (GE Simon XT)

Total:  $108 + $35 + $260 + $218 (2 additional years of monitoring) = $619

Additional Home Security Store Options:
Fire Detector - $83

Carbon Monoxide Detector - $94
The models look to be the same so I think that the sensor is wireless for Guardian as well, but unconfirmed.

The thing that you get with Guardian is the wired system which is more reliable but the wireless systems are still pretty reliable overall.  With a $191 difference against the wired system along with the equipment markups, I am not sure that is going to sell me to get it.

What I am wondering though is if you can buy the extra equipment yourself and then install it with the Guardian system.  That would be intriguing if others had done something like that.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Option Package Information

I thought I would post some more info that I found concerning the options packages from Ryan.

In this link if you click into the packages you can look for your 3 digit option code and go down the list confirming what comes with the package and compare. This matched what I had except that the microwave that I will be getting looks to be a model newer.  If you have the options list from your home signing you can see what the prices comparisons would be if you look in the appliances section of the options list:

This has the appliance packages with images:

The main site also has more information as well with flooring and counters:

Kristina also mentions the design area of the site as well which may help:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nest - The expensive thermostat

Here is another sweet tech tool to increase home energy efficiency.  It is elegant and pretty powerful.  I really like this one, but the $249 price tag is hard to swallow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Electricity Monitoring - Wattvision and PlotWatt

This is pretty cool tech stuff to monitor your whole house electricity use.  Wattvision is the device that reads your meter and PlotWatt is a free analytics tool that can read the information and analyze power usage even further.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Home Alarm System

Looking at the options for home alarm systems.  I had ADT before and for the last 2 years I was able to get them down to $15/month (yearly prepay) after the eye gouging they gave me when I first signed with them which I think was like $36/month.  Taking a look at a few systems but this one caught my eye from Home Security Store.

So at $8.95/month (yearly prepay) that is hard to pass up.  Granted there is the $260 cost for the wireless kit I am looking at and the $35 activation charge.  Also not sure I love the door and window sensors since they are visible but for the price and flexibility I can overlook that.  The system I had with ADT had the door sensors hidden on side of the door which was nice.  Meeting with Guardian next week too so it will be interesting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Title Insurance

I have been thinking about getting title insurance for the lot.  I was just curious if others had gotten this or not.  It is pretty expensive from what I have seen at $1K to $1.5K.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our lot

Here is where we will be building!  I like that we have a hydrant behind us and just across the street as well.  Having the lamppost there will help with lighting.

Word Verification (captcha) on Blogger

I turned off the word verification (captcha) for the posts because this was getting annoying for me on other blog sites :-)

Tip Out Trays

Looking to do these tip out trays since they would be nice right near the sink (idea from