Houses and Home Ownership


I have a story that is not quite to that extent:

There is a drilled well on my property for which no record exists. The company that drilled it no longer exists, the town has no paperwork for it, and it’s not anywhere in the DEC register of residential wells.

I literally had to find an obit of the original owners, track down their children, call them up, and say “hey I bought your childhood house and I’m wondering where the hell the physical wellhead is.”

Turns out, 85 feet underground with no surface marker at all.

Super fun stuff!


Huh… Unless the house was old enough to predate common central AC that’s bizarre.


The house, like all good houses, had central HVAC…


A lot of modern houses don’t have central AC, especially in northern parts of the US.

I remember when my parents built their current house back when I was in high school and college. I told them to put central AC in, but they thought it was an unnecessary expense.

Fast forward to last year, and my mom paid a fortune to have it retrofitted in.


Retrofitted central AC is rough though. Usually the houses aren’t set up for it, and you have to make severe compromises in terms of efficiency or cost. Having modern ducted HVAC was a huge point in favor of any house I was looking at buying upstate.

Central air is default in most middle-class+ suburbs in Michigan, if the burb was built after the mid 70s, Can’t speak for other northern states though. Granted, Michigan summers are hot even pretty far north.

I do wish my apartment had central ducted AC instead of three separate zone units, but that is actually really rare.

The house I spent high school in had both fully ducted central HVAC and an attic fan. It was sublime.


A lot of places in the northeast, rather than fitting central ducting, install ductless mini-splits. Substantially more efficient and relatively cost effective when you look at what’s involved.

Of course, you have to have an ugly-ass air unit in every room, but hey, it works.

I thought about the ductless route when I was considering an air-source heat pump for heating, but we already have ductwork so I might as well just stick with that.


If your welder is 115V then it almost certainly requires 20Amp service. Sounds like your garage service is only 15A, so you need an electrician to wire a 20A circuit. Things that need 115V/20A should have a cord where one prong is turned 90 degrees, but they don’t put these on the cheap hobbiest welders because they’d get a million returns from people that don’t know what the fuck to do with those. If you’ve ever looked at an outlet that had a weird T shaped hole for one of the prongs, that’s a 20A outlet. It’ll take a standard 15A plug or the 20A plug with the one turned prong.

But if you want to get into welding, I’d highly recommend investing in having a 230V/50A circuit as you’ll quickly out grow what even a 115V/20A circuit can provide. 230V is what all the decent welders require.

BUUUUUT before you do that, you should take a welding class at a local community college, they’ll have much more awesome welders you can use with the proper electrical service for them.

The electrical outlet standards are called NEMA, there’s more than you thought possible.


Since we’re on the topic of home A/C, I have a question:

My townhouse has HVAC for all four floors and ceiling fans in the bedrooms. I love it, especially having grown up in a house without AC at all. That being said, there is only one temperature control for the entire house. As a result, the top floor tends to be much hotter and the lower floors tend to be almost chilly in the summer.

How easy or hard would it be to get a temperature control for multiple floors? Is that even possible?


You need to call an HVAC guy and ask. They may be able to install dampers and controls to do what you want.

HOWEVER, a cheap thing to try first is set the HVAC fan to circulate constantly. Even when the AC isn’t on it’ll keep pushing relatively colder air up stairs. You’ll need to change your filters more often, like once a month.


Yeah, my mom used a combination of ducted AC (she had some attic space and wall space for thin ducts that could be retrofitted) and ductless mini-splits, depending on the room. The house fortunately was designed to allow air to flow pretty freely between rooms on the main floor, so that retrofit wasn’t too crazy, if more expensive than what proper central AC would’ve been.

For whatever reason, it’s not in New England, except for maybe houses built in the last 10-20 years or so. Maybe we’re just cheap-ass Yankee bastards up here. My neighborhood consists mostly of houses built in the early 90’s and, for whatever reason, it looks like my house one of only a few that have central AC. I see quite a few window units in the other houses during the summer.

Admittedly, I didn’t have AC in the house I grew up in, which was built in the late 70’s, so I got mostly used to dealing with the heat in the summer, though I’ve been spoiled by having central AC since then. Even now, I tend to keep the temperature pretty warm during the day at about 78 F, though I turn it down to about 74 at bedtime.

Yep, that’s a problem, though if the house happens to be built just right, you can do some sort of combo system of mini ducts and mini-splits.

There is also a mini duct system I looked at for her that’s often used in historical buildings as the ducts and openings in the walls are very small. The HVAC folks we talked to recommended against it as it was very expensive and was mostly aimed specifically at historical buildings or other situations where it wasn’t feasible to use mini-splits.


Pretty sure you can get servo-controlled dampers and an integrated multizone control box. But it would be semi-custom work, and I have no idea how much that costs.


The main reasons I like ducted systems are:

  1. Central dust control
  2. Silent operation
  3. Better overall airflow in the house when doors are closed
  4. Central humidity control


I’ve been watching a lot of This Old House and what I’ve learned is that fucking everything in regards to a house is “custom”. :stuck_out_tongue:



The exception is when you’re in a burb that has exactly four distinct kinds of houses. You can usually get a contractor who has standard kit/plans for each of those four.


Only if it’s a new development or a HOA, cause people start customizing immediately.


Think the class is worth it? I’m not looking to weld cars and honestly I’m pretty sure being good at omputers will work out for me so I’m not hunting a backup career,(I’m typing this from the cloud summit in Times Square) I just like making stuff and find stuff make of metal super durable and just like better. That said the opportunity to actually use a welder that doesn’t trip the breaker every 30 seconds has its appeal.


I’m taking a class right now and I’m loving it. It’s also frustrating as all get out, fillet welds are hard. I’m not going for a career in welding, I’m a computer person too. I just want to learn welding to work on my car projects. That said my spouse is already asking me to weld up some stuff for her garden. It’s just wicked fun to stick metal together with electricity. So yeah, I’d definitely recommend taking a class, you can learn so many little trick from an experienced welder. I’m taking a stick welding class.


Fair enough I’m sold. Though the nearest trade school based on a quick phone Google seems too far so we’ll see


Depending on how big your house is and how fancy the air handler is, expensive to VERY expensive. My father in law sells HVAC among other things for a living and a system like that is considered top of the line equipment not usually in normal single family homes, minimum $2000 iirc though I think I might be undershooting. The other way to do it is to have a separate unit, either a mini-split with the wall unit or another full system outside the building hooked into a discrete duct system for each zone. Again, expensive.


I strongly recommend it. George has been sharing some of his practice welds with me recently, and even over the course of a day, I’ve been seeing pretty impressive improvement in his welding.