Saturday, November 11, 2023

Saturday Snippets (of thought, this time)


If you stopped by yesterday, you'll know that we had a plumbing emergency on Thursday evening.  Thankfully, our insurer (USAA) was on the ball, and authorized an immediate visit by Servicemaster.  Their technicians were here within an hour of our lodging our claim, and stayed all day, measuring water contamination, removing baseboards, drilling holes in drywall and cutting away certain parts of it, getting rid of wet insulation, and preparing the house for dehumidifying.  Their machines are roaring away right now, and will be for a few days yet, drying everything and making sure no mold or other problems will remain.  (I must admit, I had no idea how much work is involved in drying out after a leak like this.  In my country of origin, South Africa, most houses are brick-built with plastered walls.  There are very few framed houses with drywall, like most homes in the USA.  In the former water can't get inside the walls, and cleanup mostly involves drying things, replastering if necessary [it's usually not], and repainting.  Simpler all round.)

After everything's dry, it'll be at least a couple of weeks worth of remediation.  The techs ripped up a couple of hundred square feet of laminate flooring, and part of the tiled floor in the kitchen will need repair and/or replacement;  and there's new drywall to fix the parts taken out, plus patching and repainting.  I'm grateful our insurance policy is a good one;  without it, we'd be stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in remediation and repair costs.  As it is, we pay our deductible of $1,000 (which our emergency reserve fund will cover - yet more proof that taking the time and trouble to build up such a reserve is worthwhile), and the rest is not our problem.  USAA's premiums may be higher than some of their rivals', but dealing with them has always been straightforward on the few occasions we've had to make a claim, and in our experience they're very quick to respond.  Peace of mind is worth the cost, IMHO!

Insurance doesn't cover the cost of repairing or replacing our dishwasher, so we'll be looking at options over the next few days.  I'm sure we can repair the one we've got, but it's a very basic unit that came with the house.  It looks to be 15-20 years old, and its internal trays are showing the passage of time - some rust, a few missing posts and brackets, and so on.  We'll look at new and used alternatives, and see what's available in our area.  I know new machines are hobbled by the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned EPA regulations, but I understand there are a few makes and models that get around them to be pretty efficient (and we can always add boosters to the detergent to make them more so).  If any readers have recommendations for current-model dishwashers, please let us know in Comments and provide a link if possible.  If we learn anything interesting during our search, I'll put up a blog article about it.

Our two cats are NOT. HAPPY.  Their nice, peaceful domestic world has been trampled all over by strangers, parts of their floor first got wet and then went away (noisily), mommy and daddy have been so distracted that they haven't given them their usual care and attention, and they don't know what's going on.  They want it all to STOP. RIGHT. NOW.  One can't blame them, of course, but they're just going to have to put up with it for a few weeks.  (One problem is going to be to stop Ashbutt, who was described by Bob of the FarmFamily as a "paws-on helping cat" when he gave him to us, from trying to get into all the work going on.  He's intensely curious, and wants to fiddle with everything.  Not a good idea when power tools, glue and paint are involved!)

You'll understand that with all that going on, I didn't have time to prepare my regular Saturday Snippet post.  Please amuse yourselves with the bloggers listed in my sidebar.  I'll try to have a Sunday Morning Music post as scheduled tomorrow.  (Hmmm . . . water music, perhaps?  Something about drying out?  I don't know if there are songs about plumbing, drywall and laminate flooring, but I'll check!)

More later.



NobobyExpects said...

Glad to see you have an insurance that works with minimal fuss.

Of course, that is balanced by cats making fuss...

Justin_O_Guy said...

In my very limited experience in the world of Fixing the dishwasher I found the cost of fixing one way too close to the cost of new. If you can even get the parts. I think you would be ahead to start with looking at the cost of new and go from there.

new dishwasher cost

Pictures and prices pop up.

A trustworthy, responsive insurance company is better than a low payment when stuff gets ugly.

Parklake guy said...

Our washer and dryer died within several weeks of each other. We've been told from several will appliance dealers that new ones will last less than 10 years.
Looking at the web and other sources we ended up with Speed Queen. This company is found in laudromats, where longevity is necessary.
Like your USAA pricier than the competition, but worth it in my mind,

Orvan Taurus said...

Not exactly your situation, but Flanders & Swan's 'The Gasmn Cometh' might be worth considering.

Elentari said...

For tomorrow: well, there's always Handel's Water Music! And the song "Down in the Flood" has been recorded by various artists, including Bob Dylan...

Jerry (USAA member) said...

Get the low end Bosch dishwasher. German company. Best and quietest on the market. Just got one in our winter home in Tucson. Old one sounded like a freight train. This new Bosch we cannot even hear.

Wayne Olsen said...

Sympathy ... Your house will be hot and noisy for several weeks and the cats will not be happy.
We had a washing machine flood our house several months ago and our insurance (USAA) was great. From time of discovery (6AM) until the remediation crew arrived was 90 minutes. They did a good job of initial cleanup and were back checking on the progress of drying out about every other day.
The drying out process was arduous. The noise drove the pets right up the wall and after three weeks they were most grateful when the machines finally went away.
As for replacing your dishwasher, we went through that experience last month and finally found an older model washer, still new in box that had never been installed. Less expensive and works fine. Over the years we have used soap powder and pellets in the dishwasher and found they all leave residue in the inner working of the machine that causes the machine to break down. We are now using only liquid dishwasher soap and are hoping for the best.
You have several weeks of cosmic disruption but will (hopefully) have your house back for Christmas.
Good luck and keep your avid followers in the loop.

JWM said...

When our dishwasher went out a couple years ago we asked ourselves how often we really used it, and, more importantly, if we really needed the thing. It didn't take much discussion to determine that the cupboard space we could gain was more important than the machine we seldom used. So we ditched the dishwasher, and put in a couple of sliding shelves. Of course, on the occasions when we have a big party, it means spending some time at the sink washing dishes, pots, and pans. But that doesn't happen all that often. No regrets.


RCPete said...

I commented on the 2014 Frigidaire in yesterday's post. For what it's worth, our experiences with non-dishwasher appliances from Whirlpool have been less than satisfactory, so that's one data point.

My wife looked at the Whirlpool (before we had a disaster with a WP freezer) when we were shopping, and thought that the silverware rack was too small for our needs. We run the washer every other day, and it usually comes out to 25-30 implements. An eyes-on look at and in the machines should be done if at all possible.

Try to get one with a stainless interior. Our water is slightly crunchy, and we find throwing in a cleaning tablet (Affresh, from Home Depot) once a month moves that crud to the filter. With our non-chlorinated water, we've also found that Cascade gel works best for us. I get our supply from periodic Costco runs.

Anonymous said...

"Eighteen Inches of Rain" Ian Tyson
"Rains in Africa" Toto
"Mandolin Rain" Bruce Hornsby and the Range [but not the dish washer]
The "Water Music"


edtheham said...

My son bought a Cove dishwasher. It is VERY expensive but VERY nice. Comes with a 5 year warranty, 6 if they install it. Extremely quiet to run. So much so that there is a red light that shines on the floor to let you know it is running.

Miele (spelling) was another one, but it wasn't in stock.

We love Kitchenaide, but they aren't as good as in previous years, but they still seem to be pretty good. Price point is a lot better. I think that Whirlpool makes Kitchenaid if that helps.

Good luck. Seriously, water and houses don't mix. It is a constant battle.

Dog Mama said...

Low end appliances always end up costing more in the long run. Electrolux DW to replace the cheap Whirlpool that lasted less than 5 years, and it’s never had a problem, steel inside and very quiet and now at least 12 years old. Same for our washer, another Whirlpool mistake. One month after warranty retired had to put a new gadget in it ( I think it was a solenoid?) which cost half again what we paid for it. A year later the motherboard fried, most likely from a generator power surge during our 12 day ice storm power outage. Replacement part was more than we paid for it. Speed Queen it is, and it’s worth every penny. Should’ve listened to the trusty sales guy when I bought the Whirlpool, which only lasted about 2-1/2 years. Didn’t think about unplugging the Whirlpool or using a surge protector, but there ya go. Speed Queen is straight up a washing machine, no fancy computer junk to worry about.

Die Moldau is a favorite of mine, from a trickle to a torrent. Long listen but it tells a story 😊

David Spence said...

Second the Bosch recommendation! Whatever extra it might cost is more than made up in dependability and quietness. After owning two in two different houses, I could never choose any other brand. Best of luck!

NobobyExpects said...

Miele's appliances average lifetime in Europe is 20 years.

AEG is another good German brand.

Craig in TX said...

I will also recommend the Bosch dishwasher. Pay for quality upfront and you'll save in the long run. We use Cascade with it and have great results.

Since Speed Queen was mentioned, I will also say that I love our Speed Queen washer and dryer. No frills and it works! When I was researching washers online, in the comments quite often I would just see "Speed Queen". This happened in the comment section of several different washers I looked at.

Also USAA is the best. We had to replace our roof and everything fell into place without a hitch. My neighbor is still fighting with his home insurance company.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read of your USAA experience - our water heater saga, about which I commented earlier - was the antithesis of yours. From the beginning, although we were in Texas, everyone in USAA we spoke with was in Florida, and none were native English speakers. They were inundated with hurricane claims at the time and we were not their priority. The people they set us up with to do the immediate work in Texas were also not native English speakers. We took care of replacing the water heater ourselves, and that was done quickly and efficiently. We had those massive, noisy fans and dehumidifiers too, from the USAA affiliated contractors - and said dehumidifiers leaked and further damaged the carpet.

Although we had USAA for our entire married life, and my husband grew up with them, we were extremely disappointed with all aspects of their response and 'service.' We've considered changing insurers, but from my online reading it seems none of the other companies are much better. We've even considered getting rid of homeowner insurance entirely, now that we have no mortgage and our home is so much smaller. Our sole real concern is fire, because we live in a wooden house in the middle of the woods, although neither of us smoke and the area is not in a drought. So we abide for now but have been considering our options.

Although you do not like to deal with racial issues on your blog, I think it is important to note that since USAA has expanded to cover anyone with the most tenuous connection to the US military, simultaneous with the military going diverse and woke, so too has USAA. Every advertisement features and glorifies women and non-Whites. Whenever we need to speak to someone on the phone at USAA we get someone who is audibly non-White, compared to our experiences with them in the past.

Quite frankly, they are no longer a company which shares our values or which we want to support with our dollars.

Old NFO said...

Concur on the Bosch... sigh

Anonymous said...

Like JEM above, my spouse and I ditched the dishwasher and converted that volume to cabinet space. We don't miss the dishwasher, it's use of electricity, the noise, or having to handle dishes multiple times.
Your circus, your monkeys, but I recommend conversion to cabinet space.
USAA removed water damage coverage when one of the sons renewed house insurance recently. They did honor the claim just submitted and did treat him okay.

JohninMd.(HELP!) said...

We'd be in real trouble if the dishwasher died - cuz that's ME! Sink, soap, elbow grease....

Plague Monk said...

My wife and I have been very pleased with USAA, although the recent rate increases hurt a bit. My parents turned us onto them some 20 years or so ago(Dad, my wife and I are veterans). Mom tried really hard to get my brother, who never served, into it, but they refused to make "just one exception".

As to the dishwasher issue, we tend to let our cats do the pre-wash, and rinse them off in the laundry room sink. Also, paper plates and plastic utensils are your friends.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the recommendation. If I should wed a member of the military I will be sure to consider USAA for my insurance needs.

Scott K said...

I tore the last dishwasher out 10 years ago. Put in a shelf, moved the microwave off the counter and underneath is pet food storage bins. Washing dishes for 2 is a minor chore and often enough it works out better.

glasslass said...

I owned a large 2 story 110 year old house that I ripped 3 rooms into 1 for a kitchen. Finished for less than 2 years. Clear, bright sunny day with friends over for dinner. Sudden high winds and downpour, micro burst tornado, took out a 200 year old tree and there went the kitchen. Service master came in and with all the damage both up and down it took them almost 18 months to complete everything. When they brought everything back it was amazing the things that disappeared. Do Not Sign the Check releasing the final payment without everything done. Small, big no matter. They had a 7 small thing punch list to finish but promised it would be done in the next week. I was still waiting for them when I sold the house 10 years later. Second tornado in 2020 same thing happened with same company but different owners.

As far as dishwashers I had the GE Elite. I wouldn't buy another but Bosch would be #1 and Miele (sp) would be next.

Good luck and most contractors are use to animals. First tornado had 2 cats and dogs. Life went on.

Anonymous said...

We had a similar experience all the way around. We had the connection to a water filter come undone one morning, it flooded most of the house. We didn’t have to tear out drywall, but all of the non-tile flooring was destroyed, including some oak flooring. The paint came off all of the trim too. We also had USAA and they took very good care of us. The flood remediation guys brought about 20 fans and a half dozen dehumidifiers in, and it sounded like we were living on a runway. It’s not an experience I want to have again. Oh, and we had a hail storm later the same year that destroyed the roof and totaled two cars.

When our second dishwasher died, we spent extra on a Bosch, and have had very good results.

— Doug