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Let the good times roll…

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Finishing up with my basement remodel and going to start the garage next week during my kid’s Spring Break. My two side walls are not insulated. So I’m going to insulate and put up either Sheetrock or OSB for 2/3 of the garage this Spring. And the rest at a later date. 
Opinion… Sheetrock or OSB for a garage?!?!?!

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A trip to Home Depot answered my question. 1/2” OSB $10 a sheet.

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Bertogliat
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It’s much easier to screw things like hangers into OSB.

I actually screwed pieces of plywood over the sheet rock in my garage so I could hang shelving and hooks without having to worry about stud placement.

 

just make sure to mark the studs in case you need extra support at a later date.


   
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Posted by: @gator

Finishing up with my basement remodel and going to start the garage next week during my kid’s Spring Break. My two side walls are not insulated. So I’m going to insulate and put up either Sheetrock or OSB for 2/3 of the garage this Spring. And the rest at a later date. 
Opinion… Sheetrock or OSB for a garage?!?!?!

If it is a shared wall to a residence it needs to be rocked and firetaped.  If it is a free standing garage, do as you wish.

 


   
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@bertogliat 

Yeah OSB is easier to hang stuff not always worrying about studs or wall anchors for sheetrock. Just for the price I saw OSB, it's a no brainer.  Though the previous owner took studs out of the framing. So I'll replace that as well. This house was built in '98 and was rental from '06 until we bought it.  As someone who dealt with rental for over 20 years, this house overall in good shape.  I would give the inside upkeep an "A". The structure of the outside of the house a "B+". And the yard a "C-".

Found out yesterday you can paint over an electrical box and even cover it with a picture. It's suggested not to cover it with a picture, cause it can get hot and cause a fire (then why allow it to be covered). Though you can cover it. We painted over it to match the wall and not have the grey door stick out in the new guest room. 

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Posted by: @gator

@bertogliat 

Yeah OSB is easier to hang stuff not always worrying about studs or wall anchors for sheetrock. Just for the price I saw OSB, it's a no brainer.  Though the previous owner took studs out of the framing. So I'll replace that as well. This house was built in '98 and was rental from '06 until we bought it.  As someone who dealt with rental for over 20 years, this house overall in good shape.  I would give the inside upkeep an "A". The structure of the outside of the house a "B+". And the yard a "C-".

Found out yesterday you can paint over an electrical box and even cover it with a picture. It's suggested not to cover it with a picture, cause it can get hot and cause a fire (then why allow it to be covered). Though you can cover it. We painted over it to match the wall and not have the grey door stick out in the new guest room. 

We had a visible electrical panel in our basement at our old house.  Covered it with a cabinet door so it kind of looked like a linen closet type situation.

 


   
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Beauner
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How difficult is it to remove and install toilets? Looking at doing that a couple times here in the next couple weeks.

Is it worth just paying someone to install?


   
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Posted by: @beauner

How difficult is it to remove and install toilets? Looking at doing that a couple times here in the next couple weeks.

Is it worth just paying someone to install?

 

Just make sure you shut the water off first! 

 


   
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Posted by: @beauner

How difficult is it to remove and install toilets? Looking at doing that a couple times here in the next couple weeks.

Is it worth just paying someone to install?

It's not that difficult if you have the right tools and a strong back. If you're as old as I am, you'll get someone else to do it. ? 

 


   
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Posted by: @beauner

How difficult is it to remove and install toilets? Looking at doing that a couple times here in the next couple weeks.

Is it worth just paying someone to install?

It's easy, just You Tube it and you will see.  There is no reason to pay a plumber a house call that will cost you probably a $100 or more.

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Idontknow
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Posted by: @g-manpuck

Posted by: @beauner

How difficult is it to remove and install toilets? Looking at doing that a couple times here in the next couple weeks.

Is it worth just paying someone to install?

It's easy, just You Tube it and you will see.  There is no reason to pay a plumber a house call that will cost you probably a $100 or more.

 

This was about 7 years ago -- to have a plumber set a toilet cost $250 (in the cities).  Plumbers are really expensive and most won't give you an estimate for free (they'll charge you an hour's time just for the estimate).

 


   
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Posted by: @idontknow

to have a plumber set a toilet cost $250 (in the cities

That's insane.  Setting a toilet is the easiest job a plumber could do.

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Idontknow
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Posted by: @g-manpuck

Posted by: @idontknow

to have a plumber set a toilet cost $250 (in the cities

That's insane.  Setting a toilet is the easiest job a plumber could do.

 

$250 is basically the minimum trip charge.

 


   
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Posted by: @g-manpuck

Posted by: @idontknow

to have a plumber set a toilet cost $250 (in the cities

That's insane.  Setting a toilet is the easiest job a plumber could do.

$250 sounds about right even though I have and would do it myself. Nothing is cheap anymore. 

 

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HockeyBum
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I highly recommend having a friend that is a plumber.  I pay him (of course), but the "friends and family" discount is awesome.  


   
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Posted by: @hockeybum

I highly recommend having a friend that is a plumber.  I pay him (of course), but the "friends and family" discount is awesome.  

Yes... I have helped at least 3 guys on this site with building projects and odds & ends type projects. I love to help when I'm available. I've been beyond blessed and enjoy paying it forward.

 

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Posted by: @beauner

How difficult is it to remove and install toilets? Looking at doing that a couple times here in the next couple weeks.

Is it worth just paying someone to install?

Like @theskillz and @g-manpuck mentioned it's fairly easy.  Watch one or two YouTube videos and read the instructions. Plus it's cheaper to do 2 or 3 at time than one.  The hardest part is hauling the toilets in and out. Breaking them up is fun with a sledgehammer. Pile the pieces up and put them in your trash each week.

 

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Been working on and off since the start of Jan. on the house projects. Finished the downstairs kitchen back in Jan. 

KITCHEN

Split the basement living room into a smaller living room/playroom for the kids (not pictured, still a mess) and a guestroom with an updated closet.

GUEST ROOM
CLOSET

And the granddaddy my wife's new office, which use to be the guestroom.

OFFICE

Just finished putting up OSB in 2/3 of the garage today.  Waiting tell it warms up to prime. And touch up in the Gophers room (aka man cave) which use to be the wife's office as well. 

 

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My 16 year old electric KitchenAid Range is intermittently only heating the oven to about 50% and broiler is not working.  For instance display will say 425, but placing a probe inside the oven shows 245...  Element heats up and glows then turns off at 270ish, turns back on at 225/230ish.  Broiler element won't even heat (with or without oven door cracked open)

Both broiler element and main oven element test fine for continuity and measure at 38 and 43 ohms of resistance respectively.

So I replaced the thermostat, worked fine for the next meal, and the following meal is back to doing what it was doing.  The new one measuers at 1084 ohms of resistance.

Voltage measures fine at outlet, 120v across each leg, and 240v across both.  Same at the lugs and studs on the oven.  (which I could've assumed based on the fact that the stovetop works just fine)

Anything else I can check?  At this point I have to believe it is the board, and it is $800+ for a replacement control board, and there is no way I am paying $800+ for a control board on a 16 year old range.

Appliance repair places want $200+ to come look at it and I assume they are just going to check the same things I already did and tell me to replace it...


   
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Orion
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@fightclub30 

Is the temperature sensor part of the thermostat or separate?


   
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Posted by: @fightclub30

My 16 year old electric KitchenAid Range is intermittently only heating the oven to about 50% and broiler is not working.  For instance display will say 425, but placing a probe inside the oven shows 245...  Element heats up and glows then turns off at 270ish, turns back on at 225/230ish.  Broiler element won't even heat (with or without oven door cracked open)

Both broiler element and main oven element test fine for continuity and measure at 38 and 43 ohms of resistance respectively.

So I replaced the thermostat, worked fine for the next meal, and the following meal is back to doing what it was doing.  The new one measuers at 1084 ohms of resistance.

Voltage measures fine at outlet, 120v across each leg, and 240v across both.  Same at the lugs and studs on the oven.  (which I could've assumed based on the fact that the stovetop works just fine)

Anything else I can check?  At this point I have to believe it is the board, and it is $800+ for a replacement control board, and there is no way I am paying $800+ for a control board on a 16 year old range.

Appliance repair places want $200+ to come look at it and I assume they are just going to check the same things I already did and tell me to replace it...

If you are in the NW metro shoot me a PM. I know a repair person that won't screw you on the diagnose fee.  If you decide to go that route.

 


   
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Bertogliat
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We had this once on our range and it was the mother board.


   
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It's probably the fetzer valve. 


   
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Posted by: @slap-shot

It's probably the fetzer valve. 

 

come on guys!! It’s so simple… it’s all ball bearings now a days. 

 

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Posted by: @youngeagle

Posted by: @slap-shot

It's probably the fetzer valve. 

 

come on guys!! It’s so simple… it’s all ball bearings now a days. 

 

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Posted by: @orion

@fightclub30 

Is the temperature sensor part of the thermostat or separate?

Sorry, I worded that poorly.  I have replaced the temp sensor inside the stove, not the thermostat.  The thermostat is likely part of the control board.

@Idontknow I am in SW Metro

@Bertogliat That's what I am thinking, which means replacement.  $800+ on a 16 year old range doesn't make much sense to me, especially if I am not 100% sure that will fix it.

 


   
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Anyone here have knowledge of furnaces?  Ours is at least 25 years old and only runs when it feels like it.  It struggled to get through this winter, and it's just getting too old and unreliable.  It's time to bite the bullet and replace it.  We'll probably replace our A/C at the same time.  Our A/C works fine right now, but it's also at least 15 years old and runs on the old refrigerant that was phased out.

Anyway... one of the estimates I got has a "Good", "Better", "Best" option, on a sliding price scale.  The "Good" one is basically just the same kind we have now (80% efficiency), and I'm not interested in that.  The middle one is 93%, and the high one is 96%.  There is a $1500 price difference between the middle one and the high one.  I have no idea if it's worth the extra cost.  

The extra 3% doesn't seem like a lot to me, but the 96% one is the only one that specifies "two-stage heat unit with a variable capacity high efficiency blower motor".  The other two options don't mention anything about "two-stage" or high efficiency blower motor.  I have no idea what that means, and more importantly, if it's worth the extra $1500?  


   
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Norm
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We've got a new 96% furnace with the two stage heat and variable speed blower. It usually runs on low flame, but on a cold day it will run on low for a little while and then switch to high for a while and the blower does likewise. It keeps the house nice and toasty, but I can't say it's worth the price. The installer said it will only last 15 to 18 years, compared to 27 years on the old one.


   
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Posted by: @gator

Posted by: @beauner

How difficult is it to remove and install toilets? Looking at doing that a couple times here in the next couple weeks.

Is it worth just paying someone to install?

Like @theskillz and @g-manpuck mentioned it's fairly easy.  Watch one or two YouTube videos and read the instructions. Plus it's cheaper to do 2 or 3 at time than one.  The hardest part is hauling the toilets in and out. Breaking them up is fun with a sledgehammer. Pile the pieces up and put them in your trash each week.

 

Got the first one replaced last week. I got a one-piece toilet for the living room but I will probably not be doing that for the upstairs one, as getting the toilet up one flight of stairs was a pain in the ass, let alone 3 flights of stairs. 

Mostly pretty easy to remove the old one. The biggest issue was the nuts and bolts to the tank on the old toilet were so rusted we literally couldn't remove the tank from the old toilet. I think we got one of the bolts out and the other 2 were so rusted on that we couldn't get them out. The stamp on the inside of the tank was from 1975. So I guess it had a good run ? 

Overall though you guys were right. Not an overly difficult task. 

 


   
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Posted by: @hockeybum

Anyone here have knowledge of furnaces?  Ours is at least 25 years old and only runs when it feels like it.  It struggled to get through this winter, and it's just getting too old and unreliable.  It's time to bite the bullet and replace it.  We'll probably replace our A/C at the same time.  Our A/C works fine right now, but it's also at least 15 years old and runs on the old refrigerant that was phased out.

Anyway... one of the estimates I got has a "Good", "Better", "Best" option, on a sliding price scale.  The "Good" one is basically just the same kind we have now (80% efficiency), and I'm not interested in that.  The middle one is 93%, and the high one is 96%.  There is a $1500 price difference between the middle one and the high one.  I have no idea if it's worth the extra cost.  

The extra 3% doesn't seem like a lot to me, but the 96% one is the only one that specifies "two-stage heat unit with a variable capacity high efficiency blower motor".  The other two options don't mention anything about "two-stage" or high efficiency blower motor.  I have no idea what that means, and more importantly, if it's worth the extra $1500?  

As I understand it, the two-stage means the furnace is designed to operate at a lower temp while keeping the fan on. This is helpful during weather like we're having now because, at the higher temp, the furnace would run only for maybe 5 or ten minutes and then shut off. Once it shuts off, there is no air circulating in the house and the temperature in your space is not uniform.

Honestly, this can be simulated by just keeping the blower on constantly while running the furnace at the normal temp. At any rate, keeping a 1/2 - 3/4 hp blower running also represents a cost, so keep that in mind. A variable-speed motor can help reduce cost, but it's still running.

To determine the payback period for the additional $1,500, I would assume that if you go from 80% to 93% efficiency, your bill should be reduced likewise by 93 - 80 =13%. If your bill is $2,000 for the year, for example, that's a savings of $260 if you go to the higher-efficiency furnace (it uses less gas to do the same job). The payback period is then 1,500/260 = 5.8 years.

You may get an energy rebate, however, from the gas company that would help reduce the added cost.

 

 


   
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Norm
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Oh I forgot to mention, on the variable speed blower, it works the same way in the summer for A/C. If it's real hot out and the A/C has been running quite a while, the blower speeds up. This is kind of a nice feature.


   
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I'm pretty sure that if you install the 96% with a higher SEER air conditioner you can claim a tax credit up to $600.  That is something to consider up front.  The two stage burner is a feature that if your house was really cold on first start up the second stage actually burns higher BTU to warm faster.  The furnace would throughout the winter would operate mainly on the lower BTU first stage.  This is something that is common on commercial boilers when demand for heat spikes.  

 

The high efficiency blower is something like a higher end motor on the fan.  Most all 92% and above furnaces have blower speeds that are different for both heating and cooling.  So I would imagine the high efficiency comes from the motor or maybe the capacitor for start up on the motor.  

 

It's kind of like a newer vehicle, more things to make it efficient but more things electrical that could go wrong.  I know when I replace my furnace and ac this spring I am going with a 93% just to eliminate the two stage heat unit.

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For the furnace and AC I vote for the higher efficiency option.  If you can get a tax rebate for that all the better.  You will make some money up on reduced heating costs.  Not much but some. The two stage thing is more about comfort than it is about efficiency.  

The advantage is in the variable speed blower.  You will save money on electricity running this.  A couple other bonuses are the ability to keep it on low when not heating or cooling.  This will help keep the house at a stable temp and also helps filter alergens through the filter.  It's nice during pollen season.  The other thing with a variable speed motor is that it will help with AC dehumidification.  These things now have a cycle that runs slower and really condenses the water through the AC which can allow you to keep the temp warmer but feel cooler.  Faster fans end up cooling the temp down to quick to truly dehumidify the air.  

We did this when replacing our dinosaur of a furnace and AC.  The variable speed motor alone was worth the cost since it runs nearly all the time and helps keep the basement the same temp as upstairs.  This was more of a comfort than money decision but well worth it.

 

Edited to add:  You save electricity running a high efficiency motor for the same amount of time.  You may end up using more electricity overall if you run it longer.


   
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@orion I've often wondered why homes with basements don't have a simple fan and duct system that takes cold air from the basement and routes it directly into the upper floors during the summer, independent of the furnace fan. A typical furnace fan doesn't circulate enough air to solve the problem of a cold basement.

If your home has an open stairway to the basement (no door), you're basically SOL. As the upper floor is air-conditioned, cooler air just wants to fall into the basement and stay there.

A basement is like one of those open-top freezers you see in a grocery store.


   
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Posted by: @streakygopher

@orion I've often wondered why homes with basements don't have a simple fan and duct system that takes cold air from the basement and routes it directly into the upper floors during the summer, independent of the furnace fan. A typical furnace fan doesn't circulate enough air to solve the problem of a cold basement.

If your home has an open stairway to the basement (no door), you're basically SOL. As the upper floor is air-conditioned, cooler air just wants to fall into the basement and stay there.

A basement is like one of those open-top freezers you see in a grocery store.

We run the fan in the summer to balance out the temps from floor to floor.  You can open vents on the top floor wide open and close the vents in the basement most of the time to aid in temp balance.  It helps a bit.

 


   
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Orion
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@streakygopher 

Agreed. I've thought of putting in a duct just to do this


   
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With some HVAC chat... does anyone recommend an HVAC duct cleaning service in the south metro (Rosemount/Lakeville/Apple Valley) area? Should have it done.  Been in the house for two years and Lord knows when the last time it was cleaned out.

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Posted by: @bertogliat

Posted by: @streakygopher

@orion I've often wondered why homes with basements don't have a simple fan and duct system that takes cold air from the basement and routes it directly into the upper floors during the summer, independent of the furnace fan. A typical furnace fan doesn't circulate enough air to solve the problem of a cold basement.

If your home has an open stairway to the basement (no door), you're basically SOL. As the upper floor is air-conditioned, cooler air just wants to fall into the basement and stay there.

A basement is like one of those open-top freezers you see in a grocery store.

We run the fan in the summer to balance out the temps from floor to floor.  You can open vents on the top floor wide open and close the vents in the basement most of the time to aid in temp balance.  It helps a bit.

 

Summer: I close the basement vents, keep the upstairs vents open and run the fans counter clock-wise when needed. 

Winter: I open the basement vents, keep the upstairs open and run the fans clock-wise if needed. I also have 2 big sliding doors on both levels that face the south and when the sun is out, open the curtains and heats the house as well. 

 

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HockeyBum
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@gator Duct cleaning is a waste of money, IMO, and I've read several studies that back that up.  It does almost nothing to improve your air quality.  Just change your filters.


   
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@hockeybum 

Thanks for you input. I could change my filters monthly, that's how dirty they get. And the amount of dust on flat surfaces like the entertainment center is crazy, but I'm OCD. So to some, it's just natural. And some of the return air vents always has dust on them as well.

I know in all the social media promos these vent cleaning companies show are the worst of the worst.  Hauling away numerous bags and making you think almost every house it like that. My furnace is old, they original for 1998. I have had a couple HVAC guys out for service reasons. One (salesman as well) said I need to replace it now and the others feel I have 3-5 more years.  Who really knows... A furnace is going go when it wants to go.

Keep your stick on the ice...


   
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Beauner
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Posted by: @gator

With some HVAC chat... does anyone recommend an HVAC duct cleaning service in the south metro (Rosemount/Lakeville/Apple Valley) area? Should have it done.  Been in the house for two years and Lord knows when the last time it was cleaned out.

 

Metro Duct Cleaners does a lot of work in that area. I used to play softball against one of the big wigs in their company all the time. They seem reasonably priced and have gotten great reviews from everyone I know that has used them.

 


   
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Chill Kessel
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I'm looking to add central air, replace the furnace, and probably replace the water heater. Ideally all at once. If anyone has a recommendation for a company that does good work for a reasonable price, it would be greatly appreciated.


   
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HockeyBum
(@hockeybum)
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@chill-kessel 

We just had a new furnace and A/C installed on Monday.  We went with Priority Heating & Cooling.  They weren't the cheapest, but we went with them for a few reasons.  First, the owner (James) lives in my neighborhood.  I like the piece of mind that if anything goes wrong, it's likely to get taken care of quickly.  More important though, he spent about an hour with us when he was over giving us an estimate last month and really explained things in detail and didn't try to upsell us on things we didn't need.  We got the estimate before he left our house that day.  The other companies who we got estimates from were there about 5 minutes and left, then e-mailed estimates several days later.  On Monday, James himself was there all day for the installation and not just some random crew, which I really liked.

I don't know where you live, but they are based in the east metro.


   
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Slap Shot
(@slap-shot)
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Anyone have a "swear by" laptop backpack they'd recommend?  I don't care if it's leather or fabric, but I'd prefer to keep it <$200 and hopefully it's available via Amazon since a lot of products available at a store in the U.S. won't be available here.

Thanks.


   
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Greyeagle
(@greyeagle)
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Love my North Face. 

https://www.thenorthface.com/en-us/bags-and-gear/backpacks/mens-backpacks-c298772/recon-backpack-pNF0A52SH?color=KX7&utm_content=ecomm&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=US%20%7C%20all%20%7C%20Hybrid%20%7C%20SHOP%20-%20AUT%20~%20All%20-%20Med%20-%20LIA%20-%20Smart%20Shopping&utm_term=PRODUCT_GROUP&gclid=CjwKCAjwvdajBhBEEiwAeMh1U5RfZJCXxo-PDE-SeoJyxDYwe6Ap_NSTNJtAKsgNWgcbQ2uOEBIU8RoCKrQQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

“When your best friend is the son of God, you get tired of losing every argument.”

― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


   
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streakygopher
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Posted by: @slap-shot

Anyone have a "swear by" laptop backpack they'd recommend?  I don't care if it's leather or fabric, but I'd prefer to keep it <$200 and hopefully it's available via Amazon since a lot of products available at a store in the U.S. won't be available here.

Thanks.

Check out the Everki Atlas on Amazon. I was using a Northface Surge Transit and lost it. Found out NF no longer make the Transit model, which was about 37L and could fit a 17 in. laptop which i need for CAD. They do still make the  Surge (no transit), which is 32L but it won't fit a 17 in laptop...I tried.

 

The Everki model I referenced is about 150 bucks on Amazon, and it can handle a 3-day overnight plus your laptop if you pack smart (I use one small packing cube that I remove if I use the pack for a business call).

 

The Everki also cinches down tight an fits under a plane seat. It's a nice pack.

 


   
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Chill Kessel
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I use this one and have always been happy with it

Wenger Legend ScanSmart Laptop Backpack - Black/Gray (swissgear.com)


   
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Slap Shot
(@slap-shot)
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Thanks ge and streaky.  I'm looking into both as well as the Surge and will likely make a decision shortly.  My laptop is only 15" so I have some flexibility on size.

 

[edit] just saw Chill's post now - guess I'm doing a bit more research. ? 

Chill - how do you like the function that says you can easily unzhip the laptop compartment for TSA check thereby avoiding having to fully remove the device at checkpoints? From the photos at your link that does look like a nice feature.


   
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Chill Kessel
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It makes security go faster and a little less hassle. but I don't travel that much. It would be more valuable for someone that flies a lot.


   
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