Debugging the House

February 08, 2011

As a software developer I am familiar with the concept of debugging new code. As a new home owner, by which I mean the owner of a brand new house, I am learning that construction has a debugging phase too.

Our house came with a one year warranty and I am now convinced this is so that we can see the house in action during each of the four seasons. So far we've tested the house in extreme cold and snow - and discovered that the insulation distribution in the attic isn't quite correct. In the spring we'll get to test it during rain storms and run off. Over the summer we'll endure the 100º days of July and August, and next autumn we'll see how it holds up against pollen and dust.

Throughout the year we'll be stressing the stairs, floors, cabinets, lights, plumbing, doors and windows through normal daily use. Unlike software we can't test it in a beta environment prior to actually using it. Houses go from development (construction) to production (people living in them) overnight. Of course this isn't the first house ever built, nor is it the first house our builder created, so there is some expectation that it was done correctly. Still there will be a few bugs that need addressing.

It'll always be a version 1.0.x house. Hopefully we won't have to increment any more than the maintenance release portion of that number, e.g., 1.0.2 or 1.0.3. (Although if the shower leak is back we might have a minor release update to 1.1.0.)

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.