As our home tour explains, we use the back of our house as our primary entrance since that’s where the driveway is and we can use our sunroom as a mudroom rather than entering into our tiny front hall. That’s been just loads of fun this terrible winter because it means we have to keep both the front and back shoveled (front for the mailman and because we’re legally required to shovel the sidewalk in front of our house, back to, like, actually use). It’s also confusing when we give people directions because we don’t have an address at the back for them to type into GPS (the driveway actually accesses from an entirely different street than our front main address is on). But generally, we’ve like using the back.
One thing that bothered me from the moment we pulled into the driveway for the Open House was that giant satellite dish right next to the back door, though:
I think everyone can agree that satellite dishes are not attractive. They are tolerable when you are actually using them, and when you have put them somewhere as low-profile as possible. When they don’t meet these criteria — like when you don’t actually have satellite TV and they’re mounted almost on top of your main entrance — then that’s a different story. Sam claimed that he didn’t really notice it, but enough guests had remarked, “oh, do you have satellite?” that I knew it was catching everyone’s attention.
We have a lot of work to do to up the curb appeal of our house (I’ll do a longer post about our outdoor plans if the snow ever melts — apparently it takes a long time for five feet of snow to disappear!), but I knew that removing the satellite dish was a necessary and hopefully pretty easy step.
So how did we do it? First of all, let’s get a close up on the offender with this super helpful diagram I created:
The dish is bolted to a mounting plate, which in turn is bolted into the siding of the house. It also has two smaller mounting plates for the supporting arms. The cable from the dish into the house runs out the bottom of the dish and down the inside of the corner post on our siding, before entering the house through a small hole in the siding behind a drain pipe.
The first step was cutting the cable. We used some wire cutters we had on hand to cut it where it exits the house behind the drain pipe, and then pulled it up through the siding post so that the full length of it was free and unattached to our house. We didn’t want to mess around with pulling the cable out of our house, but the little nub that remains is totally hidden behind the gutter and is completely safe since it’s not connected to anything on either end.
The big challenge was that we had no idea how heavy the satellite dish was, and hence how unwieldy/dangerous it would be when we removed the bolts and had to support the full weight ourselves. The dish is up high enough that we had to work on a ladder, and at the time only had a terrible rickety one. We’ve since invested in a better one so we could do things like this during the Winter Without Mercy or End:
But we undertook this project in the fall when we’d never heard of ice dams and thought winter would be a peaceful and relaxing time, and we were using an old unstable ladder left behind by our seller.
I don’t have a lot of photos of the process, because it involved Sam standing on the ladder and unscrewing the bolts (we used a wrench, but if you had the right size socket for a socket wrench that would work ten million times better) while I balanced precariously on the patio railing to try to support the weight of the satellite dish as the bolts came out one-by-one. I was pretty nervous that when the dish finally came free it would knock me right off the railing, so we pulled the car up beside the patio so that if I fell I would fall on the roof of the car and thus much less far. It’s moments like these when we wonder if we’re really qualified to be homeowners….
Here’s one photo I did snap before we got into the heart of it. We started by unscrewing the arms from the main body of the dish, and then moved on to removing the bolts attaching the satellite dish to the main mounting plate. (Note: this photo shows Sam trying to detach the arms from the mounting plates rather than detach them from the satellite dish, but we realized that detaching them from the dish would be much faster and then when the dish was safely down we could take our time on the mounting plates).
When we got to the final few bolts, we switched jobs so that I was unscrewing the bolts and Sam was ready to “catch” the dish. Fortunately when it finally did come free, Sam was able to support it even from his precarious ladder perch, and guide it to the patio. It really was not as heavy as we feared it would be.
At that point, I took over the project and Sam went off to start raking. Nothing like a Saturday spent doing yardwork to make you feel like an adult.
Because the plates were screwed directly into the siding, they would leave big holes if I removed them entirely. So instead, once I removed the plates I just screwed the bolts back in to keep the holes covered. You can see where the two plates used to be and it’s now just two small bolts per mounting plate:
That left the main mounting plate. We debated leaving it because the bolts were really hard to get to, but ultimately I decided that if we were going to do this we should do it right. I did go out and buy a socket for our socket wrench because it was impossible to get our normal wrench into the crevices of the plate. I bought one of those really long sockets so that it could easily slip into the nooks and crannies of the plate. Well worth taking the time to run out for the socket, and frankly we should have done it right away — it was so much faster than the regular wrench.
Once I’d removed the main plate, I screwed the bolts back in just like for the smaller plates, leaving me with this:
And it’s definitely better than the original look! With spring in sight we’re starting to have the yard on our mind again (beyond simply triaging emergencies like 8-inch thick ice dams), and I’m so glad we took care of this simple project already!
(Sharing at Whimsy Wednesday)