We are in the middle of a Lighting Renaissance. The incandescent bulb is on its deathbed, earlier-Gen CFL lightbulbs have failed us, and LEDs are $50/bulb. Grumble, Grumble, Grumble. When we get to rebirth we will have great light that uses very little energy and produces little waste in the form of heat. Meanwhile, we have confusion, high prices, and disappointment. Here are a few tips to navigate current lighting options.
LED vs. CFL Lightbulbs
5 Random Tools We Like
These are five, universal tools that everyone can use. Enjoy chores made easy! 1) Autobit screwdriver from Woodcraft in Kentwood or online. 2) LED Flashlights - buy yourself a 3 pack and stash them around the house. One place I keep one is in my dresser, another is the junk drawer in the kitchen. Another clever spot to stash one is at the electrical box. When the lights go out, I know where to find one. Here is an example from Amazon. 3) Folding Ladder - Little Giant or I bought a simple Werner version at Menards for $89. Here it is on Amazon. 4) Basic blow torch - My primary purpose for this is as fire starter. Pistol grip is easiest ($25ish) or the old school valve that you'll use a flint sparker to start is the manliest for $8ish. You can buy the propane canisters at any hardware store. 5) No clog rakes by True Temper - cushy handle prevents blisters and tine design saves the hassle of releasing leave clumps from the tines. Buy on Amazon or at a local hardware store. Bonus Tool: Log Tote A log carrier allows you to carry more, stay clean yourself, and not have to sweep your floors after you bring logs in the house to start a fire. Inexpensive + Smart = Cool. You can buy it on Amazon. Fun note: This content was shared on the final LIVE episode of the Thompson Remodeling Home Improvement Show on Newsradio WOOD 1300 & 106.9 on 9/3/11 www.woodradio.com
Deck Maintenance ABCs
I heard a funny deck story from a client last week. It's summed up with this quote from him, "I should've just handed him [13 yr old son] $250 and done it myself." There were swirls all over the deck from power washing with too much pressure, stain on the vinyl siding up top, and stain on blue stone from lack of drip protection. This week another client told me about how her father-in-law power washed and stained their deck while they were out of town a few years back. Her comment, "There is stain on the siding, but can you tell Dad he did a bad job? I guess we got what we paid for..."
5 Plumbing Tips You Need to Know
Last week on the Home Improvement Show, Pat, Sandie and I did a segment on 10 Common Plumbing Tips and we rated them based on how practical, beneficial, and probable people are to actually benefit from these tips. Here is my list of the 5 essential tips, nothing more:
How to Calculate Bark Mulch
It's time to put a refresher coat of bark mulch on your landscape beds. You make the call to the "mulch man" and he asks, how much mulch (wood chips) do you need? You freeze and panic. You ask, how much do most people need? He says, it depends, but our truck has a minimum order charge of 6 yards to include delivery. Most people order 6-8 yards. How many do you want? You think to yourself...I live in a big house and I have a lot of landscaping....and you say, "I'll take 10 yards please." After all, you wouldn't want him coming back to bring you 2 yards if you were short and then you'd have to pay for another 6 yards! You end up only needing 6 yards and there you are with 4 yards of wood chips keeping you from parking in your garage for a month while you try to play it cool with neighbors and invite them to enjoy your benevolence and come get some mulch from you. Hey, I've done it, you've done it...everyone does it. I will help you with this right now.
Decking Materials - Q & A
Q: I listen to you show on Saturdays and we are in the process of redoing our outside deck. The current deck is “wood” and has been up since the house was built 21 yrs ago. We would like to replace the deck and at the same time expand the size and change the location of the stairs...The materials used would depend on the cost and durability of the product.
2011 Energy Tax Credit Link
Have you reviewed your home improvement projects done in 2010 for eligible Energy Tax Credits?
Wall Around My Furnace
Listener Q: I don't want to look at my ugly furnace or water heater. I want to build a wall around them. How close can I put it?
Radon In Your Home
**Check out a podcast of an interview Ben did on this topic on West Michigan's Morning News with Gary Allen & Steve Kelly at 8:07 on 1/19/2011 Podcast Link