Posts Tagged ‘home improvement’

I just installed a new (old/ reclaimed) front door.

Front door after. Left swing inwards. We got this door in very rough shape from a neighbor for $40. After a lot of scraping, sanding, patching, wood putty/ bondo, and new paint, it looks natural in its new home!

Front door before. Right swing inwards.
Ugly old paint and lots of glass as a potential security risk.

Along with my new roof, I just installed a Solatube skylight. Our bathroom is the only room in the house with no windows. It had one originally, but someone covered it up with a tub-surround years ago. The room is a cave. Even in the middle of the day, you need to turn on the light. So I thought it would be an ideal application of a small tubular skylight. Now it’s bright enough that we only need the light in the mornings and at night. Hopefully we can recoup the money in energy savings, but it will take some time. I went with Solatube and not Suntunnel by Velux or another brand because from everything I’ve read and seen, Solatube is the best. I was certainly impressed with the quality of their product. The inside of the metal tubing is like a mirror! I thought it would just be painted silver or something, but it is literally a mirror. Plus they have good customer service. The day I got home and opened the box, I found that the dome had been cracked in shipping. I called and they were very nice over the phone and I received a new dome in two weeks, free of charge. I got the more expensive model because you can take a 30% tax credit this year. So really, the $300 model is less expensive than the $250 model that does not qualify for the credit. Here are the before and after pictures. Each picture was taken around noon without a flash. Keep in mind this is November in the Northern hemisphere and the Solatube is on the North face of the roof. I imagine it will be brighter come summertime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate change. Does it exist? Yes. Can we do something about it? Maybe. What the world needs now (besides love, as they say) is concerted action. We need to educate people on the true consequences of their actions, and what they can do to reduce their impact on the planet. For a few things you can do individually, check these out:

1) Live close to work & play. I know that for many people, they are settled in to where they are living. But the average American only lives in a house for seven years. So you still may be able to do this at some point in the future. Look at where you live now, and how far you commute. Can you live closer to where you work? Can you get a new job closer to where you live? When my wife and I were buying our first home, we took this into consideration. We decreased her commute time from 30 minutes to 20 minutes, and I was close enough to ride my bike to work most days.

2) Ride a bike. If you are physically able to ride a bike to do short errands, do it. Many car trips in the U.S. are for distance of less than a mile. Have to run down to the drugstore for something small? Take a bike. This alone will reduce your carbon footprint a great deal. Plus it may be quicker. What? you ask incredulously. Yes. My commute was 12 minutes by car and 7 minutes by bike…because of all the traffic. I can always go to the front of the line at a ed light, and speed by cars that are bumper to bumper.

3) Get an energy audit for your home. Many companies that deal in windows, insulation, or heating will offer these for free. A technician will come in and go around your house check for leaks. Not leaks from water in pipes, places where heat is leaking out. They seal off your front door with a big plastic gasket with a fan inside. This creates negative pressure in the house, so any place where heat would have been going out is now coming in. They use a thermal IMG_0251imaging camera to spot areas of cold. (white is hot, black is cold. You can see in the picture that the bottom panel of our back door is very cold, and cold air is seeping in underneath the door.) It was very cool to follow him around and see cold seeping in through the baseboards and around the door to the attic. Then I knew exactly where to seal with caulk or expanding foam. We also got our furnace replaced with a 95% efficient model and insulated all the exterior walls with blown-in cellulose insulation. This cut our utility bills in half! I wrote in more detail about that here.

There are so many other things you can do, so I will say that the biggest one is:

4) Read. Educate yourself on how you can live a better life for yourself, and the environment. You’re doing it right now! There are tons of simple things you can do. There are also things that many people believe will affect the climate a great deal, but actually don’t.

I focused on only one small part of the climate change issue, but there are myriad facets to this. I expect to read posts from other people doing Blog Action Day today about how coastal regions may be affected, our food supply, desertification, water shortages, international policy changes, new advancements in science, and much more. So just try and do your part, and we can make some change for the good of us all.

For more info, go here:

http://www.blogactionday.org/

This is just a quick life update. I am now a stay at home dad for two days a week. The others are spent doing projects around the house that we haven’t had time to do in the last few years. Like: ripping down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, replacing broken window panes, stripping paint, fixing the leaky basement, etc.

I have received 3 rejections from agents about their interest in my novel so far. I’m waiting on 2 more. I may start sending it out to publishers too, but I’d rather have an agent first.

I’m starting on my last semester of classes for my A.S. in Business from OCC. I like my guitar class the best so far. I know how to play, and have for years, but it’s fun remembering all the old Metallica songs I used to know and jamming with the other advanced students.

The toddler is adapting well to his first major life transition: Mom at work, he’s in daycare or with me, I’m gone at night at class. That’s it for now

I just got done putting these up:

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The colors are Heaven’s Wind and Mountain Forget Me Not. We used the new No VOC (Volatile Organic Chemicals) paint from Home Depot. It was expensive ($36/gal) but worth it for the safety of our family and house. No harmful off-gassing for us. We slept in the room the same day we painted and it was fine. No crazy paint headaches and feeling high. As you can see, we chose to do some cool color blocks on the walls. I think it came out nicely. The weird thing about the paint is: in natural light, it looks blue, but in the evening, it looks purple. I don’t mind having a purple bedroom because 1. it’s very light anyway, and 2. it’s only the color of the walls. I am staying firm on keeping my camo footlocker out though. A man has to have someplace to sit and put on his shoes in the morning. Sheesh.

Things I would like/ need to do: (more…)