Last night, an elf had stopped by to re-decorate the house with a nice, red crayon. Fortunately, the elf focused on the baseboard with a semi-gloss finish instead of setting her eyes higher on the wall with a textured, flat finish.
What Worked. A wet sponge with a touch of Bon Ami was really effective in removing most of the crayon markets. Scrub, rinse and repeat. For the edge, I located an old, but clean toothbrush and brushed away the remaining art work that the sponge could not reach. Good for those hard-to-reach corners.
What Didn’t. I had a bottle of orange-colored degreaser spray that stated on the label that it could remove crayon marks. I sprayed some on the colored surface and rubbed away with a paper towel. I think the towel turned slightly pink, but was not particularly effective. I tried scraping away with a plastic Play-Doh knife. I was able to remove some crayon scraps, but that was not helpful either.
When I shop at Costco, I expect to receive a quality product at a competitive price. Usually, I am extremely happy with my purchases, but that garage door I purchased from them has turned out to be quite a doozy. Mind you, the garage door itself is fine. The problem is with everything else attached to that garage door.
So, three years in, one of the torsion springs broke. Only three years? So, I found another contractor to replace both of the torsion springs and I didn’t think much about the garage again until a few months ago when the garage door opener started failing intermittently. Sometimes the door would not open all the way. Other times it would not close all the way. I had not problem with the opening, because I could always click on the garage door opener a second time. However, the closing was a serious issue because unless you monitored the garage door every time to make sure that it closed completely, there was always a chance that the garage door was not securely shut.
Long story short, I replaced the Chamberlain Whisper Drive 1/2 HP Belt Drive garage door opener, which was not all that quiet, with a LiftMaster 3850 DC Motor Belt with EverCharge Standby Power System. After I changed the garage door opener, the problem completely disappeared and the new opener is amazingly quiet. No more rattle and shake when the door is opening or closing. Just solid and quiet.
As a house settles, doors that used to open and shut smoothly start sticking. And, sometimes the door falls so far out of alignment that strike plate no longer catches the door latch. So, how can this be fixed?
Well, adjusting the strike plate is not the answer. First, look at where the latch is hitting the strike plate. Is the latch passing above or below the hole in the strike plate? This tells you which door hinge you have to adjust to rotate the door. In my case, the latch was passing above the hole in the strike plate. To correct this, I needed to push down top of latch-side of the door down so that the hole in the strike plate would catch the latch again. To rotate the door in that direction, I needed to push out the top door hinge a bit. Originally, the door hinge was flush with the door jamb. However, I loosened the screws holding the hinge to the door jamb, placed a piece of cardboard behind the hinge, traced the outline of the hinge with a pencil, and then cut the cardboard to obtain a pad. With the pad, I placed it under the hinge, and tightened the screws. So, in the photo, the top hinge now sits a bit off the door jamb. However, this slight adjustment was just enough to push down latch such that it now catches whenever the door is shut.
Through a generous discount, I was able to purchase a pair of LED lights from a local hardware store. So, for the past few months, I’ve been waiting for one of my incandescent or compact fluorescent light bulbs to burn out. Tonight, my opportunity finally arrived and the incandescent was the victim. So, in its place, I installed a Pharox LED Light 60 Bulb. Since I have a mix of incandescent, fluorescent and now LED bulbs installed next to each other in my ceiling lights, I can easily compare all of them. The LED light appears dimmer than the other bulbs and has a bit of a blue/green cast. Of course, the warmth of the light is only noticeable when I stare at the ceiling. When I am normally working, the problem is not obvious.
At 6 watts, the LED light should be more energy efficient than a CFL. What remains to be seen is whether it will last the promised “25 years.” My CFLs generally do not last the 10,000 hours promised, so I would be very surprised if the LED bulb lasts until October 2035.
When designing or redesigning a kitchen, you will be confronted with a variety of design options. I love slide-out shelves, which offer a combination of convenience and accessibility. For storing pots and pans, slide-out shelves let you use the entire shelf–front and back–and you can access any pot or pan regardless of its location. Some cabinet manufacturers also offer built-in waste basket and recycling bin options. The upside of a built-in waste basket or recycling bin is that such a cabinet can hide the mess that open trash cans present. However, the downside is that you can only replace a trash can or recycling bin with one of similar size.
After a few years of use, the rim of our waste basket started to break off. I thought that finding a replacement waste basket would be easy. But, after visiting Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart, OSH and Bed Bath and Beyond and not finding a similar waste basket, I discovered that I was in trouble. How do you find a replacement for an unlabeled rectangular white plastic waste basket? Fortunately, I found a label on the white waste basket in the other built-in cabinet and easily ordered a replacement online. Actually, I ordered quite a few because shipping large plastic trash cans apparently is not cheap. When the trash cans finally arrived, I discovered that the white trash can I was using as a recycling bin was not the same size as the white trash can I was using as a waste basket. Doh! This time, I carefully measured the trash can and bought something similar in dimension. Hopefully it will work out.
Tags:cabinet·trash can·waste basket
After lunch at The Old Siam, I discovered a light bulb store while walking to my car. Batteries N Bulbs is located at 1111 W El Camino Real, #135, Sunnyvale, California. Although the interior of the store is quite spartan, the store carries an amazing variety of light bulbs. Since I needed a few specialty bulbs, I headed in to take a look.
First, the other 4 Pin Trip Tube Fluorescent Bulb in the bathroom went out. At least, I got 7 more months of use from this one, but no where near the claim 10,000 hour life. For this go around, I picked up an Eiko 26 watt 3500° K Triple Tube FLuorescent Lamp Base GX24q-3 for $15.95.
Compared to a 100 watt incandescent bulb, I should be saving 74 watts per hour. If the light is on for 3 hours a day for the 3 year life of the bulb, that’s 3,285 hours. So, the compact fluorescent saved me 249,600 KWH during its functional life. So, how much does 249 KWH cost? At 9.54 cents per KWH, one bulb saves me $23.76, if I would have installed a 100 watt bulb instead. So, despite the diminished life of the fluorescent bulb, I think I’m still ahead.
Now, for the more difficult task. I was also looking for a 40 watt type t4 e11 base mini candlelabra. I’ve searched in all the major hardware stores but never found a replacement bulb until I found Batteries N Bulbs. I mean this bulb was out for at least a year or more. The replacement bulb, a Bulbrite Industries, Inc. KX40CL/MC cost me $16.75.
I recently found the Hansgrohe Raindance E 120 AIR 3-Jet selling for $59.97 at Costco and decided to give it a try. I also have a Grohe Relaxa Plus and a Hansgrohe Interaktiv 2-Jet Handshower installed. When I purchased the Raindance, I thought I could just switch the handshower units. However, the the Raindance operates a bit different from the Relaxa Plus and the Interaktiv handshowers. Unlike the Relaxa Plus and the Interaktiv handshower units, the Raindance handshower has the flow restrictor built into the showerarm mount (where you hang the handshower) instead of into the handshower unit itself. So, if I just swapped the handshower units, the Raindance would output more than the reported 2.5 GPM maximum flow rate.
Out of curiousity, I had a 2.5 gallon plastic bucket in the laundry room. First, I filled the bucket using the Raindance handshower. The bucket started to overflow at around the 50-55 second mark, which is close to a 3 GPM mark. Next, I filled the bucket with the Grohe Relaxa Plus handshower. Despite the same reported maximum flow rate, the Relaxa Plus needed 1:40 minutes to fill the same bucket, or about 1.50 GPM. I always assumed that my showerheads were outputting at the maximum flow rate. Get a bucket and test your showerheads and see if they are delivery more or less water than the reported maximum flow rate.
February 24th, 2010 · 1 Comment
I’ll be the first to admit that when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone at MWSF in 2007, I couldn’t see the genius of the product. It wasn’t until I actually got to see the iPhone in person that I realized that it was different from every cell phone that I had every owned. The iPhone was a game changer.
TOTO toilets may just be the iPhone of toilets. Sure, you can obsess over all the features in a TOTO Washlet, but the feature that really floored me was the SoftClose seat. Before I installed a TOTO Toilet, I had never seen a toilet with a SoftClose seat. Instead of slamming shut, the toilet seat will gently lower itself down. Absolutely amazing. After I saw this, I realized that every other toilet seat was designed incorrectly.
The only good thing about the current recession is that gas (and energy) prices have remained depressed. However, I am fairly confident that we are just benefitting from a temporary lull. Once the economy turns around, we will soon witness gas and electric prices resume their inexorable march upwards. If you are seeking some predictability in future energy prices, going solar is one option. I have long considered installing photovoltaic panels or a solar water heater, but the economics of the situation never seemed attractive. So, instead of going solar to hedge future energy prices, I’ve opted for the Vanguard Energy Fund. If you can’t meet the $25,000 minimum, you can opt for the Vanguard Energy ETF option like I did.
You might think that such an investment offers no environmental benefits, but that is not true. The carbon footprint for investing in the Vanguard Energy Fund ETF is much less than for manufacturing and installing photovoltaic panels. And, while you may lose your investment in the Vanguard Energy Fund, don’t think for a second that the photovoltaic panels sitting on your roof aren’t depreciating like crazy as the performance of the solar panels degrade over time and solar panel manufacturers are able to drive down the costs of producing newer panels.
If all goes well, in 5-10 years, my investment in the Vanguard Energy Fund ETF will exceed the cost of installing a PV system, such that I can sell part of my investment to pay for going solar and still have money left in the bank.
Winter means rain, not snow, out here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two years ago, I had installed The Silencer on all the gutter downspouts. The bad news is that these magnetic sponge pads wear out. The magnet portion is still good. It’s the sponge portion that fails over time. I think the glue that binds the sponge to the magnet finally broke down so all I was left with the magnet. Little use that does in silencing the continuous dripping sound. Fortunately, I had a few leftover Silencers since the only time that the dripping noise proves bothersome is late at night when I’m finally headed for bed and all the shops are already closed.
The next project is to save the leftover magnet from 2 years ago and glue a thicker sponge to it. I wonder if a thicker sponge might be able to completely dampen the drip, drip, dripping sound.