Archive for January, 2008

More Improvements

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

So the insulation project continues to pay off – used 98 CCFs this past month compared to 112 last year. A 13% drop is pretty good (actually dropped my bill by closer to 19% over last year) but what makes it more impressive is that this last month was actually a lot colder than last year. The average temp was year was 40 degress, it was 35 degrees this year. So there was actually a 22% increase in “degree heating days. So my bill really should have been 20-25% higher than last year.

Been doing some indoor projects the last couple of weeks (of course, with Bert’s help because I don’t eally know what I’m doing)
Old disposalNew disposal

Not sure who hacked that original garbage disposal in there, but they should be punched in the face (there’s a lot of that with this house) Most of the mounting bracket was held in with some kind of putty. The drain tube wasn’t really on right either, so that white bucket you see in the background actually served a purpose – it caught some of the leaking. That is of course when it was actually under the pipe – I think it sometimes got shoved towards the back when people stuffed more crap under the sink. It also bugged me that the electric was just kind of hanging out the bottom. The new one is wired better, plumbing is a lot more solid, and the thing is so quiet you almost can’t hear it. Now keep in mind, I went to Home Depot to pick up a new baffle for the old one (the plastic part you can see when you look into the drain) because the old one was missing a few of it’s sections and stuff would spit up from the disposal. It also allowed things like spoons to fall into the drain/disposal. I was pretty good at making sure foreign objects didn’t enter the disposal, but one or more of my roommates didn’t have the same diligence. To replace the baffle on that old one though, you had to actually remove the disposal… and it wasn’t one of those nifty twist ‘n drop connectors. So instead of $10, I spent $200. 😀 This turns into a theme… hang on…

Old openerNew opener

Next project – garage door opener. I actually went to the store to find another motion sensor light adapter doo-dad. The light in the old opener never has worked, so I put in one of those indoor light socket motion sensor things so the light in the garage would turn on when someone would enter the garage or open the door. It just stopped working for no apparent reason. Went to Lowe’s and couldn’t actually find one. I don’t know if they don’t make them anymore or what. But they were having a sale on openers, I had a gift card from Christmas, and I had a 10% off coupon 🙂 I ended up buying a whole new setup. The control panel actually has a motion detector built into it… so I still got my motion detector, I just paid about 6 times more than I should have for it. Oh well… this actually works out well – the door is a lot faster and quieter (belt driven) … I think the old one was about to die anyway. Also forced me to do something I’ve been wanting to do since I moved in there – put an electrical outlet in the ceiling for the opener and my shop light. The old opener actually had a really long power cord, stapled across the ceiling and down a wall to an outlet :S It didn’t have the child safety sensors at the door either… so I think legally I shouldn’t have been able to buy this house with it installed.

Speaking of safety – replaced the outlets in the kitchen with GFCI outlets.  I do enough dangerous stuff, I didn’t want to be killed doing the dishes.

Before I go, quick plug for Karen’s latest project — not sure where she’s going with this, but what the heck, I’ll help 😀


Saturday, January 12th, 2008

This is what a $1,000 repair bill look like:

Oil cap

Yeah… milky “stuff” on the bottom of your oil cap is bad.  Means coolant is in the oil.  Bad.  As I suspected, the culprit is the low intake manifold gasket.  It’s a well know screw up on GM’s part.  Too bad there isn’t a class action against them in the US.  Not that I’d get much back… but still.  I hate to say this – but I will probably not buy another American made car.  That’s all I’ve ever had, and I have yet to have one last me much past 100k miles.  I still think the unions completely screwed up the automobile industry around here, but that’s a rant for another day.  Look up the cost per car that American companies pay just for benefits for their employees.  I’m not saying paying for benefits for your employees is a bad thing… but when you pay like $3,000 for every car that comes off the line compared to < $1,000 that other companies pay… I don’t see how you can compete without cutting corners.

Ok… off to Home Depot… have a couple little projects to do today…