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Old 09-27-13, 11:04 PM   #1
jeff88
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Default Birdlandia House Project Log

This thread is going to be a comprehensive list of any and all projects I do around the house, no matter how small. Hopefully, it ends up being a long list of "upgrades" that will lower our utility bills (and, of course pollution).

BTW, I'm calling this Birdlandia, because the people in this area call this neighborhood Birdland or an equivalent name, because all the streets are bird names (bird ave, kingfisher, wren, hummingbird, etc.). When I told friends where I was moving to, on 3 separate occasions they all said "oh birdland!", without knowing that the other had said it!

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Old 09-27-13, 11:39 PM   #2
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Last week, we had the dishwasher switched out. The old one was stinky and I secretly wanted a new one regardless, because I knew a new one would decrease water and energy use.

It's actually a funny story, because I did all the research for it, consumer reports, home depot reviews, energy star, etc. The day after the landlord came to look at the old one I emailed my mom the link to the one "we" wanted and before she could forward the link they said they had bought one and it would get delivered in a couple of weeks. I was really nervous and excited. Yes we were getting a new dw, but I was really afraid it was going to be the cheapest, most wasteful dishwasher they could get. Low and behold I got home that night of the install and it was the EXACT one I wanted! Woohoo! I was totally shocked!

Anyway here is the link to the one we got. Home Depot Energy Star It seemed to be the best option for that price range (it was on sale at the time, to boot!)

I also today realized I had missed switching out a few light bulbs, so they were still halogen bulbs, not CFL. I've gotten all the other ones, except the ones in the living room, which I will switch out after winter (they do provide heat ). So the light switch controls two fixtures in my hallway, with both fixtures having two bulbs each (4 bulbs total). One fixture had both bulbs out and the other fixture had both bulbs working at 52W a piece (104W total for the system). So I put in 4-13 watt bulbs and now both sides of the hallway are properly lit for exactly half of the total wattage before! EDIT: I actually replaced two of the bulbs with 9W bulbs, so total wattage for the circuit is 44W.

I also did some temperature measurements today. My gf took a shower, so I got all of the temperature sensors set up. I took three readings, one in the hallway, one in the water heater closet and one with the temp probe taped to the outside of the water heater. I attached the numbers to this post. I can't really decide if the information is all that useful. Temperatures stayed the same or even went down at certain points. The tank temp definitely went up from pre-shower to post shower as well as the evening, so I am wondering if that in itself shows that the water heater is allowing heat to escape, or if the outside of the tank just warmed up after the sun came up and warmed up the closet. Hmmm...

I also switched out my shower head last week. It's not the country club on a white sand beach type of shower head, but it isn't bad and uses way less water than before. Amazon American Standard It seemed like a really good compromise of decent water flow and as little water usage as possible. It has a pretty sweet feature where the standard setting has 1.5GPM usage and the other two are more, but when you turn the water off, it reverts back to the 1.5GPM setting so the next time you get in, it is already in the most ecological setting possible. I haven't tested actual GPM #s yet.

I finally found my kill-a-watt from the move, but I think it's broken. It will only display one function, but none of the other buttons will switch the display (so I can't see how many kWh a certain device is using)

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Old 09-28-13, 09:39 AM   #3
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Sounds like youre off to a good start. Sounds like a bit of good luck with the dishwasher, very nice!
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Old 09-30-13, 09:04 PM   #4
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So I measured the temp. differences of the water heater again and I got pretty much the same results. The temperature of the tank definitely heated up, however, I never actually heard the tank getting up and running to heat the new water, but then again I never have and we still have hot water all the time, so it must be heating, just quietly. It's a gas heater.

The tank temp. heated up about 5* from 70 to 75*, but I can't tell if that is attributed to heat loss or the outside environment heating up. Any ideas? Is it worth putting the blanket on or will a 5* change not show any real ROI?
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Old 11-28-13, 02:35 PM   #5
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Got a new drill last night! I've been looking at it for a couple of months now, but finally pulled the trigger last night. Craftsman Bolt On

And of course pics or didn't happen!


The 'head' comes off and you can attach different things (they have 9 total attachments at this point), like a saw, air compressor, router, impact, etc.


THE STORY: I had seen it in the OSH (small version of a Home Depot) ad that the $120 drill was on sale for $80 through Wednesday. I happened to go to OSH last night for some paint (already long forgotten the drill sale). I saw an ad sitting there, so I looked at it and saw the drill, so I went to go look at the drill. I asked the guy (happened to be the store manager) if it was going to stay on sale for Black Friday weekend, but he said it was going to be regular price, the sale ended that night. So it was now or never! But I decided I didn't want to spend the money right now, even though it's a great deal. So we got our paint and left. I was in the truck, turned the key to accessories/on (didn't start the it yet) and then it hit me! I might actually need this for some side jobs coming up. And my old drill will charge up, sit until I need it and then be dead right when I need it most. I can't have that happen. So I went back inside, picked it up, got to the register and told the lady I had already used the 15% coupon on the paint. She said don't worry about it, we have lots. So I got an extra 15% off and the drill ended up being almost half the original price!
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Old 01-06-14, 10:24 AM   #6
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Have you used the new tools yet?
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Old 01-07-14, 02:55 AM   #7
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I have! I actually was using it this weekend on a project. I was hoping to have it finished, but haven't yet. When I'm done, I will post up some pics.
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Old 01-07-14, 09:50 AM   #8
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Very cool. I eagerly await an update.
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Old 02-10-14, 10:46 AM   #9
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Where are the pics?!??!
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Old 02-10-14, 07:03 PM   #10
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I still haven't finished our bathroom, but I'll give a little update of what's done so far.

What the bathroom used to look like.


What the bathroom looked like in preparation for us to move in.


And now:

Painted the walls a silvery purple, purple shower curtain hung and curved rod installed (all per the boss's orders )
If you look at the right side of the shower curtain, right where it meets the wall, there is a node sticking out of the wall just above it. That is where the shower curtain used to be (aka way too high); you can see it in the first pic with the yellow wall.

Installed a new light fixture over the vanity.

My gf painted before I got a lot of this stuff done (not sure if she was just overly excited or giving me a hint ). Because of that, when I pulled off the old fixture, it ended up pulling off some paint with it, so I need to repaint. I was going to anyway, because she missed some spots and didn't use the right type of brush in others.

With the lights on:


We had this shower cabinet in our last place inside the tub, but it didn't work in this shower here, with the lip of the shower coming off the wall. What I did to fix that is attached a 1x2 strip of wood on top of the lip with a couple of screws. The cabinet has one of those angled hanging lips on it, so I got a French Cleat at Home Depot (I used to sell them at a previous job, so I knew they were available) and only installed the part that hangs on the wall into the 1x2. Worked like a charm!

You can see the wood strip sticking out, because I wanted the wood to be screwed into a stud. There was one on either end of the tub, so the strip of wood needed to be longer. I'm going to eventually paint it the wall color to camouflage it. The shower curtain also hides it.

The hanging mechanism.

You can see the screw going into a stud on the far left, one on the right just off frame.

You can see how the metal bar angles out just enough to hang something on.


It's a little hard to see, but the back of the cabinet has an angled lip.


I also installed a new shower head a little while ago (again with approval ). I also have a chlorine filter attached to it.

Shower Head: American Standard 1660.717.002
Shower Filter: Culligan ISH-200
Replacement Filters: Culligan WHR-140 Replacement Shower Filter Cartridge
They say that the filter cartridge should be changed every 6 months. The nice thing about Amazon is that the cartridge is automatically sent to me every 6 months (or whatever you want it to be). When the filter arrives, I know it's time to change it. No possibility of 'when did I put the old one in?'.


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