Home Improvement

Home improvement projects I’ve completed and thought I’d share with other folks. Perhaps someone can learn from my mistakes and successes.

Harman XXV Pellet Stove – Owner Review

We live in the small town of Falcon, CO and found that our gas furnace would run almost continuously during a winter storm and struggled to keep the house warm. During cold nights when there was no wind, the furnace would still fire up about once every 20 minutes and even though it ran for a much shorter time, over the course of the month, our heating bills were averaging about $175. The only other appliance we have in the house that uses gas is the water heater, which only…
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Do Surge Protectors Work Against Lightning Strikes?

Surge protectors are a common staple in just about every house that has a computer or expensive electrical equipment. They come in a variety of power ratings, which claim to protect the equipment should a power surge occur. And while that may be the case for smaller variances in the electrical grid, will they really protect equipment from a lightning strike? The short answer is, no. Small appliances and equipment use small fuses, which when exposed to an over-voltage melt. This breaks the electrical circuit by creating an air gap…
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How to Ground Solar Panels Correctly

When installing a solar Photo-voltaic system (PV), it is extremely important all the equipment is grounded correctly. Failure to ground the entire system to include all the individual pieces, can be devastating, especially in an area that experiences lightning on a regular basis. Even if you seldom have electrical storms, all it takes is one lightning strike or a single lose wire and all the equipment can be destroyed. Worse yet, it can start a fire and cause even more damage to your home. Electricity follows the path of least…
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Gas vs Electricity: Which Dryer is More Efficient?

Clothes dryers are really quite basic. There’s a big drum spun by an electric motor whereby heat is generated in one of two ways; gas vs electricity. Gas dryers tend to dry the clothes slightly faster, but only by a few minutes. So the question isn’t which is more efficient than the other, because they are both about the same. The question is operating costs. What does make a difference is how much it costs to create the heat which drys your clothes. And that’s what we’re going to focus…
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Whole House Fan Worth the Money!

I took the plunge and installed a whole house fan earlier this year. This was our alternative solution to an air conditioning unit that costs quite a bit to install ($3,000) and over the long run will use a lot less electricity each month. Here in Colorado Springs, it really doesn’t get all that hot and simply exchanging the inside air with outside air can make the house feel a whole lot cooler. Granted, it won’t be as cool as an air conditioning unit, but it will make a big…
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Remove the EGR Valve – Bad for Your Diesel Engine?

In an attempt to reduce diesel exhaust pollutants, the concept of the Exhaust Gas Re-circulation (EGR) system was implemented on all diesel trucks around the year 2007, per EPA regulations. The purpose being, to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, which contribute to air pollution. However, with the introduction of the EGR valve system on diesel engines, there has been a noticeable and documented 3% drop in engine efficiency, which means an additional 3% more diesel is consumed and burned to generate the same amount of power. If 3% more diesel is…
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Civil Unrest, Riots, Looting and How to Prepare

Let me fist begin by saying I am not an conspiracy theorist and I do not think we’re going “Mad Max”. Meaning, you aren’t going to see people driving around with loin cloths and hockey masks in pursuit of gasoline and food. So please, keep that in mind as you read this post. I had to make sure my wife understood this before I started buying our supplies, because I didn’t want her to think I was going nuts on her. Having lived through the Los Angeles riots, I have…
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