Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The master bedroom

Our first project was to redo the master bedroom. It was a rather dark color, which doesn't really fit with our ideas for a light toned bedroom. We decided to do a visual and electrical upgrade of the room. Check out the before and after pictures on my Picasa album.

Since all of the outlets and switches were painted dark blue and the wiring is aluminum in the house, we replaced all of the receptacles with CO/ALR devices. This prevents arcing between the copper and aluminum wire which potentially could cause a fire. We figured for a few dollars more we could have a safe connection at all of the receptacles and switches, along with making the room look nicer.

We also replaced the vent and return covers. The return vent was actually sagging and letting air from the room escape directly into the attic, so I resealed the vent and also screwed it into the attic floor boards.

We painted the room a light gray to keep a nice cool feel without darkening the room. I think it was quite the improvement for a low cost.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Changing the Lights

With the cost of electricity in Texas overly high, our first todo was to swap out nearly all of the light bulbs in the house with compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. We removed nearly 30 light bulbs totaling about 3000W. Went to Home Depot and spent about $40 in CFL's along with some that we've used previously. I also Freecycled the 28 light bulbs for someone else to use.

For instance, in our main living room the previous owner had 6 - 150W bulbs going, and we switched to 6 - 23W bulbs giving out about the same lumens. With rates around 15c/kWh, we are saving around 11 cents per hour in lighting costs for that one room, not counting the amount of money we save due to heat savings. Not a bad savings for a pretty small initial investment.

Some people say that CFL's are actually doing more harm to the environment since they contain mercury. Since there is an IKEA nearby which recycles CFLs, that part is easy to solve for us. It would be nice to see more retailers or government bodies to give more options to recycle the lights. You can also go to Earth 911 to see recycling sites and other general information. On another note, it is nice to see IKEA taking a proactive approach to conservation, with their program to try to force people to use their reusable bags.