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Showing posts from 2015

Wire Nut Alternative

My older house has fat, copper wires and new light fixtures always come with tiny wire nuts and the absolute smallest gauge, stranded wire that they can get away with using. Getting a good connection, while standing on a ladder, in the dark, while wearing bifocals, and trying to hold half assembled light while screwing on stupid, too small, wire nuts makes me exercise my more colorful vocabulary. The last time I had to do this I vowed to find an alternative. This is what I located: Lever Nuts. I ordered a box of these just to have around because, in an older house, you are going to have to replace a light fixture sooner or later. Yesterday I had my chance when I installed a new light fixture. I used 2 of these. The wires were connected in about 2 seconds and worked perfectly. Click - click. Done. Dammit. How long have these been available and I have been doing it the hard way all of this time!? Anyway, they come in different sizes and quantities, so I encourage every home owner to

Reducing CO2 in your home the nerd way

For Christmas my wife gave me a Netatmo weather station because I am a home weather station nerd. The Netatmo is very cool, but it has an unexpected feature: it measures indoor Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels. As soon as I set it up, the Netatmo began to alert that our indoor CO2 was at an unsafe level. The notes said that outdoor CO2 is usually around 400 ppm, and numbers above 1500 ppm could be unhealthy. On that first day, my house was at around 1300 ppm. Prior to that, I never gave indoor CO2 levels a thought. I began to do some research and discovered high levels of CO2 can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, strained eyes and itchy skin.  My family does have all of these issues, especially on the weekends when we are home all day, but I never connected that to indoor air quality. Previously, I installed a Nest thermostat . The Nest is very smart and saves energy by learning your habits and programming itself. Unfortunately, it is so efficient, that t

Got to get some money!

I dropped my son off at high school this morning, and as I was leaving, I came upon an accident that had just happened at the crosswalk. A driver had struck a student, and the boy was on the ground with his ankle at an awkward angle. I stopped, asked if there had been an accident, and asked if they needed a first aid kit. The driver, who was very upset, and trying desperately to tell 911 where he was, said yes they needed help. I told my toddler where I was going, turned off the car and turned on my hazard lights. I got my first aid kit and went to the boy, determined that he was lucid, not bleeding or in shock, not cold, etc. A school bus driver stopped to check on us. Teachers stopped and helped. Some parents stopped, but only one or two. Then a friend of the boy walked by and asked the boy if he was hit. The boy said yes, and his friend replied, "Man, you got to get some money!" And walked off. Just last night I heard a talk on NPR where they were explaining that teenager&