This can be a threatening word to homeowners. Your home's a mess, walls are missing, tools are slamming, clanking, and buzzing, and all you want is peace and quiet. Here are a few tips to help get you through your next home improvement fiasco.
Remember, you can't see into the future. All estimates made about the time and cost of a project are just that: estimates. Most likely, the renovation will cost more and take longer than initially planned. Understanding this from the beginning can save you a lot of unnecessary stress and aggravation.
Get out of the house. You have contractors swarming throughout your home, tools and equipment lying about, and who knows what else. Now's the time to get out and do things you've been procrastinating doing. Now, you're getting things done!
Don't be afraid to ask! Contractors have a language all their own. Clarify with them what they tell you to avoid any confusion down the road. A job taking until 'the end of the week' may mean Friday to you, but it may also mean Saturday to them.
Accept the chaos of renovating. Be well aware of the disarray your home (and life) is going to be in for the next week, few weeks, or even months. Prepare yourself for easy-to-make meals, or dining out. Don't start any other major projects, you've already got a lot on your plate!
You may have heard these terms thrown around in discussions about energy conservation, but what do they mean to you?
Incandescent Light Bulb: Your typical household light bulb, a glass ball with a tiny metal filament inside that conducts electricity and produces light. These bulbs are highly inefficient, producing only around 17 lumens/Watt. Most of this energy loss is due to the heat given off by these bulbs. Typical life expectancy? About 1,000 hours.
Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulb: Instead of a metal filament, electricity is passed through mercury vapor within a glass tube, emitting ultraviolet light. This ultraviolet light then reacts with a phosphor coating in the bulb, causing it to glow. Though CFL's don't produce as much heat as incandescents, there is still energy loss through the process of creating ultraviolet light and converting it to visible light. Most CFL's produce about 60 lumens/Watt, and last nearly 8,000 hours, so their cost (between 3 and 10 times that of a typical incandescent) is offset by energy & replacement savings.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulb: With an efficiency similar to that of the CFL and a life-expectancy of about 30,000 hours, LED's sound like the way to go, but don't be so sure. LED's tend to be "directional light." This means that, where incandescents and CFL's produce light omni-directionally, LED's focus light in one spot. This makes them great for spot-lighting driveways and small porches, but not necessarily for lighting rooms. Greater cost is another downfall, running at about $30-$50 each.
Now you are prepared to make an educated decision on the replacement of your old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs, whether it be LED spotlights for your driveway or CFL's for your bedroom.