Fixing a sink that quit working

My mother in law bought a foreclosed condo, and I helped her get the water turned back on, but one sink just wouldn’t work no matter what I did. I finally found an answer, and since there wasn’t much information online, I thought I’d share what I learned about fixing a sink that quit working suddenly, to save someone else some hassle.

The problem occurred in one of the bathrooms. The shutoff valves under the sink were extremely sticky and didn’t want to turn on. Eventually I got them to turn on, and then I ran the sink, and it worked. Then I turned the valves off and back on a couple of times to loosen them, in case she ever had to turn off the water. They loosened up to the point where they were usable again, but then the sink, which had been working fine a minute before, didn’t work anymore. If I turned the sink all the way up, the best I got was a slow drip. If someone else hadn’t been there with me and seen it, I would have thought I’d gone crazy.

Read more

Not quite a new floor in a bottle, but…

There are several acrylic floor finishes–sometimes mistakenly called wax–that promise they’re like a new floor in a bottle. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but if you have reasonable expectations, they definitely can make a floor look better and easier to clean. And depending on how you use them, they can even make the floor last longer.

Read more

Don’t buy a house if you can’t afford it

I see the advice all the time not to buy a house if you can’t afford it, but rarely do I see a good explanation of what that means.

It’s really easy. Let me explain it, as someone who paid off a 30-year mortgage in five years and now co-manages rental property and has to determine if someone can afford to rent from us or will be over their head. And no, just because I’m a landlord doesn’t mean I think everyone should rent. There are definitely times when buying makes sense. Read more

My favorite LED bulbs for 2014

After talking about LEDs last week, a friend asked what my favorite LED bulbs today are. I’m not sure I would say I dislike any of the bulbs that are widely available today, but I do have two favorites.

Read more

The Feit Electric G25 LED globe from Costco

I spied a 3-pack of LED globe bulbs at Costco last week, priced at $20. This is a ridiculously good price on LED globe bulbs–typically I see them at $15 apiece at the home improvement stores. After verifying that, I picked up a package to try out on my next Costco run. While they aren’t the best LED bulbs I’ve seen, they’re easily the best deal I’ve seen on LED globes, and I’ll be buying more of them. Read more

The 4W Lights of America Power LED from Costco: Finally a good LED lamp for bathrooms

Costco sells a 4W LED lamp by Lights of America. They briefly sold LEDs a few years ago from that company that weren’t highly regarded, and I think a lot of people are scared of the brand because of that experience. Not to worry, though. These are much better.

They’re billed as 25W replacements, and they’re globe-shaped. I find they’re a good replacement for 25W globes in bathroom fixtures.

Read more

The lightbulb reinvented

Timothy Hunt asked me (via Twitter) if I’ve seen the lightbulb reinvented, an LED bulb that screws into a standard socket but has wi-fi capability so you can tune its light temperature and otherwise control it with a smartphone.

I hadn’t. But I found it interesting, and appreciate the mention. Read more

How to calculate savings from reduced cooling costs when considering energy-saving improvements

I learned something incredibly useful this week: For every 3 watts of energy consumption you save, you save an additional watt of power in cooling costs during the cooling season.

I bought my first CFL bulb a little over 9 years ago. I knew this was helping my AC costs too, but now I know how much.
Read more