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Thread: Home Improvement

  1. #526
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    Yes, and yes. The switches I'm looking at can also be controlled by the Google Home system (or alternatively the Amazon Alexa). I can simply say "hey Google, turn on the outside lights" and it will do so. I can also use my phone and all the switches can be controlled manually too. Right now when I go out of town, I leave most of my outside lights on 24/7. I looked at timer switches but from what I can tell most of those are just clunky and difficult to use. Some of the outlet and switches even have an "away" mode that randomly switches lights on and off throughout your house which is cool.

    I decided that I'll probably do a combination of smart adapters and outlets depending on if you can physically see the outlet. I have a few with Brinks timers in them right now and they look bad. I've spent a fair amount of money on designer switch plates in the few rooms I've painted and hate covering them up.
    Yeah, I've tried time timers and timer switches for when we are out of town overnight but they are definitely difficult to use. I may have to go this route for a few of our lights. I hate leaving on the outdoor lights 24/7.

    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    Was looking at getting a WiFi extender for the house. The basement and garage have very low signal strength.

    A friend of mine is an IT guru and he came over to check the signal. We moved the router and the signals got a little better. He said that instead of an extender, get a new router (because yours is old an not worthy anymore).
    Guess what Santa is bringing me now.
    FWIW - we have a very loooooong ranch house and our wireless router is the extreme end of the house and we had a horrible time getting wireless almost anywhere in the house. I thought about moving it to an outlet in the dining room which would be smack dab in the middle of the house and not surrounded by as many walls and doors but it would have been exposed and ugly so I decided to buy a $10 WiFi extender and it works perfectly. I now get a very strong signal everywhere in the house, including out in the garage and the front porch and back patio.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  2. #527
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Holiday lights should be on timers

    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    ...

    Last night I noticed that our porch light by the backdoor had gone out so I changed it for the first time since we moved in back in the spring of '09. When I was up on the step ladder unscrewing it I discovered that the light fixture also has a plug on it. I wish I would have seen that was there years ago since it would make a great place for me to plug in my Christmas lights and have them all controlled with 1 switch instead of the 3 or 4 different ones like I have it set up now.
    Mine are, front and back. No way to tell if I am home or not because they come on automatically.

    My neighbors leave theirs on all night, and the two neighbors out back of my BR window have taken to leaving their porch lights on all night. (The one, I thought he'd moved. It's on 24/7. Thinking about sneaking over with a screw-in photocell.)

  3. #528
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    So on the 14th I discovered my master bathroom toilet was having issues. It appeared the flapper was leaking a bit and the fill valve wasn't working well. I decided to replace that. At the same time, I wanted to deal with a very slight wobble the toilet has always had. Went to Lowes on the 15th, bought everything I thought I needed and went on my way.

    Two things - 1. the stupid toilet has a 3" flush valve rather than a standard 2". I didn't notice this until after I bought all the fill/flush hardware. It's surprisingly hard to find a 3" kit to replace everything. 2. whoever installed the toilet tank bolts should be ashamed (I think it was me actually ). The tank has always had a little wiggle to it. Turns out whoever installed the bolts (me) used two rubber washers on the bottom between the nut and the tank rather than a rubber/metal combo. That wasn't securing the tank at all causing it to bob about which would sometime move the float.

    Now, on to the wiggle...turns out the flange was broken. It's not a standard flange either, it's some sort of ABS monster that is definitely NOT standard. I bought a pair of spanner flanges but then found out that the floor around the flange wasn't cut well, resulting in pretty hefty gaps so the screws I bought weren't actually tying the spanner flange into anything, so it kept popping up as I tightened the toilet bolts. After much head scratching, I ended up drilling a new hole in the spanner flange, got some longer screws, and got that sucker to stay. The flange also sits well above the floor, around 1/2", which means none of the waxless seals I tried to use worked, so ultimately I went back to wax. I got the whole thing buttoned up before I realized that I forgot the paper towels I jammed in the sewer line, so I had to take it back off, scrape more wax, and use another seal.

    SO, 1 week to the day, I now have a working non-wiggling, non-leaking toilet in my master bath. What an annoying project.

  4. #529
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by AG74683 View post
    So on the 14th I discovered my master bathroom toilet was having issues. ... flapper was leaking ... fill valve wasn't working well... very slight wobble the toilet has always had. Went to Lowes on the 15th, bought everything I thought I needed and went on my way.
    ....
    Whenever I'm faced with a project that will challenge my ever-developing skill set, I look it up on YouTube. Not long ago I was on the elliptical at the Y (hey, it's winter!) and found a similar TOH video.

  5. #530
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    Got my switches. I went with the TP Link HS200. Unfortunately the major spot I wanted the light doesn't have a neutral wire. It's on a switch loop where the white acts as a hot when the switch is on. This is a problem because most smart switches (including the TP Link) need a neutral. I'm going to speak with an electrician about running a neutral into that box. I don't think connected floodlights are the right way to go here because I'd need 6, and finding outdoor rated ones is uncommon. I'm trying to avoid using anything that needs an additional hub beyond the Philips Hue hub.

    Fortunately, the other two spots will work for sure, I've already looked into that. I'll need to redo all three switches in there which sucks. I'll tackle that project this weekend I think. I also bought two TP Smart plug adapters. Those are freaking AWESOME. My bedroom lamp and humidifier turn on simply by voice now. Alternatively I can use my tablet or phone too. I've set the lamp to an on schedule so it'll turn on right when I get home. I figured those were a much cheaper alternative than buying the connected outlets, and I can move them around whenever I want.

    While I was in the electrical box yesterday, I discovered that one of the wires had a cut in it, and was actively arcing in the box every time I turned the switch on or off. I should have realized this because there was a visible spark behind the switch every time I'd hit it but didn't think about it. I cut it off and rewired everything to fix that problem too.

  6. #531
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    I think I decided that while I have an electrician quoting me for work, I'll have a contractor come over and check out my rotting soffits for repair costs. I was going to wait until I can afford a new roof, but there's just no way I can sit on it any longer.

  7. #532
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    So I want this for my basement....

    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_68965W...c&awug=9015851

    I would imagine you too think it is overpriced. Stop taking my wife's side!
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  8. #533
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Hink View post
    So I want this for my basement....

    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_68965W...c&awug=9015851

    I would imagine you too think it is overpriced. Stop taking my wife's side!
    That's a necessary addition to the basement. That's all that needs to be said.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  9. #534
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    Had the contractor come by today to check out the soffits. Seems like an easy job for him. He did reveal a special surprise for me though, my house is painted with interior paint, not exterior . I knew the paint job was shoddy, but I never would have expected it to be THAT bad. The good news is that the exterior that needs to be painted really isn't that significant, and I could probably do it myself.

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